STEP ONE: DOMAIN AND HOSTING
Congrats! You’ve decided to share your awesome recipes and food reviews on a blog! Let me show you how to get started!
First, you need to find a domain (aka website name) and a host (think about it as if you renting a space for your blog). I use BlueHost, which allows you to host your website for a very small fee and provides the domain for free (which typically can cost you from $2 to $40 – #winning!)
To get started, visit the BlueHost Website and click on Get Started!
Now you’ll be taken to a sign-up page. If you’re a new blogger the Starter package is probably the best fit for you. You can sign up for monthly payments or you can pay in one lump sum at a discount, you can choose whatever best fits your budget.
The hardest part for me was figuring out what to call my blog/domain. I went through HUNDREDS of options. Here are some tips on coming up with a catchy domain name:
- Figure out what you want to blog about. Is it southern food, desserts, vegan, all of the above?
- Brainstorm 5-10 keywords or phrases that match what you want to write about. A thesaurus can come in handy here! I wanted to write about food, travel, etc and my sister came up with the word polymath (someone who is interested in a lot of subjects) and it fit perfectly!
- Pick a phonetic domain, meaning a domain where it is spelled the way it sounds. You want to be able to tell people to visit your site without having to spell it out (jaysen.com vs. jason.com). Also avoid hyphens as it can send users to other sites if they forget to type it in.
- Keep it simple and sweet. The shorter the domain, the easier to remember!
- Pick a name that automatically tells the reader what you write about.
- Use a .com website, once again it makes it easier for readers to find you
Once you’ve got a nice list of domain names. Test them on BlueHost in the new domain field. It will tell you whether your domain is available.
If it is available BlueHost will direct you to a sign-up page. There will be a bunch of boxes checked off in the package information section. The only one you need to have checked on is the Domain Privacy Protection box, which will prevent your personal information from being displayed on the internet.
Once you fill out this page click Submit! Congrats! You officially have a domain and host for your new food blog!
STEP TWO: INSTALL WORDPRESS
WordPress is a blogging framework program that I use to format, create, and design my blog. It’s super easy to download, considering all you have to do is click a few buttons!
First, log into your BlueHost account and scroll down to the Website Section. Click on Install WordPress.Click on Install under the Do it Yourself section.
On the next page, click Check Domain.
Check off the terms and conditions box and click Install.
It will take a few minutes and then it will send you to a landing page. Once you get there, click on View Credentials. This will then show you Admin URL, username and password. Copy and paste this somewhere safe. You can change this to something more personal later.
Paste your Admin URL into your browser and hit enter. You’ll see a WordPress Login Screen. Enter your username and password from the previous step and log in.
STEP THREE: DESIGN
This is the best part – making your blog pretty! WordPress has tons of themes that are free and are perfect for beginners. Just go here to browse and demo them!
My first theme was a free theme from WordPress, the Adele theme, which is super cute and girly.
I’m now using Foodie Pro from the Genesis Framework which is specifically made for food bloggers! It is a bit complicated, but there are tons of tutorials out there on how to install and personalize it. It does cost $130 but its way worth it because the theme is very flexible and you can pretty much build your own website with it. Studiopress has tons of other premium themes that you can use as well.
If you’re feeling a bit more creative, another option is OnePager which is a theme builder for WordPress. It is very intuitive and easy to use.
Here’s a list of other places you can get themes!