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To help you out in creating your own blog, I created this 4 Step Checklist which includes all the awesome information you are about to read. You can download the checklist and use it whenever you like as you are creating your blog. That way you don’t miss a step and create one kick butt food blog 🙂 Oh and did I mention you will also get access to the rest of my awesome free resource library? Like my 10 tips for better cookies and my free e-cookbook? Woo hoo for free stuff 🙂
So as much fun as I have baking is how much fun I also have sharing my recipes with you all- aka blogging! Blogging is serious hard work. I don’t think any blogger out there would disagree with me. I started my blog back in 2011- had some starts and stops along the way. Over the past couple years, I decided to really commit and get serious about this whole blogging thing! So I decided it was time to start not only sharing my love of baking with you all, but also my love and knowledge of blogging! So begins the Food Blogging 101 Series 🙂
And what better way to start, then to start with well how to start. You followed me with that right?
If you love cooking or baking, and you love reading food blogs I’m sure you have thought of at one point starting your own food blog. Honestly, that is what motivated me to start! I loved reading food blogs and was obsessed with all their beautiful photography, friendly conversation, and just simply downright yummy recipes that had me rushing home from work to make. Starting a food blog is seriously as easy as 1-2-3..ok 4. Just four steps and you are on your way to blogging!
So 4 easy steps in a nutshell:
#1- Choosing A Name
#2- Domain Name and Hosting
#3- Installing a Blogging Software
#4- Making It All Pretty
So let’s get to it shall we?
Step 1: Choosing A Name
Honestly, this might be the hardest part of the whole setting up your food blog. You want a food name that reflects you, your style, and what you plan on your food blog being about. Do you plan on blogging about healthy dinners? Paleo recipes? Dessert only? If you aren’t sure what your food blog niche is going to be about quite yet, that’s ok too. Start by making a list of all possible choices. Just let the pen fly! Come up with as many variations as you can, because I’ll tell what we are going to do with that list next.
Now, before you go and get your heart set on any of those names. Go ahead and check to see if these names are available out there big wide internet world. This will help narrow down your list. You can check to see if the name is available by visiting Bluehost (we will chat more about them later). Just simply type in your possible names and check for their availability. Like such…
Once you have your narrowed down list it doesn’t hurt to recruit family and friends at this point. If you have settled on your name then great skip to step 2! If you are like me, you need opinions from others. Ask your friends, your family members, neighbors! Facebook is also a great place to ask people for their opinion too! Like maybe in my facebook group dedicated to baking, For The Love Of Sprinkles (#shamelessplug).
Once you have your opinions, and have slept on it- it’s time to choose! Choose. Stick with it. Love It. Proceed to Step 2…
Step 2- Domain Name and Hosting
For some reason, this step was always the most confusing for me. So hopefully after my years of blogging I can help break this down for you. Ok so you have your website name (aka your domain name), now you need to host this name somewhere on the ‘net. Think of hosting like renting a space. You are renting a space for your website. You with me so far?
Now there are a few ways to do this. You can do this for free (yup, free!) or pay someone to host your name. Let’s talk the free route for a second. Two popular free ways to blog are through Blogger, Squarespace, or WordPress.org. I started out using Blogger, and as a way to get your feet wet with this blogging thing it’s not a bad place to start. I have never used Squarespace or the free WordPress, so I can’t speak on its behalf but I have heard good things. If you’re not sure you are going to like blogging or stick with it, the free hosting may be the way to go. If you choose the free route, your website name may be something like this:
Yup, that was my original blogging name. Your name is not yours, so it will have a “blogspot” or “wordpress” attached to the end. With these free blogging sites, you do not need to pay to have your name hosted (since it isn’t technically yours) and you can just get right to the blogging part!
Now let’s talk the “not so free” route. If you have decided you want to “own” your name- like www.bostongirlbakes.com you need to pay a hosting company to do so. Two popular options are godaddy.com and bluehost.com
I love Bluehost. And can’t recommend them enough. I made the switch from blogger to wordpress a few years ago because I wanted more control over how my site looked and wanted to own my name. Bluehost is a great hosting company that provides fantastic technical support (they have gotten me out of quite a few jams!) and they will register your domain for free! (Insert happy dance!) Some companies will charge you for this. But not Bluehost. You can get started with Bluehost, by clicking below 🙂
Step 3: Installing Blogging Software
I hope the words installing didn’t have you running for the hills. Yes I suppose this step is technical so to speak but it’s easy. Promise. If you chose to go with Blogger then there is no need to go installing anything. Woo hoo! That means you are ready to make it pretty and you can skip to step 4.
If you chose to go with the paid route, then you do need to install your blogging software. I am going to show this step to you as if you chose Bluehost. Again, it’s what I use and I know a lot of bloggers swear by Bluehost. Once you have registered with Bluehost, installing wordpress is seriously a one click away.
Login in to Bluehost and the find the Website builders section and click on the WordPress logo. From there, you want to click on the “Install” button in the “do it yourself (free)” section. Click “check domain” button, then “install now”. And you’re all set!
After it’s all installed, it’s always wise to write down your admin URL, username, and password which is found in the “View Credentials” button at the top right.
From there you can go ahead and log into wordpress with your username and password! Now for the fun part….
Step 4: Making It Pretty
Ok now onto the fun part! Making. It. Pretty. If you are using Blogger you are somewhat limited to designing your blog, but this is where I started. And for the first years of blogging, I was quite happy with what I was able to create in their designer.
When I moved over to WordPress, I used a free theme for awhile, before purchasing my first theme- Elegant Themes. It was fairly affordable and I recommend this theme as a great way to jump in to WordPress.
(a Studiopress Theme). They explain it best by saying that WordPress is the engine of the car, Genesis Framework as the frame and body of the car, and the Studiopress themes as the paint job. So in order to use a Studiopress Theme, you need to also purchase the Genesis Framework.
Is your brain exploding from all the information you were just given? I hear ya. It’s a lot to take in. So to help you out, I made for you this handy dandy checklist which re-caps this post. You can download and refer back to it when you need to remember what to do next. I love checklists, don’t you?
So if you are thinking of starting a food blog I hope this took away some of the fear and get you excited to go ahead and try it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun and so rewarding in so many ways! If you have any questions or suggestions for future Food Blogging 101 posts do not hesitate to leave me a comment. Comments MAKE my day 🙂
Until next time,
Happy baking (+ blogging!)