It’s time to talk… BLOGGING! If you’re just here for the yummy plant-powered recipes, feel free to pass up on this post and its follow-ups (unless for some reason you’re interested in all the blogging stuff).
I’m doing this three-part “How to Start a Food Blog” series to answer allllllll of the questions I receive on a daily basis about blogging, social media and building an online brand. I thought it would be easier to have a couple posts to direct people to instead of answering the same questions over and over again!
2018 is fast approaching… it’s the perfect time to start that blog you’ve been dreaming about! New year, new blog.
Most of my advice will focus on how to start a food blog, but all of the information can be applied to starting any type of blog: travel, fashion, beauty…cats? You can blog about anything! Here is how I’m splitting up the series:
1. Choosing a domain name, setting up hosting, design and other technical stuff
2. How to manage content on your blog and social media accounts
3. Ad revenue, sponsorships and other ways to make money blogging
Have any questions for Part 2 or 3? Email me!
First off, why would you want to start a blog anyway? I can say that blogging hands down has changed my life, helped me grow as a person, shown me my strengths and weaknesses and provides me with a creative outlet in college. Here are some reasons you might want to start a blog:
- You can meet people with same interests as you.
- You can pour passion into a creative outlet in between classes/work.
- It can provide personal development and teach you new skills.
- Resume experience!
- It’s a way for you to document your life, kind of like an online diary. It’ll be so fun to look back!
- Your experiences are valuable and people want to hear about them.
You may not feel “expert enough” to write about whatever you want to blog about – food, traveling, music reviews, makeup, whatever. I say, screw that! We all have different perspectives and experiences, so what you have to say is unique. You will never be “expert enough,” (what does that even mean anyway?) so just START NOW!
Okay, we established that what you have to say is worth sharing, so you finally made the decision to start a blog. Great! Now it’s time to set everything up.
The fun part! But also the part that keeps a lot of people from starting in the first place. Sit down and write as many blog names as you can think of. Ask other people for advice, but go with what sounds best to YOU. It is your blog after all!
You can use a service like name.com to make sure the domain you want is available. Keep trying until you find one that’s available! (Don’t buy your domain name through this website; just use it to check the availability.)
Just like you need an Airbnb host when you’re traveling, your website needs a host to live on the Internet. You can purchase your domain name through your hosting provider, too.
Many people recommend Bluehost to a beginner blogger, which is definitely a great place to start. BUT I started with Bluehost and ended up switching to Siteground* as my blog grew. The customer service is 1000x better than Bluehost, and the prices are similarly affordable. Siteground* is my ultimate recommendation!
You want to click on Web Hosting*, and then you’ll have three choices of hosting plans. Both the StartUp or the GrowBig plans are great options for your first year of blogging. (Note: You pay one lump sum, not monthly.)
Once you choose your plan, click Register a New Domain and type the domain name you chose for your blog.
You’ll also have Extra Services you can sign up for. I definitely recommend Domain Privacy, which protects your name and phone number from being available publicly. The SG Site Scanner isn’t necessary, but you can make that decision for yourself.
There are a few different softwares on which to run a website, but WordPress is by far the most common and the one I recommend.
Once you have signed up for hosting through Siteground*, log in to your account*, click on the My Accounts tab, and click on Go to cPanel. Scroll until you find the WordPress logo, then go through the steps to install WordPress. Make sure you write down your log-in information for your first log-in. You can change this later!
Now that all the ~boring~ technical stuff is out of the way, it’s time to design YOUR NEW BLOG! How does it feel, you blogger you?!
WordPress has some free designs you can use when you first start out, which is a great option if you don’t want to invest a ton of money at the beginning of your blogging journey.
If you want to take your blog design to the next level, here are some themes you might want to look into:
- The Genesis Framework*, which provides a foundational design for your website.
- Foodie Pro Theme + Genesis Framework*, which is a perfect theme for a simplistic food blog that you customize with colors, fonts, etc. Emilie Eats is currently built on the Foodie Pro + Genesis theme!
- StudioPress Themes*, who offer the Genesis Framework, but they also have a ton of other themes.
- Elegant Themes*, which offers many stylish designs for your new blog.
You can also search Etsy for designers who can provide you with a logo or a full website design. There are website designers who can design your website from scratch, but this will cost some serious $$$, so I wouldn’t start off with that.
And that’s it for the technical stuff! Now you can start sharing all of your delicious recipes or cute outfits or cool destinations you’ve visited.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll chat about blog content, social media and building a community. Until then!
* indicates an affiliate link. This doesn’t cost you any more $$, but I do receive some commission should you purchase through my link. Thanks for supporting Emilie Eats!