*this post contains an affiliate link. i receive a pinch of commission at no additional charge to you. it just helps keep my blog running! of course, i trust every product i recommend!*
So you’re thinking of starting your own food blog? First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! Starting your own blog is so exciting, and it’s going to be the start of an awesome adventure for you!
When I started a flavor journal three and a half years ago, I had no idea where to start. I spent hours upon hours doing research, but still had a lot of troubleshooting to do along the way.
I want to help you spend less time on the research part, and more time on creating your content. (That’s the most important part, right?!) So here’s a quick guide of the CRUCIAL steps in starting your food blog.
let’s get started!
1) let’s brainstorm!?
This is one of the most exciting parts! To start a food blog, you need to create an identity for yourself through a unique blog name. Your blog name should be relevant to your content, but also short and sweet. Do you have a favorite food, or maybe a favorite ingredient? Is there a special relative that taught you to cook? Do you live in a region that you could include in the name? The possibilities are endless here, but I recommend keeping a few key things in mind to nail down your *perfect* blog name:
- make it memorable
- it must be relevant to your content
- short & sweet is ideal!
- make it personable
2) nail down a reliable blog host
A web host is maybe the most important step in building your food blog. A host essentially stores your entire website and blog in their server, and keep your blog healthy and running while you keep building it. So this is important! Since day one, I’ve gone with Bluehost. I’m three and a half years in, and still going very strong. Their web hosting starts at just $3.95/month, so it’s insanely affordable when you’re getting started!
3 snag your new domain name
Next, you need to see if your blog name is available as a “.com”. (I recommend a .com, because that’s the easiest for your followers to remember!) This step ties into step #2, because you can easily get your domain name through your chosen blog host. This is a super easy step, and I also did this through Bluehost. If your blog name is not available, do not panic! It’s totally fine! Just make a tweak or two, and keep checking for availability. I promise the right name will be available as soon as it comes to you!
To get to to this point:
- Go to Bluehost
- Click “get started” (big green button!)
- Choose your plan ($3.95, $5.95, or higher. The $3.95 one is absolutely perfect though, and gives you the support you need to get started on your blog!)
- You’ll get to this exciting box :: and type your domain name to see if it’s available! 😀
4) register your domain name!
YES! Your new blog name is available as a “.com”! Now you need to register your blog name, which is just a couple of clicks on your mousepad. Once you have chosen your domain name, and it’s available, just click “next”! You’ll get to a page to fill out all of your information. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Legally, you MUST have a mailing address as a blogger. If you plan on sending out newsletters or other bits of information, you must legally have an address listed. So having this address associated with your blog right off the bat will save you some future headaches!
5) start creating your blog on wordpress.
OK. The crucial stuff is done. You’ve got your very own website (CONGRATS!), and now it’s time to start creating your blog.
I HIGHLY recommend using WordPress for your blog platform. Now that you’re serious about it, you’ll use wordpress.org for a website with your own domain name. And this part is totally free!
- Here’s the link to download wordpress.
- Here’s the Bluehost link to install wordpress with your new domain name!
6) start creating your blog on wordpress.
Now we can start to let the creative juices flowing. It’s time to pick a theme! And don’t worry, picking a theme does not lock you into that theme forever. You can change it as frequently as you like! If you’re not sure what this means, a theme is essentially the layout and flow of your blog. Think of it as your magazine, and your theme is the graphic designer you work through. It lays out your format for pictures, titles, menus, sidebars, etc. It adds personalization to your awesome blog!
- Here is a link to various themes available on wordpress.org
- If you do choose to buy immediately or eventually, here is a guide to installing a purchased WordPress theme!
WordPress offers a ton of different free themes, which I recommend using when you first start out. It can be exciting to start out, but remember that it will take just a little while to establish your voice, and your style. Use a free theme to start, that way you don’t waste money on a theme that you don’t like two weeks later. Or maybe you want to play with a few different themes to see what fits your style the best? Use the free ones until you’ve narrowed down exactly what it is you want to work with! Later on into your blogging career, you can search for some gorgeous themes available out there for upwards of $150, but be sure of yourself first!
7) look into wordpress plugins.
Plug-ins are exactly what they sound like : components you find through WordPress to “plug into” your blog. This is another crucial part of building your blog. You’ll need to find plugins for the following :
- A Recipe Index :: This will catalog all of the recipes you post.
- A Recipe Card Plugin :: This is the design of the printable recipes you will make available – I recently switched to WP Recipe Maker, and enjoy it quite a bit! But there are many options here. Just look around and see what you like best!
- Anti-Spam Plugin :: This prevents spammy comments from popping up on your blog posts. I use Askimet for this.
- SEO Enhancement :: SEO optimization helps you get page views through search engines like google!) I use Yoast SEO, and have been super happy with it!
- Protection, Security & Backup :: To prevent fake accounts from trying to log into your site, backup your content on wordpress, and protect your content! I use Vaultpress to cover all three of these elements, and LOVE it.
- An “About Me” Plugin :: A little widget that shows up on the side of your pages, so people can always see your gorgeous face, and have a blurb about you!
- A Social Sharing Plugin :: To give your visitors the opportunity to share your content on social media!
bonus note : these are all free! Vaultpress is a paid plugin eventually, but you can do a trial to start.
8 installing a wordpress plugin
Log into yourWordPress dashboard. On the lefthand side, you’ll see a “Plugins.” option. Hover over “Plugins” and click the “Add New” option.
This brings you to a catalog of plugins available through WordPress. Simply type whatever plugin you’re looking for into the “Search Plugins” field, and hit enter. A list of options will generate as your search results, so narrow down the exact one you want. Click “Install Now”, then follow the instructions to install it.
*bonus note* :: Once you’ve installed WordPress, go to Settings > Permalink Settings page and change your permalink structure to “Post name.” Save it. This will automatically make the link to your blog post based upon the title of it. For instance, if I publish “chocolate chip brownies”, I want that link to be www.aflavorjournal.com/chocolate-chip-brownies. If you don’t change the Permalink Settings to “post name”, your blog post link will be more like www.aflavorjorunal.com/28619658 <– and that doesn’t help anyone know what you’re doing.
9) establish pages on your blog
There are three pages I recommend you establish on your blog right off the bat. To make a page, you will log into your new blog through wordpress. On the left hand side in your dashboard, you will see a “Pages” option. Hover over Pages, then go to Add New. Add each of the following pages to get a head start on organizing your content!
- A contact page – (How does someone reach you with a question? A collaboration offer? How do they get to really know you better? Offer some insight into your recipes, your life, and your blog. Then be sure your information is available for someone to contact you directly. Making connections is so important!)
- A recipe index page – (You can make your recipe index plugin it’s own page, so it will be available on your menu and people can access it easily!)
10 time to write those blog posts!
Congratulations!!! You did it! You have your very own piece of the internet, and you can make it into anything you wish! Email me the link to your new blog website, because you KNOW I want to see it ASAP!! Happy blogging, and always feel free to shoot me any questions you may have!