The first hurdle everyone faces when they want to combine their passion for cooking (and eating!) with their love of writing or photography, and start a food blog of their own, is getting your blog up and running.
In this article I run through an easy 3 stage process that will help you start a food blog in no time at all:
How to start a food blog (or any blog really)
You have two main options when it comes to setting up your blog:
1. Using a ready set-up platform like Blogger or WordPress.com
2. Creating a self hosted blog.
WordPress offers you the option of using their platform as a ready set up service, or you can use it to set up your own self hosted WordPress blog.
And that’s what I’m going to show you in this article – how to set-up a self hosted WordPress blog.
It’s a little trickier to get things up and running, but the long term benefits far outweigh the short term ease of using a ready made service like Blogger or WordPress.com
The main benefit is the extra control over your site that you’ll have. WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to add plugins, so you won’t be able to add much extra functionality. And as your blog grows this will become a huge issue.
I actually started out with a free WordPress.com site and quickly outgrew it. I then had to go through the tricky process of converting my site to a self hosted WordPress blog. Not fun!
Websites can get pretty complex and sophisticated, and then there’s all the weird terminology – html, css, WhoIs data, plugins – it’s enough to give you a headache!
However, don’t be put off if it seems a bit too much like hard work at first. Once you get used to all that, getting a blog set-up is pretty easy.
I’ve put together a step by step guide that will have you up and running in no time at all.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to purchase the product after clicking on the link. All of the products I mention are from companies I know and trust.
Before you register a domain name you’ll need to think of a name for your blog.
Once you have an idea you can check it’s availability on the EUKHost website by entering it into the domain name box:
There are a huge number of options for what type of domain you can choose, but it’s best to try and stick to one of the main ones like .com or .co.uk (if you’re UK based).
If the domain name you like is available you can add it to your shopping basket.
Now that you have a blog name and domain sorted. You’ll need a way to store all your website files online – this is called hosting.
EUKHost offer a variety of hosting packages to suite various needs. However, if you’re just starting out, I’d recommend their cPanel Basic package or their WordPress Hosting starter package. They offer a decent amount of storage at an excellent price.
The WordPress package costs slightly more per month but it has the benefit of having WordPress pre-installed. Although, in the next step in our setting up a blog process, you’ll see how easy it is to install WordPress.
And the best news is EUKHost offer free 1 year domain name registration with their annual hosting packages.
(If you decide to go for the WordPress Hosting starter package, you can skip to step 3.)
Now that you’ve registered your domain name and purchased hosting you’re ready to install WordPress.
If you’ve done a bit of digging round on this subject already you’ve probably heard WordPress being mentioned quite a few times. It’s pretty much the go to content management system (CMS) for blogs these days.
A content management system does what it says on the tin – it’s an admin area for your website that lets you create and manage your content: images, posts, recipes etc.
WordPress is awesome for many reasons. For starters, it’s free!
It has a huge community of users that can provide support for pretty much any problem you encounter along the way. I’ve never had a problem that somebody else hasn’t had and subsequently solved. A quick search and there are numerous articles and forums discussing the problem and solution.
It also has a huge library of “plugins”; many of which are free. Plugins are a brilliant way for you to add functionality to your website without needed to know how to code or hire somebody who does.
After you’ve purchased your EUKHost domain name and hosting, you’ll receive several emails. One of which will include a link to your website’s cPanel and some login details. Or you can use: www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel (replace “yourwebsite” with the URL of your blog)
cPanel is the control panel for your hosting account. You can use it to create email addresses, set-up ftp accounts and install WordPress extremely easily.
Login in to your cPanel and scroll to the bottom of the page, looking for an area called Softaculous Apps Installer.
Once you’ve located it, double click the WordPress icon to open it up.
Click on the Install button.
You’ll then be presented with a short form to complete. It will include the following sections:
This is what you need to complete in the form:
Keep the option as http://
For domain, make sure your domain name is correct.
And you can leave the directory field blank.
Leave table prefix as wp_
Add your blog name and a short description.
Don’t tick the multisite option.
Create a user name, password and email address for your main admin account.
The rest can be left as it is.
You can choose a theme in the next step, so ignore the theme choices for now.
When you’re ready, add the email address you’d like install information sent to, then click install.
And that’s it! You now have a fully functioning food blog using WordPress.
You can test this by visiting your blog’s web address; you should see the default WordPress installation and theme. You should also be able to login to your website’s WordPress dashboard.
To do this go to www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin (change yourblogname for the name you purchased in step 1). And login using the details you added in the set-up form.
With the core functionality and techie bits out of the way, you can now concentrate on the fun stuff – choosing a theme and adding some plugins.
Themes control the layout and design of your blog. There are thousands of free and premium themes available, so you’re bound to find something that suits your needs.
I use a premium theme created by Studio Press. They’re such good value for money and the support is second to none. All their themes are based off a structure called the Genesis Framework. This provides awesome functionality and access to some really handy plugins. It’s also very well coded and updated regularly so it performs well and is secure.
Whether you decide to go for a free or premium theme, the process for installing them is pretty much the same:
To install a free theme, in your WordPress dashboard head to Appearance > Themes. Then select add new. You’ll then see a list of WordPress themes that you can install at the click of a button.
If you’d prefer to use a Studio Press theme, head to their website, choose and purchase a theme you like and download the file. Then in you WordPress dashboard head to Appearance > Themes. Select Add New, then select Upload Theme and upload the theme file you purchased from Studio Press.
And that’s it your new theme is up and running.
You’ve bought your domain and hosting, installed WordPress, installed a theme. You’re now ready to start creating and publishing your content!
As you get used to using WordPress and your new blog, you’ll probably want to add some extra functionality to it. So, to help you get started here are a few food blog essential plugins that I’d recommend:
Yoast SEO – This will help you with optimising your pages for being found in search engines.
Akismet – This is a great plugin for stopping comment spam.
Contact Form 7 – A really useful and easy to set-up contact form.
WP Super Cache – Making sure your website loads as quickly as possible is really important. This plugin will help speed up your site.
So there you have it. I hope you found this guide on how to set up your food blog useful. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions.
And if you follow the guide and set-up your own blog, please let me know. I’d love to see your brand new website!!