If I could give my past self some words of advice while I spent years hemming and hawing over if I should and how to start a food blog, it would be this: JUST DO IT.
If you’re reading this page, you are probably just like I was with a lot of questions that keep you from taking the plunge and starting a blog: What is my niche? Is my blog name clever enough? Do I need design skills? What will my family and friends think? I’m not a photographer, how will I compete with all of these other blogs? I have a regular job, how will I have enough time to work on a blog too?
Any of those sound familiar? Well, let me tell you a secret. Those questions are not questions, they are excuses. I can tell you with 100% confidence that the only thing I regret about starting a food blog is not doing it sooner. It is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done so far as an adult and it has never been so much fun to learn, make mistakes, and grow. You need a blog, you need one now, and I’m going to tell you how to do it.
We’re going to focus today on how to start a food blog with BlueHost using WordPress. I highly suggest a self-hosted site because this gives you the ability to customize the heck out of your blog and really make it your own. It also gives you the ability to place ads and monetize your blog if you want to. Basically, it gives you complete freedom to do what you want when you want to for a relatively small amount of money. You can absolutely go with a free hosted site but I do not suggest it for people who want to have complete control over their blog and who have any tiny inkling that they may want to grow their blog into something bigger in the future. Here is a great article on the difference between a self hosted WordPress site and a free WordPress.com site so you can decide for yourself if you aren’t already sure that a self hosted site is the way to go.
BlueHost happens to be the company I work with to host my blog. Funnily enough, I was reading a post exactly like this one about a year ago when I decided to start up Pinch of Nutmeg. I followed the steps and the rest is history. I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with BlueHost AND they have a 30-day money back guarantee. I can tell you from personal experience that they stand by that guarantee without any harassment or funny business. The first time I encountered great service at BlueHost was when I was attempting to transfer an old blog name from a different hosting site over to BlueHost. It was a total disaster because I had waited until way too late to do so and in the middle of the transfer process my ownership of the domain name expired. Instead of just picking a new name and moving forward, I was so devastated (LOL) that I just didn’t want to move forward with a blog at all. So I asked for a refund. And BlueHost said yes. Let me get this straight, it was my fault that I waited too late to transfer my domain name from another hosting site to BlueHost but BlueHost still refunded my money when I wasn’t able to transfer my old domain name? It’s true. I knew then that once I got over the agony of losing my old domain name I would go back to Bluehost when I was ready to start a new blog. Any company that stands by their guarantees and does so with courtesy and respect deserves my business.
Alright, who’s ready to find out how to start a food blog?
You’ll need to do three things to get your site up and running with BlueHost
1. Pick a domain name and hosting plan at BlueHost
First off, you’ll need a blog name. You might have an idea already picked out or you might have no ideas at all. Take some time to brainstorm some ideas and backups as well. If you already know what you want to blog about, try to create a name that pulls in that theme. No idea what you want to blog about? No big deal. Think of something that can grow with you as you figure out who you are as a blogger. While it’s really great if you can find a unique blog name that really speaks to you as a blogger, don’t get too obsessed. There are so many random blog names out there who are doing just fine. I promise it’s not the end of the world if you can’t have your perfect blog name. It’s not a reason to give up or to limit yourself! A catchy name may help to bring readers in but your awesome content is what will keep readers coming back for more.
Once you’ve chosen your name and have some backups handy, head over to the BlueHost website and click on the green button to get started. You’ll be presented with a few package options, all of which include a free domain name.
I would personally choose the starter plan to get everything up and running. This plan is paid yearly in a lump sum instead of monthly, but is very budget friendly and will save you some cash by choosing the lump sum option.
Next you’ll enter in some basic account info.
You’ll get an overview of the package information plus any additional options you want to choose.
Lastly, you’ll enter your billing information.
2. Install WordPress
If you’ve made it here, that means you have chosen BlueHost as your host and you have a domain name! Congratulations! Now, we need to install WordPress. BlueHost does give you other options for blogging software but WordPress is easy to use and is used by many of the top bloggers out there. It’s what I use for pinchofnutmeg.com and it’s what I recommend.
Once you log in, you’ll be taken directly to your control panel (cpanel) and BlueHost will install WordPress for you with just a few mouse clicks.
Click on Install WordPress under the website builders section.
Click on the green Start button to install the newest version of WordPress.
Choose which domain you want to install (the one you chose in the first step).
Enter your preferred site information and click Install Now.
Once your install is complete, you’ll want to make note of your login credentials. You’ll need these to login to your brand new WordPress site.
Type your admin URL into your web browser and log in with the username and password you set up in the last step during installation. Oh my gosh you did it! You have your own blog!
If for any reason you have problems with any of the above steps, I really encourage you to contact BlueHost for help instead of struggling and getting frustrated. You can call and even online chat with them. They are so helpful and customer oriented and want to help you have the best experience possible.
3. Pick a theme and start customizing.
This is the fun part. WordPress has many free themes for you to choose from to get started. My biggest piece of advice is to not spend too much time picking a theme; you can always change it later and you probably will! Pick one that works for you now, start customizing it and, most importantly, START WRITING!!
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