How to Start a Food Blog from Zero to Hero

food-blogging

If you’re one of those cooking enthusiasts who’d love to create a food blog but have no idea how to go about it, then today’s your lucky day because I’m going to show you how to start your first steps in food blogging.This is pretty exciting, because you’re less than 20 minutes away from having the perfect website for sharing amazing recipes with the rest of the world. So, grab yourself a snack and a cup of tea or coffee, and let’s begin.

Before I walk you through this very simple process, though, it’s important that I tell you my own story…

It was only three short years ago that I had no clue whatsoever about how to create a blog. I was so excited at the prospect of creating my own blog and sharing my love of cooking with the whole world that I rushed in and registered my first domain name.

But that was the end of the excitement. I simply didn’t know how to proceed. For eighteen long days I struggled, investing so much wasted energy and time trying to understand the new blog: I searched on Google for information on ‘How to start your own blog’ and I still didn’t know how to proceed.

All the information I found was complicated and too technical for me. You can imagine how frustrated I became.

Feeling down-in-the-dumps I abandoned my new domain name, and did nothing about it for six whole months.

But, as I researched further, I went back to my dream because I learned that not only did I need a domain name, but in order to create a blog I also needed a hosting account.

And so I started my first food blog; but because I had no-one to guide me I struggled with each and every step. Fortunately, you don’t have to experience the same mistakes I did and put your dream on hold for six months because today you can create your blog in just 20 minutes – that’s right, just minutes.

So let’s begin: Go to HostGator.com and then click “Get Started Now!” and choose a hosting plan. Don’t worry, you can change-it anytime. Just go to Hatchling plan and click “Sign Up Now!”.

Step 1: Choose Your Domain Name

Domain-Name-HostGator

This simple step can actually be quite challenging. Lucky you if already have a name. But, if you’re like me, you may know roughly what kind of name you’d like but you still haven’t come up with anything definite. You could do what I did: I put it on Facebook and asked for help. But then, I received a list of 30 ideas from my Mom and Dad, and as soon as I saw the name ‘Fork me Noodle’ I knew that I’d found the perfect name for my food blog. So again, thank you Mom for naming my blog.

The idea is that you need to own your website name: this means you should buy a domain name that ends with a dot com, rather than names like yourblogname.blogspot.com or yourblogname.WordPress.com. Make it easy to remember, and keep it clean.

already-domain-name

Do you already have a domain name?

Just click ‘I already own this domain‘ in the right box, then move on to the next step by scrolling down.

Step 2: Hosting Your Own Site

Now that you’ve bought your domain name, you need to have it hosted. There are only two things of importance when it comes to hosting.

  • The first is ‘page load speed’, which means the average amount of time (measured in seconds) that it takes to load your blog.
  • The second is ‘uptime’: 99.9% simply isn’t good enough – that’s 42 minutes downtime per month. You really must aim for 100%.

I strongly suggest that you use HostGator for your hosting. They really do have great customer service. They’re contactable by phone 24/7 and when you do call you’ll be speaking to real people – they’re very friendly and helpful and don’t talk down to you when you get lost in terminology. I can’t count the number of times I’ve called asking for their help. I’m very impressed.

Choose Your Blog Hosting Plan

It’s my recommendation that you choose the ‘hatchling‘ plan just for now: if you decide that you need more advanced features you can always upgrade later, but the Hatchling plan is more than adequate to get you started.

choosing-hosting-plan

Now that you’ve decided on the Hatchling plan and you’ve selected your name, you need to register your account by entering your contact details and billing information.

Few suggestions:

  1. DPP stands for Domain Privacy Protection: the DPP hides your registration information in the ‘whois database‘– this is a worldwide database which everyone has access to. If you prefer to keep yourself anonymous I highly recommend it, but if you’re trying to save as much as possible then simply uncheck the box.
  2. It’s my opinion that you should uncheck all the other boxes – Constant Contact, Site Backup and Site Lock Security – because they’re not really worth your money.

IMPORTANT! If you used an existing domain.

Your existing domain will not display your new site until you change your name servers wherever your domain is currently registered. Changing your name servers points your domain to this new site.

As soon as you change your name servers, your domain will bring visitors to this new site. Therefore, if you are currently using your domain on another site, do not change your name servers until your new site is set up and ready to go. In the meantime, you can still access your new WordPress blog via a temporary URL. You may have received one in your welcome email from HostGator. If you didn’t, simply call them and let them know you need a temporary URL for your new site.

To change the name servers where your domain is currently registered, first note your new HostGator name server information:

  • ns1.HostGator.com
  • ns2.HostGator.com

Next, go to the registrar where your existing domain is currently registered (Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc.). You will need to enter the above information in the appropriate place. This varies among registrars so I recommend you call them if it’s not clear.

Step 3: Create Your WordPress Site

Getting closer now! You’re just a couple of clicks away from publishing your own blog/website!

Now, log into your new account and install WordPress blog. Be patient, because it may take a few minutes for your account to be registered by HostGator. Once your account has been created you’ll receive a confirmation email.

hostgator-confirmation

With the information you receive in your email you should be able to log into your control panel – now it’s time to install WordPress. This is so easy – it only takes one click!

  • Log-in to the control panel of HostGator
  • Halfway down the page you’ll see the left sidebar section
  • Next, click on ‘Install WordPress

Just watch this quick and easy to follow video.

You’ll automatically be transferred to Mojomarketplace.com once you’ve clicked – don’t panic – it’s a site that assists HostGator in installing certain platforms, such as WordPress. After installation you can disable all the plugins they install automatically.

You should now see a screen advising to either ‘install‘ or ‘import‘ WordPress.

Click on ‘Install‘ so you can move on to the next step.

‘Install WordPress‘ when you’re finished. At the top of your page you should now see a loading bar: this bar will eventually tell you that your WordPress blog has successfully installed and you’ll be able to see your login credentials.

wordpress-install-finished

You’ll receive an email confirming your login information once the installation has completed; this will include an ‘Admin URL‘, just in case you missed that notification bar

Click the admin URL to log in to your blog. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll forget this URL, but if you do, it’s simply www.yourblog.com/wp-admin (‘yourblog’ is your domain name).

Well done! That didn’t take long; and you now know how to create a blog using WordPress. Not only have you installed WordPress and created your blog, you did it all on your own! I hope you now agree with me that creating your own blog is very easy and straightforward.

And don’t forget that, if this whole process is way too daunting for you, you can always ask HostGator to walk you through it. I must confess that I may have taken this step myself. Ha

And now the time has come to take your new food blog from simply being ‘good’ and turning it into something really great.

How do we do this? It’s simple: we customize the blog to look beautiful and unique by installing the perfect theme for you, and selecting suitable plug-ins.

Step 4: Make Your Blog Unique

So, before you jump into the kitchen and start baking, there are some things you can do to make your blog attractive and unique. Let’s start by choosing your theme!

You’ll see that your new WordPress blog comes with a couple of designs or standard ‘themes’ for your site.This is certainly okay for learning how to get your blog off the ground, but if you’re serious about your blog and your aim is to make a lot of money, I strongly suggest that you purchase a professional design.

You’ll be really impressed at just how much they improve the appearance of your site, and the good news is that they don’t cost very much. In fact, my original food blog was built on a basic, free WordPress theme, which I customized myself.

ThemeForest – Over the years I’ve changed themes quite a few times, but ThemeForest is my favorite at the moment. Clean, minimal and so easy to use. ThemeForest seems to offer the most functional and beautiful themes available. Best of all, all of their themes are responsive, which is so important today!

Elegant Themes – is another great one – it has quite a few different options and it’s easy to use. The bonus with this one is that it’s not as expensive as the other premium themes listed here. Anyway, why not have a look and see what you think.

Plug-ins for Additional Features

Consider WordPress plug-ins as third-party apps for your site. They simply provide your blog with additional features. You have to pay for some plug-ins, but most are free. If you’re ready to download new plug-ins simply go to the ‘plugin’ section of your WordPress dashboard.

Next Step: Be Patient and Never Stop

My advice to new bloggers is to write a minimum of four times each week to begin with. Blogging prolifically is really the best thing you can do in the early days because you’ll soon learn what resonates with readers, you’ll develop your own voice, and it won’t be long before you’ll have an understanding of how you want your blog to progress.

It may not be as easy as it first sounds. It’s going to take a lot of work, and probably a lot of time before you begin to notice that you have an audience who are actually interested in what you have to say. But once your blog is up and running, you’ll find that the perks are simply outstanding.

Good luck and good cooking, or should I say good blogging 😉

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