I love cooking and I love sharing and comparing my recipes, and blogging is a fun way for me to keep a record of all my favorite recipes. It started as a hobby, but along the way it ended up being my full time job. I cannot even start to list how rewarding an experience this has been, but here are some of the things I have been able to do since I started to blog:
- learn even more about food and cooking,
- develop a passion for photography,
- reconnect with old friends,
- make new friends from all over the world,
- generate income from blogging.
The last point is a nice welcome surprise. So I highly encourage people who want to share their passion to start blogging, you never know if your passion can turn into an additional income, or even end up as your main job and main source of income. Like any other endeavor worth pursuing, blogging is a skill that can be learned, honed, and mastered. It all started with these simple steps:
- have a passion that you want to share,
- decide on your domain name and hosting,
- install WordPress,
- select a theme,
- start creating.
The first and last step is self-explanatory, but let me quickly go through the other steps.
Disclaimer: I am affiliated to Bluehost and StudioPress and I will receive an affiliation fee if you follow my links. I use Bluehost to buy my domain name and to host my blog, and I use themes from StudioPress. I have used both for years and have been a very satisfied customer.
Domain Name and Hosting
Go grab a piece of paper, and start brainstorming for THE name.
This step is really fun and really frustrating. Fun because your blog is like your baby, and naming your baby is always fun right? You put all your hopes and dreams for the little guy and you hope he will grow up all right. So where does the frustrating come from? Unlike a baby’s name, a blog’s name must be unique, meaning only your blog has THE name, and nobody else. So make sure you come up with around 5-10 names that you really like, then head to bluehost to check which one(s) are still available.
Decide on the name you love best! Don’t rush this step. Even when you finally found a name that is available, sleep on it for a day or two, and if you still love it, in most likeliness it should still be available in the next 2-3 days. Once you are happy with the name, let’s start opening your bluehost account to secure that name. Here are the step-by-step process:
- Go to the bluehost sign up page.
- Select your plan. I highly recommended the basic plan for beginner ($2.75/month when you follow my link!). Using bluehost, you get your domain name and hosting for one low price. A very good deal I think.
- Secure your domain name. Wohoo!
Hold your breath a bit while bluehost checks again whether your desired domain name is still available. Remember to breath out if you smoothly gets to the next step. Phew!
- Just formality here guys. Entering your account information so it gets created.
- Make sure that the selected plan is Basic Plan priced at $2.75 per month (Again, this price is only available if you follow my link). I would suggest to simply uncheck the other options for beginner to keep the cost low while you are only starting out. Your total for three years of securing your domain name and hosting service should come to a whopping of $99.00. Don’t worry about the lump sump guys, bluehost will give a full refund if you decide to cancel within the first 30 days of signing up.
- Enter your payment information. Another formality step.
- A congratulations from bluehost (and me!)
- Bluehost will send you a confirmation email, and you will be prompted to create a new password, so click that.
- Set up a password for your account.
- If your password is successfully set up, you should see this screen.
- Before continuing to the next step, be sure to check your inbox for a confirmation email from Bluehost. You need to click on the link provided in the email to activate and verify your account.
At this moment, your Bluehost account should have been created, verified, and activated. With the first major step done, lets install WordPress. Go and login to your Bluehost account and I will guide you from there.
- Login to your Bluehost account to install WordPress. There will be multi-step to walk through, but just click on the link/button as shown in the following screen shots.
- Remember to install WordPress to your shiny brand new domain name.
- Enter the information for your WordPress blog, which includes your site name (for me, this is V for Veggy), along with the admin username, password, and email. The username and password is the credential you will need to log into your WordPress blog, not your Bluehost account. Once you have entered all the information, click Install button.
- Your WordPress blog is online! Hurray. You can check out your blog by entering your blog link directly. For me, this is http://vforveggy.com. The page is just a temporary one since it is a brand new WordPress install. You can click the Admin Login button to log into your WordPress admin dashboard, or you can visit the admin login page directly from http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. To login to WordPress admin dashboard, you will need information from Step 3.
- Once you have logged into your WordPress admin dashboard, you can start playing around with your WordPress blog. Yippee!
Select a Theme
Now that your blog is up and running, the first thing most people will want to do is to select a theme that fits your blog personality. You can certainly stick with the theme that come with your WordPress install, but if you like what I do for my blogs (http://dailycookingquest.com and http://vforveggy.com), then I highly recommend using one of the themes from StudioPress.com. The themes from StudioPress are great and the one time payment is good for all future upgrades and all future supports so you never have to worry if your theme become outdated or broken when WordPress upgrades its version, which unfortunately can happen with some of the free themes. For reference, the theme for Daily Cooking Quest is Daily Dish Pro, and the theme for V for Veggy is Brunch Pro. I think these two themes are really suitable for food blogger like me.
When you buy a StudioPress theme, it will come with a Genesis Framework along with the theme of your choice. To use the theme, you need to upload both the Genesis Framework zip file and your theme zip file trough your WordPress Theme page. To upload WordPress themes, go to “Appearance > Themes” in your WordPress dashboard, and look for the “add new” button near the top or “add new theme” button near the bottom to come Add Themes page. Then select the zip files for your theme, remember you will need to add genesis.zip and your-theme.zip (e.g. brunch-pro.zip) to your WordPress.
Once you have finished uploading both files, your “Appearance > Themes” page should look exactly like mine, and remember to activate your theme. As you can see, I have both Genesis Framework and Brunch Pro Theme already installed with the active theme set at Brunch Pro Theme. The Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen, and Twenty Seventeen are the three themes that come with a freshly installed WordPress.
If you are a blogger running multiple blogs, the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package is a great value since the package comes with all the themes offered by StudioPress! I notice that StudioPress give out a huge discount for this package multiple times in a year, so when that happens, you get the package at a really low price, sometimes as little as the price of two themes. Depending on your needs, buying a package like this can be a huge cost-saving strategy.
My experience tailoring the theme to suit my preference has been a pretty breezy one. StudioPress has done an outstanding job with the documentations to guide new user from installing a theme, setting it up, and tweaking every little thing that can be tweaked. Here is a beginner document The Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners (PDF – 1.4 MB) if you need a leg up to start with tweaking your themes. They also provide detailed documentations for each theme once you make your purchase. If even that is not enough, there are user forums dedicated for each theme, and plenty of video tutorials for many of StudioPress themes.
Well, that’s it folks! I hope this page has been useful for you and I wish you the best with your blogging endeavor. Feel free to shoot me a question if you need help. I am not a pro, but maybe my experience can come in handy.