Post by D
One and a half years ago when Vicky wanted to start blogging we didn’t know the first thing about how to start a food blog. Sure, we had heard some things like “WordPress”, “Hosting Services”, etc, but these were about as foreign to us as reciting poetry in Chinese. Believe it or not, there weren’t a lot of resources describing how to start a food blog, and the ones that were available were sparse at best. Nowadays you have the opposite problem – too many resources, and few of them are clear. Lucky for you we’re going to solve that problem once and for all by telling you why and how to start a blog (if you already know the why, you can skip right to the how).
Why Start A Blog
If you’re thinking about starting a blog I can tell you that we highly recommend it. We’re already on our second blog and we really feel we’ve got a ton out of it. Consider the following benefits:
Interacting With New People – Blogging is a great way to interact with people you never would otherwise. On Avocadopesto, for example, we’ve received over 1000 comments on our posts (okay, mostly Vicky’s posts, but I wrote a few). This isn’t even the half of it when you consider Facebook comments, Tweets, emails, etc. It’s really a nice way to meet new people and share a passion (in this case a love of cooking and food).
Preserving Memories – Blogs function as a virtual scrap book. They’re a great medium to preserve photographs, stories, and to share them with friends and family. Without this blog I think a lot of Vicky’s recipes would be lost forever, and that would be a shame.
Learning New Skills – Blogging is such a fantastic hobby because it presents the opportunity to learn many skills that you might not come across otherwise. Depending on how involved you want to get, you can learn about social media, search engine optimization, website design and performance – all sorts of things! These are really broadly applicable and can benefit you and other businesses you’re involved in.
Making Money – Believe it or not you can actually make money off your blog. Vicky and I have only recently started monetizing this blog. Some people who have been doing it longer, regular people like us, have been making thousands of dollars a month off their blog. It’s not easy but it IS possible. Are you convinced yet? If so, get ready to start your very own blog!
How To Start A Blog
Step 1: Get yourself on the web
What’s a blog that isn’t on the World Wide Web? Well, it’s a journal. Believe it or not getting on the web is easier than it sounds, you just need two things:
- A Domain Name
- A Hosting Service
The domain name is the name of your blog, for example, http://avocadopesto.com. Think hard about this one because it’s not the easiest thing to change (though you can change it, it’s a bit of a pain and the longer you’re on the web the more of a pain it is). You’re also going to want to come up with a few options because some of them might be taken. Next is the hosting service. This is basically like renting a bit of space on the web to call your own. There are free ones and paid ones. A very common free one is wordpress.com, but the domain name will have a “wordpress” in it, like avocadopesto.wordpress.com, also, you might not be able to use the theme you want and will only be able to use the free wordpress themes. Now, you can always make the switch later to a paid one, in fact, that’s exactly what we did – but if you want to go the full mile today then one paid hosting service we recommend is HostGator.
We’ve written extensively as to why we like HostGatorand what the benefits are – so I’ll just get right to the installation part, but don’t forget the coupons…
- AVOCADOPESTO – $9.94 Off
- AVOCADOPESTO2 – 25% Off
- AVOCADOPESTO3 – $24.95 Reseller Plan
Step 1: On the home page click to view web hosting plans
Step 2: Select the plan that is right for you
Step 3: Create your domain or register an existing one
Step 4: Enter in your billing information
Step 2: Install WordPress
Next you’re going to want to install a Content Management System (CMS). This is how you manage your website. We do it through WordPress – it’s extremely common, simple to use, and integrates seamlessly with HostGator. Once you have your HostGator account it can be done in under 5 minutes – see this tutorial.
Step 3: Install A Theme
Lastly, you might have noticed that a lot of blogs look different. That’s because there are different themes, some of which are free and some of which are paid (are you seeing the trend here?). Oh, and if you haven’t heard this one before – you can change your theme at any time you like but, as usual, it takes a bit of work. One theme we highly recommend is The Thesis Theme. I encourage you to do your research as to what theme you want, but if you do decide you want to go with the Thesis Theme, then I will skip right to the goods.
How To Install Thesis
Installing thesis was really simple, unfortunately, now that I already have it installed, it’s somewhat difficult to go through the process in the way that I would have wanted to, which is visually through a video. From memory, however, what you would do is:
- In WordPress go to Appearance > Themes
- Go to the Install Themes tab
- Hit Upload
- Browse and find your zip file, then install it
- Back on Appearance > Themes you should now have it installed and be able to activate it – tada (estimated time 5 minutes total!)
There’s also this video on installing Thesis for the first time, though I think the directions I wrote above are simpler and clearer! If this doesn’t work please, please write so in the comments and I will figure out the missing gap or find a tutorial that is up to date to refer you to. That’s it!