Over the years I’ve helped friends and colleagues starting a blog, so I thought I’d gather those tips, steps and suggestions into one spot to share with you and get you up and running in no time…
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy.
Setting up your own blog:
Afrihost: I have used Afrihost for the domain and hosting of my blog for the last 4 years. They are a South African company offering affordable options with great support via their website, email, sms & phone.
- First step in setting up your blog is to choose your domain name and check if it’s available – they have a search function to check if the domain you want is available – in my case, I originally went with cheryldietitian.com and now blog at dishanddelite.com.
- Next step is to host your domain name. Hosting is like renting space on the web to display your blog, I use the Gold Home Linux Hosting Package from Afrihost.
- Once you’re set up with Afrihost, you install WordPress to build and run your blog. Wordpress is the easy to use, blog management system used to run this blog. Steps to install:
Step 1: Go to Afrihost and login to the ClientZone. Next click on ‘Hosting’.
Step 2: Click on your site under ‘Shared Hosting’.
Step 3: Click on ‘cPanel’.
Step 4: Click ‘ Log into cPanel’ and login.
Step 5: Once logged in, in the cPanel, scroll to the bottom of the page, under ‘Softaculous Apps Installer’ click ‘Softaculous Apps Installer’.
Step 6: Install WordPress.
Making your blog pretty:
Now you can head on over to your chosen domain, login to your blog and start making it look great.
- WordPress has heaps of free theme’s to choose from. For the first year I blogged I used one of theirs before opting for a premium theme.
- Elegant themes: I’ve have used two of their theme’s over the years – they have lots of choice and I found them very easy to use and customise.
- Foodie Pro (Genesis Child Theme): I currently use Shay Bock’s Foodie Pro theme, I love it – it is SO versatile and Shay has super helpful tutorials on installing and customising it for your blog. It is the number 1 selling Genesis child theme–it’s the most flexible Genesis Child Theme to date – with a minimalist style and plenty of color and typography options.
Get setup for success:
- Set up a Google account. If you already use Gmail for your emails, then you’re set, if not – set up an account to allow you access Google Analytics, Search Console, Adsense and so much more…
- Sign up for Google Analytics: (in my opinion) the gold standard for tracking statistics like pageviews, users, referrers, etc. on your site. I use this plugin – Google Analytics for WordPress – to display my analytics on my WordPress Dashoard.
- Set up Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools): allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.
Must-have (imho) wordpress plugins:
- Akismet: Protect your blog from spam.
- Yoast: Yoast is a search engine optimisation (SEO) tool with a cool traffic light system and checklist to help you optimise each post.
- Updraft Plus or Vaultpress: For backups. Need I say more – you need to backup all your hard work!
- Easy Recipe: As the name suggests, super easy to use plugin – it takes care of the markup required for rich pins and rich snippets, allows your readers to print just the recipe (not the whole post) and so much more…
Make your site as user friendly as possible:
- Be sure to make your posts easily shareable on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Yummly, etc. by including share buttons on your posts. I currently use Genesis Simple Share and jQuery Pin It Button For Images.
- Mailchimp: I use mailchimp for many things, it is a fantastic resource, one of the ways I use it is to manage my RSS feed / blog subscriptions. With easy sign-up forms, customisable mailer design, the ability to add download links it is super user friendly!
Tasty Food Photography eBook: tips, tricks, and advice to help you take awesome food photos by Lindsay from Pinch of Yum.
The Scoop on Blogging Secrets eBook: for health and lifestyle bloggers by Emma Stirling, Heidi Sze, Teri Lichtenstein, Jemma O’Hanlon
Recipe sharing sites:
A great way to push yourself to ever improving food photography and drive traffic to your site. I submit to:
Business & blogging podcasts I love:
And there you have it, starting a blog in a few easy steps! I hope you find these resources helpful!