Interested in blogging, but confused on how to start a blog? If you’re thinking about starting your own blog, whether it’s about food or another topic, I want you to know: it’s SO easy to get your blog up and running!
I feel so lucky to be able to work my dream job as a food blogger, and even luckier that I’m able to make a six-figure income doing it! So, I put together this page to help others start a blog of their own, as a way to pay it forward and help others achieve their blog goals, too. Let’s get to it!
Anxious about starting a blog? Don’t be!
It’s easy to start a blog, but I can understand if you are anxious about it. I was, too.
In September 2013, I decided to start Bowl of Delicious. I knew NOTHING about anything technology related, I had no idea what a “host” was, and I was wary of spending money on a host when I didn’t know if I could make it back or not.
I was never much of a writer- what if my posts were just plain bad? What if no one read my blog? These are the things that went through my head.
I’m here to tell you: none of these things should stop you from starting a blog. There are SO many resources and so much support online, that you will never need to be a “techie” person.
In terms of upfront cost- I made back much more than what I spent within the first year on a host AND an awesome theme, even with a total income of only about $600 the first year. Starting a blog is a very low-investment way to start a business. I’m a very low-risk/prudent person, so this was very appealing to me when I first started.
So go ahead, start a blog! You have very little to lose. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to help you out!
Three steps for How to Start a Blog
This page contains affiliate links to hosting companies and themes I recommend.
Step 1: Naming your blog and hosting
To start a blog, you need a good name, a domain (mine is bowlofdelicious.com) and a host. I highly recommend using Siteground for hosting services. There are other hosting sites out there, but Siteground has excellent and fast customer service 24/7, they are very affordable starting at just $3.95 per month, and they are reliable.
(Note: I used to recommend bluehost as the best beginner hosting. Many people use them and are happy with them, and they are very affordable, but I personally found their customer service lacking and their ability to help me as a grew very limited. But they are certainly another viable option!).
Confused about what hosting is? Think of a host as a landlord, and the money you are spending on the host as rent. You are renting a space on the internet for your blog. Easy right? A good landlord would be attentive to things like if your apartment needs something fixed, and a bad landlord would ignore it and leave you to your own devices. Siteground is a good landlord :-)
Once you’ve grown a bit, you may want to switch hosts. Companies like siteground and bluehost are great for starting out, but other hosts will more personally manage your account.
I personally use Accelerated WP for my hosting, and recommend it highly. Joe, the owner, is extremely responsive and has met and exceeded all of my needs. If you start with siteground or bluehost and want to switch later, Joe will help you transfer everything over. PLUS, he also offers a la carte tech support, which has been super helpful.
Choosing a name for your blog
This was the hardest part for me. When I thought of “Bowl of Delicious,” I knew that was the one. It was memorable, related to my content, and the domain was available!
Having trouble thinking of a name for your food blog? Use the formula I used: “food-related item” + “of, and, with, on, etc.” + “food-related item.” Teaspoon of cinnamon. Dash of yummy. Honey and lemons. Fresh and tasty. Olive oil and Rosemary. Cheese on Everything. Using this formula was very helpful for me, when I realized a lot of the names I wanted had a domain already reserved. (And here is a very good resource about choosing a domain name, too!)
And use your friends and family for this- get ideas from them and get their opinions. It’s very helpful! You can get an initial idea about what domain names are available by checking them on godaddy.com.
Sign up for a hosting package using Siteground
Head to siteground and choose which hosting option you want. I recommend using the StartUp plan, since it’s the cheapest. And, you can always upgrade to another plan if you need to!
Register Your Domain
Once you choose your plan, click “get plan.” You will now order your hosting and also register your domain. I recommend choosing a domain name that has a “.com” availability, since it is the easiest to remember and the most well-known, but there are other domain extensions such as “.net.” If you already have a domain name registered, you can also choose to use your existing domain name.
That’s it! You’re done setting up your name and hosting! Now, onto the fun part :-)
Step 2: Installing WordPress
WordPress is the most popular blogging software out there, and it is so easy to navigate. There is a huge amount of support, and the navigation is so intuitive that you will have an easy time creating posts and organizing your blog.
I highly recommend NOT using a platform like squarespace or blogger for your blog. WordPress is the current industry standard and works best for advertising, SEO, etc.
Note: there are two different kinds of WordPress blogs. You will be setting up a self-hosted blog, meaning you are using your own host (explained above) and running WordPress via that host. This enables you to run advertisements and monetize your blog. There is another version of WordPress that does not require your own host; it is a great place to start if you just want to “dabble” in blogging (visit www.wordpress.com for more information). However, you will not be able to monetize your blog if this is the option you choose.
Once you choose your hosting on Siteground, it will easily take you through installing wordpress onto your site. Easy peasy!
Step 3: Choosing a Theme and Beautifying your Blog
Congrats! You now officially have a self-hosted WordPress site. Now, it’s time to personalize it and make it your own by choosing a theme.
There are a number of options when choosing a theme for your site. Here’s a run-down of the two I am familiar with.
Option 1: Choose a free WordPress theme.
This is a great place to start, especially for your first few posts as you are getting used to the blogging world. However, you will find that may of these themes have a lot of limitations, and you may not be able to customize it as much as you would like. I used the free theme Chip Life for the first 6 months of my blog, and it served me well!
After logging into WordPress, hover over appearance and click “themes.” This will take you to a page where you can search and browse for themes. Here, you can preview themes before you choose them to see what your site will look like.
Option 2: Get the Genesis Framework and a Theme from StudioPress.com.
This is what Bowl of Delicious currently uses. The Genesis Framework is a foundation that can run many different themes easily. StudioPress.com themes work with the Genesis Framework to create beautiful, customizable themes that are much more flexible than free WordPress themes. I currently use the Foodie Pro Theme by Shay Bocks. I love, love, love it.
Think of the Genesis framework as the foundation to your house, and the theme as the house itself. You can’t have the house without the foundation to hold it up.
You will need to purchase the Genesis framework and a theme to go along with it. The Genesis framework is a great investment because if you choose to hire a designer to develop a custom theme for your blog in the future, they will be able to design the theme to use with the framework you already have.
Just go to the StudioPress.com website, and browse the StudioPress Themes Click on each theme to learn more about them, including browsing sample websites and the cost. Once you’ve chosen a theme, follow the prompts to buy both the theme and the framework! Easy peasy.
Done! Now, you’re ready to blog!
Congrats on your beautiful new blog! I hope this information for how to start a blog was helpful. When you are done setting up your blog, I’d love to see it! And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ll also recommend this wonderful book: Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob, which covers the nitty gritty of all kinds of food writing, including blogs and recipe structure. It’s a great read!
Good luck! :-)
Wow! You are so genuine and authentic! It is so nice to see a genuine food blogger. Thanks for the inspiration and your sincerity about how much work it takes to be a successful blogger. I am so happy that I found your food blog.
Kudos on your success!
I have used wordpress and Genesis Framework for years. FoodiePro and Restored 316 are theme creators I have used before. I am still with Genesis and using the Mai Theme v2 (block based).
I applaud your success and dedication. This is the true key to being successful.
Thanks so much for these kind words! What’s your blog?
I want to start my own food blog specifically on the barbeque and this blog definitely helps to point me in the right direction. A good smoker helps to make a good bbq. Thanks for sharing this article with us.
Glad it was helpful for you!
Victoria Smith Downing
Loved your blog. Can you explain why you do not use any videos?
Thank you! I do have a few videos, but I don’t do very many. They take a LOT of time and energy, and I do want to get into them a little more eventually or outsource them. It was worth it to do a few because of the ad revenue I get from them automatically playing when people visit my website. Hope that helps!
Thank you for this helpful post! And your food looks delicious; I’m getting hungry! I started a food blog this week (bought my domain name and theme)… and now I am kind of at a loss to get started. Would you recommend setting up the site first (choosing fonts, adding commenting, tweaking layout, etc)… or just start plugging in blog posts and pictures first, and organize the site later… or set up affiliate accounts, ad accounts, social media accounts… ? Also, my background is in writing, but I’m really not much of a photographer so I can see this is an area where I am going to have to invest. How did you get started with photography? Is there a class or support you can recommend? And what about investing in a camera and photography tools/pros? Should I just use my iPhone for now and do my best while learning, and then upgrade photography equipment later and go back and update my blog posts with better pictures?
Thank you in advance. I greatly appreciate your offer to help newbie bloggers with questions! And thank you for sharing your early income reports, it’s inspiring.
Glad the post was helpful for you, and these are great questions! If you are willing to spend money on a theme, I recommend a theme from Feast Design (I have foodie pro). I’ve also heard good things about Restored 316 themes. For both, you’ll need the genesis framework. But if you want to save some money in the beginning, you may want to try the free version of Astra. Regardless, the most important thing you can do is to get blog posts up- as many as you can, while making sure they are high quality. You can always tweak the design and layout later. Photography is very important for food blogs, and my biggest advice is to use natural light, but there are a lot of resources out there. You can definitely get away with using a high quality phone camera at first. I have some old posts with really bad photos (compared to my current ones) and I’ve been slowly chipping away at redoing those photos, but it doesn’t really hurt that I have them up! Redoing old posts is something that is inevitable as you keep learning about best practices with recipe development, writing, and photography. Finally, I recommend joining some facebook groups for food bloggers- Food Bloggers Central is a great one, and Food Blogging, Photography, and Videography is great as well- you can search for threads on topics or ask questions as they come up. Hope that helps!
Thank you for taking the time to respond! This is great information, and definitely helps to point me in the right direction. I am going to get busy writing my first recipes and blog posts. :)
Let me know when you’re up and running! :-)
I intend to start a food photography blog pretty soon and I have learnt a lot from this insightful article.
I will definitely choose the best name when its time.
Glad you found it helpful, good luck on your blog!