This is where things truly begin. From choosing and purchasing your domain name to signing up for a hosting plan to backing things up so you don’t lose all of your hard work to a technical glitch, this is where the meat of things happen (no pun intended). But first, some advice.
You’re going to want to sign up for WordPress. Um…what’s WordPress, you ask? Okay, let me break it down for you:
WORDPRESS is the blogging platform that your blog will run on (there are others but WordPress is the best and the most common. Do yourself a favor and use it. Besides, it’s FREE). GENESIS or THESIS will likely be the framework you’ll install onto WordPress. Then you’ll use a Genesis or Thesis theme which is essentially the layout of your blog. You’ll need to install them in that order. But decide on a theme you love first (that’s the fun part)! More about this on the Designing your Food Blog page (coming soon).
IMPORTANT HOT TIP – REMEMBER THIS!! After you install WordPress, you’ll be asked to choose a username. DO NOT USE ADMIN. Here’s the thing: right now, your blog is new and no one could care less about it except maybe your mom and your Aunt Bertha who is just so excited that little Johnny has decided to start a food blog and isn’t everyone proud. So right now you don’t have to worry about hackers hacking into your beloved blog, because they frankly don’t care too much about it. BUT THEY WILL and once you use “admin” as your username, you can never, ever change it. Guess what the most common username for admins of WordPress blogs is? Yep, you guessed it: ADMIN. So if you choose another one at the start, you’ll already be one huge step in front of the hackers once your blog does become critically acclaimed and you’re making oodles of dough. So…remember this and actually do it, okay? Believe me, you’ll thank me later.
Charles Smith – Hosting, Problem Solving, Food Blog Guru & All-Around Good Guy
I start with Charles Smith, owner and operator of WPOPT, because he’s the one you’re going to want to bookmark. I recommend him above all others, so if you’re short on time and don’t want to read further, go ahead and stop here; you’ve found the guy you need. I subscribe to his highest plan, the “full package”, at $69 per month. It covers backup and storage, site restoration, WordPress, plugin and theme updates, Cloudflare, image optimization PLUS security and malware protection! The best part is that he’s ultra-responsive when I have a question, even if it falls out of the scope of his obligations. And one other thing: he’s great at one-time jobs, too; he’s the one who realigned my header AND created the coding for this very page – all for dirt-cheap. I place my Wicked Noodle seal of approval on all things Charles Smith and hope that you’ll give him a shot. Note: I am not now, nor have I ever, used WPOPT for a hosting plan (it’s a new service that wasn’t available when I began working with Charles plus I’m content with my current host). But based on his performance with numerous other tasks, I would switch my hosting to him with zero hesitation. And for a measly $5 a month you can’t go wrong! SPECIAL: Mention “The Wicked Noodle” and receive a 10% discount off his already great prices!
Bluehost – Hosting
Bluehost, oh, Bluehost…what a love/hate relationship I have with you. You’re like a boyfriend someone was madly in love with for years and wanted to marry but, in the end, broke their heart because you weren’t ready for more. Bluehost was my first hosting company and I used them for five – count ’em, FIVE – years. I was on their shared hosting plan and couldn’t have been happier. Incredible phone support (it’s rare to wait on hold and they’re SO helpful; I overnighted muffins to a guy there once who went waaaay above and beyond for me), minimal downtime and easy to navigate their site. Perfect for someone starting out and I definitely recommend them for shared hosting. BUT…last year, my site had grown to the point that I needed to move from a shared server to a VPS and moving within Bluehost seemed the obvious choice. I’m sad to say that I had nothing but problems, the support was awful and, after giving them more chances than deserved, I had to move on. It’s quite possible that their VPS growing pains have been ironed out now and I do know several people who are happy with that service. So…I highly recommend Bluehost for shared hosting but recommend their VPS hosting with serious reservations.
RFE Hosting – Hosting
I love me my RFE Hosting. I’ve been with them for about a year-ish and don’t think I’ve been down even one minute in that time. When I have questions, response time is fast and Aaron always has answers and gets things taken care of as soon as possible. I’m on a VPS and, although I was very nervous about switching to them, I needn’t have been. They took care of everything for me and made it seamless. Highly, highly recommend!!
VaultPress – Website Backup
Vaultpress is an awesome company and makes restoring your site incredibly easy should you lose it all. And, believe me, I’ve lost it all before and it’s terrifying when your blog is your entire business. Restoring my site literally took the click of a button! I use Charles Smith for backups now (it’s part of my plan with him, see WPOPT, above) but I still highly recommend VaultPress.
CrashPlan – Computer Backup
I use CrashPlan Plus to backup all of the files on my Mac. This means EVERYTHING – even the thousands of raw images that take up one heckuva lot of space. It runs quietly in the background and I get an email notification once things are fully backed up so I know we’re good to go. I’ve never had to do a restore – thankfully! – but knowing my data is safe definitely helps me sleep at night.
This page is updated as I discover new favorite technical tools and resources. Be sure to check out my other resource pages for food bloggers below!
Starting Your Food Blog
Food Photography Resources
Designing Your Food Blog Coming soon!
Monetizing Your Food Blog Coming soon!
Search Engine Optimization for Your Food Blog Coming soon!
Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog Coming soon!