I get a few emails a week about the growth and success of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, how exactly I went about it, and if I have any tips or advice for new bloggers. Even though it’s sort of unrelated to my food blog, I’ve been thinking about bringing a blogging resource series here; and after high demand through a recent poll on my Facebook page, I decided to go for it. I will be sharing all types of advice- from mistakes I’ve made, my favorite plugins and things that I use daily, to things they don’t tell you when starting a blog, and so on.
To get there though, we need to go back to the basics today. If you follow this post. In five steps you’ll be ready to publish your first post on your brand new blog!
Maybe you want to blog to stay connected with family around the world, or maybe you have a passion that you want to document to potentially inspire and help others. Whatever the reason, it’s no secret that blogs are where it’s at! So let’s get going…
Figure out your blog name and buy the domain!
For many this might be the most difficult part- picking a name that you will ultimately stick with- it’s tough, but have fun with it. Think of something that defines you or the message you are trying to convey and then give it a quick search in the Bluehost search bar, to make sure it doesn’t already exist.
So… you bought your domain. What now? The next thing you’ll need to do is get your hosting.
Hosting is just how your website is accessible to people on the internet. It sounds complex, but it doesn’t need to be. There’s a number of different companies you can host your website with, and many of which make it pretty simple where you don’t have to think about details too much. I recommend starting out with a trusted company like Bluehost. They are extremely reasonably priced and super helpful. You can find all you need for hosting with them by clicking here.
I currently host LCK on private servers and host privately due to high volume of traffic- but I started out in a similar package as the ones below, and they are perfect.
So, you have your domain, you have your hosting, and now you’re ready to build your website and have some fun customizing it with a theme.
My tip: When I first started LCK, I went with the free WordPress version, WordPress.com. Months later I realized that I was extremely limited in what I could do with the free one, and had to switch over to the paid version. This was beyond a huge pain. Like huge, seriously. I lost content, had to start a new design, etc. Go for the self-hosted WordPress.org over WordPress.com. Trust me.
So, once you’ve signed up with the hosting, Bluehost makes it super simple. You can literally scroll down and with a click of the button install WordPress right there. Easy breezy.
You’ll get an email confirmation with your login, create a password (write it down), and just like that… ready to go!
Note: Your login URL (how to get to the backend of your site) is generally your domain/wp-admin (for example: lexiscleankitchen.com/wp-admin). Make sure during the installation process you have the correct login and password written down.
GO AHEAD! Log in to your spankin’ new website. It’s yours, you are officially a blogger!
Next you’ll get pick a pretty theme. You can find a list of them here, and by list I mean thousands upon thousands- so you’ll probably spend some good quality couch time checking out all the awesome layouts and deciding on a few of them before making an actual decision. There are free themes and premium themes.
Premium themes, such as those on Elegant themes, are ones you pay for. They offer more customization options and more unique designs!
You are so close to writing your first post, can you feel it? One last step, and a few tips away!
Plugins and content layout are next. This will take you as little or as much time as you choose to put in it initially. Maybe you already have a logo and a color scheme ready to go, and all you’ll need to do is some formatting and writing, or maybe you are starting from scratch! Be prepared to possibly spend a good amount of time getting this step ready for the world to see!
You’ll want some plugins and things set up right off the bat. A few of my must-haves are…
Akismet: Blocks spam (you’ll NEED this).
Simple Recipe Pro: There are many recipe plugins you can use, whichever you go with, just make sure they are optimized for Google. SRP is the plugin I developed and it is fabulous! My favorite feature is the global affiliate linker!
TIP: It was hard for me to initially find this (not so code-savvy), but I use it all the time! You use this code when you want to link to a product in RecipeCard
<a href=”insertyourlinkhere” target=”_blank”>This is the text for your link</a>
Shareaholic: This is a great way to allow readers to share your content!
Pin it for images: This puts a handy “pin it” button on every image so people can easily pin to your site- P.S. Pinterest is a huge traffic driver (I’ll get into this in a future post).
Google Analytics: Set up analytics so you can track traffic coming to and from your site. Google analytics is a great way to see the times of day people come your way, along with your popular content, unique visitors, page views, etc.
Lastly, when I say content layout I just mean that you’ll want to organize your pages. You can do that under Appearance —> Menus.
For example: add an about me page, a contact page, etc. These are important so your readers can put a name/story/face behind your blog, and for them and potential clients to have a way to reach you to ask you questions/inquire about a media kit (more on this in a future post)!
Now the fun really begins! You are ready to write your first post, whatever that may be. Along with writing your first post, you’ll want to get on that social media grind.
By this I mean… you probably don’t already have a social media following (I’ll talk more in the future about how I started blogging from my Instagram account). Utilize what you already have aka PROMOTE IT TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. It’s okay to be a little annoying, your friends will jump on board and support you.
Social media channels to utilize:
So, was this helpful? Do you have any blogging questions you want answered? I have some posts lined up I think will be helpful, but am looking to hear more of what YOU want to see!
Stay tuned for the upcoming weeks where I’ll talk about how I started and grew a blog through social media, blogging resources, food photography, things they don’t tell you when starting a blog, and so much more.
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