Hey there! I am Han, the taste tester, the dish cleaner, the husband, and the technical support behind this food blog. You’ve probably heard quite a bit about me by following along. Sharon thought it’s rude if I don’t say hello to you myself. So, I decided to greet you guys with something very helpful with the hope of making your life better and easier.
Alrighty, so you’ve decided to go ahead and start a food blog after learning about all the benefits it can bring into your life – congrats on taking the leap! Let’s make your entry into the wonderful world of food blogging as simple, gentle, and fun as possible; I’ll be showing you how to set up all the technical things so you can focus on the important stuff: the food!
Why You’re in Good Hands
Trust me when I say that I’m definitely qualified to show you how to handle all technical aspects of blogging. I have a Master’s degree in Computer Science and have spent years in Silicon Valley as a software engineer who specializes in web development. Suffice to say, I’ve got above average experience in this area.
But you probably have a geeky friend or know a nerdy person who just talks technobabble. You know they’re a whiz but you just can’t understand them. Unfortunately, you can’t benefit from that kind of information and you deserve better – you’ll get all the instructions from me in plain English with clear screenshots / videos and detailed explanations of WHY you’re doing something along with proposed alternatives if my primary recommendation doesn’t fit your requirements.
So, let’s get started!
Choosing a Name
The first step is the hardest step: picking that perfect name!
That’s because whatever you decide for your blog name will strongly depend on what domain names are available. A domain is just the web address of a website. For example, if you decided to name your blog “Gourmet Persuasian”, you’d want to look for gourmetpersuasian.com.
Domain names these days are like hot property in a fast growing city – hard to find due to everyone snapping them up. That’s why this process may take a bit longer than you expect.
General tips for selecting a food blog name:
1. Keep it short and memorable. Longer domains are harder to remember and harder to type.
2. Try to go for a .com domain since that’s what everyone is familiar with.
3. Tie it in with your personality or style – you want your name to be uniquely “you”!
You can use tools like http://www.panabee.com and http://www.namemesh.com to help make your search a lot easier and also come up with good ideas for brainstorming. I highly recommend using a thesaurus during this stage as well to help generate some creativity.
Setting up Hosting
Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to select a hosting company, who will run the server that your food blog runs off of.
Other food bloggers seem to prefer BlueHost, but I strongly recommend GreenGeeks as the hosting company of choice and here’s why.
In addition, GreenGeeks servers have solid state drives (SSDs) which significantly improve their performance. These advanced hard drives are up to 100x faster than traditional hard drives, which makes your website load much faster. Amazon has done studies showing that for every second that your site takes to load, you lose 20% of your visitors – that’s huge! Not only that, but Google explicitly takes into account site loading speed to determine who ranks higher in their search results. That’s why
Finally, all hosting companies run huge datacenters with tons of servers, which uses a lot of electricity. GreenGeeks powers their datacenters with wind energy, which is environmentally friendly.
All of these reasons make GreenGeeks my preferred choice for hosting companies, so I definitely recommend checking them out. We’ll assume you chose them for the rest of the post – just click here to get started, it’s only $3.96/month and there’s a 30 day money back guarantee.
Enter the domain name you’ve chosen from Step 1 and click “Next”.
Fill out your contact and billing info on the next screen, then click “Create My Account”.
You’ll then receive a few emails with your order information and login details.
Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a hosting account! Next, let’s set up WordPress on this server so you have a brand new blog. It’s really easy, take a look.
Setting up WordPress
Log into your account at http://www.greengeeks.com/login using the credentials provided in the email.
Then click on the “cPanel Login” button once you’re inside. cPanel stands for “Control Panel” and is a tool to help administer your hosting account. The details are not important so don’t worry about it.
Scroll down to the “Software/Services” section and then click on Softaculous. This is a script that helps set up various software on your host.
Since we’re setting up a WordPress blog, choose “WordPress” and click “Install”.
You’ll arrive at the WordPress installation wizard. All the defaults are fine, the only things you need to fill in are as follows:
In the “Site Settings” section, fill in your blog name under “Site Name” and choose a short tagline for “Site Description”. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything good for now, you can always change this information later. Be sure to leave “Enable Multisite (WPMU)” unchecked though.
Under the “Admin Account” settings, change the “Admin Username” to something memorable (like your first name) and pick a secure password for the “Admin Password” field. Finally, enter your email address under “Admin Email” and click “Next”.
That’s it! You now have a shiny new WordPress blog!
Take a look by going to your domain name in a web browser.
Logging Into WordPress
In order to start writing or managing your blog, you’ll need to log into the Admin section of WordPress. To do so, you’ll want to go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin (obviously substituting yourdomain.com for your actual domain that you selected in step 1).
That should bring you to a login screen like the screenshot below.
Once you log in, you’ll be able to tweak your settings and create a new post.
Customizing Look and Feel
Probably the first thing you’ll notice is that your blog looks pretty boring right now with the default theme.
Themeforest has a huge variety of WordPress theme created by professional designers which look gorgeous. Here are some examples of food blog specific themes that you could start with:
One of the best parts about WordPress is the strength of the community. There are a ton of plugins out there that expand the capabilities of WordPress – if you’re looking for some new functionality, the first place you should look is http://wordpress.org/plugins.
Here are some recommended plugins to get you started:
Sucuri helps make sure your WordPress installation doesn’t get hacked by scanning the files to make sure they are identical to the originals. It also alerts you to brute force attempts to guess your password.
WPSecureOps Bruteforce Protect
Speaking of which, to protect yourself from intruders, this plugin will disable login capabilities if it detects someone trying to log in multiple times with the wrong password.
After you start building a great blog, it would be disastrous to lose all of your work. UpdraftPlus allows you to create automated backups of your blog and store them in Dropbox or Google Drive just in case of emergency.
YARPP stands for “Yet Another Related Post Plugin” and helps your readers find related content on your site that will keep them engaged with your brand. Once installed, the plugin creates a new section at the bottom of your blog posts and automatically suggests a list of your other blog posts on similar topics, building relationships and keeping readers on your blog longer.
Getting Tech Support
Once you get going, you will almost assuredly come across some technical issues that you’re not sure how to solve. It may manifest as weird behavior due to some unexpected interactions between your theme and plugins, or you might just want to customize some aspect of your site that you’re not sure how to do. It can be extremely frustrating, but I have a great solution for you!
Although GreenGeeks support is excellent, WordPress related issues are out of their jurisdiction; they’re only responsible for making sure that the server is working properly and showing your website. Once you get into the realm of WordPress, you’ll need different expertise.
This is where a service like WPCurve comes in very handy – they give you access to seasoned WordPress developers who can help with any of your WordPress questions and get quick fixes in place for issues that come up. You can either hire them for one time jobs or subscribe at a very reasonable monthly rate for unlimited access.
I personally do all the development work for Gourmet Persuasian, but when I have friends that are looking for help with WordPress and I don’t have time to be of assistance, I always refer them to WPCurve because I know they’ll be in good hands.
Setting up Email
People these days tend to only respond and reply to emails that seem to be official, or having a professional look and feel. Because they think that only these kind of emails are legit and believable. But it seems impossible to manage a handful of emails in a organized way since you would have to individually login every single one of them. Crazy right?
But, did you know that you can have multiple email addresses and still manage all of them single handedly? How? Use email forwarding; receive email messages delivered to one email address on your personal email address. By using Greengeeks.com here’s how:
First off, you must have an existing greengeeks.com account.
Login to your greengeeks account and proceed to cPanel :
You will land on your cpanel page. Here’s how it looks like:
To setup an email forwarding or redirect, click on forwarders.
There are no forwarders currently setup for this account so set one up, click on add forwarder.
And then, you will be asked to add an email forwarder or email redirect.
Click on “Go Back” to see the forwarder you just created. And also from this page you can delete existing forwarders or create additional forwarders.
So that’s it on email forwarding.
What about doing it the other way around? You sending emails using customized emails with GreenGeeks.com as SMTP server?
- Login to your gmail account.
- On the top lefthand corner, open the settings cog and click on settings.
3. Click accounts and import.
4. Add a POP3 mail account you own.
5. Enter the customized email. (in this case [email protected])
6. Click the next button.
7. Enter your full email address as the username.
8. Enter the password for that account.
9. Enter the POP Server. This will be your domain name preceded by “mail.”
10. Choose any additional options you may want then click the Add Account button.
Outgoing Mail (SMTP)
1. Select ” Yes, I want to be able to send mail as [email protected]”
2. Choose if you will use this address as an Alias.
3. Click on “Next Step”.
4. Then click add account.
5. A verification will be sent to “[email protected]”. Verify and voila! You can now manage your customized email through your personal email.
Well, thats it for gmail users.
This time, if you happen to be a Yahoo Mail user, here is how to use the “send as” feature in yahoo mail.
1. While logged in to your Yahoo Mail account, go to settings.
2. On the settings tab, click on accounts:
3. Then you will see something like this, click on “Add” to add the account you want to add in your Yahoo Mail. In this case, “[email protected]
4. Fill up the form. Make sure to fill up all the spaces provided. (Including the description)
Then click save.
A verification request will be sent to the other email that has just been added.([email protected]) Login to that account and verify.
5. Once verified, you are almost good to go.
Just a little bit more.
Go back to settings, then accounts:
Select the newly added email address ([email protected]) as “default sending account” and save changes. This will give you the option to choose from what address you would want an email to be sent from when creating an email like this:
So, there you have it. You can now send emails from your Yahoo Mail account using other addresses.
And that’s it for Yahoo Mail users.
In case you are a HotMail or what has now become Outlook.com user, here is how to use the “send as” feature.
1.When logged in your Outlook.com account, go and look for the gear icon:
then click on options:
2. On the options menu, click on “your email accounts”
3. On the “your email accounts” menu, click on “Add a send-only account”
4. Enter the login details of the other email account you want to add from using your outlook.com account. (in this case, [email protected])
Then click next.
There will be a series of verification and validation, complete them all and when you are done with those, you will then land on this page:
So, when you create a message you can choose whether which address you want to “send as”
So, there you have it! You can now send emails from your outlook.com account using other email addresses.
Wrapping Things Up
Hopefully that gives you a very thorough idea of how to set up your food blog! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you.