Welcome aspiring food bloggers! This is a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through signing up for Bluehost hosting, installing WordPress, and purchasing and installing your Genesis theme. Be sure you tackle this tutorial when you are at peak energy, and we can get it done in 30 minutes. Go from no website to live website in 30 minutes – let’s get to it:
Step 1: Get Hosting and Domain
First come up with a blog or website name, and then come up with a 7-10 word mission statement. I’ll wait right here. Done? Good, that’s your tagline. I will tell you later where to put that, but first let’s go buy your domain and hosting. Click on the image below to go to the Bluehost website.
Now follow these steps:
[These steps are to sign up for Bluehost – they change their panel off and on. If the steps to sign up are confusing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I will be happy to help you through it!]
- One the Bluehost home page, click on the green “get started now” button,
- On the next page, choose the “basic” plan by clicking on green button at the bottom of that column.
- On the domain page, insert a domain you don’t yet own into the “new domain” box; insert a domain name you already bought elsewhere in the “I have a domain name”. If you already have a site built on this domain, no worries, it won’t be affected right now.
- Click next. If your domain is available, you’ll be take to the hosting sign up page. If your chosen domain is not available, you will be alerted and you will have to come up with a different one.
- One the registration page, purchase the hosting plan you want – 1, 2 or 3 years, and do not purchase anything else.
If you have already bought your domain, you’ll need to change the nameservers to ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com possibly before you can proceed with the hosting purchase. If you get a warning, call your domain host support to ask for help. If you used Godaddy, a popular domain host, here is their support number: 1 (866) 463-2339 .
Hosting will cost you somewhere between $35 to $100 depending on current sales, so you’ll need your credit card. The good news is your domain will be free. I am an affiliate but I promise this host is so top notch and affordable, and it is the first recommendation of the developers at WordPress.org.
Congratulations! You created your Bluehost account and locked in your new domain, you are on your way to Foodie Blog Fame!
Now let’s create a password to your new hosting account. Follow this flow to finish up:
Click the create your password button > use the password generator to create a strong, safe password (NO whole words or you will get hit by the dictionary hacker!) > write down your password on a sticky or document along with your domain name > confirm terms > click “create” button.
Follow any next steps (hosts are always changing the flow up a bit), and if you encounter issues or the flow seems different, call Bluehost at +1 (855) 984-4546. Their support team is usually responsive and helpful.
Next up, we’ll create a brand new email address with your new domain as the ending, so much more professional than yahoo or gmail.
Step 2: Set up a Custom Email
Ready? Revisit the Bluehost.com home page, and login (upper right corner) into your new Bluehost account, using your new username and password. You will be deposited into cPanel, the configuration panel for your new hosting account. Behold – this is your new web home, though you won’t really have to visit it that often. Don’t let the dozens of colorful boxes overwhelm you, you really only have to interact with a few in the life of your account – just be sure to visit account (upper right) and set your payment to renew. Once that is done, the first of the colorful cPanel boxes you need to tap is the blue “Email accounts” box.
Click, find your domain with the dropdown, insert an address (I suggest “hello” or “contact”), choose a password and save.
To check your email address, click on the “more” tab for that new address, and click on “Access Webmail.” Insert your new password, choose an email client to use (we like RoundCube), and bookmark that page to check your email regularly. Now that you have a working email address, let’s go install WordPress.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Return to cPanel, drop further down, and find the blue square “Install WordPress”. Click, and click again on the green “Install” button under the top “Do it Yourself for Free section.”
Ignore any popup upsells, and find your domain in the dropdown under “Select which domain you would like to install to:”
If you don’t have a preference, choose the domain without the WWW.
Click on “Check Domain.” Bluehost is checking to be sure your host folders are empty – if you have actually added files to your server, you might get a warning. You can either proceed or call Bluehost (again, this flow might be a bit different now but the concepts are the same).
Now follow this flow:
- Click on Advanced Option
- Type in your Site Name (Keep it short, change it later if you’d like, this is not permanent)
- Remove the email address they inserted, and instead type in a new username without “admin” and not an email address. (Use something like “webkati” subbing your own name for Kati of course.)
- Type in a 12 character password (you can keep the suggested password if it is long enough but I would remove “i” and “L” and “1”, those get confused.)
- Accept terms and click Install.
The progress bar on top will keep you informed. Again, any issues, just call Bluehost but typically in a few moments you’ll be served a cheery message that “Your install is complete!” Cut and paste your login credentials that you just created, as well as the new WordPress link they gave you, and save them on a sticky or text file on your computer because you will need them to login frequently to your brand new site! Congratulations. Stop, have a sip of water, and then let’s go visit your new WordPress site.
Step 4: Set Up Your Site
WordPress Backend Basic Settings
To visit the backend of your new WordPress site, you can use the login URL they gave you , which is just your domain and add “wp-admin” after a slash. Bookmark that because that is your WP login page and it is the way to enter your site to edit and write posts. So login now, enter your new username and password (remember your credentials?). Here are a few things you want to do to set up your WordPress install before you add your theme:
1. Click on your “Howdy” message upper right, click on profile and pick your favorite color combo for the backend of our new site, check “Show Toolbar”, type in a “Nickname” that you want to be visible as an author, and select it at “Display name publicly as”.
2. Back to Dashboard, from left menu, click Settings, choose “Permalinks” and change the selection to “Post Name”
3. Visit Settings, choose “General” and insert your true site name here (Ex: ours is Green Smoothie Gourmet), and add your tagline below, that 5-7 word description I mentioned earlier. Some themes show it; some don’t but sometimes Google will find it and rank you with it so use proper keywords, perhaps use Google Keyword search tool to fine tune. Now save changes.
Adding Genesis & Your Chosen Studiopress Theme
I strongly encourage you use a Studiopress child theme such as Foodie Pro Theme or
Daily Dish Pro Theme .
Using a child theme creates a kind of sandwich, putting your custom design on one layer, and the core functionality of WordPress on another so when the WordPress core code is updated — happening more often these days to protect against the ever-strengthening hackers — your design will not break which does often happen with non-child themes. Genesis is known for being one of the highest quality child theme frameworks. It is not free, but you can buy both the framework and child theme for a nominal price which will give you high quality and flexibility to serve you well for a long time.
You buy a Genesis framework and a child theme as a package.
The food related themes they offer are:
However, Foodie Pro Theme is by far the most popular, largely because of the recipe index it offers, and that it has code that puts a clean matching minimalist style on the recipe pages created by the WP Easy Recipe plugin.
So when you are ready to buy your theme and install. Take these steps:
1. Browse to your theme page, Foodie Pro Theme or Daily Dish Pro Theme, click on the green button “Buy Theme & Framework,” create your new Studiopress account, complete your purchase and download both Genesis and the child theme zip packages you just bought to your computer. Remember where as you will need to upload them to your WordPress site in a moment; do not unzip either Genesis or the child theme you chose.
2. Return to your WordPress dashboard. From the lefthand menu again, visit “Appearances”, choose “Theme”, click on “Add New” and then “Upload Theme”, browse to the Genesis zip package you downloaded to your computer. Click to upload the Genesis theme zip but do not activate it. This is a step unique to a Genesis child theme.
3. Next, again click on “Add New” at the top of your screen, still in Appearances > Themes in your dashboard, and then choose “Upload Theme” again, and this time browse to your newly purchased child theme zip package, upload that and now you can activate that theme, the child theme, but do not activate the Genesis theme. That just sits there, never to be activated, but ever helpful to you and your site, let me tell you! And now you have a theme installed! Good for you!
Want to see your newly dressed site? From your WordPress dashboard, click on the name of your site in the upper left of the dashboard and peek at your site all dressed up in your new theme. Doesn’t look like much, does it. That’s because you still have set up to do — create pages, create a navigation, add widgets.
Don’t panic. Fortunately, Studiopress does a marvelous job of offering step-by-step theme tutorials so return to your Studiopress account when you are ready to do some serious set up.
Step 5: Begin Writing
Once your WordPress settings are correct and your theme appears as you want it, it is time to add some content! Here is how to begin:
Login again at your domain/wp-admin, using your username and password you set up when you installed WordPress in Step 3.
Both blogs and websites need “pages”; blogs alone can have both “posts” and “pages.”
To create pages, look to our dashboard vertical menu, and choose Pages > Add New. I suggest you create an “About” page, as well as a “Contact” page, and then any others you feel you need. To fill them with content, find your new page under “Pages”, click on “edit” and follow this flow:
- Add a Title
- Type in Text
- Click Publish (on the right)
I will write a blog post soon on how to begin with categories, navigation, and how in general to organize your food blog to be strong on SEO and easy flow organization.
Now that you have a blog and will begin adding content, don’t forget to keep it safe. My favorite backup plugin isBackup Buddy.
Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to add pictures..
Step 6: Food Photography Basics
Of course you can buy some stock images, and here is our favorite site for affordable purchasing is: Photodune.com.
But a food blog or site by nature requires mostly original photography so you will need equipment and to learn a few basics. I have some suggestions on both.
First, you’ll need a decent camera – yes, you can use a smartphone or a simple point and shoot but learning to use a DSLR down the road like these Canon Rebels, like this one or this one should be a top priority. And when you do, you’ll also need this 50mm lens to create that nice blurred background as well as artificial lighting for days you can’t use natural lighting (which is preferable), backdrops, staging equipment such as distinctive bowls, plates, glasses and cutlery.
Tutorials & Books
I have a few wonderful resources to start you off. Our absolutely favorite easy-to-read food photography book is by Pinch of Yum, called Tasty Food Photography. I learned all the basics of food photography from her, for the shoots for Green Smoothie Gourmet. My favorite free option is the free Food Photography eBook by Christina Peters here.
Down the road I will put together a more in depth tutorial of food photography basics, because I am no expert but I can tell you all I know about basic DSLR settings, food staging, lighting and finding affordable props. Until then! Good luck and let us know your ideas and progress by following me on Instagram !