Hi friends! I’ve only had my food blog for 4 months now, but it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve had a few readers ask me how they can start their own blog, and I’m excited to help! I built this website myself using Bluehost and WordPress and it was so much easier than I thought it would be!
I’ve put together this step-by-step guide for you to start your own lifestyle, food, or fashion (or anything you can think of!) blog in only 15 minutes. Ready?
PS, this post contains affiliate links. Thanks for all the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!
Start Your Own Blog in Only 5 Steps:
- Choose Your Domain Name & Hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Make it Look Good.
- Install Some Basic Plugins.
- Start Blogging!
1. Choose Your Domain Name & Hosting
Before anything else, you need to choose your domain name. Choose carefully!
Think of a phrase that you like or a nickname, and go with what feels right to you. I went with Panthers & Peonies because I was watching my boyfriend paint one day and “Panthers & Peonies” popped into my head. Instantly, it felt right. So make sure you pick a domain name that feels right.
You can also brainstorm a few ideas and check if they’re available on Bluehost! Just type your ideas into this box and it’ll tell you if that domain name is available:
After you pick your domain name, you need to choose where your website will be hosted (hosting is like renting an apartment, except you’re renting space on the internet… and the hosting site is like your landlord) and choose a hosting plan (how much you will pay to get the things you need for your website). I use Bluehost and I LOVE it. It’s super affordable and you get a FREE domain name if you sign up through them! Win win.
I went with the basic plan, simply because I’m just starting out as a blogger and it provides everything I need. When my website grows, I’ll upgrade! But for now, the basic plan is perfect. Click here to get started with Bluehost for $$3.95/month plus a FREE domain name!
You can also add some additional stuff to your hosting plan, including site backup or site security. I would highly recommend adding “Domain Privacy Protection”, which will keep your personal information (like your address and phone number) private.
Once you pick your hosting plan and any add-ons you might want, all you have to do is enter your account info (i.e. name and address) and your payment info. Then just pick a password, and you’re on to step 2!
2. Install WordPress
WordPress is the blogging software that I (and millions of others) use to write posts, organize, and run my blog. When you sign up with Bluehost, you are automatically set up with WordPress-run website. How easy is that? You used to have to manually install WordPress, but now Bluehost does it for you.
WordPress will guide you through setting up your website, and once everything looks how you want it to, simply name and launch your new website. Easy peasy.
3. Make it Look Good
This was the most exciting part for me: picking a theme! WordPress already comes with tons of free themes, but I highly recommend spending a little extra money and buying a premium theme that you can completely customize. I use a theme from 17th Avenue Designs, and I LOVE it. Every theme comes with in-depth instructions on how to set up every little part of the layout, and their support desk is incredible.
When you’re looking for a theme, make sure it fits your aesthetic and the website’s needs, meaning the theme needed for a food blog will look totally different than the theme needed for a fashion blog. Also make sure your theme is quick, responsive, and user-friendly; there’s nothing worse than going to a website that won’t even load!
PS you can pick your theme before or after you launch your website. I launched my website and used a free WordPress theme for a few days until I found the theme I really wanted.
4. Install Some Basic Plugins
Here are the plugins I use on Panthers & Peonies:
- EasyRecipe. Formats your recipe and adds a “Print” button so readers can print your recipe only without the whole post. It also helps your website’s SEO by adding a photo next to the search result.
- jQuery Pin It Button. Adds a “Pin It” button that hovers over your photos. A must for bloggers!
- Instagram Feed. Adds your latest Instagram posts directly onto your blog’s theme.
- Shareaholic. Adds buttons to every post that allow readers to easily share the post across any social media platform. This plugin is super easy to use, and super customizable!
- Yoast SEO. SEO is “Search Engine Optimization”, and that basically means that your post will show up under a Google search result. This plugin makes it sooo easy to edit your SEO and site descriptions and make sure your post is getting on the first page of Google.
To install a WordPress plugin, look on the left side of your WordPress dashboard for “Plugins”. Hover over “Plugins” and click “Add New”. From there, you can either upload a file that you’ve previously downloaded, or use the search box to find the plugin you’re looking for.
5. Start Blogging!
How easy was that? You now have your own personalized website, and it only took 15 minutes. If you have any questions, please be sure to comment below or send me an email. Now get out there and start blogging! ♡