The Blogging Basics: My Top Three

I’m so jealous of you right now if you’ve clicked onto this page and are just thinking about starting your very own food blog. There’s so much for you to learn and I can guarantee that in six months you won’t recognize the blogger that posted his or her very first smart phone pic of your midnight snack (at precisely 1:03 AM) in the accompanying low lighting provided to you from the lamp that sits on your bedside table…don’t do that.

Or do!

Food blogging is a journey. Over the course of it, you’ll learn how to take amazing pictures, become a better writer, perfect your culinary basics, overthink every single thing that you makes it to your home page (this is the third article on blogging that I’ve written), become the editor-in-chief of your site, master taste tester extraordinaire, and burn a few crumbly, pasty epic fails, too.

It’s hard work, but it can definitely be worth it, I mean if food blogging is your thing. Let’s not get into what makes a good food blogger because anyone could thrive here among the throngs of other foodies, I’d say we’re a fun crowd-who else is willing to let you rant on and on about the marvels of salted caramel paired with a tart apple or jump up and down at the thought of trying out your molten lava chocolate cake with a ooey gooey gushing center? Let’s face it, we congregate on the web because sometimes we lack that crowd in person…

And in case you’re new to all of this, I thought I’d post a couple of articles to get you started.

*Some of the products and services mentioned in this site are affiliate links. That means that if you click through my website and decide to purchase something, you’ll be contributing to the upkeep and success of Curried Cantaloupe. Rest assured that all thoughts and opinions posted here are my own. If I’m talking about it, it’s because I’ve enjoyed a certain product and think it could be useful to you too.

 

Building Your Blog: The Top Three

1.       Domain Name

Your domain name is how people access your site. It’s also often the first impression people will have of your blog. Kind of like a modern day business card. So, you want two things in a domain name. First, you want something catchy and easy to remember; maybe you’ll want it linked to a very specific theme. Second, you probably don’t want the added wordpress or blogger ending that you’ll automatically have if you don’t pay for a domain name. It just doesn’t look as professional, and you want people to take you seriously if you are going to spend 15+ hours on your site every week, right?

One last thing, if you do think there is a possibility you’d like to try to monetize your website in the near future, you’re not only going to want a domain name, but you are going to need a domain name. Free hosting sites will not let you advertise.

Domain names are fairly cheap at less than 20 USD/year.  If you opt for Host Gator hosting, you can register your domain name when you make your first hosting plan payment.

 

2.       Hosting

So without hosting, your domain name is basically useless to you. I’m not a tech whiz (far from it), so let me give you a quick intro to what I understand about hosting.

Basically, hosting gives you a space to store all of your site’s information. You pay for that space and it’s yours. If you don’t go the self-hosted route, you’ll be using the wordpress or blogger (etc., etc.) servers and they will essentially own everything you publish-which may never personally affect you, but then again, why risk it? It also determines the page speed and other technical things like that. There are professional hosting plans that will give you more space and speed page load times up for you as you gain popularity.

As you start, you can get hosting through Host Gator, Bluehost, or Dreamhost and a whole slew of others.

Ok, I proudly use Host Gator and here’s why:

Customer Service: The main hosting providers are all essentially the same in quality and pricing, but I have been using Host Gator and have been utterly and completely satisfied with their customer service and my overall site performance with them. I was up and productively creating this blog immediately after signing up with them!

Plans and Pricing: I have their baby plan and can host as many domain names with them as I want. I keep my friends and family updated on our life in China using another domain name, so this was perfect for me.

I pay less than 9 dollars every month and can cancel the service at any time. The longer a commitment you are willing to make, the better the price. I thought this was perfect for me since I didn’t know if I’d get into blogging or not. Today, I might opt for a longer plan and a better price!

Money Back Guarantee: One last thing, not to sound too salesperson-y, but host gator offers a 45 day back guarantee, so that if you aren’t satisfied or decide blogging isn’t for you, there’s still a way out! I actually didn’t know that, but I guess that would reassure me if I were just starting out.

 

3.       Genesis Framework+Child Theme by StudioPress

This third website related expense is the like the garnish on a recipe. Completely optional, but it adds a little pizazz.

The Genesis Framework is basically like an extra layer in your WordPress.org site.(FYI-Wordpress.com and wordpress.org are different; you can download the .org version on the control panel of your hosting service.) It allows greater flexibility with your site development if you should decide to play around – or pay someone to play around – with that.  Frameworks come with better SEO options, more design options, and customer service.

For example, the child themes on Studiopress come with the Genesis Framework. One day, I was having trouble getting my text to wrap around the picture and less than 24 hours later the theme developer had sent me the answer to my problems. No forums or Googling for me.

I currently use the Modern Blogger Theme for this site. I plan on getting more involved in using the framework as I become more experienced. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you in the very near future!

Go to StudioPress.com to see all of the child themes available and choose one as you familiarize yourself with the Genesis Framework!

 

There you have it. My top three website investments.

If you liked this, stay tuned next week as I invite you to check out my little toolbox of products and plugins that have made my blog just a little better.

I’m also in the works of publishing a monthly report that covers my to-do list and some important tips I’ve learned along the way. For now, if you’re looking for more on owning and starting a food blog, check out these websites:

Pinch Of Yum

Profoodblogger.com (inactive since August 2013)

 

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