Hi there! I’m excited that you’re interested in taking the journey towards starting your own blog! The whole process can be a little daunting, which is why I’ve gathered some basic tools and resources to help you get started. Read about my journey and what I’ve gained from blogging here.
If you’re like me, maybe you just decided from one minute to the next that you were going to start blogging about something you love. For me, that was Greece and food. You can read a bit more about that here. Or maybe you have an amazing talent and your friends and family have been pushing you to share that talent with the world. Or maybe you’re just feeling bored and in a rut and you think it’s time to take on a new project. Whatever the reason is, stop procrastinating, and take the leap today! With these tools and resources below, there’s nothing stopping you from making your mark on the world wide web. Let’s get started!
If you have any questions, anything at all, about the resources and/or instructions below, please don’t hesitate to email me. I’m here to help!
4 Steps to Creating Your Own Website
1) Bluehost – Without getting too technical, if you want to create your own website like www.mywebsite.com, you need to get a website host first. To put this in different terms, I guess it’s kind of like renting a business space. If you want to open a cupcake shop, you’re going to need to put your business in a building/location with lights and plumbing, etc. So think of The Greek Glutton as the cupcake business, and of Bluehost as the building/location. Bluehost can also give you access to your own email like email@example.com, and a bunch of other great tools. Most importantly, Bluehost can get you set up with a wordpress.org account (note: not wordpress.com – more about that later), which is a content management software you use to edit your site, add content and fun tools to it, and pick a pretty theme.
To sign up, pick the your Pricing Plan (I suggest getting the most basic one) and pick your domain name. Next, you’re going to want to get your 2) Wordpress account. To do this just go to your Bluehost Control Panel, click on Simple Scripts, WordPress, and Install. Once all that is done, you can now access your website with the Login URL and the Username and Password given to you. Ta-da, you’re already up and running!
3) Genesis Framework by StudioPress – Again, without getting too technical, once you sign up with your host and get your wordpress.org account, your website is pretty much ready to go. There are plenty of free WordPress themes you can apply to your site and customize to give it a personal look and feel, and then you can start adding content. But you want people and readers to find that content online, right? That’s where the Genesis Framework comes in. Basically, Genesis not only makes your website pretty for readers with its various 4) child themes (my theme is Daily Dish Pro), it also makes your site pretty for Google. See, Google doesn’t see what you and I see. Google only sees code. And it uses that code to get your site well-ranked and easy to find on search engines. Genesis basically creates a coded framework for your site for you. It’s a very powerful tool that every serious blogger should know about.
Ok, let’s regroup. Creating an amazing, Google-friendly blog is as easy as 1-2-3-4: Bluehost-Wordpress-Genesis-Theme. Again, think of your blog as the cupcake business. Bluehost is like the building/location, WordPress is what you use to manage the cupcake shop, Genesis is like employees holding up signs in the street promoting your cupcakes, handing out flyers, shouting from the rooftops, etc. And your child theme is like the wallpaper, decorations, and layout of your cupcake shop.
If you’d still like a little extra guidance, you can download the The Genesis Guide For Absolute Beginners.
1 Step to Creating Your Own Website
WordPress.com – If you’re completely turned around by what I just said and you’re thinking to myself “I don’t want things to be that complicated” or “I don’t want to spend money from the get-go”, then you’re only 1 step away from creating your own blog on wordpress.com, totally free. WordPress.com is less powerful than wordpress.org for the control you have over your blog, but it’s great because anyone can use it without any technical knowledge. It also has great products, tools and free and premium themes. Here, your website will be created as www.mywebsite.wordpress.com, but you can always upgrade to www.mywebsite.com.
Blogger Tools & Tips
Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro is THE weapon of choice for any serious food (or general) blogger. It’s an ARSENAL of tips, tricks, videos and articles covering all the different aspects of food blogging, from building traffic to Google tools to photography. It’s also a supportive online community of bloggers for anyone looking to give or receive advice, exposure, etc. It is a paid membership site, but it’s only $1 for the first month, which gives you a chance to test it out and see if it’s worth the monthly price. I personally think Food Blogger Pro has been a lifesaver for me in giving the basic steps for accomplishing so many things. It’s really a one stop shop.
Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR Camera – If you want to take professional-looking pictures for your blog, you’re definitely going to want to invest in a DSLR camera. To be honest, I don’t even know what DSLR stands for, and you don’t have to either. Just know that this is one of those big fancy black cameras you see photographers use. This is the camera I use and it’s great and not complicated to use.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens – This is the first lens I got when I bought my DSLR camera. It’s a basic and versatile lens. You can zoom in and out and it has an image stabilizer for those with shaky hands. I’ve used this for food photography, for travel, and for taking pictures of people. In short, it does it all.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens – This is the lens I got after using my DSLR camera and the lens above for about a year. After learning more about food photography I felt like I was ready to test my skills on a new lens. This is a good lens for taking close up pictures of things and for keeping one object in focus while the rest of the picture is blurry. It doesn’t zoom in and out, however, so I don’t recommend this lens for something like travel.
Transcend 16GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card – If you’re buying a camera you obviously need a memory card, and I like this brand. Some people will recommend you get a card with a high memory capacity like 32 or 64 GB but personally I’ve never needed more than 16 GB. Once I import my pictures into my computer I usually immediately delete them from my camera, so that may be why, but I’ve been able to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures at one time without needing to switch memory cards or emptying my memory.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX9 – If you don’t think you’re ready to take the plunge and invest in a DSLR camera and lens, then that’s ok! You can still take great pictures with a good point-and-shoot camera. I used the older version of this model for years and some of the pictures definitely rival the ones I’ve taken with the DSLR camera. This little Sony has a ton of options and effects you can choose for your pictures too.
Lowel EGO Tabletop Lighting Unit – This light has saved the life of my food pictures. I always seem to find myself in spaces that have basically zero natural light, so this lamp is fantastic. Super lightweight and easy to turn on with just a switch, just set it on a table next to the food you want to photograph and you’ve got the closest thing you can come to bright natural light. But of course natural lighting always makes for the best pictures!
CowboyStudio Photography Light Reflectors – An important part of taking good pictures also lies in correctly reflecting and bouncing the light onto the food. It makes things stand out more, helps avoid dark shadows, and more. I don’t use these reflectors very often because the light above comes with a white reflective board, but they come in handy for making the picture warmer or cooler or diffusing the light for a softer look. I like these because you get 5 reflectors in 1, they have convenient handles, and they fold up into a small circle pouch which is great for storage and transport.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 – The biggest part of taking a beautiful pictures lies in actually taking the picture. But a picture can always look better with a little help from a photography editing computer program. A program can help you adjust the colors, add more contrast, make the picture sharper, and a bunch of other amazing things. I like Lightroom because I think it’s really straightforward to use and doesn’t have all of the complicated graphic art options that a program like the regular Photoshop or PaintShop Pro have.
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan – Again, if you don’t think you’re ready to take the plunge and invest in a photography editing computer program, check out this alternative option. This plan gives you access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom for $9.99 a month, and you can cancel your membership within the first 30 days if you decide it isn’t for you. So no strings attached!
Your own personal tool
Me! If you have any questions, seriously anything at all, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: some of the links above (such as Bluehost) are affiliate links, which means I get a commission for anything you chose to buy from this page (hey, a girl’s gotta eat and buy ingredients for this food blog). But I personally use all of the products below so they’ve been tried, tested, and proven true and valuable by yours truly. I try to offer the most delicious and healthy recipes I can come up with on The Greek Glutton, and that’s why I’d only advocate for the most delicious and healthy blogging tools.