Blogging Resources

When I decided to start Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker, I chose to use WordPress.com as a blogging platform, simply because it was free and recommended by other bloggers. It was a great platform that really helped me kick off my blog until I had reached the point at which I knew this blog would be a long-term project. Eventually, I wanted to do more with my wesbite than the limits of WordPress.com would allow, so I switched to a new host, and built this current website, essentially from the ground up.

It was a process going from point A to point B, establishing a new website with a new host and getting everything moved over, but it wasn’t at all impossible. In the meantime, I’ve learned so many valuable things that have helped me make this website what it is today. Here’s a collection of some of the resources that have helped me; hopefully they’ll help you too!

Beginning with the basics:
If you choose to have your blog hosted somewhere other than on a free platform like WordPress.com, you have a range of hosting companies to choose from.  My website is hosted through Bluehost. The plain and simple truth: I chose Bluehost because it’s affordable and I read good reviews about it. It’s also the first hosting company WordPress lists on their page of recommend third-party hosts. So far, I’m pleased with the way Bluehost has supported my website. Plus, it was easy to set it up to work with WordPress, because they have a 1-quick installation. As soon as you get things set up, you can make an e-mail using your domain name, and do any other basic things you want to do to get things running. After that, you really don’t even have to think about Bluehost, it just does all of the behind-the-scenes work.

Choosing a theme:
How smart is your Theme?  How good is your support? Check out ThesisTheme for WordPress.Once you get your website set up, you’ll want to choose a design theme. Basically, a theme controls the look of your website without you having to know any sort of coding. Different themes can be more or less customizable. There are plenty of free themes available for a WordPress Blog, but if you really want control over colors, fonts, the works, you’re better off buying a theme.  The theme I use for this site is Thesis, and it is well worth the one-time fee. One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to self-host my blog was so that I could make it look exactly how I wanted, and Thesis has really made that possible.

Plugins that make life easier:

Akismet – An absolutely essential plugin that blocks spam comments from your site. I have no idea how it works, but I am amazed at how well even the “slyest” spam comments are caught and dumped in the spam folder.

Contact Form 7 – This plugin allows you to easily create a “Contact Me” form that will appear on a page of your website.

Easy Recipe – You can use this plugin to insert recipes into my posts. Instead of formatting everything yourself, this neat little tool does all of the work for you, and you get to choose exactly how the recipe looks in your post. Plus, it allows for visitors to easily print any recipe,and it improves your website’s Search Engine Optimization.

Social Media Widget – This plugin allows you to place small social media icons on your blog that visitors can click on to be directed to your Facebook page, Twitter Page, RSS Feed, E-mail Subscription Page, etc. I like it because, to me, image links are much nicer than text links!

WordPress Importer – If you started your blog on WordPress.com and you’re moving to WordPress.org, this plugin does all of the heavy lifting for you; it transfers all of your posts, images, comments, etc. to your new website.

Disclaimer: I may earn a commission from some of the links on this page. However, I was not asked to express any of the opinions given. These are purely my own opinions, and I put this page together by choice. I use all of the products and services mentioned above and truly believe they are helpful.

 

 

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