Starting Your Own Blog

One of the side effects of starting your own blog, about beer or otherwise, is that you inadvertently learn a lot about setting up a blog.

To put this knowledge to use here’s a quick guide to the process, based on my experiences with this site. I hope it saves you a bit of time if you’re about to start your own.

How To Start A Beer Blog

It’s fairly quick and painless to start a blog. There are a only a couple of key steps.

The instructions below explain how to do it if you want to have your own domain (web address), e.g. homebrewmanual.com. To do that you need to pay for web hosting.

The alternative is to use a free service such as WordPress. That’s great for starting quickly but your domain will be a sub-domain of Wordpress, e.g. homebrewmanual.wordpress.com.

The rest of the guide assumes you want a dedicated domain name.

Domain and Hosting

Web hosting means somewhere to save your website’s files. You rent space on a server from a hosting company that has the set-up to handle lots of internet traffic.

Home Brew Manual is hosted on Bluehost. I found them after reading recommendations on many other blogs.

Having experienced just one other host, I can’t say for sure that they are the best. However, in my time with them I’ve had a very positive experience.

The main thing I like is the ease of use. The 24 hour support has always been of great help on the few occasions I’ve had problems.

If I started another site tomorrow I’d use Bluehost again.

(Note: Those are affiliate links. That means I get a commission if you go through with the hosting. It won’t cost you any more and is much appreciated as the proceeds go towards running the Home Brew Manual. But if you’re not sure you want that hosting, don’t buy it.)

Setting up the account is pretty easy. You get a free domain name when you start and can install WordPress with just one click.

First sign up (click the image to go to the appropriate page):

starting your own blog

You’ll be guided through the process. The steps are:

  • Check if your preferred domain name is available
  • Enter contact and payment details
  • Finalise

Once you’re done, log into your account through the Blue Host home page. Go to the cPanel by clicking the tab on the top left:

control panel

Scroll down to the option to install WordPress:

starting your own blog install wordpress

Follow the installation instructions and that’s it! You’ve got a blog.

Starting Blogging

After installing WordPress enter http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin into your browser to log in.

For example: http://homebrewmanual.com/wp-admin

You get this screen:

starting your own blog login to WordPress

After entering your password (which you will have set up during installation) you could start writing posts straight away, but I guess you want to make it look good first.

For that you need to install a theme. This controls the way your pages and posts are displayed.

This is done by clicking on the appearance tab on the left of the screen:

starting your own blog choose theme

On this site I use the Thematic theme. I love tweaking the design and Thematic is great for that. However, it’s not for the faint hearted, even though there is a comprehensive support forum that helps with most problems.

If you’re just starting out, there are other more beginner-friendly options. Browse them here.

Good luck with your new project!