How I Set Up My WordPress Blog In 2 Hours

March 16th, 2011 | Shonali Burke | 22 Comments

This isn’t a trick question.

But really, how many blogs does a gal need?

After all, from a practicality point of view, the answer to that question should be one, right?

Apparently, ’tis not the case with me.

If you and I talk regularly on Twitter, or Facebook… heck, even in the early days of WUL (and I have to stifle a giggle as I say that, because this blog is barely two years old!), you’ll know that I love food.

Image: kennymatic via Flickr, CC 2.0

Love eating it.

Love talking about it.

Love cooking it.

Love taking photos of it.

So it’s probably high time that I started a food blog.

That way all the PR and social media goodness can stay here, and all the culinary cool can stay there.

Everything in it’s place. Nice and neat.

Plus, I’ll have a place to store and share my recipes, cool recipes I find, cool stuff I like.

Too much cool!

It will be interesting to see how it goes, since Spicing Out (cool title, eh?) is more a labor of love than anything else.

On Waxing UnLyrical, my regular bloggers and I take blogging about the business of public relations, in all its facets, very seriously.

On Spicing Out, I’m just going to have fun.

I’m not going to stress about posting every day, I’m not going to worry about rankings (at least for a while)… I’m just going to have fun with food.

What has been really interesting about the last few days, though, is the process through which Spicing Out came into being.

This past Saturday, I was looking at Lindsay Allen‘s and Gini Dietrich‘s food blogs respectively.

We often share food photos on Facebook, and every time someone asks me for a recipe, I have nowhere to post it.

So on Saturday afternoon, I posted a random query on Twitter and Facebook, asking what a good name for a food blog would be.

Let me tell you, there is no shortage of creativity around… at least not in my networks.

There were so many people who came up with ideas that I’m not going to list any one person, since I’ll forget someone – but they really helped me get the juices flowing [sic].

Though I must, must call out Brian Meeks who was convinced “NomNomNom” would be perfect, or any permutation thereof.

Alas, the domain was already registered, and I wanted my own domain.

So after much Twitter- and Facebook-storming, I settled on “Spicing Out.”

I registered the domain and immediately got excited, envisioning the coolest food and cooking blog evah!

With images of spices spilling out of the header!

With luscious ladles and aromatic herbs that would make you want to eat the blog!

Of course, there’s no way I’d get to that from here… immediately.

So a couple of days ago, I put my dreams of a dazzlingly-designed blog ruefully to rest – a snazzy design would cost more than I can afford right now – and decided to see if the advice I’ve been doling out so wantonly in the Blogging for Grasshoppers series was any good.

You know what?

It actually is.

I used a free theme – the Producer – after looking around for a few different options.

It’s a little bit different from Waxing UnLyrical, in that it has a sidebar either side of the main content area, and so many configuration options that my head is spinning.

I set up Feedburner, Google Analytics and the plugins that I’ve found really useful to start with: Sexy Bookmarks and TinyMCE Advanced among them.

I set up Livefyre as the comment system (‘cos it’s AWESOME and has cut down spam to such an extent on WUL that I don’t think I’ll even need to install Akismet on SO).

I set up Platinum SEO (instead of All in One SEO, I like Platinum better) and even WPTouch so that it can be viewed on a mobile device.

(By the way, I did that for WUL this past weekend too, so you should find it much easier to read on your smart phone.)

I set up a basic blogroll, a Twitter widget, a short “About” page as well as a “© and Stuff” page.

And then I wrote my first post a couple of days ago… after all, it had to be announced in some way, didn’t it?

What’s not happening just yet

Technorati hasn’t “approved” it yet, but judging by Ingrid Abboud’s experience, that may take a while.

It’s not full of bells and whistles yet, but I don’t need it to be.

There’s stuff in the back-end I still need to figure out, but I’ll get there.

But the main thing was that it took me only about four hours to do all of the above (other than registering the domain, which I did over the weekend).

In retrospect, I spent way too much time agonizing over how the blog would look.

If I hadn’t faffed around with that, it would only have taken me a couple of hours to get it to this point.

If it takes off, there will be time enough for a re-design.

But for now, it’s up, it’s working… and it’s mine.

And in honor of my parents’ wedding anniversary today, here’s the first, fishy recipe.

If you’re into food as much as I am, I sure would appreciate you checking it out and maybe even subscribing.

What’s the moral of the story?

Don’t agonize too much over starting your blog.

It won’t be perfect when you start.

It may look a little bare after other blogs you’re used to… especially if you’ve been publishing another blog for a while.

You don’t have to get it just so right away.

What’s important is that you start.

So to everyone who’s been waffling about getting your blog started… I did mine in just a few hours.

What’s your excuse now?

And many, many thanks to everyone who helped me out, from thinking of a name, to encouraging me to get going.

I really couldn’t have done it without you.

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Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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21 comments
rachaelseda
rachaelseda like.author.displayName 1 Like

Too funny! I was just contemplating starting a different blog too still working out the details but I wanted it to be a tv recap, funny type of blog. Anywayssss so I love that you just started your foodie one! Can't wait to see how it goes!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@rachaelseda Puhleeze let me know when it's live so that I can check it out!

Narciso17
Narciso17 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Dunno How You Do It, Shonali!

This Reminds Me - You Should Have Some Kind of Post That's Dedicated to The Joys of Cilantro...!...Although Not for Me...HOWEVER, I Have Been Wanting to Start Something Up for Music...and Then Another One for Film....*Sigh*...I Don't Know How You Do It!....But, I'm Looking Forward to It :)

Narciso Tovar

Big Noise Communications

@narciso17

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@Narciso17 I'm a sucker for punishment. :p Hey - why don't you start one dedicated to pop culture? That way you can write about music, film, etc. - and it'll be all in one place. Just a thought...

ginidietrich
ginidietrich like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I love how you inserted your passion into your business blog. You're one smart cookie (even though you say faffed)! Do you know about PostRank Connect? If you allow them to use your blog for their new beta, they give you a bunch of stats for free. It's very, very, VERY worth it!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@ginidietrich I do - I love PostRank Connect! That's on my list to add to Spicing Out (and figuring out how to customize the theme, but for now it's working for its purposes). I do have PRC for Waxing UnLyrical - love the little widget they let you put there as well. I actually heard about it through @maddiegrant a while back, so I figured I'd test it. It is pretty neat.

Griddy
Griddy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Hey Shonali,

Best of luck to you with Spicing out. I'm kinda hungry now :).

Oh, as for Technorati - patience is a virtue but pulling out your hair from aggravation is not! LOL ;)

Honestly - I got bored an gave up - but I hope your experience with them will go much more smoothly then mine.

Have a great week.

Cheers

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@Griddy Given how your Alexa rankings have risen, I'm not sure you even need to worry about Technorati any more, LOL. Thanks so much, Griddy!

3HatsComm
3HatsComm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Think I may have to write one of these little guides, spread the love. There isn't much to it and love how you outlined it so well. Agree about the plugins, the not sweating the design and tech stuff at first. It's a marathon (esp. if you plan to stick with it!) so no need to rush.

However my favorite parts of this post is that I learned something about you, your passions and hobbies. You're a foodie; I like food, to eat but am much less of a cook. No time, less talent. I also learned that @ginidietrich has a food blog, had no idea! Even though this is a hobby, you're still focused on doing it right with good SEO and Technorati registration (gotta read Ingrid's rant, have a matching one of my own). Good luck with the blog.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@3HatsComm Yes, @shonali totally copied me! :) But she's doing one thing I'm not - treating it like a blog with SEO and plugins and all that. One day I'll grow up and be like her.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@ginidietrich LOL, someone's living dangerously! ;) I had no idea you had a food blog until I saw it in your Facebook stream. I will, however, freely admit to fashioning my "(c) and stuff" page on SO after the note in your blog. :) And as to growing up and being like me... are you sure you want that, LOL?!@3HatsComm

TabithaEdwards
TabithaEdwards like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great post! I honestly didn't think it was that simple. Now, if the family emergencies would stop, maybe I could get back to concentrating on setting up my blog!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@TabithaEdwards Oh dear, I hope the family emergencies stop soon. I've been through my share of them, and I know how exhausting they are. Good luck, my dear!

TabithaEdwards
TabithaEdwards

@Shonali Thank you, Shonali! It IS exhausting, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm hoping everything calms down soon. I'm tired!

timepass
timepass like.author.displayName 1 Like

Nice post Shonali, you've made the set up very easy and just ensured that I don't have many excuses not to start a blog. though I could always come up with the time excuse or the topic excuse...even the name excuse ( though you did tackle that as well) to delay things ;) .That being said love the way you've given steps that anyone can apply, I guess there is nothing else to do but start.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@timepass If nothing else, you could always call it "Time Pass"... :)

timepass
timepass like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Shonali lol yeah thought about it, checked it out and it happens that the name is taken...the search goes on ...

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@timepass Such is life, eh? :p I hope you keep trying, though... maybe something with "adda" in it... or "we are like this only" (remember that, Quick Gun Murugan"?). Let me know what you settle on!

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