Do you want to do more to spread the word about veganism?
Or maybe you have a great product or service related to the Plant-Based industry?
Having your own website or blog is a great way to help get your message out there!
If you’ve been putting off creating a website because you’re not sure where to start or you think it’s overly complicated, relax! We’ve got you covered!
Creating your own vegan website is fun, fast and a lot easier than you might think!
Follow us through this three step guide and you’ll be up and running with your very own website in no time.
What are we waiting for?! Let’s get your blog on!
Disclaimer: Just so you know, some of the links in this guide are affiliate links and Barefoot Vegan will earn a very small commission if you click on them and make a purchase. This will not make a difference to the price you pay. We recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that we trust.
1) DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING
It all starts here! We’re going to show you how to set up a website with Bluehost.
First off, you get to choose your domain name. Already know what you want? Head on over to Bluehost to see if your domain name is available.
If the ‘.com’ version of your chosen domain name is already taken you might be offered other options such as ‘.org’. We’d always recommend trying to get a ‘.com’ address. In order to do this, you might have to adjust your domain choice slightly.
For example, say you wanted ‘veganhats.com’ but it was already taken, perhaps you could try ‘coolveganhats.com’ instead.
Your domain name is basically your identity online. Therefore, you need to give it some consideration.
If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some tips that might help:
- Make a list of several possible domain names – this way if one is taken, you can try another. Also this will help you define your brand and make the best choice.
- Choose something that’s short and easy to type – for example, veganhatsclothesandbags.com is way too much but veganthreads.com. is much better!
- Use keywords – think about the types of keywords your readers or customers would type into a search engine to find what you are writing about or selling. Then incorporate this keyword/s into your domain name.
- Avoid numbers or hyphens – this just makes your site look less spammy and more professional
- Be unique and do your research – make sure there isn’t anyone else out there that has a similar domain name or has already trademarked the name for a product etc. You don’t want to be confused with someone else’s work or product.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you have to purchase it and find a provider to host it. Hosting is like renting your space on the web.
Most bloggers, and even WordPress.org, recommend Bluehost. They host over 2 million WordPress sites and not only do they have 24/7 support, they also give you the domain name for free if you purchase a hosting plan with them. They have a 1-click WordPress website installation, which is great for newbies as there’s no coding to do. Simple!
Here’s what else you get as part of the Bluehost hosting package:
- Free domain name
- Free email address
- Unlimited bandwidth – this is super important because it means that if one of your posts goes viral, you don’t have to worry about your website crashing if there’s loads of traffic. So if you have a few people or a few thousand people visit your website, you won’t be charged differently.
- Access to the Bluehost library of training videos, which includes things like how to install a WordPress theme, setting up your email account, how to embed videos into your WordPress blogs and more. These videos allow you to teach yourself how to build a successful website.
- They’ll give you a full refund if you change your mind within 30 days, or a prorated one for the remaining term after the 30 days is up.
- They provide 24/7 technical support via live chat, email ticket or phone.
There’s a range of plans to pick from and you can choose to pay monthly or annually. Paying annually will save you quite a bit of money if you can afford to do so. It costs $2.95 per month.
Can’t I just start a blog for free?
Yes, of course you can. But the capabilities of a free blogging website are limited. If you’re serious about your business or initiative, then you’ll want to invest in a proper website from the start.
- If you need your website to generate funds through affiliate marketing or AdSense, then a free website doesn’t give you enough control.
- The look and feel of free blogging websites isn’t as professional, which means you might not be taken as seriously by visitors or other organisations that you want to collaborate with.
- As your website grows, you don’t want the hassle of trying to change it over to a better platform down the line. It’s better to start on a platform that allows you to grow where you are.
Creating your Bluehost account
Now it’s time to head on over to Bluehost and create an account. Just click on ‘Get Started Now‘ and then you’ll land on the ‘Select Your Plan’ page.
Choose Your Plan
Before you select your plan, let’s look at why the $2.95 per month plan offers the best pricing.
If you choose the 36 month plan at $2.95 per month, you’ll get savings of up to 63%. Now, that seems like a long term to sign up to when you’re just starting out, but remember that Bluehost has a great refund policy.
You can cancel your account after 12 months if you want to, and Bluehost will refund you for the months you didn’t use. So the cheaper monthly fee will always work out as the best deal. The good news about Bluehost is that they have great customer service so you won’t have to haggle for ages to get your money back either if you do decide to cancel.
Enter your chosen domain name
This is where you enter the name you’ve chosen into the ‘New Domain’ box. Remember the tips from above if your first pick is already taken. If you already have a domain name, enter it into the other box to set up the process to transfer hosting to Bluehost.
Choose your plan (remember that the $2.95 per month plan works out the cheapest) and enter in your payment details.
They will offer you some other options such as Site Backup Pro and SiteLock Security. You don’t really need these so you can leave everything else unchecked for now unless you’d like them. You can always add-on these features in the future.
Now all that’s left to do is to create a password.
That’s it! You’re now set up with your domain name and hosting. You can access your Bluehost account, which will take you to the next step – WordPress installation.
2) INSTALLING WORDPRESS
WordPress is a website and blogging software. If you choose Bluehost, installing WordPress and setting up your website couldn’t be simpler. Seriously, the set up only takes a couple of minutes.
Just log into your Bluehost account and select ‘Log into WordPress’. You’ll then be asked if you want to set up a business or personal website. You can either answer or select ‘I don’t need help’.
The next page is ‘Pick a theme that inspires you’. Don’t spend too much time on this as you’ll probably find that you’ll go through several themes until you find one you like. When you’re just starting out and you don’t have any content on your website, it’s difficult to know exactly how it’s going to look. Plus these are all free themes and we’ll talk about the difference between free and paid themes in a bit.
Make sure you take note of your username and password as you’ll need these to log on to WordPress to each time you need to update your website or post a new blog.
Once the installation is complete, log into WordPress using the interface, which will look a little something like this:
You don’t have to go through Bluehost everytime you want to login to WordPress. You can access it via an address like this – www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin (replace ‘yourdomain’ with the name of your blog).
Now you’re online! Your website is born!
3) CHOOSING YOUR THEME
It’s time to make this website your own. At this stage your website won’t look that great. Don’t panic!
As part of the installation process, you’ll have a free theme already set for your website. If you are happy with this theme, perfect. You can go ahead and start adding your content. First you’ll want to go to the ‘Posts’ section and delete all the posts that the theme has there as samples. You’ll want to do the same with the ‘Pages’ section as well.
Add the pages that you want – Home, About, Blog, Contact – and then go to the ‘Appearance’ section and set up the menu using the pages you’ve just created. The ‘Widgets’ section will allow you to set up what shows up in the sidebars, header and footer. Have a play around to see what your theme offers.
Once you’re happy with all that, click on the ‘Post’s section again and ‘Add New’ to write up your very first post.
Not happy with your theme or want something that fits your brand?
You can either pay someone to design and code and set up your website, or you can install a pre-designed theme. The latter option is obviously way more cost-effective.
WordPress has literally hundreds of free WordPress themes to pick from. Take a look at the options here. By now you should know what your website is all about and you can use certain search terms to help you narrow down the theme options.
For example, if you’re doing a vegan recipe blog, then you can search for recipe themes.
Premium, or paid themes give you greater options to customise your content and you usually get better features and support. If you want one of these, check out these options:
- Studiopress has a range of different themes from Food/Recipe blog themes through to Health + Wellness.
- Elegant Themes has over 80 themes to choose from and they are slightly cheaper than Studiopress but still great quality and support.
- ThemeIsle is fun – you’ll see this from their website! They also boast over 470,000 users! There’s a theme for any kind of website you need to set up and the design is fantastic.
Once you’ve selected your theme, you’re ready to start adding your content. All themes come with user instructions, some even have videos and usually they have support, especially if you’ve paid for a premium theme.
So there you have it, your very own website set up in three easy steps!
There are other things like plugins and tools that will help you with managing and customising your website and interaction with your audience.
Here are a couple of providers we use:
- E-newsletters – We use SendInBlue for BarefootVegan. It’s a lot cheaper than MailChimp and it’s really user-friendly. You can create email newsletters using their drag-and-drop system.
- Social media is a great way to direct traffic to your website and Pinterest is one of the best tools to use, especially if you’re creating how-to articles, roundup reviews and recipes. A lot of bloggers use Tailwind to help manage Pinterest because it’s got loads of features to help explode your website traffic. Basically, Tailwind will help you schedule your Pinterest posts in one go so you don’t have to manually do it, while also allowing you to add a single pin to multiple boards and tribes (groups you can join so that similar bloggers can share your content and vice versa).
Creating your own website can be a rewarding and fun process. You’ll learn so many new skills and techniques and the ability to create and control your own online content is worth the effort.
We hope you found this short guide useful!