Blogging as Activism: How to Start a Vegan Blog
By KD Angle-Traegner | Updated Feb. 28, 2018
What is Blogging as Activism and what does starting a vegan blog have to do with it? Blogging as Activism a series where I teach you how to create, design, and promote a vegan blog. It’s a mix of blogging and a passion for vegan advocacy combined into one powerful tool that can be used to help animals.
It might seem weird to see things like themes and hosting plans on a blog about vegan living, but it makes perfect sense. These tools can help you set up and run a vegan blog. That’s key because after living vegan, talking about veganism and sharing information is the next most important thing you can do as an advocate.
Let me show you how.
Full Disclosure: Some of the products or services listed in this guide contain affiliate links. This means I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you. The commissions earned through affiliate links pay for things like domain names and hosting fees, and they allow me to keep creating quality vegan content like this guide.
Here is the full affiliate disclaimer. Thank you for the support. Together we’re creating a vegan world.
Domain Names & Hosting
There are three short steps between you and vegan blog stardom and I’m here to help. First I’ll walk you through setting up a website on Bluehost and how to install WordPress. Next, I’ll talk about functionality and how to use widgets and plugins to customize your blog. Finally, I’ll talk about more nuanced topics of blogging and how to get your blog in front of an audience who will be willing to share it far and wide.
Let’s take a look at how to start a vegan blog. Step one: Domain Names & Hosting Accounts.
How to Get a Hosting Account & Free Domain Name
The best place to start is always the beginning, and in this case, that means picking out a domain name.
The Domain Name is just a fancy-pants name for your blog name. For instance, mine is yourdailyvegan.com. What do you want your domain name to be?
Choose wisely. A great name can help, or hurt, a blog. Your blog name should tell the readers what type of things you write. Try not to pick something long or complicated, choose a name that is clever and easy to remember. The shorter, the better.
Once you know what you want your blog name to be, head over to Bluehost to get started.
Note: Screenshots have been highlighted with red outlines and arrows to help walk you through the process.
Once you arrive at Bluehost’s homepage, go ahead and select the bright green “get started now” button. The next screen you’ll come to will ask you to choose your hosting plan.
You might be thinking, “Wait, I thought we were going to buy a domain name,” and you’re right, we are. Or, you are. But you’ll need to select your hosting plan first. I’ll explain why in a little bit.
If you’ve never signed up for things like hosting plans before, selecting the right service could be confusing. Don’t worry. Bluehost makes the process easy.
Let’s take a look at each of the levels so you can decide which plan is right for you.
Bluehost offers four different levels of hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Prime, and Pro. To know which hosting plan is right for you, first, decide how you’ll be using your new website.
Are you starting a blog for fun, or are you planning for a future as a content creator? How many email addresses do you need, for example?
If you aren’t sure what each option means, that’s okay. Bluehost makes it easy to find out. Click on each of the options on the left-hand side of the plans to expand an informational box explaining what each option is. Pretty nifty (and helpful)!
For bloggers just starting out, I suggest choosing the Basic plan. This level is a good deal that’s perfect for new bloggers. To save the most money, you’ll have to pay for the hosting up front rather than monthly, but the savings will be worth it. After all, who doesn’t want to pay less for things that you are going to use anyway, right?
Choose which plans have the features you need, and then click on the green “Select” button under the plan you selected.
This screen is going to ask you if you’re signing up a new or existing domain name. Since you don’t have a domain name yet, you’ll be signing up under the “new domain” box.
Remember when I told you that I’d explain why we needed to select our hosting plan before buying a domain name? Here’s why: Bluehost will give you a domain name for free if you decide to host with them. Yup, I said it- for free.
Nothing is cheaper than free.
Enter the domain name—your blog name without the .com—in the box and click the blue “next” button.
The top of this screen is just basic account information. Fill it out and scroll down to the “package information” section. Here’s where you need to make some decisions. Most hosting companies will give you a discount for signing up for longer hosting terms, with the cheapest price per month usually being a three-year plan. Using the drop-down menu, select the term that fits within your budget.
Here’s the package I choose when I signed up with Bluehost:
Let’s talk about Domain Privacy Protection for a minute. Domain Privacy Protection is commonly referred to as the Domain Whois Privacy and it’s pretty important.
WHOIS — pronounced as the phrase “who is” — is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name. In other words, Whois finds information about a domain name. This information typically includes the name, address, and phone number of the administrative, billing, and technical contacts of the domain name.
Domain Privacy Protection shields your personal information from being displayed to the public.
Trust me, you want this.
To save money, I did not renew the privacy on my account on a past renewal. This was a first since I started Your Daily Vegan. After that, I was inundated with spammy, scammy internet schemes via email and advertisements via snail mail.
I’ll never renew without privacy again. The extra money is worth it.
Once you’ve made all your selections, scroll down to the payment section.
Enter in your payment information and read the terms and conditions.
The next screen is going to ask you to choose a password for your new Bluehost account.
You should know that the password you choose will be the main password for your new Bluehost hosting account. You’ll need to have access to this password for verification purposes anytime you call Bluehost for support so be sure to write it down somewhere safe.
Once you are ready, click on the bright green “Create your Password” button.
In the highlighted fields, enter the password that you have chosen.
Congratulations! You just successfully signed up for your very own domain name and hosting account! Next up, let’s discuss WordPress and picking a theme.
Once you’ve finished signing up for a hosting account and domain name with Bluehost, it’s time to talk about the blogging software you’ll be using to start your blog.
Let’s talk WordPress.
Once you’ve completed your registration with Bluehost, you’ll need some blogging software. WordPress is the software that I use for yourdailyvegan.com and other blogs. It’s very easy to use, even if you’ve never blogged a single word.
And the best part is that Bluehost has made it even easier than ever before to get started. WordPress now comes pre-installed on all Bluehost accounts. No extra installation required.
Once you’ve created a password for your new Bluehost account, click the blue “log in” button to begin.
On the next screen you will select which domain you want to install WordPress on.
If you have multiple domains they will be listed in the drop-down menu. Make your selection and then click the “Check Domain” button.
Place a check mark next to, “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2,” and then click the “Install Now” button.
WordPress will take just a few minutes to install. Once done, you’ll receive a message that says “Your install is complete!” Be sure to click on the “View Credentials” button. Find your Admin URL, Username, and Password then write them down. Don’t skip this step. Write them down. Don’t worry you can change these later (Or you can do it now if you want- who am I to tell you when to change your password!), but you’ll need them for your first time logging into WordPress.
Finding Your New Blog
Let me tell you a secret. The most confusing part of starting my first blog wasn’t registering a domain or hosting plan with Bluehost, or installing WordPress, it was finding out how to log into my new blog. I don’t know why, but I thought that there would be an area to sign onto my blog from Bluehost cpanel. This is not the case. Remember that Admin URL you wrote down? Type it into your browser. You should see a log-in screen that asks for your Username and Password.
It’ll look like this:
Enter in your Username and Password and then click the “Log In” button.
Welcome to your WordPress dashboard. This is where you’ll be spending a lot of time. It’s the hub of your blog. If you’ve never used WordPress before you’ll be happy to know that it’s so intuitive and really easy to pick up. Not only that, if you do run into problems you can visit the WordPress Forums for support.
3. Choosing a Theme
At this point, it’s official. You have your own vegan blog! Congratulations!
Now it’s time to turn your blog into your own personalized space. A theme refers to the design of the website. A great blog has more than just a pretty color scheme. When a theme works well it reinforces the site’s mission and keeps readers engaged with the content. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s fun to make something uniquely our own.
WordPress offers thousands of free themes for your new blog, which you can browse by clicking here. If you don’t find a free theme you like, you may want to buy a Premium WordPress Theme to customize. After a few trial runs with several free themes, this is what I did for Your Daily Vegan and I’m really happy with my decision.
If you plan to purchase a premium theme, it’s a good idea to look for a few key selling points:
- Excellent technical support. This is invaluable if you are new to working with themes or have problems with the installation.
- Regular software updates. You don’t want to spend time building your awesome blog using a theme that the author doesn’t keep up to date.
- Security. All bloggers are vulnerable to those who want to take your blog down or exploit it for malicious reasons. Don’t lose all your hard work to a hacker; make sure your theme follows all of WordPress security best practices.
- The right functions for the right blog. Aesthetics matter, but content is king. Pick a layout that makes your content easy for readers to access and navigate.
Here are a few themes that I have used and love, or have researched and like because they are extremely flexible- which will help you build not just the blog you want, but the blog of your dreams.
1. Avada – This is the theme that I use for Your Daily Vegan. It’s flexible, easy-to-use, and comes with a dedicated technical support staff. I also like that the developers continually upgrade the software for bug-fixes.
2. The Thesis Theme – This theme would be on a short list of themes to choose from if I wasn’t already using Avada. Thesis is pretty cool. Every aspect of it is complete customizable in a very friendly, you-don’t-have-to-know-code kind of way. If you are a fan of drag and drop modules, this is the theme for you.
3. Genesis Framework – This is another theme that would be on my shortlist, and it would also be near the top. Genesis is clean, optimized, and loaded with smart design architecture. You want to achieve the best rankings possible and Genesis helps you do that. You’ll also want to take some time to browse the available StudioPress Themes, like the Sixteen-Nine Theme, a slick modern theme to display your work.
4. Elegant Themes – Elegant Themes offers more than 80 different themes to choose from. Are you like me and you like to design your blog from header to footer? Try the Divi Theme. It’s a smart and flexible theme with pre-made layouts, modules, and a responsive design. Plus, once you join Elegant Themes you’ll have access to any of their themes. This means if you install a theme that isn’t working for you, you’ll be able to switch it to another one at no additional charge. I like that a lot.
Truth in Advertising
I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. The information and data presented on Your Daily Vegan has been meticulously researched, and is based on information available at the time of publication. Guides are periodically reviewed for accuracy and updated as necessary. Update dates can be found at the end of every guide. Please contact me if you find out-of-date or incorrect information.
This guide is authored by KD Angle-Traegner. Last update January 2017.