How I set up my self-hosted wordpress blog

Ok, confession time: it never occurred to me to not to have my own self-hosted wordpress blog! In fact, I already did with my other domain, so I just kind of naturally set up this blog on my own as well. But, my second confession: I’m a web developer by trade. Since joining the “blogging world” I’ve realised that this isn’t always an easy thing for a lot of other people to do, so I’m going to share Made by Luci is set up in the hopes it will help.

Domain and hosting

I have my hosting with a company called Tsohost* – so far, I have no complaints. They let me buy domains through them, manage my hosting from one spot, and the speed isn’t too bad compared to other, cheaper hosts I’ve used in the past. If you’re trying to find your own, there are a couple of things that are must haves:

  • PHP version 5.6 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater
  • The mod_rewrite Apache module on the server

HTTPS and caching

I have a free account with Cloudflare, which I use to give my site a couple of extras such as a secure URL and it controls some caching of my files to hopefully speed things up for readers.

Theme

I’ve actually built my own theme – developing websites is what I ‘do’ during the day. I started with a blank theme with no styles at all, and built from there using the Bootstrap library to help speed things along – it comes with a great grid system that I use all the time and lets me have a mobile-ready blog in literally minutes.

However, I totally get that writing your own theme is just not an option for most people, so when asked, I recommend places like this and just picking one that you like, and which has good reviews:

Plugins

I have a few plugins that are absolutely required for the running of this little food blog! They are:

CoSchedule *

I use CoSchedule to well, schedule things! It gives me a calendar I can use to get an overview of not only my posts, but my social media shares as well. It lets me set up tasks for each post as well, which also goes on the calendar. The organisational part of me really, really likes that. The most useful thing by far is the scheduled social media sharing – the time I save is crazy. I used the free trial first, got addicted, then signed up to the standard plan.

Easy Nutrition Facts Label

This is what displays the nutritional information at the bottom of recipe posts. I customised it slightly to include a little disclaimer, but other than that it’s brilliant out of the box – I work out the macros on MyFitnessPal, then enter them here. Simple!

Yoast SEO and Insights

Yoast SEO is a handy little thing that rates your posts using a traffic light system. It bases the score for the focus keyword/phrase defined on areas like meta description, the slug, links and post length. It also now gives you a readability rating, again using the traffic light system. This is based on use of passive voice, ease of readability, sentence length, subheading length, paragraph length and use of transition words.
Insights connects my little self-hosted wordpress blog with the outside world… kind of. That’s how I think of it in my head. It connects up to my Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, which tells me things like which posts are doing well, and how many page views per month I’m getting. It’s kind of fun!

Ziplist recipe plugin

This is my recipe plugin of choice – I know a lot of other bloggers tend to have a different one, but this is the one I got on with most. I recommend trying a few (one at a time) when setting up your blog, and seeing which one works best for you and your blog. I’ve customised mine quite a bit, but mostly just minor tweaks to how the actual HTML code is written.

That’s a wrap

I think that’s all the useful things I can say about my little self-hosted wordpress blog! If you have any questions, or want some more detail on anything at all, just let me know in the comments below, or via social media.

* Denotes an affiliate link.

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