You’ve been wondering how to start a lifestyle blog but you just don’t know where to begin?
There is a TON of information out there and it can get pretty overwhelming! If you’re anything like me, you just want a clear and concise guide that will teach you how to start a profitable blog from start to finish.
Well congratulations, you just found it!
Whether you are completely new to the blogosphere or you have a blog that you want to improve on, this guide will help you create a successful lifestyle blog in minutes.
Are you in a rush?
Bookmark this guide for later, purchase your hosting (and snag a free domain) for less than $4 a month. Plus here’s a quick summary of what’s included:
- Choose a blogging platform. I recommend WordPress.
- Get your blog self-hosted with a company like Bluehost or WP Engine.
- Install WordPress on your blog.
- Choose the perfect theme and find your must-have blogging tools.
- Figure out how to make money blogging.
Already have a blog?
If you already have a self-hosted blog and want to know what is or isn’t working for you, grab one of my brilliant blog audits for only $25 and check out one of these posts below:
Oh, and don’t forget to join the Secret Library. It’s full of blogging freebies and resources!
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog: The Ultimate Guide
But first, what is a lifestyle blog and why should you start one?
The great thing about a lifestyle blog is that you can write about almost anything.
And as long as you are writing about something that you’re passionate about, you can be successful. When you are actually interested in what you’re writing about, you will naturally create valuable content and believe me, your readers will notice that!
Starting your own lifestyle blog will not only give you a creative outlet to share your passions – it will also give you the opportunity to connect with like-minded bloggers, develop your personal skills and collaborate with companies you love.
Your lifestyle blog will be about your lifestyle. You can create your own rules and control your own content. You can be your own brand.
How amazing is that?
Step One: Choose the Right Platform
When you’re first starting out your blog, you have the choice between using a free or self-hosted blogging platform. And while everyone likes getting something for free, having your blog on a free platform isn’t the best idea.
Reasons you should avoid using a free platform:
- Ability to run ads and monetize your blog is restricted or forbidden
- The URL looks unprofessional (like www.myblog.blogspot.com)
- Many free platforms will run their own ads on your blog
- There is virtually no support available and the design options are limited
- You will not own your blog or the content
That last point is the most important! If you use a free platform for blogging, you do not own your blog or the content.
And that’s not what building your own lifestyle blog is all about, is it?
If you want to have a profitable lifestyle blog, make sure it is self-hosted. And personally, I think WordPress is the best blogging platform out there.
Reasons why you should use WordPress:
- WordPress is perfect for beginners
- There are tons of free themes and plugins
- Everything is customizable (no coding knowledge required)
- It is the most popular blogging platform and has the most resources
- You will own your blog, all of the content and you can monetize it
What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress is essentially software for bloggers. And if you were under the impression that WordPress is free, you’re not completely wrong.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform (please refer to the negative points above) that allows you to use a small part of the WordPress blogging software. WordPress.org offers you the ability to use the full blogging software, but in order to use it, you need to get hosting for your blog. We will cover this in Step Three.
Step Two: Choose Your Domain Name
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “domain name” – it is your website’s URL. For example, mine is www.mayamaceka.com.
Choosing your domain name is like choosing the name of your company, it requires some serious thought and consideration.
You can always do what I did, and just use your own name as a domain. Or you might want to pick something that relates to what you will be writing about.
Here are some tips on how to pick a domain name for a lifestyle blog:
- Keep it short and make it easy for people to type
- Avoid using numbers, hyphens and slang
- Have it reflect you and your brand
- Make it memorable and don’t copy someone else
Step Three: Choose Your Website Hosting
Now that you know why you should use WordPress and how to pick up a domain name, it’s time to get hosting.
If you’re anything like me, you want to start a blog for cheap, but you also want decent services and customer support – Bluehost is your answer, hands down.
Bluehost comes highly recommended from a lot of lifestyle bloggers, including myself.
My favourite feature is their customer support and 24/7 live chat. When you have any issues or questions (and believe me, you will), their knowledgeable staff will fix your problem in under 5 minutes. Also, Bluehost plans start at just $3.95 per month, which is one of the cheapest out there!
For some people, $3.95 per month is a serious expense – I mean you can buy an entire drink at Starbucks with that kind of money! But hear me out. That $3.95 per month guarantees that you own your blog and your content. And once you start blogging, you can easily make this money back!
Also, you get a free domain by signing up with Bluehost! No need to purchase one for an additional fee.
If you’re still on the fence about paying for hosting, try to remember that you need to spend money to make money. And if you want to make money with a lifestyle blog, you need to put a little money into it.
What is running your own lifestyle blog worth to you?
Benefits of using Bluehost:
- Free domain name
- 24/7 customer support including live chat, email and phone
- Free WordPress installation
- Automatic website caching and backups
- Fast loading times
This last point is extremely important. Have you ever visited a website only to click out of it because it doesn’t load fast enough? You don’t want that to happen with your blog.
Yes, there are other web hosting options out there. But you want one that will have the best support and the fastest loading times. That’s Bluehost.
Step Four: Sign up for Website Hosting
Visit Bluehost, click “get started now” and then select the plan that works best for you. The cheapest way to start a blog will be to select the “Basic” plan, which is really all you need. So skip the “Plus” and “Prime” plans as they are more expensive and unnecessary when you’re just getting started.
After you choose a hosting plan, you will enter in the domain name that you want to use for your blog. Bluehost will check to make sure the domain is available. If the domain you wanted is already in use, no worries! Bluehost will give you some different variations and you can just go with something similar. I also highly recommend using “.com” over any of the other options, since it is easiest for people to remember.
Now you’re ready to complete the sign-up by entering in your account and payment info. Before you hit submit, make sure you review the package information.
Under “Account Plan”, you’ll notice four different pricing options that vary depending on how many months you want to pay for upfront. The 36 month and 60 month plans are $3.95 per month or $47.90 per year, which works out to be the best value.
If you’re not ready to make that kind of commitment to blogging, I completely understand. You might want to sign up for the 24 month or 12 month plan, which are slightly more expensive per month but less of an upfront cost overall.
The 12 month plan is $5.45 per month or $65.40 per year. This plan is still extremely affordable, considering you also get a free domain and free WordPress installation.
You also might want to consider paying $0.99 per month for Domain Privacy Protection, which ensures your contact information stays private. But you can uncheck the other extras because you don’t need them for your blog.
If you need help on deciding which plan to choose, send me email! I’m always online, literally.
Once you complete this step, Bluehost will send you an email confirmation letting you know that your domain and hosting are all set up!
Step Four: Install WordPress on Bluehost
The process of how to setup a WordPress blog on Bluehost recently changed in 2017. And now, installing WordPress on Bluehost is even easier than before. So be aware that some of the other information you find online could be outdated.
Bluehost gives you all the tools you need to create a WordPress blog for free. I’m going to explain the process to you step-by-step.
- Log into your Bluehost dashboard. The sign-in information will be in the welcome email.
- Once you are at the dashboard (or what Bluehost calls the cPanel), scroll down to the “Website” section and click on “Install WordPress.”
- Click on the big green button that says “Continue Installation.”
- Type in the domain where you want to install WordPress. Make sure to use the domain that you created when you signed up for Bluehost. Leave the “Directory” field blank and click “Next.”
- On this page you need to create your “Admin Information.” This info will be used to log into your WordPress dashboard. Choose your Site Name (for example, my site name is Maya Maceka and my domain name is www.mayamaceka.com but don’t worry about this too much, as you can always change it later. Enter in the email you would like to use with WordPress. This should be the email that you use and check most often. Come up with a WordPress username and password and keep them stored in a safe place. Make sure all 3 boxes are selected and click “Next.”
- Wait while Bluehost sets up WordPress for you.
- Once the installation shows as complete, you will receive an email with your WordPress log-in details.
Guess what? You just learned how to create a lifestyle blog.
It’s online and ready for you to use. Give yourself a pat on the back and pour yourself a drink – you deserve it. Congratulations friend!
But now you might be wondering how to use WordPress, how to write a blog post or better yet – how to make money with a lifestyle blog.
No worries, I’ve got your back.
Step Five: Getting Started with WordPress
Log into WordPress through your Admin URL using the credentials that were given to you after installation.
Take a look around your WordPress dashboard. It might be overwhelming at first, but I promise all of this will look familiar to you in no time at all. The left hand side of WordPress is where you can access most of your tools. Let’s start at the top.
This is where you can organize all of your blog posts, categories and tags.
By clicking on “All Posts,” you can view/edit all of your published posts and drafts.
To add a new post, click on “Add New.” Here you can type out your post, add images, videos and whatever else you need. You can also manage each post’s categories and tags from here.
Categories are, as the name suggests, the categories of your blog. You can have these show up at the top of your blog, which makes it easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for. My categories for example are travel, lifestyle and blogging.
Tags on blog posts are like hashtags on Instagram – they should be relevant to your content and help other people find your post.
This section is fairly simple. It stores all of the media files you upload to your blog, including images. Click on “Library” to see what media you already have stored and click on “Add New” to add a new photo to the library.
Once you upload a new photo, you can change the size, titles and alt text. I would highly suggest making the image title and alt text something relevant to the image, as it will help your website rank higher on search engines.
Pages are an essential type of content for your blog. These will vary with every person but you may want to start out with an “About Me” page and a “Contact” page.
This section is pretty self-explanatory. You can read, reply and manage all of the comments that you get on your blog posts.
If you’re anything like me, you are probably really excited to learn how to style a blog. When I was learning how to start a lifestyle blog, I would browse popular sites and drool over the beautiful layouts and colour combinations. Now is your time to shine!
Click on “Themes” and you can select one of the free WordPress themes that is available to you or you can purchase a paid theme. Paid themes vary in cost and they will give you more freedom when it comes to the customization of your blog. A website called My Theme Shop has a huge selection of responsive blog themes. Oh, and you can view speed tests and demos for free.
Click on “Customize” to change the fonts, colours and overall layout of your site. I know you want to make sure your blog looks beautiful but don’t get too caught up in the design when you’re just getting started. It’s easy to spend hours trying to find that perfect shade of pink but you have more important things to be doing – like building up your content.
Click on “Menus” to arrange your menu structure and settings. The menu will be found at the top of your blog and will allow your readers to easily navigate through your content. You can add various Pages and Categories.
This is one of the reasons why starting a WordPress blog on Bluehost is so much better than using a free hosting service. Plugins will help your site run better and allow you to customize your software. Similar to apps, there is a plugin for almost everything. I use a plugin to showcase my Instagram photos, add Pinterest buttons to my images, help out with my SEO and send out newsletters.
TIP: Check out my Ultimate Toolkit for Bloggers which features an entire list of must-have blogging tools, including plugins and other free services!
Step Six: How to Make Money Blogging
Can we just take a moment to appreciate everything you have learned so far?
You learned how to start a lifestyle blog, how to setup a WordPress blog on Bluehost and how to use WordPress. I admire the way you are investing in yourself! I think you have the drive and passion to become a successful blogger.
Now you want to learn how to make money with a lifestyle blog. Well, when you figure that out, please let me know… just kidding. If you can believe it, I was able to make over $200 in my very first month of blogging. Check out my income report to find out exactly how I did it!
And I definitely recommend opening up this post in a new tab to dive further into the world of blog monetization: 5 Ways to Make Money Blogging
But before you can make money with a blog, you need to:
- Build up your blog with interesting and informative content. Use clickable headlines and high quality images. When people read your stuff, you want them to be inspired by you and share your content with others. This is the key to growing your website traffic and audience. And use SEO keywords to ensure people can find your content online.
- Connect with your community. Give your readers the option to sign up to your mailing list. Send them newsletters and exclusive content. Most of all, learn how to build up your social media as a blogger. Focus on a few networks at first like Facebook and Pinterest. Join groups and connect with other bloggers.
Once you have created helpful blog content and built up your social community, you’re ready to monetize your blog. If you work at it hard enough, you might even be able to turn your blog into your full-time job.
Ways to Make Money as a Blogger:
- Set up affiliate advertising to promote third-party products and services. Get paid a commission for each sale. I totally recommend signing up for an affiliate network like Awin which will connect you to a ton of companies.
- Find a sponsored blog post opportunity get paid a lump sum.
- Display ads on your blog and get paid per click. I recommend using Media.net!
- Sell your own products or create a course. You can sell almost anything on a lifestyle blog! If you choose this route, you’ll need to set up a billing service like Freshbooks.
Ok, if you read through this entire post, I just want to say thank you. A lot of time and effort went into writing this guide and I hope it helps you create something special.
I’d love if you could share this post or pin it!
As I mentioned earlier, if you get confused at any point during the process of starting a lifestyle blog, please don’t be afraid to reach out and send me an email. I also offer blog audits and coaching services. I can even set up your entire blog for you! Honestly, I would love nothing more than to help someone else reach their goals!