Updated October 15, 2019 8:56 AM PT

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

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Living your life—and sharing it with the world—is the dream. Starting your own lifestyle blog can make it a reality. Find out how in our guide.

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What Is a Lifestyle Blog?

A lifestyle blog is an online space to write about your life. It can include a variety of topics, from motherhood to cooking to fashion. Or choose a specific focus to discuss one or two topics in depth.

Check out these successful professional lifestyle bloggers for inspiration:

Mara Ferreira (M Loves M)
Mara is a mother and wife living in Southern California. Her blog covers a range of topics: motherhood, fashion, and entertaining.

Adam Gallagher (I Am Galla)
Adam is a lifestyle blogger who writes about fashion and styling tips for men. Gallagher also touches on other topics: travel and home décor ("My NYC Apartment Makeover," for example).

Meghan Rienks
Meghan is an actress and popular lifestyle blogger who shares recipes, fashion, travel, and miscellaneous travel content on her blog.

Why Start a Lifestyle Blog?
The best reason to start a lifestyle blog is to chronicle your life and share it with people. Blogging isn't a get-rich-quick scheme—monetizing yours can take years, if it happens at all.

Choosing Your Blog Topic

Lifestyle blogs can cover various topics. Define your blog early to build your audience.

Will you write about food and travel? Will you share stories from motherhood? Will you write about your life with your dogs?

Before you decide, answer these questions:

  • What things make me unique?
  • What topics interest me?
  • How will my content be different from other lifestyle blogs?

Setting a theme will keep your blog narrow. In an overcrowded space, your readers need to know what they're getting.

Picking the Perfect Name
Choose a simple, straightforward, and clever name for your lifestyle blog. Keep it under five words—no one will type a 15-word URL.

And stay away from punctuation-like hyphens in your URL. It makes sharing the name of your site trickier, especially with face-to-face marketing.

Once you have an idea in mind, make sure the name is available to buy as a domain name. Most importantly, see if it's available as a dot com URL. Domain names ending in .info or .biz, for example, are uncommon and seem less legitimate.

Reserve the name of your blog on all platforms by creating an account—even if you do not plan on using them right away (or at all). This prevents identity theft and leaves your options open for the future.

Check Social Media for the Name
Make sure the name of your blog is available on all social platforms:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are especially important because those platforms have the most active users.

How to Get Started

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Web hosting and buying a domain are the two upfront costs when making your own lifestyle blog. If you're on a budget, you can always set up a free blog on WordPress.com and save on these costs (more on this later).

You'll need to start by choosing a hosting platform. After all, your blog needs a home on the internet—hosting services will provide that home for a cost. Many allow you to buy both web hosting and a domain at the same time for a discount.

There are several hosting options:

  • Shared Account
    This is the most practical choice. Shared account hosting means multiple websites use the same server. This option limits the amount of server resources your blog can use. Those limits are spelled out in the package you purchase.

  • A VPS
    VPS stands for Virtual Private Server Hosting. This is a dedicated server in a shared hosting space. This option lets you run your own virtual operating system.

  • Your Own Dedicated Server
    Getting your own dedicated server is perhaps the most extreme version of self-hosting. You can rent your own server.

Keep reading for a breakdown of major hosting services that are WordPress compatible (the program we will use to build the actual website).

Can I Set Up My Lifestyle Blog for Free?
Using a free service lets you save money and get familiar with blogging. Wix, Blogger, and WordPress all offer free options to build a website.

But if you're serious and intend to monetize your blog, avoid these free options. Here's why:

  • Hosting your blog on another platform means you do not own your content.
  • You will not be able to run your own ads, which limits your potential profits down the line.
  • If the hosting platform (Wix, Squarespace, etc.) does not agree with something you post, they can take your blog down.

InMotion Hosting

Pros

  • Monthly rates starting at $8 a month
  • Optimized for WordPress, which comes pre-installed
  • Unlimited bandwidth and email accounts
  • Free data backups and malware protection
  • Unlimited WordPress sites on one account
  • Support among the best in the business

Cons

  • Shared server supports only about 20,000 monthly visitors
  • Higher price tag due to added features

Bluehost

Pros

  • Discount codes for plans as low as $3 a month
  • Formally endorsed by WordPress and easy, one-click install
  • Unlimited site traffic
  • Automated data backups

Cons

  • Domain name costs money after first year

HostGator

Pros

  • Works well with WordPress—install with one click
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Unlimited disk space, emails, and bandwidth
  • $100 in Google AdWords credit to start your marketing

Cons

  • Costs more than other options
  • $13 to buy a custom domain name

Sign up for terms longer than a year to save money on hosting fees.

Setting Up Web Hosting

No matter what hosting service you pick, you will be offered a number of add-on extras or domain extension options.

Don't waste your money on every domain extension option. You only need two:

  • Domain Privacy Protection (DPP)
    This will keep your name, address, and phone number from coming up in a WHOIS search. It keeps spammers from emailing or calling you randomly.

    You can always add this protection later, but it is recommended for privacy purposes.

  • SSL Certificate
    This certificate is standard practice. It gives your website a secure green lock by the URL, which makes it secure.

    Most web browsers will warn users against coming to an unsecure site. This option is generally free, so make sure you have it.

Using WordPress to Get Your Site Live

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Many people think WordPress is just a tool used for blogging, but it's much more. The platform can be used for publishing content online.

With WordPress, you can:

  • Install custom themes (free or paid) and customize your website
  • Use Google Analytics to track data
  • Have full control over your blog

Not in love with WordPress? This article from Mostly Blogging compares and contrasts it with another popular content management system, so you can learn more about another option.

How to Install

InMotion Hosting, Bluehost, and HostGator have quick install options to set up your site using WordPress. This is also the case for many large web hosting services.

On HostGator

  1. Type in YourDomain.com/cpanel (that stands for Control Panel).

  2. Log in with the username and password sent to you via email.

  3. Go to the "Essentials" section and find the "WordPress Installer."

On Bluehost
Install WordPress with one click once you receive the introductory email. Then:

  1. Simply enter your domain.

  2. Enter your own name as a blog title if you're planning to build a personal website (you can change this later).

  3. Create an admin username. This can be anything but the word "admin."

  4. Enter your first and last name and an admin email address.

Don't forget to save the username and password generated for WordPress. You will need those later.

How to Set Up Your Site

Now that the basic installation is complete, you can set up your site using WordPress.

To access your site, type in YourDomain.com/wp-admin (that stands for WordPress Admin). If it's not available yet, don't fret—it can take up to an hour for your web host to set up the account.

Everything you need will be visible on the left-hand sidebar:

  • Dashboard
    This is the WordPress homepage. When you log in, you will be automatically taken to the dashboard.

  • Posts
    This is where you will publish blog posts and pieces of text. You can also edit existing posts here.

  • Pages
    In this section, you can create a page. A page shows up on the navigation section of your website.

    For example: "About Me" or "Resume" would both be pages. When you click on them in the navigation bar, they will take you to another part of the site.

  • Comments
    If you have a blog on your site, you will moderate comments in the "comments" section.

  • Appearance
    The appearance section lets you change and customize how your site looks. You can check themes, menus, widgets, and more.

  • Plugins
    In this section, you can add or remove plugins. Don't worry about this—we will get to it later.

  • Tools
    This part of the site is not as important as the others. You won't need any of these to start with.

  • User
    Don't worry about this part of the site. Since you will be creating a personal website, the only user you will want on here is yourself.

  • Settings
    You will find general settings here for your website.

Check out WordPress' online guide to help you with your early struggles.

Finding the Perfect Theme for Your Lifestyle Blog

WordPress has an incredible number of themes, both free and paid. These allow you to customize your website without any coding skills.

Here are a few things to look for when browsing themes:

Functionality
Make sure the theme lets you do everything you need to. For example, if you want a contact form template included, make sure the template you will use has that feature.

Reviews
Other people's insights will give you a better idea of the theme's pros and cons.

Developer Support
If you want your website theme to stay current and work through bugs, you need to make sure the developer puts out updates regularly.

Successful lifestyle bloggers recommend the same theme providers: the Genesis framework paired with a Genesis theme.

It has a number of advantages for lifestyle bloggers.

  • The themes are optimized for SEO, or search engine optimization.

  • Genesis themes come with clear and simple setup instructions. It's easy to install the themes and make them work for your site.

  • Genesis themes come with plugins like Simple Social Plugin and a featured posts plugin to take your site to the next level.

Essence Pro
This theme is a stunning, clutter-free option for bloggers. The downside: it's photo-heavy, so if you don't have lots of photos, it may look empty.

Pretty Fabulous
This refined yet professional theme is bright and eye-catching. It's a statement website with a homepage that emphasizes latest posts and images.

Studio Pro
This clean theme is easily customizable with grids. The popular theme comes with plenty of color options and other cool features, like a shadow hover effect.

Choosing the right theme is one of the most important parts of creating the blog of your dreams. This guide from The Sweetest Way walks you through every step of creating a beautiful blog, with some personal recommendations thrown in to give you even more ideas.

Finding the Perfect Plugins

A plugin is a third-party application for your website. Installing one adds features and gives you the ability to customize more elements.

Here's how to install a plugin:

  1. Click on "Plugins" on your WordPress dashboard and click "Add New." This will take you to a page to search for plugins.

  2. Try to type in the exact name of what you're looking for. If you don't have a specific plugin in mind, we cover some of the essentials below (plus, you can always turn to Google).

    Once you have typed in the name, click "Details" to read the description. If this is what you are looking for, click "Install Now."

  3. Once the plugin is installed, click "Activate." After this, there may be additional setup for the plugin.

Here are some plugins to consider for your blog:

  • Askimet
    This plugin, which comes auto-installed with WordPress, helps you manage spam comments on your site.

  • Easy Social Share Buttons
    Social media is an important part of building any blog. This plugin creates easy social share buttons on every page. You can also try Mash Share if you don't like Easy Social Share Buttons.

  • Yoast SEO
    SEO stands for search engine optimization. This plugin makes it easier to improve your rankings in Google by optimizing your articles for search.

  • WP Super Cache
    This plugin helps your site load faster for visitors by storing a version of your site—in a "cache"—and referring to that when visitors come to YourWebsite.com.

  • Comments Not Replied To
    One of the best ways to build an online fanbase is by replying to people's comments. This plugin makes it easier to get back to these people.

Check out a list of other useful plugins like:
  • Wordfence Security: a plugin to help secure your website
  • Duplicate Post: a plugin to help you copy any post easily
  • Really Simple SSL: to install an SSL certificate, in case you don't get one when hosting

Designing a logo makes your blog stand out. But don't spend too much time on it upfront. You can always come back later to refresh or change the logo entirely.

Try these resources for a do-it-yourself logo or to hire someone to do it for a small cost:

  • Canva
    Canva is a free website that lets you create and design banners and graphics. It's simple and easy to use once you create a free account.

  • Upwork
    If you are not ready to design a logo yourself, head over to Upwork and post a job. You will receive proposals from people interested in the job. Then you can message with them and send an offer to someone.

  • Fiverr
    This is another option if you're not ready to design your logo yourself. On Fiverr, you can browse through people's offers and see examples of their work in advance.

Writing Your First Post

Before you start, delete the post that WordPress automatically generates for your website. Here's how:

  1. Go to "Posts" on your dashboard. Click the "Hello World!" post. Then click the trash button.

  2. Do the same thing for your "Pages" section—delete the "Sample Page."

    Now it's time to make your first post. Go to "Posts" and click "New Post."

    Remember you want to introduce your blog and set the right tone. Your first post should:

    • Tell readers who you are.
    • Share what people can expect going forward.
    • Let readers into your life.

Don't neglect the visual elements of your blog posts. Many readers will scroll through. Include eye-catching, high-quality photos to stand out.

In making sure you devote enough time to working on your blog, also make sure you devote enough time to yourself and your relationships. Read one blogger's advice from The Money Professors and learn how to find a working balance that will make everyone - including your bank account - happy.

How to Monetize Your Blog

Making money from the get-go is unrealistic. Even if you have strong content, you won't immediately have a following.

But here are some techniques to help get you there:

Engage with the Community
Learn where your target audience engages most on social media and be active on that platform. Don't be afraid to promote yourself and your website.

It's important to always seek inspiration for your blog posts to keep things fresh for your audience. If you're feeling stagnant, take a look at this article from Blogging From Paradise to find out how to raise your blogging vibe.

Face-to-Face Marketing
Meeting people and telling them about your blog will be an important part of your networking strategy.

Dig Into the Details
Learn as much as you can about your blog, from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Google Analytics and even the tech behind maintaining your blog.

One of the easiest ways to make money from your blog is to set up automatic ads. If one of the most popular ad networks, Google AdSense, doesn't work out for you, make sure to check out this list of alternatives from Fat Stacks Blog.

Take Classes Online
If you're feeling lost, consider taking online classes. Nomadic Matt's Superstar Blogging Course comes highly recommended.

Collect Emails from the Start
Keep reader emails to start building a community—independent of social media platforms.

Make sure the ads on your site are products or experiences you would support. Most times you won't have full control over the ad. But you can always report ineffectual ones.

Have Fun
If you're not enjoying what you're writing about, people will notice.

Creating a profitable blog is a long process and might not be right for you if you want to start earning money as soon as possible. This article from How to Make Money Online: Books by Violet Farah lays out one of the quickest ways to get paid for your writing - as long as you're willing to write for other websites.

Bottom Line

Writing about the way you live your life—and getting paid for it—is a dream job. Follow our guide to get started. But remember, it'll take a lot of consistent work for your blog to become profitable.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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