Last summer I experimented with how to start a lifestyle blog. It was a short-term summer challenge to see just what it takes to start up as a new blogger.
I was left with the over-whelming impression that it’s really quite easy. Yes you have to put in the time, but as long as you write about popular topics, promote on social media and learn a little SEO, just about anyone can be successful.
This is my take on the the best way to start a lifestyle blog. An easy step-by-step guide of bang up-to-date advice.
What Exactly Is A Lifestyle Blog?
It’s probably best to make sure we’re all on the same page and know what we’re talking about.
Lifestyle blogs are a very particular type of blog. Full of images and inspiration, these types of blogs typically reflect the author’s life.
That’s not quite the same as a personal online diary. There may be stories about daily events and family pictures but the real aim is providing information.
For example, a lifestyle blog about your new home in Spain may be full of wonderful pictures of paella, sandy beaches and cobbled streets.
There could be pictures of you posing in some incredible outfit at Park Guell but there would also be useful information; best places to eat, where to stay and what to take.
A lifestyle blog, just like any other blog, is still about the reader. If you’re unsure, read about some successful examples in my post “What Is A Lifestyle Blog”.
Why Start A Lifestyle Blog?
People start blogs for all sorts of reasons! The obvious one is money. Your blog can be a ticket to an independent lifestyle where you get to work from home or just about anywhere.
It’s been my chance to say good-bye to working for anyone-else ever again. I tried teaching in mainstream schools before I started this blog.
A little bit of me feels guilty for quitting, but this way I get to help people who really want to learn. Plus leading a lifestyle I could only dream of on a teaching salary!
Now a word of caution. It’s not going to happen overnight. Most people take about a year to get to a full-time income and some take a little longer.
You can make this a bit quicker by combining blogging with providing a service. Some people are freelance writers, VA’s or manage Pinterest accounts – the options are endless and depend on your skill set.
My best tip…
Of course, not everyone starts a blog to make money. You can make friends, build an online community, talk about your hobbies and interests… these are all great reasons to start a blog.
What Does It Cost To Start A Lifestyle Blog?
If you think about your lifestyle blog as a business, it’s possibly the cheapest business you can start up from home.
It’s not as cheap as going round your neighbours and asking them for odd jobs, but in terms of your normal business startup the costs are low.
My only caveat is it can take 12 months to build up a full-time income from blogging so it’s best to start as a side hustle. Snatch a few spare hours a week to write a post and you’ll thank me later!
Your blog is your future investment. One that once it starts to generate income will pay back for years to come. You can even sell it! Blogs sell for around 12X Monthly income. It can quickly become quite a nice figure!
If you’re serious about making money from a blog, (or you think you might want to sell it one day – cashing in on your investment), you need to start your blog on WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is an amazing content management platform used by 35% of the world’s websites. It organises your posts, pages and images. It’s free to use but you do need to pay for hosting, (space on a special computer called a server). Think of it as the physical location of your blog.
The biggest tip I can give you about hosting is don’t try and skimp on costs. Hosting is the only thing you really need to spend money on when you start a blog, so make sure you pick a good host.
By good I mean fast, secure and reliable. That doesn’t make it expensive. Some of the best for beginners are just $3/month! Hosting is all you really need to pay for.
A paid theme is a nice-to-have but not essential. You need a laptop, (or a desktop), plus a good camera – the cameras on some phones are just amazing these days and will do the job.
My top choice of hosting for beginner bloggers is Bluehost. Click and read to find out more:
(Please note I’m an affiliate for Bluehost. If you purchase using this link I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. They’re the Number 1 hosting company recommended by WordPress and I was going to recommend them anyway).
Can I Start A Lifestyle Blog For Free?
Oh course! There are free platforms such as Blogger.com which are great for a bit of practice or starting a hobby blog. I started my first blog this way and it was good for a few months until I realised it’s limitations.
You’ll really struggle to make any money with a free platform and you’ll never see a free blog ranking highly on Google. It’s great if you’re blogging for your friends, your local church or just because you feel an urge to write. For anything else, you do need to pay for hosting.
How To Start A Lifestyle Blog
#1 Pick Your Blog Focus
Unlike a niche blog that focuses on just one or two core topics, a lifestyle blog can be a broad topic blog.
Yet before you start blogging about anything and everything, lets reel things in a bit. If you start out writing about too many topics you’re just going to run out of steam.
Most successful lifestyle blogs writing about tons of different topics employ a team of writers. You’re just one person. So let’s be realistic.
Start off with a focus. Write about no more than three core topics. It’s always possible to add more later.
Write out a list of your interests. It’s always easier to blog about topics you enjoy. You’re going to be better informed and readers will pick up on your enthusiasm for the topic.
Go through your list and ask yourself:
- Do I like this topic enough to blog about it for the next 3 to 5 years?
- Is it a popular topic?
- Are there products I can promote to people interested in this topic?
Successful lifestyle blogs tend to have a large audience. You really need to be blogging about popular topics where there are lots of opportunities for promoting products.
Here are some of the most successful topics for lifestyle bloggers:
- Home decor
- Health & Fitness
This is just a short list. If your topic isn’t on this list it doesn’t mean it’s not a good one.
Narrow your list of interests down to just three topics.
Now it’s time to think about your audience. You can’t expect everyone to want to read your writing. Instead you have to find your fan club…
Look at the topic list you’ve chosen. You can write about them all in so many different ways.
Take gardening for example. You could write about growing vegetables and becoming self-sufficient. Or it could be a balcony garden for inner city flat dwellers. Or maybe you have a quiet lifestyle pottering about growing roses.
All of these approaches could work for a lifestyle blog. You just need to think about your topic direction and who you’ll be writing for.
It’s important to build an avatar, your typical blog reader. Start with the basics; age, gender, family, income. Flesh it out as much as possible.
For example, it could be a 30+ single woman living in the city with a good income or a 50+ married man with grown up children, living in a small town with a modest income. The possibilities are endless.
The avatar isn’t you. It may be a bit similar to you and sometimes it’s easier to write for a younger version of yourself but making it you is just too limiting.
It’s okay to have more than one avatar. For my last 7 figure business I had four different avatars. These characters had overlapping interests.
Build up your characters and every time you write a post you’ll be aiming it at them. Their interests, their likes and dislikes, pain points, insecurities, day dreams and aspirations.
#2 Choose Your Blog Name
I suggest you keep things simple and your blog name is similar to your domain name, for example Simply Hatch and simplyhatch.com.
So many people get stuck on choosing their blog name. It’s no where near as important as you think. There are a lot of successful blogs with terrible names.
Using your own name is a good option for a lifestyle blog. It makes it easier to add extra topics or change the direction of your blog as it evolves. Camille Styles or A Cup Of Jo are good examples.
You can also use your blog name to give a hint of what your blog is about. Happy Fit Mama writes mainly about fitness.
The main rules for choosing a domain name are:
- Try and keep it short and easy to remember
- Avoid hyphens, misspellings and numbers.
- Make sure the domain name looks right. www.fartogo.com could be remembered for the wrong reasons.
- Use .com if you’re in the US aiming for Worldwide customers. When your focus is on just one country, pick the best extension for that country, for example .co.uk
If you’re stuck and you don’t want to use your own name, try adding adjectives to your main topic or items you love… or even your own name. Bright Bazaar, Chasing Foxes, Deliciously Ella are all ideas along these lines. A thesaurus can be a big help.
You may find your first few ideas have already been taken as domain names but it’s surprising how many great names are still available.
Here are a few I just found for fun!
Let me know if you use any of these! It took about 5 minutes to come up with these using the Bluehost domain checker:
A word of warning – once you find your domain name, snap it up straight away! From bitter experience I know just how gut wrenching in is to leave it too late…
#3 Signup For Hosting
I recommend a few great hosting providers on this site but my top choice for beginners is Bluehost. These are the reasons:
- They hit my basic criteria for hosting – speed, reliability and security.
- It’s the No. 1 hosting company recommended by WordPress.
- The set up is geared around complete beginners
- They install WordPress for you,
- Make sure your site is set up as https with a free SSL certificate,
- Set your permalinks correctly to postname so you post urls are https://yourdomain/postname.com not some random number or date.
- You get a free domain for the first year and they take care of all the techy setup for you.
- There’s 24/7 support
- It’s really affordable and you don’t get hit by high renewal charges.
- Their plans have unmetered bandwidth so you won’t have to worry about upgrading to a more expensive plan until your site’s huge and successful. (I use SiteGround for my LoveLifeBeFit site but I’ve already had to upgrade twice – and it’s not even a big blog yet).
Even better, you can get 50% off hosting:
The link takes you through to the Bluehost site where your discount is applied automatically.
From there setting up your account is really easy but just in case you need some extra help I’ve but together a whole mini-course for you…
Access Your Free Mini Course
#4 Install WordPress
Bluehost will install WordPress for you! Login to WordPress and you’re good to go…
#5 Pick A Theme
Normally I suggest you go with the free theme GeneratePress at least for the first few months until you get the hang of blogging. It’s still good advice – I just know as a lifestyle blogger you’re going to ignore it!
I don’t blame you…lifestyle blogging is very visual.
I got the theme for my lifestyle blog from StudioPress. It’s the Mai Lifestyle Pro theme and you can see it in action here.
Here are some other themes from StudioPress:
These themes take a bit more setting up than the simple GeneratePress sites but they work well for your typical image rich lifestyle blog.
Plus they come complete with step-by-step set up guides and some excellent support. Enjoy browsing through the full set of themes – there’s something for everyone from recipe food bloggers to adventure travellers!
#6 Write Your First Blog Post
You don’t want to overthink writing your first post. Find the post section on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard and add new.
It opens up the WordPress block editor (called Gutenberg) and you can start writing your first post. Delete the example “Hello World” post.
Just to help you get started, I’ve included a blog post template in The 12 Month Blog Plan (Did I tell you it’s free?)
#7 Extra Resources And Tips
There’s a lot ton of stuff to take in when you start your first blog. Have a read of my Start A Blog guide and download the free guide. I do like giving away free stuff…
There’s a big section on making money from blogging. It’s unlikely to happen on Day 1 but it’s good to plan ahead. I always like to visualize what a new blog will look like in 5 years time. (This one will be packed with even more free tips and resources).
A little advice if you want to be a successful lifestyle blogger:
- Learn how to blog properly. It’s not difficult but there are a few basics that can really make a difference when you get them right. SEO is one of them and my Hatch A Blog ebook will help you get off to the best start.
- Be genuine. You may be writing for an avatar and the glimpses of your lifestyle may be the highlights, but stay true to yourself. My rule is I don’t recommend anything I wouldn’t use myself.
- Blog a lot…It doesn’t always have to be consistent, (although this helps), but you do need to write. It’s easy to get side tracked when you start blogging and suddenly find you’re not producing new content. the most successful blogs have a LOT of content. especially lifestyle blogs.
- You need great pictures if you’re a lifestyle blogger. If you’re not good with a camera start practising, otherwise paying for stock photos will become essential. You can get free images from sites such as Unsplash but the problem is these images are used by everyone. One option is signing up for a monthly plan with Shutterstock. You can try it out for free.
- Write about the topics you’re passionate about – your posts will resonate more with your readers.
- Don’t steal – copying text or images from other blogs is a big no-no.
- Social media is really important for lifestyle bloggers but limit yourself to one or two platforms. It’s way better to do one platform well than spread yourself too thinly.
Last of all I suggest finding your support group. It can get lonely writing a blog and you need people to turn to share good days and bad. (If you sign up for my Hatch A Blog Ebook you get to join my FaceBook support group – it’s a friendly and helpful group!)
Conclusion – How To Start A Lifestyle Blog
In many ways starting a lifestyle blog is easy. You’re not creating digital products to sell, worrying about sales funnels or even email marketing!
(Email marketing does help with affiliate sales but it’s not essential when you first start).
Lifestyle blogging is about taking terrific pictures and writing inspiring, helpful posts for your audience. Learn how to blog correctly, along with the basics of SEO, and you’re on your way to a successful blog.