Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Ron
Want to learn how to start a lifestyle blog and actually make money? With the abundance of blogs on the internet, you may be wondering whether it’s too late to start a blog of your own.
In fact, according to SEM Rush, the average lifestyle blogger makes around $5,000 a month. And some successful lifestyle bloggers are making upwards of $100,000 a month after a few years of consistent effort. Not bad!
Just like podcasting, vlogging, and any other platform used for content marketing, there is always room for your unique voice. Remember, no one in the history of the entire world has the same story and perspective to share that you do. And that’s worth blogging about!
If starting a lifestyle blog and making money is your goal, then this guide was written just for you. I’m going to walk you through how to start a WordPress blog step-by-step.
Okay, enough talk!
Let’s get right to it.
What Is a Blog?
First things first, what exactly is a blog?
From my own experience, I’ve seen people use the term “blog” or “blogging” pretty loosely, so I want to make sure we’re on the same page.
Simply put, a blog is a type of website that focuses on written content. We call these individual pieces of content — that’s right, you guessed it! — blogs posts.
This raises the question: How is a blog different from a website?
A blog is actually a type of website.
The main difference is that a blog is intended to be updated on a regular basis with new content, whereas a normal website is typically static and more “formal”. In other words, all blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.
Here are some key characteristics that distinguish a blog from other websites.
- Dynamic and frequently updated
- Typically written for engagement and to showcase the personality of the author
- Used to educate, entertain, and share information & stories with the world
Want to know the best part?
You can blog about anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital nomad, remote worker, or have a traditional corporate job. If you’re interested in personal blogging, go for it!
Some people like blogging about their fitness and nutritional journeys. Others like blogging about food and the new restaurants they visit. Some of the most successful people I know are interested in how to start a lifestyle blog about travel.
It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a genuine interest and passion in your topic, then you’ll enjoy becoming a lifestyle blogger.
Now before we continue, I want to make sure you understand something extremely important: a blog is something that you own.
This means you own the website, the domain name, your hosting — everything.
Coincidentally, this is also what differentiates a blog from simply posting on Instagram or Facebook. A blog post is published on a platform that is completely yours. Because of this, a blog is much more personalized and thematic than a social media profile.
Of course, part of creating your own blog is to share your posts on social media, but marketing and promotion is something we’ll cover later on in this blogging guide.
How and Why I Started This Blog
Ever wanted to create something meaningful? That’s one of the many reasons why people want to learn how to become a blogger.
Creating this blog is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After all, content creation is how I earn a living. But more important than that, it’s fulfilling to improve and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
When I left the U.S. in 2016 and became a digital nomad, I had no idea what was next.
Sure, I had a general plan, but each day brought new challenges and adventures. Fast forward to today, and I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work remotely from twenty-four countries and counting from around the globe all thanks to blogging and working remotely.
I made a lot of mistakes but each of these experiences has given me more wisdom, insight, and perspectives that are worth writing about.
This blog has been an excellent forum to help facilitate training aspiring remote workers on how to use content marketing as a vehicle to obtain a digital nomad lifestyle.
So if you’re thinking about how to create your own blog, you might be overwhelmed on how to start blogging with WordPress, how to get traffic to your blog, and how to make money blogging.
But believe me when I tell you:
I was in the exact same boat! In fact, you might even be “ahead” of where I was because I didn’t have this guide to walk me through the process.
Some common questions about blogging include:
- How do I start a blog from scratch?
- What’s a domain name and why does it matter?
- What is hosting?
- How much does it cost to start a blog?
- Can I really create a blog to make money?
Here’s the good news: starting a lifestyle blog is easier than you think.
Simply follow the steps below and you’ll be lifestyle blogging in no time flat.
Starting a Successful Lifestyle Blog (Step-by-Step)
Before we get to the steps below that are required to start a WordPress blog, I recommend that you work through each step sequentially.
You see, in my experience coaching digital nomads and content creators, I’ve found that successful lifestyle bloggers share one special characteristic: we’re all go-getters.
In other words, if you’re reading this to learn how to start a blog, chances are that you’re proactive and want to take control of your life.
Creating a blog from scratch and building a long-term asset takes time.
In any case, these steps are organized in this particular order for a reason. By actively working through all the steps as you get started, you’ll have a better understanding of how the pieces fit together in the bigger picture.
Ok with that out of the way:
Let’s go through the steps for starting a lifestyle blog from scratch.
DISCLOSURE: Please note that I’m an affiliate for SiteGround, the hosting company I recommend in this guide. That means that if you signup through this link, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you which helps to make this guide and keep this website free of ads. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used, can vouch for, and can confidently stand behind.
Step 1: Pick a Niche and Name Your Blog
The first thing you need to know when starting a blog is:
What do you want to blog about?
This will be your niche.
From my own experience, it’s worth blogging about something you’re passionate about or that interests you.
Think about it — are you going to really maintain a blog if you’re not absolutely in love with the topic and content you’re writing?
Obviously, you’re not going to write about something you hate, however, even if it’s a topic you feel lukewarm about but aren’t totally fascinated with, your interest will eventually fade. I know I couldn’t do it…
So ask yourself:
- What are your skills and interests? If you’re going to learn how to start a lifestyle blog and make money from it, you’ll want to tap into your own life experiences. What type of hobbies, interests, and skills excite you? Keep in mind, finding the right niche or blog topic will help you connect with your audience. When you choose to start your own blog, you’re making a commitment. Blogging isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme and it will take some time (at least a year) to build a long-term revenue generating asset. This is why finding something you’re passionate about is of the utmost importance so you can stay motivated and level up your skills as you build, promote, and monetize your brand or business.
- Who is your target audience? Knowing your target audience is imperative to running a successful lifestyle blog. Why? Because you need to write with the reader in mind. Understanding the challenges, problems, and needs of your audience will help you develop an in-depth buyer persona. Again, This is a key ingredient to actually connecting with your audience. By filling out an ideal customer avatar and getting specific, it will allow you to effectively communicate and address their needs. For example, my target audience is a 32 year-old working professional named Jason. He works in sales & marketing and has a high level of business acumen. He enjoys art, movies, comedy, and the occasional tropical vacation. His main objective is to leave his job behind and start a sustainable side hustle that will allow him to permanently leave his job and work from anywhere. Your audience profile can be specific or a little more broad, but at the end of the day, you need to know who you’re communicating with and “speak their language.”
- Why would your target audience choose to read your blog over someone else’s You also need to know why someone would choose your lifestyle blog among the other options that exist. If you have a personal story that you can draw from your own life, that’ll allow you to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. For example, if your topic is personal finance and you used to live paycheck to paycheck but have since paid off all of your debt and now have a hefty savings, you can speak directly to an audience who’s challenges you have overcome. This shared experience with a common topic you’re passionate about will allow you to be a servant leader and solve the problems of your readers with genuine authority. Think of some ways your blog will be different or unique and keep that front of mind.
By answering these questions, you’ll be able to pinpoint your unique selling point that appeals to your target audience.
This will make it easier for you to write content and come up with blog topic ideas. It’ll also help you market and promote your blog in the future so that you can grow your audience!
Narrowing Your Blog Topic
Now, here’s the key to picking your niche: it’s crucial to be specific.
For example, let’s say someone wants to blog about travel. Well, travel is a pretty large (and competitive) topic, right? It’ll be difficult for your blog to stand out and compete with the major players in the game.
Your blog will be lost among the crowd of travel blogs — Trust me, being lost and limiting your exposure is never a good thing.
But what happens if you drilled down and got even more specific?
Think about these categories that fit within the larger umbrella of travel: travel hacking, backpacking, luxury travel, travel photography, group tours, accommodation, hiking, digital nomadism, travel blogging, etc.
See the difference?
These topics are more specific, but they still fit within the larger realm of travel.
Wanna know the best part?
Even though these topics are more specific, there’s still a large audience out there craving this content.
Okay, so in order to start and grow a full-time lifestyle blog, you need to know where to begin.
Here are some of the most popular categories for a lifestyle blog:
- Beauty & Fashion
- Personal Finance
- Personal Care
- Investing & Making Money Online
- Health & Fitness
- Freelancing & Online Business
- Cooking & Recipes (Food)
- Lifestyle Hacks
- Home Decor
- DIY and Crafts
If you’re wondering how to start a blog and make money, then I encourage you to really think long and hard about this step. It takes hard work and time to monetize any blog, so I encourage you to pick a topic that you’re experienced in, passionate about, and won’t get bored with.
Naming Your Blog
Once you determine your niche, it’s time to pick a name for your blog!
If you’ve already got an idea for the name of your blog, you can check on Namecheap or a similar registrar to see if the domain name is available (and save a few bucks). Alternatively, you can register your domain when you get your hosting (Step 3).
A good blog name will be descriptive so that people will know what the blog is about just by looking at your URL.
For example, if you want to create a lifestyle blog about cooking, you can use the words “cooking,” “food,” “recipes,” and “meals” so people will know what your blog is about based simply on the name.
A good blog name is:
- Easy to remember
- Simple to type
Having trouble naming your blog? Try a Blog Name Generator and see what you can come up with.
A .com extension is the most popular and is preferred, but you can also use other extensions such as .net or .org.
If you’ve never bought a domain name before, it’s important to know that you can’t have any spaces in between words. So “My Lifestyle Blog” becomes MyLifestyleBlog.com.
Don’t be surprised if all the “good” domain names appear to be taken. This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to blogging for beginners.
But not to worry:
If your domain name is already taken, just keep brainstorming! You’ll be surprised at the creativity this type of challenge can inspire.
Step 2: Find the Best Blogging Platform
Now that you’ve got a blog topic and name picked out, You’ll need to consider which blogging platform to use (also called a content management system or CMS).
There are many CMS options, however:
I personally use and highly recommend starting with the self-hosted WordPress setup shared in this guide.
Using wordpress.org as your CMS and hosting your website on SiteGround to create a beautiful drag-and-drop website worthy of your words is most definitely the way to go.
Think of it this way:
WordPress.org would be the platform for your blog (the actual interface that users see and interact with) and SiteGround would be the hosting solution (the place where your website actually “lives” online so users can visit it).
How Can I Start a Blog For Free?
As a coach for digital nomads who specialize in content creation, one of the most common questions I receive is, “How can I start a blog for free?”
The reality is there are a lot of free platforms out there like WordPress.com (which is different from WordPress.org), Blogger, Tumblr, and several other free blogging options.
Here’s my take:
While it is possible to start a blog free of cost, you definitely shouldn’t start a free blog if you’re serious about turning it into a successful online business.
There are a few significant downsides to starting a free blog. Consider the following:
- You don’t technically own it. A self-hosted blog (One where you own the domain and host it somewhere like SiteGround) is one that resides on your own, paid-for server. This means that you actually own the blog and your content. By going through free options like WordPress.com (again, different from WordPress.org), Blogger, or Tumblr, you risk having your blog shut down at any time or facing other limitations that can severely stunt the growth of your blog.
- Your domain name will look untrustworthy (and Unprofessional). I know looks aren’t everything, but hey, you want your blog domain to at least look legitimate, right? If I went through WordPress.com (the free option), my blog would be: RedPillRebellion.WordPress.com. Notice how that doesn’t look as professional (or awesome) as RedPillRebellion.com? If you think about it, “free” platforms are essentially taking advantage of your blog to promote their own service. Which leads me to my next point…
- It will be more difficult to monetize. If you’re wondering how to create a lifestyle blog and make money, it will be difficult to do so on a free platform. Since you don’t technically “own” the blog, there will be limitations to the options you have. On the other hand, you have the freedom to do whatever you want with a self-hosted blog. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an advertising network such as AdSense, affiliate marketing, or any other type of monetization technique. You’re in complete control. It’s all yours and the sky’s the limit!
- You’ll have less bandwidth. If you opt to go the route of using a free blogging platform, you’ll need to share your server space with a significant amount of other bloggers using the same platform. Why is that bad? Let’s say you post something that goes viral and generates a considerable amount of traffic. Well, in this case you’ll need to upgrade to a paid platform when you start to get a lot of visitors which defeats the purpose of free hosting in the first place. Secondly, you can’t really take advantage of those visitors due to the reasons listed in the previous point.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if you want to start a lifestyle blog for free, you can.
However, it’s NOT the path that I recommend if you want to turn your blog into a business and make money online with it. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to do it the right way.
Again, I highly recommend using self-hosted WordPress, which is clearly the #1 choice for all serious bloggers who make money online.
In fact, BuiltWith reports that 93.6% of all blogs are created on WordPress.
Why should you care?
With so many people using WordPress, this means:
- You’ll have more access to support, help forums, and advice from knowledgeable experts
- The platform itself has evolved to an extremely robust, efficient, and secure system
- It’s fully customizable to meet your unique design and content needs
- The majority of integrated software made for bloggers was designed with WordPress in mind
Ok so now that you understand that it doesn’t strategically make sense to deal with the downsides of a free blogging platform if you’re serious about starting a successful blog, The next question you probably have is….
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Lifestyle Blog?
Here’s the good news:
Starting a lifestyle blog the “right” way isn’t expensive. In fact, it’s a lot more affordable than you might think and it’s not going to break the bank!
Here’s the typical blog start-up costs for your first few months of blogging:
- Blog Hosting Service: $4.99/month (Paid annually at $59.88)
- Domain Registration: Starting at $7.98 per year
- Optional: Premium, customizable blog theme: Up to $89 (Free options also available)
- Optional: Email Marketing Service: Starting at $9/month (Free options also available)
As you can see, you can get your blog up and running for as little as $68 for the year. This includes not just starting your new blog, but also designing it and marketing it to potential email subscribers.
Keep in mind:
Although starting a blog is very affordable, you need to make smart business decisions on where and when to invest in premium tools and resources.
Throughout this guide, we provide you with both free and paid options whenever possible. There are plenty of free blog resources for almost any tool.
The only exception to that is your domain registration and web hosting. You absolutely MUST invest in this upfront if you want your blog to be visible and start receiving visitors to your website.
Ok, now that you understand that, let’s go ahead and launch your blog.
Step 3: Signup for Web Hosting with SiteGround (And Get Your Blog Online)
Once you’ve picked a niche, blog name, and decided on a platform (hopefully self-hosted WordPress), it’s time to actually get your blog online!
In order to create visibility, your blog needs to be stored on a server somewhere. Fortunately, it’s easy and affordable these days to rent server space so people can view your site at any time from anywhere.
To do this, you’ll need to sign-up for web hosting, which is essentially a secure place to store your website online, and follow the step-by-step instructions in this section. Without web hosting, your website won’t have a place to “live,” so it’ll be impossible for people to visit it.
In Step #2, we talked about choosing the best blogging platform. The beauty of going with self-hosted WordPress is that you can bring your blog or website to any web hosting provider you want.
If this still sounds confusing, think of your blogging setup like a car.
A domain (your website name) is like your driver’s license. It gives you the ability to find any vehicle you want and drive it. The self-hosted WordPress platform is your vehicle. You can drive it, show it off, and convey your unique personality with it.
But what does every vehicle need before you can drive it? That’s right — it needs gas! Your hosting company is like the gas because it makes your website operational so people can actually find you.
t’s not the perfect analogy, but I hope it gets the point across. By choosing a good blogging platform or CMS, like WordPress, you can use any web hosting provider you want and install it for free.
Why Choose SiteGround for Web Hosting?
From my own experience, SiteGround is the web hosting solution I recommend every single time.
- Impeccable customer service. As a digital nomad, I travel the world a lot. Like I said, I’ve been to twenty-four countries and counting. The best part about hosting your site with SiteGround is that no matter where in the world you are, they offer world-class, 24-hour customer service. You don’t run into the same frustrations or customer service nightmares you’ll encounter elsewhere. Frankly, I don’t have the patience (or time) for it and you shouldn’t have to deal with it either. With SiteGround, you don’t have to.
- Technical support. I’ve had technical issues with my websites in the past. In some instances, when I’ve called tech support at SiteGround, I learned that the issue wasn’t on their side, it was on mine. Whether it was a problem with my computer, a conflicting plugin, or something else that had nothing to do with their service, their support team helped me anyway. They went above and beyond and still helped me troubleshoot and fix the issue! Aside from that, their technical knowledge is top-notch. They really know what they’re doing which is a nice change of pace from other hosting companies I’ve dealt with.
- High uptime. No web hosting platform in the world (at this point in time) can honestly say that they have 100% uptime. Maybe 99.9999%, but not 100%. Despite that fact, I can personally say that I haven’t had any outages with SiteGround.
- Customizable options. One of the big complaints with any big tech company is that they seem “cold” and faceless. Unlike mom and pop shops, you typically can’t negotiate prices. However, SiteGround seems always willing to accommodate. There was a time, when I was just getting started, that I was tight on money while waiting on funds to clear and couldn’t make the annual payment for my hosting. SiteGround added a monthly or quarterly payment option into my dashboard which helped me save money at the time.
Am I saying that SiteGround is the best web hosting company out there?
It’s pretty good, but here’s the thing:
It’s much better to go with a better service like SiteGround than to go with the “popular” recommendation.
But why are these other hosting platforms popular?
So many people write about how to become a blogger so they can promote hosting solutions that pay high affiliate commissions (like Bluehost).
I mean, I get it. It’s a smart business move for them, but it’s not the best (or honest) recommendation for you.
For example, check out web hosting reviews on Trustpilot.
On that note, everything that I’m writing here is from first-hand experience.
Trust me: if it was all about the Benjamins, I’d be promoting the better-paying affiliates, but that’s not who I am. That’s not what I want out of life or out of this blog.
If you want to start a WordPress blog on SiteGround so you can start a business, help other people, and make money while doing so, then go with a better service like SiteGround.
So here’s how to sign up for SiteGround in 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Choose a Hosting Plan
First things first, you need to head over to SiteGround and click on “View Plans” under “WordPress Hosting,”
Next, you’ll pick a hosting plan.
When choosing a hosting plan with SiteGround, you have three options:
- The StartUp Plan: Perfect for the first-time blogger. If you have only one website or are just launching your blog or business, this is ideal for you. It gives you 10GB of space and allows for up to 10,000 monthly visitors.
- The GrowBig Plan: Great investment for existing entrepreneurs, content creators, or social media influencers that already have a built-in audience. Also, if you already have a website or you plan on starting and growing additional businesses, this is the plan for you. SiteGround’s GrowBig plan comes with increased website speeds, added security features, and it gives you 20GB of space that allows for up 25,000 visitors a month.
- The GoGeek Plan: Great for e-commerce websites and larger blog sites with lots of posts and pages. This is also a great option for agencies or developers who work with clients. It gives you the ability to stage and test your website locally before pushing the changes to the live site. SiteGround’s GoGeek plan also comes with the ability to white-label your hosting or website building services to paying clients. It comes with 40GB of space and allows for up to 100,000 monthly visitors.
No matter which hosting plan you go with, SiteGound’s suite of tools also comes with these extra features:
- SG Site Optimizer: An all-in-one tool that improves your site’s speed and performance while saving resources.
- Free Branded Email: Create professional and trustworthy email accounts with an email address from your domain name.
- Supercacher: SiteGround hosting comes with their own caching tool that eliminates the need for a caching plugin and increases the number of hits your site can handle while further boosting the loading speed.
- Ability to Collaborate: Gives you the ability to add business partners or managers as well as freelancers or contractors as collaborators for your website. You can view a log of their activities and revoke access at any time.
- In-Depth Knowledge Base: The help center has endless articles to help you navigate your site tools and complete common and uncommon tasks. Need more? Contact 24-hour support.
- Mobile-Friendly Client Area: Easily manage your site on the go from your smartphone or tablet.
If this is your first time creating a blog, then I recommend going with SiteGround’s StartUp plan. You can always upgrade in the future as your blog grows.
On the other hand, if you already have an established audience (i.e. from Instagram or YouTube), then you might want to choose one of the other hosting plans.
I will say that if you’re looking to save money and are planning for growth, then it might be wise to select the 2-year GrowBig plan upfront.
(Sidenote: I don’t make any additional affiliate commission for this, I’m just trying to save you money.)
SiteGround offers discounted prices (for new customers) when you sign up, so if you can “lock in” these rates for your initial term, then you can take advantage of the cost savings.
(Just like any other hosting company, the rates increase when you renew.)
Here’s the pricing structure for SiteGround:
As you can see, you can sign up for as little as $59.88 if you choose the StartUp plan and choose 12 months.
After the first year, you’ll need to renew. There are a few reasons why I recommend going with the 2-year GrowBig plan from the start.
- You’re planning on scaling past 10,000 visitors in your first year. If that’s the case you’d be paying the exact same price for the added space and increased website speed to accommodate your growth. (59.88 + the 299.88 GrowBig renewal cost)
- You’ve already decided to start with the GrowBig plan. In this situation, it makes more sense to go with the 24-month plan since you’ll save $36 in the process. (95.88 + the 299.88 renewal cost is $395.76.)
The goal is that by the time you have to start paying the “normal” non-discounted price, you’ll be making enough money from your blog and won’t have to worry about it.
In any case, make the decision that best suits your needs. If you’re starting on a budget, get the StartUp plan. If you’re planning for growth and can afford the GrowBig plan, lock in the 2-year price and save money.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
Remember the name you picked for your blog in Step 1?
Well, it’s time to make it official!
If you’re looking for convenience, you can just register your domain name along with your SiteGround hosting plan and get them together.
However, I don’t recommend it for two reasons:
- It’s more cost-effective to get your hosting through Namecheap (around $8 compared to $18) and it comes with free domain privacy (compared to $12/year)
- It’s generally more secure to keep your domain and hosting separate
In any case, just click the button next to “I already have a domain” if you registered it at Namecheap or somewhere else, or If you want to register from scratch with SiteGround just click the button next to “register a new domain.”
Once complete click “proceed” so you can review and complete your information.
Step 3: Review and Complete
Now just create your account, submit your information, and double-check everything to make sure it’s accurate and correct.
You can also opt for the extra SG Site Scanner service here if you want to beef up your site security. That’s a personal preference, but If you’re looking for some free options, I’ll recommend some free security plugins in just a bit
This is also where you’ll choose the term of your hosting plan. 12 months is the best deal, so select that if you are watching your budget. Or follow my previous advice and go with a 24-month GrowBig plan if you’re planning for growth and want to take advantage of the added features while saving money.
Either way, once you’ve completed this step, you now officially have a website.
Now it’s time to install WordPress, choose a theme, and set up your blog.
Click here to sign up for hosting with SiteGround if you haven't already. You'll need to complete this step before installing WordPress.
Step 4: Install WordPress And Design Your Lifestyle Blog
In order to install WordPress using SiteGround, you have three options:
- Use the installation wizard
- Install with the App Installer
- Install WordPress Manually
I personally recommend using the Website Setup Wizard to install WordPress because it does the technical heavy lifting for you.
However, if you’d prefer another installation method such as the App Installer or to install WordPress manually, SiteGround provides extensive WordPress installation tutorials to help you out with the process.
For most of you, I imagine installing WordPress with the Website Setup Wizard will work like magic! (Wizards do magic, right?)
After you’ve signed up for a web hosting package (step 3), you’ll be in the Client Area of SiteGround.
It should look like this:
Click on the orange button that says “Set Up Site.”
This will take you to the next page of installation process where you’ll have the option to either (1) start a new website or (2) migrate your website.
What’s the difference?
If you have an existing website and you’re transferring its hosting over to SiteGround, then you’ll want to click on “Migrate Website.”
On the other hand, if you’re building a blog from scratch, then you’ll want to click on “Start New Website.” (I imagine that most people will fall into this category.)
This will bring up several blogging platforms for you to choose under the subsection “Choose Application”
And that’s it!
You now have WordPress installed on your website and domain. You’ll be able to start blogging soon, but first:
Depending on which registrar you used to purchase your domain, you may have one more task…
A lot of other blogging guides teaching how to start a lifestyle blog and make money usually skip this step.
Not this one! 🙂
Now, if you opted to get your domain and hosting together when signing up for SiteGround, you can move to the next section now. You’re good to go.
However, if you opted to take my recommendation to register your domain with Namecheap and save some money, you’ll need to point your name servers to SiteGround.
This will essentially connect your domain to your hosting since you got them separately.
It’s a lot easier than you think.
First, you’ll want to get your nameservers from SiteGround.
To do that, just log in to SiteGround, and navigate to Client Area > Websites > Site Tools.
Here you will see your name servers under the “IP and Name Servers” section.
If you’re having trouble just use this tutorial. It’s really quite simple.
Next you’ll copy and paste those name servers into your registrar. In this tutorial, we’re using Namecheap.
(Using a different registrar? Click here for instructions and see “step 3.”)
First, log in to your Namecheap account and click on “Domain List” in the left sidebar. Then click the “Manage” button next to your registered domain.
On the domain page, select “Custom DNS” from the Nameserver drop down list.
Finally, paste your SiteGround nameservers here, click the green checkmark to update the changes, and you’re done!
Note: It can take up to 72 hours to propagate your DNS settings before you can login to WordPress, however, it typically takes effect in less than 24 hours.
Okay, now let’s select your WordPress theme and design your blog.
Select a WordPress Theme and Customize It
Feeling excited yet?
The fun is just beginning!
At this point, you should have your shiny new domain name that you’ve handpicked yourself, quality web hosting, and self-hosted WordPress installed on your website.
You should feel pretty proud!
You’ve done something that most people only contemplate and think about:
Take action on your dreams of becoming an online business owner.
Let’s take it a step further and select a visually appealing WordPress theme and start designing your blog.
Before we begin customizing your blog to an aesthetic that you find attractive and that fits your personality, I want to issue a bit of a warning.
This is the part where a lot of new bloggers and business owners give up due to self-doubt, confusion, frustration, or because they face an obstacle they’ve never faced before.
This is a completely normal part of the process.
If you’ve never worked with WordPress before, it can take you some time to get acclimated to using the software.
Here’s the good news:
With WordPress, it’s incredibly simple to create a visually appealing yet powerful and easy-to-use website with absolutely no coding experience required.
Thanks to WordPress themes, you benefit from WYSIWYG.
In other words, “What you see is what you get.”
Simply put, you can simply drag-and-drop assets within your theme so that you can get it looking the way you want.
Spend time learning the platform and understanding the ins and outs of WordPress and it will benefit you for years to come.
That being said, you have two options when it comes to installing and customizing a WordPress theme:
Option 1: Select a Free WordPress Theme
Option 2: Invest in a Powerful Premium Theme and Save Time
Let’s start with the Free theme.
To install and activate a new WordPress theme, follow these instructions:
Head over to the WordPress dashboard. This is what we call the WordPress Admin area (or “WP admin”).
To get here, simply add “wp-admin” or “wp-login.php” to the end of your domain.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll want to go to Appearance > Themes. You can find this in the left-hand column.
All the themes you have currently installed will be displayed here.
If you want to add a new theme, simply click on the large button that says “Add New.”
From here you can search for many free themes on the official WordPress.org theme directory
Prior to making your decision, you’ll want to ensure to do these things when selecting your free theme:
- Preview your theme prior to activating it
- Check the features it comes with
- Take a look at the ratings
- Make sure the theme was recently updated by the developer
Keep in mind that a lot of the free themes run on the freemium model. Meaning that the free version is limited as far as the capabilities and what you’re able to do.
To unlock the additional features, they ask you to upgrade.
That being said, there are a lot of great options for free themes and I used one for a while when I was learning how to start a lifestyle blog.
Here are my favorites:
So that’s the free way to install a WordPress theme.
Now let’s talk about installing a premium theme, or as I like to call it, the stress-free way. This is because paid themes are generally more powerful in their capabilities and save you loads of time.
If you want a theme that is more stylized, customizable, and has access to customer support, then I recommend purchasing a premium theme.
These themes are for serious bloggers who want to make money online and turn their website or blog into a business.
My guess is that if you’re reading this, that’s probably you.
There are three premium WordPress themes I recommend:
- Divi ($89/year). If you ask any successful blogger how to start a blog to make money, most are likely going to recommend Divi. This beginner-friendly theme is the standard in almost any niche.
- GeneratePress ($59/year). Personally, I prefer using GeneratePress. Why? Because it’s so much more flexible than other options. In fact, it’s the theme that I’m using right now! It’s also cheaper than other premium themes which is good if you’re just getting started and their support forum is amazing!
- Studiopress (Prices vary). The StudioPress family of themes has many options from which to pick and choose so you can find one suitable for your style.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve installed a theme, be sure to click on “ACTIVATE.” Please note that you can only have one theme activated at a time. Essentially, installing a theme only gives your WordPress blog the ability to run the theme, but the theme itself is dormant until you click “ACTIVATE.”
Okay so now you have a free or premium theme installed and it’s accessible to the general public.
Now that your theme is activated and live, you may notice that its appearance looks a bit generic.
That’s because it comes “out of the box” looking the same way for everyone. You’ll want to take some time to customize your theme and make it your own.
Here’s how to do that:
From your dashboard, click Appearance > Customize
From here you’ll have many options.
To become a lifestyle blogger, you’ll want to customize everything to your personal style. This will help distinguish you from other bloggers and ensure that you have a digital identity that is uniquely your own. Over time, your brand identity will begin to take shape.
Things you’ll want to customize include:
- Site identity. This includes your website name, tagline, and logo.
- Website colors. Think about the background color of your blog. What about the text? Title text? Will different sections of your blog (headers and footers, for instance) have different colors?
- Background image(s). Use any image you want to convey the personality of your blog to your audience. Some people use background images. Some don’t. It’s a matter of preference.
- Menus. What appears on the website’s menu? Will there be an “About” or “Contact” page? Where will the social media icons be placed? Which social media icons will you even feature?
- Theme options. This is where you can customize universal settings for your blog. For example, do you want an author bio to automatically show with each blog post? If so, this is where you would make that setting.
- Additional CSS. If you’re familiar with CSS, WordPress even lets you customize the appearance and layout itself (this is only for advanced users).
That’s all there is to it for designing your WordPress blog.
Nice going. Let’s move on!
Configure Your WordPress Blog Settings
Once you’ve got the look and feel of your blog the way you want, it’s time to get your blog settings configured properly.
I know that sounds like it could be complicated, but it’s really easy to do this.
In fact, it really doesn’t take long to set up your blog settings at all.
Think of this as part of customizing your blog, but a few layers deeper.
For example, when you publish a blog post, would you rather your URL look like:
If you’re serious about starting a lifestyle blog on WordPress and making money with it, then you’ll definitely want your posts to look more like the second URL.
It looks more professional, but more importantly, it’s also a key component of proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The first option is a URL randomly generated by the website using a different permalink structure, but the second URL is a result of properly configured settings.
All of your settings can be found by going to your dashboard, then clicking “SETTINGS” on the left side column.
Here’s what I recommend doing:
- Setup your website title and tagline. Click on Settings > General. Your website title will likely be the actual name of your blog. This is one of the first things that people will see, so make sure to fill it out. It’s also good for SEO (search engine optimization). The tagline is a short description of what your blog is about. If you have a catchphrase or slogan you’d like to use, the “tagline” might be a good place to use it. The good news? You can change these at any time!
- Permalinks. This is just the technical term for hyperlink or URL. In other words, how do you want your URLs to look like (as discussed above)? Access this through Settings > Permalinks. You’ll see six options come up, but for SEO purposes, I recommend selecting “Post Name.” This will make the URL of each blog post reflect the name of the post itself. This keeps your URLs clean, professional, and SEO-friendly.
- Menu Settings. If you plan on blogging about more than one topic or subtopic, it makes sense to set up your menu options. Sure, you may not need it in the beginning, but as your blog starts to grow, your menu structure will need to be set up properly. To do this, just go to Appearance > Menus and when you’re ready to add a navigation menu to your homepage or a footer menu to your website, you can do that here.
- Comment Settings. If you plan on having your comments turned on for discussion purposes, which I recommend you do, you’ll want to go to Settings > Discussion to set up your comment settings and your moderation settings as well as your notifications and avatars. This all takes place in the discussion settings and commenting will be an integral part of your blogging career (at least at first).
- Homepage settings. What will users see when they first land on your website? Unless you’re a news site, you’ll want to set your homepage to a static page and select where your blog page should point to. You can also set up how many posts should be displayed there. You can access this through Settings > Reading > Your homepage displays.
- Administrative email address. Don’t worry: this will be kept private. However, you should enter the email address you want to use for admin purposes. Any time you change this, WordPress will send you a confirmation email and the new email will not be used until you confirm it. If you installed WordPress using SiteGround, this should already be done for you.
That’s pretty much it. The most important setting is your permalink structure so make sure to get that done.
Other than that, If you have any additional questions about settings for your new lifestyle blog, shoot me a message. I’d love to help out however I can!
For now, let’s install some essential plugins.
Install Essential WordPress Plugins
If you’re new to the world of blogging and WordPress, think of plugins like apps on your smartphone.
They help customize your website and each plugin has its own specific task it is responsible for doing.
There are literally thousands of plugins and blogging tools on the market, but to help you get your lifestyle blog up and running relatively quickly, let’s talk about which ones you’ll need to get started blogging today.
The essential WordPress plugins that I recommend installing are:
- Akismet. If you plan on having a comments section (which can help with SEO and help build your community), then you’ll want this anti-spam plugin to help filter out spam from your comments automatically. One sure-fire way to tell you’re on the right track is by the number of spam comments you get. This is a great tool for bypassing a lot of those and helping you moderate your comments.
- UpdraftPlus. When it comes to technology, things can go wrong at any time. It might not even be your fault. Stuff happens. Well, UpdraftPlus saves all your hard work and keeps backups of your website on a regular basis. If you ever need to restore a previous version of your blog, you’ll be happy to have UpdraftPlus installed. Side Note: SiteGround backs up your website and stores it on their server as well, but it’s good to keep backups in the cloud for extra security.
- WPForms. If you’re serious about making money from your lifestyle blog, you’ll want forms where people can sign-up for your newsletter, make payments, subscribe for a service, and contact you. WPForms has over 100 templates that you can customize and drag-and-drop anywhere on your website. It couldn’t be any easier! Side Note: While WP Forms is free and great for blogging beginners, it lacks functionality to grow and monetize your blog professionally. Check step 5 for a more advanced recommendation.
- WP Rocket. This plugin does several technical things behind the scenes such as caching your pages and reducing your file sizes. Why does that matter? Well, it makes sure that your website loads as quickly as possible. That’s good considering that fast-loading websites perform better on Google! Side Note: If you signed up for a hosting plan with SiteGround, they have a more advanced plugin called “SiteGround Optimizer” which would replace this recommendation. It does the same thing but better and it also caches directly from the server where your site is being hosted.
- Yoast SEO. Blog traffic takes a lot of time and effort to receive. Having an SEO plugin to help with search engine optimization and increase your visibility on Google isn’t just a wise choice, it’s absolutely necessary. Yoast SEO is probably the most popular SEO tool on the web. It has a traffic light system (red/yellow/green) telling you if your content is good to go.It helps to improve your use of image tags, target keywords, meta descriptions, and more.
- Grow by Mediavine. While we’re on the topic of getting visibility to your blog, you want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your posts on social media. That’s why it’s important to have a social sharing plugin to help facilitate this process. If someone just has to click a button to share with their friends, and has the encouragement to do so, your visibility will increase and your traffic will grow. Install Grow by Mediavine to help with this.
You can do many different things with plugins from increasing your site’s loading speed to marketing your social media platforms to learning about your audience through machine learning.
The above plugins are enough for you to start a lifestyle blog and make money sooner than later.
PRO TIP: While you can install as many plug-ins as you want, I’d encourage you not to go overboard.
You see, the more plugins you have, the more technical “weight” you have on your website. This can slow things down.
But that’s not all.
Some plugins can interfere with each other because they’re not compatible with one another.
All of the plugins listed above work well together and are plugins that I personally use and recommend. Not to mention they’re all free.
Create and Publish Main Pages for Your Blog
Okay, let’s start creating content!
What kind of content?
The most successful lifestyle bloggers who make money online understand that there are two types of content critical to any blog:
- Dynamic content
- Static content
Dynamic content is the most important content you have to offer. This is the actual blog itself. These are the posts that your target audience actually wants to read. They come back again and again to see the new (“dynamic”) content that you are publishing.
On the other hand, your audience still needs guidance to get the most out of your blog.
This is where static content (or the main pages for your blog) comes into play.
Important static pages that you should create include:
- About Me. As a lifestyle blogger, people will want to know more about your story. This is a good time to share a compelling biographical summary of why people should care about your life, your insights, and your blog. Ask yourself: How did my passion for this topic develop? What do I want to convey to my readers? What’s my end goal?
- Contact. People might have questions about your posts. Maybe a brand will want to reach out for a strategic partnership. Or maybe a fellow blogger wants to get in touch about a collaboration. Whatever the reason, create a contact page so people have a way to get in touch!
- Disclaimer page. If you want to make money from your lifestyle blog, you have to include a disclaimer page. This is nonnegotiable. It doesn’t matter if you’re using WordPress or another platform. Per FTC guidelines, you have to disclose your relationship with any service or product you might be profiting from through affiliate partnerships, endorsements, etc. This is required even if your compensation isn’t monetary. (See the section on Blog Monetization Strategies to learn more.)
- Terms of service. If you have an online store or are selling services, I strongly recommend having a ToS page to lessen any potential liability. Additionally, you can set up a digital contract at the point of sale.
Here’s the good news:
These pages don’t have to distract from the main content of your blog!
In most cases, these static pages are linked in the footer menu of a lifestyle blog on WordPress.
Go check out some of your favorite lifestyle blogs. I’m sure you’ll see these pages linked to in either the header or footer of those blogs!
Here’s an example from Pat Flynn:
Create and Install Google Analytics
I really can’t stress the importance of data and analytics.
If you’re serious about learning how to start a lifestyle blog and make money online, you need to measure what matters.
This starts with understanding your audience and target market inside and out.
How many people are reading your blog? How are they finding your website? How many posts are they reading on average and what posts are performing the best?
What are the user demographics of your audience? Are they mostly male, female, or split? What about age? What are they most interested in?
You can answer all of these questions and much more thanks to Google Analytics.
Simply put, Google Analytics measures and tracks how users interact with your lifestyle blog.
The first step is to sign up for Google Analytics.
Remember the MonsterInsights – Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress plugin that I recommended above?
Well, you can connect the plugin with your Google Analytics account without any coding.
Aside from connecting your Google Analytics to your WordPress site using a plugin, there are a few other options.
See this guide for all the different ways you can connect Google Analytics.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Just know that this is an essential step that needs to be completed sooner than later if you expect to manage your blog professionally.
Step 5: Set Up & Build an Email List from the Start
One of the best ways to monetize a lifestyle blog is through growing your email list.
Why is email marketing so effective?
Consider the following facts about email marketing:
- 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day. Of those people, 58% of consumers check their email first thing in the morning.
- Email generates $42 for every $1 spent. That’s a 4,200% ROI
- Marketers who segment their list, see as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
- The global e-mail marketing market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027
- 4 out of 5 marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing.
I can talk about these email marketing statistics all day, but I want to focus on the last point because it speaks volumes.
Why would the world’s top marketers choose to give up all of their social media accounts, their millions of followers, huge influence, and massive income potential in lieu of keeping their email marketing channels?
With social media, your reach is limited.
It’s unfortunate, but even those people who’ve “raised their hand” and said “Yes, I want to hear from you,” or “I’m interested, send me what you’ve got” don’t get access to what they’ve voluntarily signed up for.
That’s because nowadays, you’ve got to pay to play.
Facebook, Instagram, and many social media platforms now want you to pay to reach those who have already said they want to hear from you by “boosting” your posts or paying for advertising.
I understand advertising to get visibility and conversion from new readers and potential clients. But to pay to reach those who already want to hear from you feels a bit like extortion.
Does that mean you should forego social media marketing? Not necessarily. Everything works and whatever you can do to increase your visibility and exposure will only benefit you.
What about SEO?
While optimizing your blog for organic traffic is a must if you want to succeed. It’s a long game and can take at least 3-6 months before you start to garner trust and credibility in the eyes of Google.
On the other hand, email marketing gives you a direct line straight to your fans, readers, and target market that you control.
There are absolutely no restrictions and those who chose to subscribe to regularly hear from you get immediate and direct access to what they were promised.
These are users who will return to your blog again and again because they voluntarily chose to sign-up or opt-in for your email newsletters, updates, announcements, recommendations, offers, and promotions.
As a digital nomad coach who specializes in content marketing and blogging, I’ve seen far too many lifestyle bloggers wait until their blog was “big enough” or “ready” to set up and build an email list.
Let me tell you from experience:
That is a mistake.
Blogging and intelligent email marketing is the most powerful combination in the online business realm today. In case the aforementioned statistics weren’t evidence enough, let me be more clear:
If you want to start a lifestyle blog and actually make money, you need to build your email list right from the start.
From the moment you start getting traffic to your WordPress blog, you’ll want to capture as many leads as possible into your email list.
Sure, It might seem slow at first, but your email subscribers will continue to snowball until you have a sizable readership that is invested in you and your lifestyle blog!
You can directly reach, connect with, nurture, and market to your audience. This is how loyal fans are created.
This is why email is so powerful and gives you the best return on your time and money.
Personally, I like ConvertKit as my email marketing service of choice.
There are a lot of different email providers out there, but ConvertKit is user-friendly for beginning bloggers. It has a drag & drop interface and also has a lot of advanced options to help you build your list.
Not only that, but it was created by creators such as bloggers, authors, and designers so they understand our needs. Here are the benefits:
- Beautifully designed email opt-ins to grow your list
- In-depth & easy-understand analytics
- Customizable landing page templates that convert
- Visual automation sequences (set it & forget it)
- A/B testing to improve conversion rates (also called split testing)
- Tagging & segmenting based on user activity
- Integrates with popular blogging software tools (like WordPress)
As your email list starts to grow, you’ll begin to see the benefits of content marketing and making money with a lifestyle blog.
How much does a quality email marketing service cost?
To get access to the full functionality of ConvertKit, I recommend starting with the “creator” plan. It costs $9 a month for up to 300 subscribers or $29 a month for up to 1000 subscribers.
Since ConvertKit was created by creators, they make it affordable to start and grow your audience.
In fact, you can start with a Free 14-day trial and try it out with only your email (no credit card required).
Ok I think by now you understand the importance of email marketing. I simply believe that investing in email from the very beginning is a smart choice.
If you’re on a budget, you do have options. You generally won’t have access to automated sequences, A/B testing, and other advanced features, but hey, they’re free!
Here are some email marketing platforms that offer Free options:
- ConvertKit also has a free option as well (up to 1000 subscribers)
- Moosend: free up to 1000 subscribers
- Sendinblue: free up to 1000 subscribers
- Mailchimp: allows you to start a free account up to 2000 subscribers (although I personally don’t recommend it)
Ok so now that you’ve got the framework for your website complete, we can move on to writing content.
Step 6: Write Your First Blog Post
At this point, you should’ve already picked your niche regarding what main blog topic you’d like to write about. (Fitness, Digital Nomadism, Public Speaking, etc.)
But how do you determine what blog post ideas you’ll actually write about?
With so many different directions you can take on any given topic for a lifestyle blog, how do you know where to start?!
First, I want to emphasize that it’s important to produce quality content as much as possible.
Don’t pick topics based only on what you think will be popular or go viral.
Instead, focus on providing real value to your audience. If you educate, entertain, inform, and solve their problems, they will become loyal to your brand. And if you write from a place of service, the traffic will follow.
Let’s discuss how to do that…
Brainstorming Blog Post Ideas: How to Never Run Out of Things to Blog About
Remember: it’s not about how long your post is, how visually appealing your website is, or even how consistently you post. Although those are all important aspects of lifestyle blogging, it’s imperative that you write about topics people care about.
There are a handful of ways to do this:
- Brainstorming Blog Topics. Write down as many blog post ideas and keywords as you can that you think your target market will actually find valuable. What burning questions do they have? How can you help them overcome their obstacles? Do this with no filter and write down as many as you can.
- Your Target Market. I said earlier that it’s important to know your target audience inside and out. Well, what better source for blog topics than the people who would be reading them? Conduct interviews, survey your audience, research niche related communities and look for common questions. This is an excellent source for your writing topics.
- Personal Experiences. Generally speaking, you should have a passion or interest in your niche or blog topic that comes from personal experience. Use your experiences and draw inspiration from them to come up with blog posts. What challenges did you face and overcome that your audience can benefit from? What mistakes have you made that people can learn from?
- Keyword Research. Keyword Research is a great way to find writing topics. It helps you understand what popular queries people are actually searching for so you can address their needs. It’s also good for SEO. Invest in a good Keyword Research tool, like Keysearch, and start generating topics to add to your content calendar.
- Competitor Analysis. Take a look at what competitors in your niche are doing. What topics did well? Which ones flopped? Keeping an eye on your competition and your finger on the pulse of your industry isn’t only a great way to find writing inspiration, it’s what thought leaders and high-achievers do to reach success.
- Your Blogging Network. Still stumped on what to write? Network with the blogging community and have deep, meaningful conversations with other bloggers in your niche. This could be online, face-to-face, or from attending blogging conferences. Helping each other come up with fresh topics is one of the many benefits of being an active member of the blogging community. Online communities like Subreddits, Facebook groups, and industry-related forums are a great place to start.
Once you have a decent amount of blog post ideas, there are only two more things left for you to do:
- Choose your posting frequency: How often will you publish? (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).
- Add your list of topics to a content calendar: Schedule which days you will publish which topics to keep you organized and ahead of schedule.
One of my favorite things to do is to create a content calendar and plan topics in advance. This way I can see the larger “arc” of content I’m publishing and how it impacts the reader.
When brainstorming topics, make sure it’s an idea that you can really do a deep-dive into.
Because longer content performs better. Hence the sayings “Long is strong” or “Length is strength.”
To start a lifestyle blog in 2021 and make money with it, aim for an average length of 2000 to 2,500. If you can write more, even better.
That being said, ensure you focus your blogging efforts on writing quality over quantity and not just how long your blog post should be.
You don’t just want to write in order to please Google and the search engines.
You need to write for both humans and for machines when it comes to SEO. Make sure you humanize the audience you’re serving if you want to be a successful lifestyle blogger that eventually makes money.
Regardless of what you choose to write about, you want to ensure your posts hit the trifecta of good blogging topics. The best blogging topics will fit your chosen niche perfectly, your audience will derive value from them, and they will help you get organic traffic from SEO.
Write & Publish Your First Blog Post on WordPress
Ok so you’ve got your blog topics in hand and you’re ready to start blogging.
Your next question should be “How do I write my first blog post on WordPress?”
One of my favorite things about writing on a WordPress blog is how easy it is to write and publish your first post.
Let’s go through it together!
Before we begin writing, let’s set you up for success.
For best results, you should have the framework of your blog post, your outline, already prepared. To do this, just write down the general topic of your post along with the key talking points and subtopics you’d like to discuss.
Here’s an example:
With that out of the way, it’s time to write your first blog post.
There are two places you can click to create a new blog post.
- When you’re on the main dashboard, click on Posts > Add New to write and publish a new post.
- Click the “+ New” icon on the navigation menu. A dropdown menu will appear. Click “Post.”
If you’re starting a new WordPress blog, you’ll be using the Gutenberg editor. This is also known as the WordPress block editor.
The first block on every new post is the title block. Simply put, this is where you insert the headline or title of your blog post
Keep in mind that your blog post title or headline is considered one of the most important aspects of your blog post.
It’s the first thing potential readers see before making a decision, whether consciously or subconsciously, to click into the article and give it a read.
That being said, here are some tips for writing your headline:
- Write 15-25 headlines before choosing the best option
- Start with your keyword at the front of the headline
- Sprinkle in 1 or 2 “power” words that are emotionally engaging
- Use numbers whenever possible (list posts perform exceptionally well)
- Focus on the benefits your post offers
- Ensure your title matches your content
Let’s take my recent post about Time Management for Digital Nomads as an example. The headline for educating an audience on this topic looks like this:
Great! Now let’s move on to writing your blog post introduction (intro) and body content.
When writing with the WordPress block editor, you’ll change each block into the type of block you want to add.
You can add different block styles such as headings, page breaks, images, videos, quotes, buttons, and many more blocks than I can even remember off the top of my head from the WordPress library.
In order to familiarize you with writing in WordPress, see this brief introduction to the WordPress Gutenberg Block Editor:
When writing your blog posts in WordPress you need to make your article skimmable.
What does that mean?
Well, do you want to actually sit down and actually read a giant block of text?
If you’re reading a compelling fantasy book like Lord of the Rings, sure. But for most of us, we prefer to skim our online content.
Have you noticed how this blog post is organized?
The article is skimmable and broken up into smaller, readable sections. This is done through headings, subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, screenshots, images, media, etc.
In fact, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that my paragraphs aren’t too long either! Usually no more than three sentences.
This is because when you’re writing, you need to keep in mind the user experience (also known as UX).
Long story short:
Make your posts easy to read and digest by improving the user’s reading experience.
Once you’ve completed your blog posts and are completely satisfied, you have a few options:
- Save draft. This ensures that you always have a backup copy of your posts in case anything goes wrong and your post isn’t publicly shared, only stored.
- Preview. Want to see what your post will actually look like on your website? That’s what the preview button is for! You should preview every single post you write, because elements (such as images) might not load as you expect them to. This ensures your happy with it before hitting that “Publish” button.
- Publish. When you’re finally ready to share your blog with the world, click “Publish” to make your blog post live. Don’t worry, if you need to make revisions in the future after publishing, you can always edit a published post. This will make instantaneous changes to your live post, except it’ll say “Update” instead of Publish.
- Schedule. If you’re like me, you’ll have a goal to never hit the Publish button again. Why? If you’re planning ahead and know what topics you’ll be covering and when they will publish, then you’ll want to complete those posts well ahead of the publishing date. If that’s the case, instead of clicking “Publish,” you’ll choose a date and time and the publish button will change to “Schedule.” Now you can click on ”Schedule” like a true professional.
Now that you’ve created your first blog post, let’s go promote it so we can attract new readers and increase your visibility and exposure.
Step 7: Market, Promote, and Grow Your Blog
If you’re in the process of learning how to start a lifestyle blog and make money, let me share an important truth with you:
To be a successful lifestyle blogger, you need to spend more time marketing and promoting your blog content than you do writing it.
You can’t just go into starting a lifestyle blog with the “build it and they will come” mentality. (This isn’t Field of Dreams!)
The first thing you’ll need is an active and engaged audience!
Obviously, you’ll get “free” organic traffic from Google over time. However, it can take several months before Google starts rewarding you with high rankings for competitive keywords.
The good news?
In the meantime, you can take a proactive approach to marketing automation and blog promotion to get traffic to your blog and to “encourage” Google to rank your lifestyle blog for more and more keywords.
- Email marketing: If I haven’t made it obvious by now, email marketing is the single best method to grow a loyal audience. (It gives you the biggest bang for your buck.) Using an email marketing service like ConvertKit will give you a direct line to your readers while creating brand awareness, gaining visibility, and increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. This is the most efficient use of your time and resources.
- Social Media Marketing: Promote your blog (and individual posts) on social media. Think: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You can even “repurpose” the content from your blog for social media. Or try posting a snippet of a blog post on social media and providing a link where people can read more! Understand that different social networks attract different demographics. Start by discovering where your target market hangs out online.
- Social Bookmarking: Try repurposing and republishing your content on sites such as LinkedIn, Medium, Mix, Reddit, Flipboard, Quora, Scoop.It, etc. This is a good strategy to expose people to your blog who otherwise may have never heard of it. You can even find specific communities (such as subreddits on Reddit & FB communities) to promote your blog to your target audience.
- Paid advertising: It’s incredibly easy to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, especially since you can target users based on specific lifestyle interests and demographics. With Google advertising, you can target specific keywords that people interested in a lifestyle blog (and specific blog topics) might search online. There is a learning curve to this method of blog promotion. Give yourself the time and budget to “test” your ads before you go all in.
- The Blogging Community: I would encourage you to become an active member of your specific lifestyle blogging community. Comment on other people’s posts. Participate in podcast interviews or seek out guest blogging opportunities. Collaborations are also a great way to “cross-pollinate” audiences and reach people who are already following a blogger whose audience may overlap with your own. Collaborations might look like Instagram Lives, Webinars, and blog contributions. Remember: you don’t have to go at it alone. Networking with like-minded people on the same path (and offering value) is extremely powerful.
These methods will help you get short- to medium-term results while you allow your SEO efforts to take effect.
Don’t forget to focus on organic traffic.
The great thing about SEO is that it takes time, strategy, and energy up front, but it pays off big time in the long run.
There are many SEO tools out there that will help you with keyword research.
Simply put, when it comes to keyword research, you’ll want to keep your eye on:
- Search volume: Are enough people searching this term monthly that it’s worth attempting to rank for?
- Keyword Difficulty: Does my website have the authority to rank for highly competitive keywords? Or should I focus on easier keywords first?
Ideally, you’d want to do a mix of both.
Find a few keywords that are highly competitive and use them so that readers and search engines know what your blog is about. However, start with high volume, low competition keywords that you have a realistic shot of ranking for.
As you rank for more and more of these low-competition keywords, your blog will gain authority so that you can eventually compete for those high-competition search terms!
At the end of the day, you’ll eventually want to incorporate multiple promotion methods to give your lifestyle blog the best chance at success.
Start slow, take it step-by-step, and before you know it, you’ll have amassed a large, dedicated fan base that can’t wait to devour your next piece of content.
This brings me to my next point…
Give Readers a Reason to Come Back
Want to know the real secret to running a lifestyle blog that makes money?
Put people over profit.
Of course you want you to be able to create a successful content business. But that means focusing on the needs of your readers first.
Think about it:
When you land on a blog that has a ton of ads, digital product pitches, and affiliate links without any value, one where it feels like the intent behind the content isn’t to help you succeed, but to prioritize their earnings, can you feel confident that you’ve found a solid resource to help overcome your obstacles?
What’s the feeling you get from that brand? Are you going to come back to that blog?
I don’t know about you but I can immediately tell the difference between when I find a thought leader passionate about a topic in their goal to help others (earning their income as a result) as opposed to those solely interested in their own success.
If a website looks spammy, unauthoritative, or feels insincere, I’m hitting that back button!
I want you to keep this in mind as you build your own lifestyle blog, brand, or business. This is why niche selection and the topics you write about are so important.
When we turn to Google, social media, or our email inboxes, we’re searching for content that actually provides real value to our lives.
If the content you’re creating is useful and meaningful for your readers, and you’re coming from a place of service, conversions will come naturally. You won’t have to fight for them because your content will do the job of nurturing your readers and bringing them down the sales funnel.
Long story short:
Focus on your intentions and prioritize people over profit.
Now that you have an understanding of this concept, let’s discuss how to (eventually) make money from your lifestyle blog.
Step 8: How to Start a Lifestyle Blog and Actually Make Money Blogging!
You did it!
You’ve made it this far and are ready to start making money with your lifestyle blog, right?
Well, not so fast!
Before I share with you my best monetization strategies for making money with a blog, I want to set some expectations and ensure that you’re grounded in reality.
What do I mean by that?
A lot of beginning bloggers seeking to make money think that once they’ve set their framework and started organizing their content, the money will start rolling in.
The reason I shared with you the fact that successful bloggers have good intentions behind their brand is so that you can understand the following concepts:
- A Blog is not a get rich quick scheme
- You may not make money right away
- Prioritize quality content, promotion, and traffic first
- Monetizing your site is something to work towards
Look, I get it! You’ve just invested time, money, and effort into building your brand and you want to get a return as soon as possible. (Who doesn’t?)
But, there is a reason that this section comes at the end of this ultimate guide to starting a lifestyle blog.
You’ll need to ensure you spend time building an audience as well as creating and marketing your content before your blog starts generating serious money, dough, loot, paper, cheddar, or whatever else you wanna call it.
Remember: You’re not just building a blog, you’re building a business. This is a long-term asset that will passively generate income while you sleep. And that takes time.
Okay, I think you get the point: Unless you’re bringing a built-in audience with you, it can take around 6-18 months before you’re making a decent income from your blog. Not bad, considering most transitional businesses take around four to five years to get to that point.
Okay not let’s talk about how to make money with your lifestyle blog to get the quickest return possible.
6 Ways to Make Money From Your WordPress Blog from the Start(Blog Monetization Strategies)
How do you monetize a lifestyle blog on WordPress?
There are six main ways to earn an income from your lifestyle blog. I will list these monetization techniques and give you some tips on when you should implement them.
It’s also important to note that, unless you have a built-in team at the ready, don’t try and take on all of them at once.
Start with one, grow your income, create a system, remove yourself, and move to the next revenue stream.
In other words:
Work smart, not hard.
Ok, let’s begin with an active form of making money from your blog.
1. Freelance Services
Selling your services is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get started making money with your blog.
Well, as mentioned previously, it can take some time before your blog starts generating the kind of income you can live off of. As a freelancer, you can pull in money from your talents and expertise that others look to hire out.
This will allow you to earn money in the short term while you focus on building your blog and long-term business vision.
Some common freelance jobs are:
- Freelance Writing Services
- Graphic Design
- Social Media Management
- Web Development
- Video Editing
- Email marketing
- And so much more
By adding pages to your website such as Contact, About, and Work With Me pages, you can allow your website to generate leads for you.
You’ll also need to store your portfolio of work somewhere in order to showcase your skills. This will help to generate more freelance sales.
Essentially, the only thing you need to start making money in the short-term is a skill that you can sell as a service that others are willing to pay for and a good pitch.
Don’t have any skills? No worries, that’s what self-education, and online courses are for.
You’ll be surprised what people are willing to pay for.
Don’t believe me?
Do a search for anything on Fiverr and see what others are selling.
I recommend starting with something you have experience in or that you want to improve that will help serve your content business in the long run.
Personally, I started with Freelance Writing and I still use freelancing as a revenue stream today in which I offer many other services.
I also use freelance services for many of my own business needs and I’m happy to support those that offer a quality service.
Ready to get started? Check one of these 5 top freelance job sites to start earning:
Long story short:
Selling your services as a freelancer will keep the money coming in while building your blog.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another great way to start earning money from your lifestyle blog.
How does it work?
Simply put, affiliate marketing is where you get a commission for promoting another product or service using a unique link to track your leads to the specific product or service that you’re recommending.
Basically, companies are willing to pay money in the form of affiliate commissions to bloggers, content creators, and influencers.
It’s far better to have you promote their product to your warm market of followers, readers, and audience members than if they were to try to promote it themselves.
The result is a better conversion for them than promoting to a cold market.
So you get a commission, they get new customers, and the customer doesn’t pay a single cent more than they would if they were to go directly to the company.
It’s a win-win-win!
There are tons of affiliate programs out there!
From Amazon all the way down to the solopreneur trying to promote their new digital product.
There’s a caveat:
It’s important to provide value to your readers. The more value you provide, the more likely they are to actually click on your affiliate links and convert into paying customers!
That being said, you don’t want to tout products or services that you don’t believe in or you haven’t used just to make a quick buck. Not only is it unethical and misleading, but you’ll break your trust, credibility, and authority with your readers.
Instead look for products and services that you already use, love, or have experience with and seek out affiliate opportunities. This allows you to only vouch for products that you can firmly stand behind and offer first-hand information to your audience.
Affiliate marketing can quickly add up to quite a bit of monthly revenue once your lifestyle blog gets a decent amount of traffic.
Don’t sleep on this blog monetization technique.
3. Digital Products
Digital products are the best way to monetize a blog with a small audience
Just as Freelancing is a way to leverage your skills to sell your services, Digital products are a way to leverage your expertise to sell your knowledge.
By giving people access to your personal expertise, advice, strategies, and tutorials, you’re collapsing their learning curve and saving them excessive amounts of time.
Depending on the situation, you could be saving potential customers months or even years of struggle by giving them a roadmap that eliminates the need to learn from trial and error. This is especially true if the subject matter is a complex topic such as Blogging & Content Strategy, Amazon FBA, or Web Development.
The best part about creating informational products is that you own them 100%.
Let’s say you’re a personal finance coach. If you created your own books, eBooks, and online courses on the topic of personal finance, you would make 100% of what you sell (minus the nominal expenses, of course).
Selling your own products allows you to become a trusted authority in your niche as well as serve the needs of your audience while making an income.
So what type of digital products can you sell? Here are just a few digital product ideas:
- Online Courses
- Membership & Subscription Content
- Website Plugins
- Apps & Software
- And so much more…
In the current day of knowledge and information, the sky’s the limit when it comes to selling your own digital products.
You can be as creative as you want when developing your digital products as long as they serve a need that exists in the marketplace. Of which there are many!
4. Physical Products
You may have noticed YouTubers, Instagrammers, Bloggers, and influencers with a growing, loyal audience promoting their own merch.
Physical products can be a great way to add to your bottom line as a lifestyle blogger or content creator of any sort.
As your audience starts to get indoctrinated into your brand and your fan base (and engagement) begins to grow, physical products can be a great source of blogging income.
Not all physical products are created equal and what you create and sell will be based largely on your audience so I recommend conducting some audience testing prior to going through the process of creating and launching a physical product.
That being said, here are some physical products for bloggers that tend to do well:
- T-Shirts & Apparel
- Fashion Accessories (watches, wallets, etc.)
- Books & Planners
- Subscription Boxes
- Smartphone Accessories (cases, stickers, etc.)
- Coffee Mugs
- Other POD (print on demand) products (water bottles, tote bags, etc.)
- Private label products (supplements, fitness products, essential oils, etc.)
Again, consider the needs of your audience before getting too ahead of yourself. The last thing you want is to launch a physical product and be stuck with inventory that just doesn’t sell.
5. Sponsored Posts
What is a Sponsored post?
Simply put: These are blog posts (or any other form of content) that a brand will pay you (“sponsor” you) to create!
For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger who writes about makeup, a beauty brand such as Chanel or Dior might pay you for a sponsored post. This could look like a review, makeup tutorial, or any other creative post that you can come up with!
Similarly, if you’re a photography blogger, Nikkon or Canon may pay you to review their newest products to your audience of aspiring photographers.
Why would these big companies do such a thing?
Similar to affiliate marketing, big corporations understand the power of word of mouth marketing.
They know that paying content creators, bloggers, and influencers has a huge impact. It’s a way to generate more sales through your warm market.
Not only that, but they have a built-in budget for this type of influencer marketing.
That’s why sponsored posts exist: it’s just smart business.
Should you do sponsored posts?
Again, you want to be careful not to break your trust and credibility with your audience. This is an important commodity as a blogger. The moment you start selling out on your audience in exchange for a few bucks is when you lose your authority and sully your reputation.
If you choose to partner with brands, you should choose carefully. Concentrate on these two things:
- Does this brand’s product or service align with the needs of my audience?
- Will this partnership stand the test of time?
See, I’ve discovered that a lot of lifestyle bloggers, especially new lifestyle bloggers, are constantly seeking opportunities to generate some kind of income or savings.
A lot of companies will sponsor you with product (read: free merch) in exchange for a review.
Regardless of how you get compensated, just understand that having too many of these sponsored posts or constantly changing them doesn’t look good.
Not only that, but sponsored posts as a blog monetization strategy is at the bottom of my list.
This is because you need to constantly be chasing your income by being proactive with sponsored content as opposed to having your money work hard for you passively or semi-passively.
That being said, if you can carefully select one or two companies that meet the needs of your audience and build a long-term relationship with them as a brand ambassador, then sponsored content can be a great thing.
You look trustworthy because you’re only promoting the few brands you’ve specifically chosen to work with. The longer you work with them, the more credibility you achieve as opposed to working for anyone who will compensate you and constantly pushing the latest and greatest thing.
Basically, if you will create sponsored posts, choose carefully, build long-term relationships and keep your readers in mind.
Do that and sponsored content can be an excellent source of recurring income.
6. Blog Advertising & Ad Networks
Blog Advertising can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to monetize a blog.
Keep in mind that what you make from advertising will depend solely on your blog traffic.
Personally, I don’t recommend adding ads to your site until you’ve grown your readership to a point that it makes sense to implement ads.
This is because it takes away from your user experience and because it doesn’t generate a whole lot of income in the short term.
Also, some blog ad networks require a minimum amount of traffic to get approved.
There are two types of blog advertising:
- Cost Per Click Ads (CPC)
- Cost Per Mille Ads (mille = thousand) (CPM)
CPC ads are exactly what they sound like. You get paid whenever a blog visitor clicks on the ad. CPC ads usually pay .50 or less per click and typically have a low conversion rate.
The CPM advertising model will pay you for every 1000 impressions. That is, for every 1000 people who see the ad. CPM ads typically pay $1-$10 per 1000 impressions.
There are various ad networks you can sign up for if you choose to go this route.
However, You’ll need a lot of traffic before it would be worthwhile to implement this blog monetization strategy.
In other words, if you’re going to use ads, it should generate a decent amount of revenue for you.
Persoanlly, I have a goal to never use the advertising model to generate income, instead I’d rather supplent it with audience contributions. (Donate here) This feels more aligned and autherntic to me.
That being said, there are a lot of creators being making a decent amount of revenue from ad networks.
Bonus #1: Upselling & Cross Selling
We’ve already talked about digital and physical products and services that you can sell on your blog or website.
But why stop there?
You can upsell an additional or higher-tiered product or service to provide an enhanced experience and help facilitate goal achievement at a more rapid pace for your customer or client.
You can also cross-sell similar items that may not be directly related but can add value.
Brands like Amazon and even McDonalds have historically done this amazingly well and it’s a big factor in their success.
Perhaps you can upsell a supplemental course workbook, workshops, or templates that will help your client or customer achieve their goal when promoting your course or coaching program.
Are you selling an ebook on how to bake fresh bread from scratch? What about upselling to your course that teaches your unique step-by-step method?
Maybe you have an e-commerce store in the fitness niche, you can cross-sell supplements to go with those resistance bands.
Upselling and cross-selling products is often overlooked and, unfortunately, a lot of lifestyle bloggers and creators leave a lot of money on the table. It can add an extra 43% in revenue to your existing business.
As you grow your lifestyle blog, it may be something to consider. Especially if you’re adding value to your customer’s experience.
Bonus #2: Additional Traffic Sources
Starting a lifestyle blog is a great way to start as a content creator, but here’s a bonus tip:
Add new traffic sources to increase your exposure, visibility, and eventual traffic.
What does that look like?
Once you’ve learned how to start a lifestyle blog and make money, you can add a podcast into the mix. Or maybe you’ll start recording YouTube videos consistently to drive more traffic to your website.
Got your social media marketing on autopilot?
Great! Consider adding a new platform.
By doing this you’ll be able to reach new audiences with your message and grow your blog or website.
This will increase your income by attracting new potential clients, customers, and loyal fans.
Bonus #3: Seek Business Partnerships
As a result of being a lifestyle blogger, content creator, and location-independent business owner, you’ll end up doing a lot of networking.
Inevitably, you’ll come across lots of opportunities for collaborations, partnerships, investments, and much more.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your industry.
I can’t tell you how many innovative ideas come to market this way.
I know people who have started fitness products, software tools, and even film documentaries in this manner.
Strategic partnerships can help elevate your business success to a whole new level.
This is something that has to come naturally and it involves a give and take.
You’ll naturally progress into this kind of business relationship when you’re focused on monetizing your blog.
If you connect with someone with who you want to partner or collaborate, think of how you can add value.
This isn’t as obvious as other blog monetization strategies but can result in having the biggest impact.
Keep this in mind when building your content business.
Final Thoughts On How to Start a Lifestyle Blog and Make Money
Starting and growing a lifestyle blog in 2021 and actually making money is a lot simpler than you think.
This may sounds cliché, but:
It just requires passion and enthusiasm.
That means your niche selection is of the utmost importance.
Well, If you’re enthusiastic about your niche topic and are creating exciting content that you genuinely love to share that also adds value to people’s lives and keeps them coming back, then truly, the sky’s the limit!
Here’s the truth:
If you approach blogging with action, positive emotion, and consistency, then success is inevitable.
You’ll obtain traffic, income, and achieve your goals naturally and everything will fall into place.
I wrote this guide because becoming a full-time blogger, content marketer, and digital nomad has been one of the best life-changing decisions I’ve ever made.
So much so that I feel a sense of obligation to share it with you, my loyal readers.
I tried to put as much detail as I could so as to not leave anything out. I hope this ultimate guide has given you a sense of confidence in your decision to start your own lifestyle blog and start earning an income online.
Here are some questions to think about:
- When will you get started?
- What niche will you pick?
- Which blog monetization technique will you focus on first?
Let me know by leaving your answers, or any other blogging questions that may arise, in the comments below!
Like This Post? Save It for Later
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog and Make Money FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
I routinely get questions from readers about how to start a blog. Below are my answers to some of the most common questions that people ask when starting a lifestyle blog.