Welcome to this guide on how to start a lifestyle blog!
Starting a blog is such a big and amazing project. Can you imagine, being able to work from home, or even from anywhere in the world?
* Picturing myself working on my laptop on a white sand beach with a fabulous cocktail *
Yes, becoming a blogger is like THE dream job. But it can be hard to know where to start, and how to do things the right way to create a profitable blog.
I know, I’ve been there!
But no worries, I got you! Whether you are a newbie who doesn’t know where to start, or a more experienced blogger trying to grow their blog, this guide will help you start a successful blog.
I took that big plunge into the blogosphere not so long ago, with no prior experience, and it has been such an amazing experience so far. I even earned money from my very first month of blogging… Which I didn’t even know was possible.
But I created my blog the way I describe it in this article, and it has been such a wonderful adventure since then.
So are you ready to start your own profitable lifestyle blog? 😉
How To Start A Lifestyle Blog:
1. Decide on a Blog & Domain Name
Your blog name and domain name are gonna stick with you until the end. So you better choose carefully!
If the difference between a blog name and a domain name is unclear to you, your blog name is what will appear on your blog header and logo, while your domain name is your blog URL.
Both can be the same (ideally), but sometimes you will find a blog name that you absolutely love, and notice afterward that the domain name that goes with it isn’t available.
Example: my blog’s name is Hello Foxy, and my domain name is hellofoxyblog.com because hellofoxy.com wasn’t available when I created this blog.
Choose a name that either represents you or your brand (yes, you should TOTALLY brand the hell out of your blog, but that will be for another article); something you won’t get tired of, that isn’t too long and that will be easily remembered.
To do: Take a pen and a sheet of paper, and start brainstorming blog name ideas. You can check if the domain name you want is available below:
2. Choose a Web Hosting
The next thing you have to decide when starting a blog is whether you should go self-hosted or free hosted. I know it sounds kinda technical if you’re a newbie, but no worries, this is much easier than it seems.
What is a web hosting?
If you want to start a blog, you’re going to need a web hosting, which means the “place” where your blog lives.
Kinda like renting a parking spot for your car, except you’re renting a space on the internet for your blog. Every website needs a web hosting.
When it comes to web hosting, you have two options: being self-hosted, of being free-hosted.
Since we’re going to talk about WordPress in a minute, you probably heard about WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The main (and only) thing that you have to know about these two, is that :
- WordPress.com is to create a free-hosted blog
- WordPress.org is for those who want a self-hosted blog.
And NO, the paid version of WordPress.com is NOT the same thing as a self-hosted platform. You’re just paying for them to allow you to do more things, but they still own your content and they still get to decide what you can do or not on your blog.
Please, PLEASE do not pay for WordPress.com. It’s more expensive than being self-hosted and you still get all of the cons of being free-hosted. Yuck
In order to start a blog that you can monetize (that earns you an income), you need to be self-hosted.
There are several reasons why you should NOT go free-hosted if you’re serious about blogging:
- You do NOT own your content with a free-hosted blog
- You will have an ugly URL with a free-hosted platform ( like www.yourblog.wordpress.com instead of www.yourblog.com)
- There are restrictions to monetize your blog (Ads and affiliate links, for example, are not allowed)
- You have to adhere to your host’s Terms and Conditions
- You won’t be able to customize your blog as much as if you were self-hosted. Say goodbye to the most beautiful themes that would make your blog look professional (and looking professional is CRUCIAL)
- No one is going to take you seriously with a free-hosted blog (forget about working with brands)
In other words, you’re just allowing someone else to control all of your blog, and you can forget about ever monetizing your blog if you choose to go with a free hosted site. Free hosted blogs just weren’t made for this purpose.
Free-hosted blogs are free for a reason, remember that!
For all these reasons, starting a self-hosted blog is a must if you’re serious about blogging. The small investment ( $3.95 / month here) of creating a self-hosted blog is necessary if you want to turn your blog into a business.
I quickly reimbursed my hosting fees from monetizing my blog from day 1, which you should definitely do. Yes, small blogs CAN make money. Follow this guide to make money with a small blog for more info.
➝ Can I start with a free hosted blog and go self-hosted later?
Before you start thinking something like “I could start with a free blog and then get self-hosted as it will grow”, DON’T. DO. THAT.
I started with a free hosted blog and regretted it. Let me explain why doing this is the worst thing you can actually do:
When you will want to migrate your blog from free-hosted to self-hosted, you will either:
- Loose all your traffic because your domain name will change and every link that brought traffic to your blog will no longer work (like all your Pins on Pinterest, and every time another blogger mentioned your blog), and because you will have to go back from 0 in google ranking (which takes months / years to improve for each post)
- Or you’re gonna have to pay for your host to redirect all of your links toward your new domain url if you want to keep your traffic.
Either way, this will confuse your readers, and you will loose some of them along the way.
Not cool, at all.
So how to start a lifestyle blog that is self-hosted?
Now that you know all there is to know about free hosted and self-hosted blogs, I am going to guide you through the process of creating your self-hosted blog with Bluehost and WordPress.
3. Set up your hosting and domain
I am self-hosted with Bluehost, one of the top web hosting companies in 2017. There are many reasons why I chose to go with them:
- It is easy to use
- You get to monetize your blog any way you want to
- it’s one of the most affordable hosting companies ( $3.95 per month )
- you get a FREE domain with this link ($15 value)
- They have been working with WordPress for a while now, making WordPress.org completely free if you choose to go with them
- They are installing WordPress.org automatically at no cost to you (They do all the work for you! Making your blog creation process super easy.)
- Not to mention that you will look so much more professional to your readers and to any brand that could want to work with you. Meaning it will make it much easier for you to monetize your blog. I had brands contacting me for sponsored posts opportunities in my 5th month of blogging, which is not bad at all.
In order to set up your hosting account, just follow those steps:
1. Go to Bluehost (just click here) and click on the “Get Started Now” button.
2. Click on the package you are interested in.
Their hosting prices allow you to start a blog for as low as $3.95.
The basic plan is probably enough for you (that’s what I have).
3. Sign up for a new domain name.
4. Enter your personal and payment information.
5. Next you will be asked to enter a password.
Congrats! You just created a self-hosted WordPress blog with Bluehost. I told you it was simple.
4. Appearance Matters
Congratulations, you have a blog ! But the process of creating a blog doesn’t stop here babe.
Everything that turns a random blog into YOUR blog is yet to do.
As soon as you created your blog, you’re going to need a theme. WordPress has some free themes that you can use, but you can also buy your own theme if you’re not satisfied with those. Creative Market and Etsy are great to find a theme for your blog, I always find the most beautiful themes there.
One thing you must be aware of when choosing your blog theme, is that the appearance of your blog matters… A lot. Writing great blog posts don’t make everything, your readers will also be (un)attracted by your blog’s visual.
You might think that’s unfair, but that’s the way it is; people will be more likely to read a blog that looks pretty, that is ergonomic, easy to run through, than a blog that has quality content but looks like a mess.
If I could give you just two more tips about choosing your blog theme, I’d say find a theme that reflects your personality, and choose bright colors, it will make your blog so much more appealing.
Example: I stumbled upon a blog the other day. Its theme was all in a dark brown. It wasn’t easy to find anything on it. It took me like three minutes to find the “categories” section, and those weren’t even organized. I left that blog and never visited it again.
5. Create Your Blog’s Social Media
Hold on, I’m almost done.
The last thing you absolutely need to do when starting your blog, is to create your blog’s social media. You’re going to need a place to promote your blog posts and build your community, and that’s what social media are there for.
You know how to start a lifestyle blog! What’s next?
Your blog is ready now!
Check out my Blogging Resource Library to find all the tools I’m using to grow my blog and income each month!
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