Love decor, crafts, food, finance, or fashion? Learn how to start a lifestyle blog that can help you earn in a full-time income from home.
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A few years ago I was a stay-at-home mom who wanted sometime MORE. I wanted to contribute to our household finances without having to sacrifice our family life.
I decided to give blogging for income a try, I’m so glad I did!
Today I am a full time blogger. I make more money running my lifestyle blog as a stay-at-home-mom than I did when I was working outside the house . You can read about my blogging journey in this post.
What is a Lifestyle Blog?
Lifestyle blogs are one niche in the blogging industry. Lifestyle bloggers write about their LIFE… this includes just about any topic.
- Popular topics/niches include food or recipe, crafts, DIY, decorating, budgeting, cleaning, parenting, faith, marriage, home schooling, and personal finance…. just to name a few.
- A lifestyle blog can include one, all, or none of the topics above, the categories depend entirely on the blogger’s personal interests.
- Many lifestyle blogs have a single thread or cohesive idea that tie all the topics together. This could include healthy living, life with young kids, traveling full time, frugal living, etc.
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog
This is the step-by-step process I used to start Bren Did. (Don’t complete all the steps today! Pin or bookmark this post so you can come back and work through them at your own pace.)
- Pick a topic or niche to write about.
The first rule of blogging is to write what you know. Are you into cooking, finance, or child development? You must pick a topic you know something about and love discussing. There are profitable blogs on almost every topic from poodle care to pound cake, so the sky is the limit as long as you are passionate about the topic.
I’ve met some really nice people who decided to write about finances or weight loss or organizing because they thought those topics would attract a lot of readers. They all stopped blogging because they did not have a genuine passion for their topic.
Having a passion for your blog topic means:
• You’ll have a lot to write about and will have something in common with your readers.
• You will be less likely to get sick of the topic and give up on the blog.
• You will be willing to put in the time and effort needed to make the blog a success.
You don’t need an advanced degree in your blogging niche, but you should be a bit more knowledgeable that the average Joe and love learning more about the topic.
- Evaluate your current skills.
Successful blogs have to do one of these things:
1) Entertain or
2) Solve problems.
We can’t all be as entertaining as Beyonce, but we can all solve problems! The problems your readers are facing can be as simple as how to make a healthy meal in the crock pot or how to naturally clean a shower.
Tip: Try to brainstorm ten possible blog posts topics that solve a problem in your niche and write down the ideas. If you can’t easily get to ten in a few minutes you may need to think of a new blog topic or broaden your niche.
- Pick a name for your blog then purchase a domain and hosting plan.
Your domain name is part of the URL of your blog. For example, BrenDid.com is the domain in http://www.brendid.com . Your domain name should match the name of your blog to make it easy to find.
Blog names are a matter of personal preference. Some names are descriptive and to the point (PoodleCare101.com) while others are more abstract or catchy (ThePaperAirplane.com) and some are simply made up words (Google.com). Get started by brainstorming a list of words or phrases that are important to your topic and combinations you like.
Once you’ve got a name (or list of names), check to see if the domain is available to purchase.
A web host is like a big file cabinet you rent to hold your blog’s information. There are tons of hosting choices out there! I’ve used two:
- BlueHost is the web host I used to start Bren Did. I recommend the Starter Plan for people who are just dipping thier toes into the blogging pond because it is cheap and has both phone and online customer support. (BlueHost also includes a free domain name with new accounts, you gotta love that deal!)
- As my blog grew and became a full time business I switched to Cloudways for hosting. I love their affordable and extremely reliable plans. I’ve had great service at Cloudways and plan on sticking with them!
- Install Wordpress.
You’ll use a content management system (CMS) to create and manage your blog. (A CMS is like a printing press that publishes your blog onto the internet.) There are a few CMS options (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr) but I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
WordPress is the most popular way to go. It’s the software I picked for BrenDid.com because it’s easy to use and can be used to earn money. You can install the FREE WordPress software directly onto your BlueHost account, so you don’t have to purchase or download anything.
To install WordPress on your blog host account simply follow the steps provided by the host.
- Make sure to write down your Admin URL, Username, and Password. You’ll need them to log onto your blog.
- Select a theme to customize the look of your blog.
Log into your blog via the Admin URL (the URL will look like this: www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin – type in your domain in place of yourblogname.com).
You should customize the appearance of your blog before you start publishing posts. The look of your blog is controlled by a theme. You can choose a free theme from the WordPress library or purchase a premium theme to get a more unique appearance. My favorite premium themes include:
• Genesis Framework with a Studio Press Child Theme – Genesis is like a cell phone and the child theme is the cell phone case; your phone always works the same way but it looks different when you change the case. I currently use the Genesis framework with the Foodie Pro child theme. I also love the look of the Bruch Pro and Cook’d child themes.
• Pretty Darn Cute Designs – PDCD make beautiful feminine themes that also work with the Genesis Framework . I have used the Pretty Chic theme and love the PDCD tutorials (you can even have them set up your blog for $135.00!).
• Elegant Themes – Elegant Themes gives users access to 88 themes for one annual fee. When I first started blogging I used the Magnificent Theme and thought the support platform was great.
Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a lifestyle blogger!
- Start Blogging & Start Developing Excellent Blogging Skills.
It’s time to start writing and publishing blog posts! If you’re feeling overwhelmed try reading a basic blog book that walks you through the process.
- Read a Basic Blogging Book– There are amazing blogging classes and books available online, and there are also lots of terrible books and classes for sale. How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul is a great reference book that will get you started blogging to profit for less than $15.00. This book offers practical advice and easy action plans for creating a successful and profitable blog.
If you are less than thrilled with your blog post take some time to develop your writing style. I took an online class called Sticky Blogging to improve my blog posts and help increase page views (both are important if you want to make an income).
- Learn to Write for an Online Audience. Writing for a online audience is much different than writing for other mediums. The Sticky Blogging Formula online class teaches you to write posts that will keep readers “stuck” on your site. (This course is only offered a few times a year, try the free intro class.)
If you are disappointed in your blog photos, spend some time learning the simple photography tricks that make them look amazing. I bought an ebook called Tasty Food Photography to improve my blog photos and help increase Pinterest traffic.
- Learn to Take Beautiful Photos – My photos were horrible when I started blogging, Tasty Food Photography taught me about aperture, ISO, lighting, styling, and other photography skills needed to produce beautiful blog photos. The tutorials are helpful for ALL bloggers in the food, craft, homemaking, and lifestyle niche, the tips work for crafts, cleaning supplies, small projects, worksheets, & more.
- Get a logo header for your blog.
A custom blog logo makes your site look polished and professional, but it’s not worth wasting your own time on when you first start to blog. Focus on creating content and learning WordPress and purchase an inexpensive blog logo from a graphic designer.
My favorite sources for affordable logos (from $3 to $50) are:
- Etsy – The art market is a great place to find custom or semi-custom blog logos from experienced graphic designers at affordable prices.
- Creative Market – This online graphic design market has hundreds of low cost blog logos and logo collections from experienced designers.
Are you ready to take a leap of faith and give blogging a try?
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I started a blog to go with my website, Wisdom from the Doublewide, but haven’t figured out how to make money with it. I enjoy writing it so that hasn’t been a top priority, but would be nice!! 🙂