Do you have ideas worth sharing?
Have you been thinking of starting your own blog but are unsure where to start?
After launching and creating 2 successful blogs and turning them into my full time job I can honestly say, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.
A little about me
When I started my lifestyle & travel blog I was very sick and had been bedridden for two years! I was miserable. Pretty much overnight I came down with this life sucking illness that made it hard to get through the day.
I had wanted to start a blog for a while, but felt I did not have the health or abilities to actually do it. I mean, I couldn’t even sit up!! How was I going to have a successful blog?!
After a full year of telling myself I was too sick to start, I decided to stop making excuses and just do it. And I am so glad I did!
Here’s the thing…
Were my posts the most amazing blog posts ever? No.
Did I have any clue what I was doing? Definitely not.
Was I frustrated that I didn’t have the brain power to do things the way I truly wanted to? YES!
But because I took the leap of faith and started I quickly got feedback on what readers were liking and not liking, making it clear very early on what direction I should take my blog. (More on this later in the post) This is the type of guidance you just won’t get “thinking” about starting a blog.
That’s why we need to just rip the band aid off and go for it.
I think a big reason so many people hesitate when starting a lifestyle blog (myself included) is because there are so many negative myths floating around. Some of the biggest myths I have found to be total garbage are that running a blog is too expensive, maintaining a website requires technical expertise, the blogging industry is too saturated, and it is impossible to make your content stand out.
Hearing these can be so discouraging for a new or aspiring blogger, and prevent many people from even trying. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have these thoughts.
You don’t have to be tech savvy
I was not tech savvy when I started my blog (still not good on a computer). My lack of computer skills required me to ask my husband how to change the background on my computer (yes, this actually happened).
But the good news is web development software is now designed for people like me; now a days it makes things a million times easier, and a million times cheaper.
My blogging success
Within 6 months of starting my blog, I was getting 170,000 page views a month, and already making money every month!
In the next 2 months after that my blog hit over 1 million page views. I honestly couldn’t believe it. Everything I had read said it would take me years to build any sort of following and make money. Most of the bloggers I talked to worked 80 hours a week and posted every day. I knew this type of commitment was not possible for me, so I never thought I would have success.
As my first year of blogging ended I reached over 1.3 million people, and that was all while taking long breaks from posting due to my poor health (I went 6 months and only put up 2 posts).
Don’t ever let anyone (especially yourself!) discourage you from starting a blog.
Starting Avenlylane.com turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. You CAN be successful, it is not too late to start, and you can learn as you go.
So let’s start your lifestyle blog together!
Note – If you are still trying to find the motivation to start you guys should listen to this youtube video “Certainty – Life’s Greatest Myth“. It is only 7 minutes but it is so motivating.
Pin this post to Pinterest for later reference!
Click here to start a successful blog on WordPress in 2017, then follow the easy step-by-step tutorial below.
Starting A Lifestyle Blog
There really are a number of great tools out there, but this post will walk you through some of the basics, and recommend products to get you started. Even though I make commission on some of my recommendations, the recommendations in this post are all things I use and love!
There are four main steps to starting a blog (don’t worry, I will explain what each of these things mean):
1. Hosting and Domain Name (URL) – I recommend Bluehost when starting out – more on that in step 1.
2. Installing WordPress
3. Picking a blog theme and making it look good
4. Posting and writing your content
Step 1. Hosting and Domain Name
We highly recommend starting with Bluehost.
Confused already? Worry not, I had no clue what hosting service to use when I first started out!
A hosting service is a company that will actually house and keep your website connected to the web 24 hours a day. They do this by giving you space in one of their servers, and keep those servers permanently plugged in to the web (if you tried to do this at home it would be ridiculously expensive and require a lot of technical know-how).
There are a lot of hosting services out there; after A LOT of research and a trusty recommendations, I decided to go with Bluehost for a few reasons.
- They are really inexpensive – They are very cheap ($3.95/month) and I figured that even if my blog never took off, I wouldn’t be out that much money.
- 100% Risk Free – It can be terrifying to spend money on something that you are not sure you will stick with. I know the feeling. I have been there! Thankfully Bluehost offers a money back guarantee if you decide to cancel later on. This made me feel so much better about taking that first step.
- Comes with a free domain name! Note – Your domain name is the URL you will use. Example, www.avenlylane.com
Let’s get started!
Navigate to Bluehost.com and click the big green “Get Started Now” button.
Select your plan
Next you will select your plan. I would start with the $3.95 plan, as you can always upgrade later if needed. Most of the extra features are not needed for a new blog, and when they are needed, it is extremely easy to upgrade.
Register Your Domain Name
The next step is to register your domain, or to choose your actual website address. For example, www.avenlylane.com is my domain name. Enter your domain name in the “new domain” box and click “next”.
You get a free domain name when signing up with bluehost. Another bonus!
If you’ve already registered a domain name, you can enter it on the right.
Enter all of your account and contact information.
Continue down to the “package information” section.
You get the cheapest monthly rate by selecting 36 months, which requires you to pay for 3 years up front. When I signed up, I did not know I would be charged the full 3 years, and was shocked to see the total sum taken out of my account.
Don’t let this stress you out or hold you back though. Bluehost has a money back guarantee if you change your mind. You wont be locked into a three year contract!
If the upfront cost is too much, you can always consider pre-paying for the 12 month plan instead ($6.95 a month instead of $3.95). It will be a little more expensive month to month but not much.
Don’t get caught up in all the extras; they really are not necessary, especially as a beginning blogger. The only one I do recommend is the Domain Privacy Protection. It is only $9.99 for the entire year. If you don’t add this protection, then people will be able to look up your home address, phone number, etc. via your domain name. Kinda scary!
Enter in your billing information, agree to the service agreements, and then click “submit” to move to the next step.
Check your email for login info
After you have completed your purchase you will be sent a welcome email from Bluehost. This email will contain all your login information, so be sure to keep this email for future reference.
You now have domain and hosting for your blog. The next step is to install WordPress.
Step 2. Install WordPress
No clue what WordPress is? Once again, do not worry, but be ready for WordPress to become your best friend. Basically, WordPress is the software that makes designing your blog and typing out your posts super quick and intuitive.
WordPress makes it so you never need to learn how to code your website, yet can have the benefits of a fully coded website. More than 60 million websites are managed through WordPress, and thankfully it can be installed with one click directly through Bluehost.
Login to your Bluehost cpanel
Go back to Bluehost.com and click the Login button in the top right corner of your screen. Continue to log in using your username and password that were emailed to you.
Click on Install wordpress.
Bluehost has an option to install wordpress with just one click! It makes things so much easier when signing up and you do not have to hire anyone to do this for you.
Begin the WordPress install
Next you’ll get a window that looks something like this. Click the Install button to begin the WordPress installation process.
Select which domain to install WordPress
Choose your domain from the dropdown menu if it’s not already chosen for you. Don’t worry about the directory field. Leave the directory field blank. Click Check Domain.
At this point, you officially have your own lifestyle blog. Yay! Next we need to make it look good.
Step 3. Picking a lifestyle blog theme & making it look good.
A website theme is what determines the actual layout of your site.
The theme determines how your posts are displayed, where the actual posts are located, where pictures are, where the title goes, every link that is available for people to click on, and what people see when they scroll.
WordPress has THOUSANDS for different themes for you to choose from, some are free, and others are paid for. Each theme has tons of options that can be tweaked as well: colors, fonts, number of columns, homepage etc.
You want to find a theme that you like, but also one that allows you to grow. I purposefully chose a theme with LOTS of design options so that I could “redesign” my site if I got sick of its current look. I’ve already made tons of changes as my blog has developed.
Even if you do not like the theme you first choose, themes can always be switched later on.
Lifestyle Blog Themes
ThemeForest is a huge database of premium WordPress themes which I always reference if I’m designing a new site. There are a lot of styles to choose from, so if you’re looking for something with a built-in design right out of the box, this is a good place to start looking (once again remember I’m a girl with no technical computer background or understanding).
If you do not want to pay for a theme, (mine was $50) then no worries at all! WordPress has a ton of free ones you can pick from. You can check some of them out here.
The theme I chose to start is Simplemag by Themeforest.
I currently use the theme 15Zine on avenlylanetravel.com, also by Themeforest. This is another amazing theme that I have been super happy with.
On Avenlylane.com I just switched the The Voux theme. It was a lot harder to navigate on the backend than 15Zine but they offer 6 months of free support to help you with any questions you may have. Either of these themes would be great to start with. No coding required.
Step 4. Write Posts
Lifestyle Blog Ideas
The last step is to begin writing posts. You will see how incredibly easy it is within WordPress.
Simply login to your WordPress account dashboard and click “posts” and then “add new”. A typing box immediately pops up and it is ready for your posts.
Once you finish writing, you can click “publish”, and your new post is immediately available on your site. If you are not ready to post and instead would like to save it as a draft you can select “save draft” instead.
Bam! Finished, no coding necessary!
It really is that easy, and I cannot recommend this process enough!
Lifestyle Blogging Ideas
There is so much content out there on the internet it can get really overwhelming. The feeling that you will never be able to stand out is sure to come at some point. But if you are constantly discouraging yourself with negative thoughts blogging will become a burden to you making it hard/impossible to ever break through. My advice is to not worry about what others are doing at first and just start putting yourself and your content out there.
It is in the process of action that you are going to learn the things you need to learn.
Start by writing the types of posts that you enjoy reading. The more posts you can get published the more clear you will become on what direction you want your blog to go. You will be able to see what types of posts do well and which ones don’t. You can then move forward with what is working and move on from what isn’t.
Here are some lifestyle blog post ideas that I have found work really well with a wide variety of readers.
- List posts (Top 10 type posts) Here is an example of one I wrote that continues to bring me over 8,000 views a month from Pinterest alone. Other types of “lists” to do well are packing lists like these here. These can also make you a lot of money once you begin getting some traffic to them.
- How to posts – Like the one you are reading now!
- Outfit Posts – Because who doesn’t love a good outfit post. TIP – I recommend “batching” these to save you time. For example, instead of photographing and writing one outfit a day you would plan out 2 weeks worth of outfits, photograph all of them in one day, and then maybe do all the writing the next day. You can then schedule them to go out over the next few weeks. This has saved me so much time! Especially since I now run 3 different blogs! (What was I thinking?!! Haha.)
Hope you guys enjoy!
If you guys have any specific questions or comments you can ask them below!