Last updated on December 13, 2017

How to start a lifestyle Blog

If you want to know how to start a lifestyle blog, WordPress is simply the best available platform to share your ideas and potentially monetize your blog into a business. In this guide, I will show you exactly how, step by step, to set up a blog and get you moving in the right direction.

Considering starting a lifestyle or business blog?

If you want to know how to start a lifestyle blog, WordPress is simply the best available platform to share your ideas and potentially monetize your blog into a business. In this guide, I will show you exactly how, step by step, to set up a blog and get you moving in the right direction.

WordPress Fundamentals 

“Gentlemen, this is a football.” Vince Lombardi

WordPress, is a free and open source, content management system (CMS) software that facilitates creating, editing, organizing, and publishing digital content.

WordPress Internet influence is huge, and currently, WordPress runs over 28% of the entire Internet.

WordPress is constantly being updated to provide additional features and to enhance security. Additionally, the WordPress community continues to develop free and paid Themes and Plugins to add even more features to WordPress.

Additionally, the WordPress community continues to develop free and paid Themes and Plugins to add even more functionality to WordPress.

Themes (or Templates) modify how a site is displayed – its graphical interface and to facilitate specific functionalities.

Plugins extend functionality or add new features to your website.

WordPress comes in two flavors – WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

So what’s the difference between com and org?

With WordPress.com, WordPress hosts your blog and your domain names will look something like – “YourSite.WordPress.com” (aka subdomain.)

Although free WordPress themes are available, custom themes are not available for WordPress.com.

Plugins are not available in WordPress.com and you deal with the functionality and features that are inherent in Com.

With WordPress.org, You host your blog and your domain name will look something like – “YourSite.com.”

Both free and paid, custom themes and plugins are available for WordPress.org.

SoloingOnline - wp com vs org graph

What should I choose?

If you want a really quick and inexpensive way to claim your spot on the Internet and don’t mind the potential growth and monetization limitations – Stop – You’re done!

Go to WordPress.com, set up your blog and start adding content.

If you want more control and the potential ability to grow and monetize your blog –

Read on…

How to set up a WordPress.org Blog

Here's what you'll do in 4 easy steps:

  1. Choose and purchase a domain name,
  2. Choose and purchase a hosting account
  3. Point your domain name to your hosting account
  4. Add the domain name to your hosting account, and install WordPress.

SoloingOnline - Blog Setup

Also, don’t forget to check out the Bonus section on Themes, Plugins, Email, and what issues to Prioritize after the Blog site is set up.

Let's go.

Set up Domain and Hosting accounts. 

I highly recommend the following companies:

My recommendation is that your domain registrar and your hosting account be at separate accounts.

Why?

Because you’re not stuck. If you decide to change your hosting you're always free to do so, and it’s much easier to make those kinds of changes. Additionally, you can control your email at either the domain or hosting accounts – so you get even greater flexibility.

Choose and purchase a domain name and account.

  1. Generally, you will want a .com name, that’s short, not hyphenated, cryptic, or hard to spell, and somehow relates to you or your business.
  2. You can use third-party sites to help in choosing a domain name such as  NameCheckr,  KnowEm and Dot-o-mator.
    1. NameCheckr and KnowEm also check Social Media availability.
      1. This is critical – you want a domain name that is also available on FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
    2. Dot-0-mator is a domain name generator (which even has an iOS version,) and can be used to brainstorm domain names.
  1. Once you have chosen your domain name, log in to your NameCheap account and enter the full domain name in the domain name search bar and select “Search.”  

NameCheapDomainName

  1. You’ll see the following window which will start the process of purchasing and securing your new domain name. I choose “SoloingMyWorld.com” as an example.
  2. . Go ahead select the Pay Cart on the same row as SoloingMyWorld.com $8.88/year and then select “View Cart.” Process your payment, but leave the NameCheap browser window open in a tab.

NameCheap domain name

Choose and purchase a hosting account.

Go to SiteGround and purchase your web hosting account. SiteGround has excellent facilities and great 24/7 support service. You can always start with the least expensive plan and upgrade later. Additionally, they often run sales.

siteground home

Point your domain name to your hosting account

  1. Login to your SiteGround account and go to the “My Accounts” tab at the top of the page, and then the “Information and Settings” tab, below and to the left on the next page.
    1. Under “account DNS” copy the first address to your clipboard – (it should look something like) – ns1.usc7.siteground.biz
    2. Leave SiteGround open in your browser tab

NameCheap dns tab

  1. Return to the open NameCheap tab, and under your account name, select “Dashboard” – a list of your domain(s) will appear – Select “Manage”  to the right of your new domain name.

Namecheap custom dns

    1. Under “NameServers” click on “add nameserver” and paste the Account DNS, you copied in step 3.1. above, twice.
    2. In the second copy go back and change the “1” in ns1… to “2” so the address looks something like – ns2.usxx.siteground.biz.
    3. Select the checkmark to the right to save your new nameserver.

Add the domain name to your hosting account, and install WordPress.

  1. Return to the SiteGround tab, under “My Accounts” select “Go to cPanel.”

SiteGround - wp installer

SiteGround

    1. Under the top group “Domains” select “Addon Domains” and under New Domain Name, type in “YourNewDomain.com,” the subdomain or FTP will self-populate.
    2. Under “Password” select and remember a new password
    3. Select “Add Domain”
  1. Return to cPanel home by either selecting the back arrow or selecting “cPanel Home” in the top right of the screen and select “WordPress Installer” under the WordPress Tools section.

SiteGround - wp installer

    1. On the next screen, Select “Install Now” about 1/2 way down.

SiteGround menu

    1. In the WordPress installer screen, make the following choices:
      1. choose protocol – http://www.YourNewDomain.com
      2. choose Domain – use the drop-down menu to select “yournewdomain.com”
      3. ignore “in directory”
      4. site name and site description can be changed later but go ahead and enter yournewdomain.com and a tag or description
      5. ignore multi-site unless you know what you're doing and want a multi-site setup.
      6. admin name – for security purposes, don’t use “Admin” use another name (this is the login for the Admin or backend of WordPress.
      7. admin password – use the auto-populated password create another but ensure that you save this
      8. admin email – use an email address that you know currently works. I recommend a master email address for all your site contacts.

SiteGround menu

      1. Further down the same page, you can ignore plugins and themes as you can load them later
      2. ignore advanced options and select “Install”

SiteGround menu

You're done – for now.

Effectively, you've just begun, but the first part was easy.

Here's the Bonus Section on how to start a lifestyle blog.

Themes and Plugins

In WordPress, you select “Appearance” “themes” to upload and install themes, and “Plugins” “Add New” to install plugins.

Make sure you upload the zipped versions of these themes and plugins.

Note: Safari automatically unzips files, however, you can override by holding down the option key when downloading.

Start with a Theme

  1. Use a minimal theme which can be configured by a solid page builder:
    1. Themes
      1. Genesis, which is always a well written standard theme,
      2. Generate Press, which comes in a free and pro version,
      3. Astra, which is totally free, or 
      4. the theme which comes with Beaver Builder.
    2. Page Builders
      1. Beaver Builder, which has a free and paid version, or
      2. Elementor, which also has a free and paid version.

Must have Plugins: Plugins add additional functionality which is great. Too many plugins, however, may cause conflicts.

  1. Caution – Use only the plugins you absolutely need.
  2. Also, ensure any plugin is current and has enough happy users before you add it to your website.
  3. Must have plugins:
    1. Akismet Anti-Spam – the number one, best way to protect your blog from spam.
    2. Yoast SEO – this is an all in one SEO solution for WordPress to help you get organic traffic from the various Search Engines – Google and Bing.
    3. ConvertKit – besides adding great content, it’s critical that you develop an email list. ConvertKit is my recommended autoresponder to get this done.
    4. PrettyLinks – you need a system to manage your affiliate links if you want to monetize your blog – PrettyLinks lite and Pro are really the best plugins out there.
    5. Imagify – this plugin dramatically reduces image sizes which make your blog load faster. The ability to load fast will help increase your SEO results.
    6. Itheme Security – you absolutely, positively must install a security plugin – if not, you are vulnerable to being hacked.
    7. Updraft – don't wait until everything is finished before you backup your site. Start right from the beginning and save versions of your site. (Note: you can also use ManageWP which offers a paid and free backup and restore service as well as a host of other services to manage your WordPress site.

How to set up your email

  1. You can set up your email in a number of ways.
    • If you have an existing master email (let’s say a Gmail account), you can redirect your new domain email to the master account by doing the following:
      1. Go to SiteGround and select “cPanel Home” and then “Forwarders” under the “Mail” section
      2. Choose “add forwarder” and type in “name” (your name, admin, etc.,) and using the drop-down menu, select the domain name.
      3. Under Destination – Select the email address that you would like your emails forwarded.
    • Alternatively, you could set up an email account in “Private Email” under your NameCheap domain account.

Don’t lose momentum – Work on your Priorities!

Whether you want to monetize your blog or not, it’s time to get to work.

 

Understand Content is king (or queen.)

Spend time getting the copy on your homepage, about page (the most read page,) and posts, and get them right.

If necessary outsource your copywriting to ensure they attract the right clients.

Quality is much more important than quantity, especially with posts. Solve problems and provide value – always.

 

Pick a good email autoresponder, learn how to use it, and start developing your email list.

Again, I use and highly recommend ConvertKit.

Start developing “lead magnets.”  Lead Magnets is simply something you give in exchange for a prospect’s first name and email. These can be pdf’s you develop, or even a multi-day email series.

In either case, set up opt-in forms on your website with ConvertKit, to capture prospects name and email.  Deliver the pdf on your form, or manage the multi-day email series through “Sequences.”

Develop a strategy to attract web visitors.

There are over a billion websites on the Internet.

You have two options:

Get organic traffic through SEO on page and off page efforts, and/or

Get paid traffic through Google AdWords or Social Media advertising.

You need to learn which way is best for your niche, learn all you can (for example FaceBook advertising) and concentrate your efforts.

Develop a strategy to monetize your site.

Generally, all businesses are monetized by selling services or products or both.

The Internet is no different, and you can monetize by selling the following:

Advertising – if you have enough traffic, you can sell space for advertisement.

Generally, this is not highly desirable.

Affiliate sales – here you use your content to review and recommend products and services which effectively pay a commission. Many sites utilize the affiliate sales model since it lends itself well to blog content.

Internet courses – Education has become a big monetizer on the Internet and again goes along with providing content. This can be actual classes or even eBooks.

Services – Here you can monetize by selling coaching, consulting, web development and a host of other personalized services related to your niche.

You can succeed with a Blog on the Internet. It is not a get rich quick scheme but will be work-intensive, at least in the beginning. The beauty of the Internet is that certain efforts can be repurposed, sold and sold again without too much intervention. That’s the passive element.

Either way, this is an opportunity to have your voice heard on the world’s largest platform – the Internet.

Let me know your thoughts on what problems and successes you've had in starting a blog.

thad @ resolute blogger
Thad is a former executive with several multibillion-dollar investment advisory firms, who has developed a series of strategies that captivates interest, conveys confidence, and converts alliances for website ventures. For a free PDF on How to Structure Facebook Ads Successfully, download here.

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