Starting a lifestyle blog can be a gratifying and challenging endeavor. And for most [non-techie] people like myself, knowing where to begin is also a challenge. But, the good news is you are reading this post and I will walk you through the setup step-by-step.
Before I get into the meat of this post, I assume you’ve already done your homework and have chosen the route of hosting your own blog through WordPress.org.
I highly recommend WordPress.org as your blogging platform if you plan on blogging with the intention of making it a business someday. It will make your life a heck of a lot easier doing it now as opposed to using another platform and then switching. 1) It is relatively cheap to do. I’ll go over the costs in detail below. 2) You will own your own site.
If you’re in a bind financially and absolutely don’t have the money for hosting (hey I’ve been there too), I recommend saving up a little cash. Or, if you think your blog will be nothing more than a hobby, of course, do what’s right for you and your goals and use a blogging platform like blogger, wordpress.com (different than wordpress.org), or Tumblr.
Personally, I love wordpress.org and the ability I have to customize it in any which way I choose. So, if you’re ready to jump in head first into starting a blog with wordpress.org…then let’s go!
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Starting a Lifestyle Blog (An Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial)
(This post contains affiliate links that I could make commission off of. All opinions are my own 😃)
FIRST THINGS FIRST – CHOOSE A BLOG NAME
Before we begin the hosting and WordPress setup, you’ll want to take some time to brainstorm and choose a name for your blog so you can reserve a dedicated URL.
Now, I’m betting you already have a general idea of what you want to write about, but let’s go deeper.
I will walk you through an exercise I perform when starting a new project from scratch. It really helps me understand my ideal goals and to better frame all of the ideas in my head so I can make a big decision.
Close your eyes. Picture yourself as a super successful, confident blogger. Really try to your best to take this seriously and your mind will fill in what you truly desire. Ask yourself these questions and then write down your answers:
- What topics am I sharing as a blogger that are interesting [and I am also passionate about]?
- What words come to mind when I think of my ideal blog brand? (approachable vs. high-end, fun and colorful vs. minimalist and modern, family-friendly vs. raunchy and real, etc.)
- Am I comfortable using my name or a nickname as part of my blog name? If not, why?
- What is the thing you would be most proud to teach people?
Then, do this:
- Write down a list of at least 20 – 30 blog names without judgment. (It sounds like a lot, but I promise you’ll end up crossing off at least 75% of them right away. You’ll probably end up with a handful of names that might be a possibility.)
- Then, choose one of those names (and perhaps make a variation of it.)
- Or, start again with another 20-30 blog names until there’s one that feels right. until there’s one that feels right.
Some tips for choosing a blog name:
- Don’t make it too long. I recommend no more than 4 or maybe five (short) words – MAX. Any more than that and your audience may forget your blog name entirely. Think of something that will be memorable!
- Choose a name that you won’t get sick of. If you read my bio, you know I started a blog (that I never launched) with a friend of mine. We ended up choosing a blog name that neither of us really connected to. Thinking back, I know I would have been sick to death of the name after a while.
- If you absolutely can’t choose – take your time and think about it over a couple of days. You may also want a family member or a friend to weigh in on a few blog names.
Related Article: 5 Reasons to Start a Blog (Start Your Blog for Only $3.95!)
The Reason Behind my Blog Name and my Thoughts on Niches
I chose my name, Kimi, as part of my blog title because I honestly lacked a specific direction, or niche. But, I did know that starting a lifestyle blog was where I wanted to be. Some bloggers will say they knew right away the niche they wanted to write about, which might definitely make the process easier.
However, I’m more like a free spirit when it comes to writing (I blame it on my Aquarius zodiac sign!).
Some days I want to create and design a printable quote and don’t feel like writing a long post. Other days, I want to inform and teach my audience something that I’ve learned through a blogging tutorial or perhaps a beauty-related review. As I get further into my blogging experience, I will adjust my post subjects based on what you guys want to read and try to keep a healthy balance of what I want to write.
In my experience as a blog reader, I rather enjoy when bloggers have a mix of content. One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Sarah Titus, writes about blogging, saving money, earning money as well as family/kid-friendly and recipe posts. She is evidence enough for me that not all bloggers need to confine themselves to just one niche to be successful.
But, there is not just one route to success. Do what you feel is best for your blog, brand and yourself as an individual.
If you still need some direction, I would be more than happy to write a longer post on that topic. (For the sake of time and length of this post, I’m trying to keep it brief.) Or, here’s a couple of other posts that you may want to peruse – Kimi approved! (or ya know, just google it!):
how to choose a blog niche and a name that you love and makes you money – wellandweathy.org
How to Decide the Name of Your New Blog? For beginners – shoutmeloud.com
SETTING UP YOUR BLOG HOSTING
Before you go any further, click here to visit Bluehost.com so you can follow along with these steps to start your blog and hosting!
1| You’ll be taken to Bluehost’s homepage (see below). Click on the green button, get started now.
2 | Select which hosting plan fits your needs.
I, personally, recommend the basic plan for $3.95 per month for new bloggers which is exactly what I use along with the 36-month option. If you change your mind down the road, you can always upgrade at any time.
Here is the cost breakdown for the basic plan (you’ll see this when you fill out your information in the next two pages):
- Basic 12 Month Price $5.45/mo
- Basic 24 Month Price $4.95/mo
- Basic 36 Month Price $3.95/mo — GREAT SAVINGS!!!
- Basic 60 Month Price $3.95/mo — EVEN BETTER SAVINGS!!!
3 | Choose a domain or enter an existing domain.
Simply, use the form below 👇 to check the availability of your desired domain.
Or, if you need more time, you’ll see a pop-up screen where you can skip this step temporarily and choose a domain later.
4 | Create your Bluehost account and select the monthly hosting price you would like to purchase.
I went with the 3-year option with Site Backup Pro. At the time I didn’t know if the backup was necessary and if I were to do it again, I would have just used a plugin which is usually a less expensive option.
5 | Enter your payment details and confirm you’ve read the policies.
6 | Choose a Bluehost login password and log into your account.
7 | Go to your Bluehost cPanel and Install WordPress.
Note: You will be taken to a new page and will need your domain. If you had skipped this step initially, you can get your free domain by scrolling down to the domains section and clicking on Register Domains.
Also, when you are ready to install WordPress, you can actually have a professional do it for you. However, it is super simple to do yourself. So, I recommend you save the cash and “diy”.
7 | View your Credentials and Log into your WordPress Dashboard.
After you the download is complete, it should pop-up with your WordPress credentials, which you’ll need to log into your dashboard.
- You’ll see your domain URL. EXAMPLE: https://www.kimiwashere.com/
- Admin URL. EXAMPLE: http://yoursiteurl.com//wp-admin
- Username you chose
Note: You’ll also receive your credentials by e-mail. Please keep this information in a safe spot. You can also update your password (I recommend doing this often for security) and your username (simply create a new “user” in WP and make sure to add user role as an “admin”) at a later time if need be.
You’ve just started the hosting for your blog!
Now onto the fun part….
8 | Choose A Theme for your blog.
To customize your blog and change the way it looks, you’ll need to install a theme. By default, if you were to go to your blog now, it would look rather dull and boring. So, to choose a free theme, go to your WordPress dashboard (on the left-hand sidebar) and click on Appearance » Themes.
From there you can peruse all of the free themes and preview them to see if they might fit with the desired layout you are hoping for. For the time being, I might recommend you choose a free theme to play around with until you find a paid theme that suits your needs.
Theme Information and Recommendations
There are so many marketplaces and sites dedicated to the purchase of a WordPress theme. When you are comfortable, you might choose to use the most common theme for bloggers, Genesis Framework by StudioPress.
Note: I do not use Genesis, but I have heard nothing but great things about it. (I will probably end up going this route as my blog progresses.)
Only thing is, you will also need to purchase a child theme to go along with Genesis. So, think of Genesis as a foundation for your theme to safeguard your security, SEO, and basic design functionalities. The child theme will then act as the building blocks to get your site looking the way you want it to. This way, any updates to the framework (parent theme) will not impact the customizations you’ve tailored to the child theme.
For Genesis child themes, simply perform a google search (there are literally thousands to choose from nowadays). Or, you can peruse the selection of themes available directly from StudioPress.
Now, if you don’t have the money for Genesis and a child theme, but you want something a little more customizable than the free themes on WordPress, then I’ve got some other options for you!
9 | Install WordPress Plugins
After installing your theme, I recommend you install and activate the following FREE plugins that are absolute must-haves for any blogging site:
- Jetpack – a great plugin for social sharing options, enhanced security for your site, along with access to more themes. (you’ll need a wordpress.com login – if you don’t have one you can create one.)
- Yoast SEO – the gold standard for search engine optimization in WordPress sites. It is a bit complicated to understand at first. But once you start writing your blog posts, you’ll see why so many users have downloaded this plugin.
10 | Create Your First Post
Now that you have your theme and essential plugins in place, go ahead and draft your first post!
Note: Later you’ll need to customize the appearance of your theme in the ‘appearance’ section. However, it will be easier for you to see what your site will look like if you have published a post beforehand.
And there you have it! You’ve successfully started your blog. But, the fun doesn’t stop there. Likely you will continue to customize and create the branding for your site which will pull it all together. That’s when you can really feel good! While I can’t possibly write everything you’ll need to do in this one blog post, I would love to add additional tutorials and recommendations.
And please do let me know if you have any questions for me. I love to help other bloggers and aspiring bloggers get their site up and running. Happy blogging!