How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

Do you know that when I started my very first blog, we had a dial-up internet connection? Ugh, I feel so old! The connection was so slow, I swear I sometimes sat in front of my huge computer screen, with a ruler in my hand, making sure that the “connecting” bar, was actually moving. I started writing my first blog when I was 14. Back then, blogs were online journals. Every day after school, I’d come home and blog about my day. Only a handful of people read my blog and it was my little secret. When I created TT, my plans for it were a little different. Or… a lot different.

As many of you know this blog originally started as a beauty blog. I never thought that after a couple of years of running TT, I’ll be sharing things like photography or blogging tips. Back in 2011, I knew nothing about photography, building a blog audience or creating content. As it turns out, both Photography and Blogging have become most popular categories on this blog and I get questions about blogging from you guys on regular basis. One of the most popular questions I get is how to start a blog.

That is why I decided to write this post, which was HIGHLY requested. I’ll tell you how to start a lifestyle blog from scratch, register your own domain, set up hosting and install WordPress. If you’ve ever wondered how to start a lifestyle blog, you’re in the right place; I’m going to walk you through it.

HOW TO START A LIFESTYLE BLOG: BEFORE YOU START

It’s a good idea to know what you want to blog about. Just because you want to learn how to start a lifestyle blog though, doesn’t mean that you have to write about the same things other lifestyle bloggers write about. To start, you don’t have to have gorgeous photos, your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be “perfect” and you don’t need to share anything too personal about yourself if you don’t want to. There are so many niches and topics you can choose, but the best advice I can give you, is to make sure that when you do start your blog, you write about and focus on topics you’re very passionate about. Otherwise, you will get bored very quickly. Focus on something you’re good at, something you’re really interested in, maybe something you want to learn more about.

If you’re a bit nervous, don’t think that you have to know everything there is to know about blogging. One of the reasons why I love blogging so much is that I get to learn new things pretty much on the daily basis.

WORDPRESS

There are a few blogging platforms, but I will focus on WordPress.org, since it’s the platform I use. This is a self-hosted WordPress platform, which means that you will have to own your domain and sign up for hosting (which I will explain in more detail). With WordPress, you own your content. WordPress.org offers a lot of features and freedom with customizing your blog/website, whereas other platforms might have their limitations. If you’re thinking of really committing to having a blog, long-term, eventually starting a business, making an income or selling a product, maybe opening a blog shop, then I highly recommend you go with WordPress.org as it’s also very easy to set up. After four years of working on WordPress, I cannot imagine working on any different platform.

If you want to blog just for fun or for yourself or you don’t want to worry about setting up hosting and want to sign up for a free blog, you can go with platforms like Blogger or WordPress.com.

WordPress.org is actually a free service, but in order to use it, you will need to own a domain and set up hosting for your blog.

Register Your Domain + Sign Up for Hosting

When I decided to start this blog, I was a bit intimidated as it was my first self-hosted blog (I worked on WordPress.com prior to launching Thirteen Thoughts). In reality though, setting up a self-hosted blog is easy. To start, visit HostGator (which is the web hosting service I’ve used for four years of blogging) and choose a plan. If you’re just starting out, you can host your blog for as little as $3.95 a month and I recommend you go either with the Hatchling or Baby plan. When you’re just starting a blog, this is really all you need.

After you chose your plan, you can either buy your domain or use one you already own (if, for instance, you’re moving from Blogger). I definitely recommend you buy your domain from the same place you’re planning to host, as it makes things much easier down the road. I actually bought my domain from a service separate from my hosting, and when TT outgrew cheap hosting and I had to upgrade servers, it made the whole process a bit more complicated.

When choosing a domain name you obviously have to choose one that no one else is using, so you might have to get a little creative. If you are registering a new domain, you’ll first need to check if it’s available. Let’s say, for example, you want to start a beauty blog and your name is Annie. Let’s see if “anniebeauty.com” is available.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

As you can see, this domain is not available. You can choose to with “anniebeauty.org” or “anniebeauty.co” if you’d like, but I recommend going with the  “.com” extension as it’s universally used. Let’s try something different like “anniesbeauty.com“.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

This one also isn’t available, let’s try another one, like “annieandbeauty.com“.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

Success! This domain seems to be available and once you find yours, you can go ahead and select it. Then, you will need to select your package type- if you’re just starting out, you can go with “Hatchling”. Following, you pick your billing cycle, where there are a few options. Your price will differ depending on your billing cycle- usually, you get a much better price when billed annually. You will then create a username and security pin for your account, enter your billing information and add any additional services you want to add and you’re ready to check out. Now all you have to do is wait until everything is set up.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

Click here to go to HostGator

Install WordPress

Some people actually pay to have WordPress installed, but it’s ridiculously simple, and as long as you can read and know how to use a computer, you can do it yourself. After you register your domain and sign up for your hosting account with HostGator, you will receive a confirmation email that will contain some important information, including a link to your control panel, username, and password. Once you open your control panel by clicking on the link in your “welcome” email, enter your username and password and log in. You can watch an orientation video that will pop up if it’s your first time working with a self-hosted website.

Under the “Popular Links” section you should see WordPress Installer, that’s where you’ll click to install WordPress. Fill out the form with your information (select your domain, fill in your name, username, blog title, etc.) and click “Install WordPress“. It’s that simple, your blog is being set up!

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

Select “WordPress Installer”

Select your domain and click “Next” 

After you enter all your information, click “Install now” 

Sometimes, it can take a little while for everything to set up, so don’t worry if you try to go to your blog address and it’s not showing up right away.

Get Blogging

After you’re done setting up your domain with HostGator and installing WordPress, it’s time to pick a theme. To access your blog, go to yourblogname.com/wp-admin (using the example above, we’d go to annieandbeauty.com/wp-admin) and you will be prompted to enter your login information. This is where you will log in to blog; write your posts, change your themes, upload your images, etc.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

This is what your WordPress Dashboard will look like. 

WordPress is pretty simple to navigate and you can easily change your theme by going to Appearance > Themes. There will be a few default themes that come pre-installed in WordPress, but you can search through many free themes or you can purchase beautiful, pre-made themes from places like CreativeMarket or Etsy.

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

You can change/add a theme under Appearance – Themes

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog

You can now go under Posts and delete the “Hello World” post that will appear on your blog.

Now, even though this post is titled “How to Start a Lifestyle Blog“, you can obviously set up a blog in any niche, by following these steps. After you publish a couple of posts, I highly recommend you start connecting with bloggers in your niche, right away. Visit other blogs, leave comments and don’t be afraid to spread the word about your blog, even if you’re just starting out. I get questions about growing and expanding blog audience pretty much every single day and I always say that connecting with other bloggers is a great place to start.

Mental Habits that Steal Happiness

Related posts:

+ 43 Quick tips for your blog
+ Blogging tips for beginners
+ Photography tips for bloggers & DSLR basics
+ How to optimize your blog images
+ How to maximize your blog content
+ 20 Useful blogging tips
+ How to grow your blog

Another tip is this: start a Pinterest account for your blog- sign up for a Business Account and set up rich pins for your blog. Once again, Pinterest is a great place to connect with others, but it can also be a great resource for information or a place to promote your blog posts. If you want to grow your Pinterest account but don’t have time to pin on a regular basis (which is what will help you grow your following fast) then I also recommend you schedule them using a tool like TailWind (I wrote about it here). You can also join a few group boards for bloggers- you can find boards to join on PinGroupie. I get thousands of referrals from Pinterest every day, so I highly recommend you check it out and get familiar with it.

My Blogging and Photography sections are full of blog tips you might find helpful when starting out. I also have a BLOG RESOURCE page where I linked exact equipment I use for blogging, plugins I recommend as well as some of my most-loved Blogging and Photography posts. If you can’t find an answer to your question,  feel free to get in touch with me.

START-A-LIFESTYLLE-BLOG

Well, if you’ve ever wondered how to start a lifestyle blog, or want to start a blog, this is pretty much all you need. I can honestly say that starting a blog changed my life in many different ways and I can’t imagine my life without it.

If you need any help setting up your blog, you can also contact HostGator at (866) 964-2867 or via their live chat. 

Once you start your blog and have a few posts published, you’re ready to start making money! You can also grab 10 free styled stock photos below, to help you get started with your lifestyle blog. To see a list of affiliate programs and other resources I highly recommend, see this post. 

How to Start a Lifestyle Blog: this content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

How to start a blog | start a lifestyle blog | how to start a lifestyle blog | self-hosted blog | how to start a WordPress blog | blog tips | starting a blog | lifestyle blog | blog ideas
  • Lisa Autumn

    I am currently thinking about moving to wordpress but I am so unsure about it.. I am SO used to blogger and pretty happy with the way my blog looks.. so :/

    xx Lisa
    lisaautumn.com

    • Nikola Hessová

      Same here! :(

      • WordPress is very easy to use :)

        • Nikola Hessová

          But I have domain bought on GoDaddy..and my blog is running on Blogger…and I really have no idea how to move BOTH things to new hosting. This is gonna be tough…Yesterday I found some YT tutorials how to move from blogger to wp without loosing google ranks and it was so overwhelming! Not sure If I handle this.

          • Have you seen this article on WP Beginner > http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-switch-from-blogger-to-wordpress-without-losing-google-rankings/ If you really want to switch and feel overwhelmed you can also have someone do it for you: https://www.pipdig.co/shop/blogger-to-wordpress-migration/

          • Nikola Hessová

            Thank you so much for your help, Paula. I really appreciate it. I will try to figure it out myself and if I failed I will pay someone to do it for me. I always describe myself like someone who always do a research and then everything do on my own, but this seems to be too much..this is really beyond my technic skills :D Thank you Paula. At least you push me to do this major change! I quit my job…yes..I did it…it was strange..but now I can do what I love..freelance and spend more time on my blog. xoxo Nikol

          • You’re very welcome Nikol! I’m the same way, I’m stubborn and always want to do everything myself haha ;) Let me know if you need any help, I’m not familiar with blogger, but if you need help with anything regarding WordPress I might be able to help.

            That is so amazing- nothing better than pursuing your passion girl! So happy for you and wish you the best of luck, you’re going to do amazing, I know it!! You’re such a talented artist! x

    • WordPress is very easy to navigate, if that’s what you’re worried about. If you’re comfortable with blogger and don’t plan to expand any time soon then there’s no need to switch :) You can always do it down the road.

  • Good post! I am so happy that I migrated my blog from Blogger to WordPress last year :)

    • Congrats on the move! I’m happy I started with them from the get-go haha :) How was the switch? Was it difficult?

  • If I ever do take my blog more seriously, I’ll definitely have to invest in switching to WordPress so I can take it to the next level. Brilliant post as always lovely, love reading your tips as you’re such a pro x

    Beauty with charm

  • Emmalisa Tilli

    Guess what!!!!!!! I got a message from a magazine, Taylor Magazine and they said if I want to write about beauty, or anything I like or am open to inspire, I can write for them!!!!! Eeeeee I have never been approached by a magazine before! So nervous already ?

  • I also think getting WordPress is definitely the best! I started with Blogger back in the day and it was fine then, there wasn’t really much. But nowadays whenever someone asks me about it I always say WordPress!!
    xoRosie // Curvy Life Stories

  • peonies passionfruit

    Great detailed post on starting a lifestyle blog, definitely some great tips to take away and work on.

    Eme x

    http://www.peoniesandpassionfruit.com

  • Fantastic post! All things I wish I knew a few years ago, but nonetheless very helpful. I just moved to WordPress from Blogger this week and I’m never looking back. I already can tell it is the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Also, I totally did the online journal/blog thing back in the day! I had the link in my AOL instant messenger profile lol!

    Jenn │ Beauty by Jellybean

    • Thanks so much Jenn! So glad you’re happy with the change, WordPress is awesome! Haha ahhh the good old times! :D

  • Victoria

    Such a helpful post!

    Ohh, dial-up! Those were the days lol. I had AOL and I still remember getting so excited whenever I’d hear “You’ve got mail”. I used to love LiveJournal & Xanga. I never thought blogging would become so socially acceptable, it’s crazy!

    -Victoria
    treelinedavenue.com

  • Great A to Z guide :-) WordPress > any other platform for sure.

  • Argh I remember the days of LiveJournal and dialup. As I was going through a bit of a ‘goth’ phase during my teens, my platform of choice was a ‘Deadjournal’. How wonderfully macabre. I’d love to try and find it again one day, but I can’t for the life of me remember my old account name.

    • Hahaha “deadjournal”!! ;D I’d love through browse through my old blogs too, although I think there’d be a lot of cringing involved lol!

  • Natalie Redman

    Great post! Getting your own domain I think is so important.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • This is a nice post and very informative.
    http://www.yourbeautypantry.com

  • It’s amazing to see how far you have come with such a beautiful blog! I’m definitely going to look into self-hosting soon ♥

    Amy // Snippets of Amy

  • OMG! Finally! Thank you so much for finally putting this up. This is totally the most informative “how-to” about blogging I’ve ever read. This really helps especially for someone like me who is on the verge of tears just thinking of what to do and how to do the whole “putting up my own site”. Sadly, Hostgator is too expensive for me :( I’m actually towards ehost because they’re a lot cheaper. It would be great to go with Hostgator if it wasn’t for the price. Converting Dollars into Philippine Peso is just a headache.

    I’m just really trying to prepare everything and I’m all set. I’m really excited and nervous at the same time. I would love to be as successful as you some day, love.

    All the best!

    annewndrs.wordpress.com

    • You’re very welcome! Glad you enjoyed the post! You can actually get your own domain and hosting for $3 a month, can’t imagine ehost being too different! :)

      I was definitely nervous at first too, but I can guarantee that once you make the move, you’ll feel very accomplished :) It can be a bit of an intimidating process, but it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Wishing you the best of luck with your blog!! You’re a sweetheart, thank you! :) xx

  • Sophie Jane Cheval

    Great post thanks for sharing all your helpful knowledge! very inspiring to get me started :)

  • Wish I could have seen this before I started blogging! It is so helpful!

    http://www.petiteelliee.com

    Ellie xx

  • Great Post and so helpful…If only i’d spotted this before setting up my blog. i mus have spent hours searching for all the information you had right here! I’ll definitely be upping my engagement on Pintrest after this! Thanks again

  • This post is fab and even though I’ve been blogging for about a year now, it’s always great to learn new tips and see how others like to do it!

    Hollie | ItsHollieAnn.com

  • Ral

    Wow! This is the best article I have ever read about how to start a blog with wordpress. I have read many blogs about it but they are either too techie or they lack a lot of details. I am glad I read this one. Cant wait to start using wordpress soon.

  • jamie fechtmuller

    Ok, I have tried and tried and tried installing WordPress and feel like such a dummy! It says it’s installed but I can’t figure out for the life of me how to log in. Great post though haha, I’m sure it’ll be helpful once I figure this out! x

    • Sometimes it takes a while for the setup to complete. To log in go to “yourblogname”.com/wp-admin and use login info that was emailed to you by your hosting provider.

      • jamie fechtmuller

        Okay it worked! Do you have wordpress.com or .org? I thought with purchasing the host, it would allow me to install custom themes but it’s saying I need a .org site. (Sorry for asking so many questions, you are very kind for answering!)

        • No worries! WordPress.Org is the only WordPress platform that is self-hosted. WordPress.Com doesn’t allow you to host the website- they do it for you. it’s the major difference between the two. I think you’re thinking of the domain name (your .com address) which is something different and not the same as hosting. To create custom website/blog you’ll need to sign up for your own hosting with a service like HostGator. See this article: https://ithemes.com/tutorials/wordpress-com-vs-wordpress-org/ and this one: https://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/

          • jamie fechtmuller

            Hmmmm. I installed HostGator & paid for a package. So although my blog name ends in .com, is it possible to still be a wordpress.org page? Haha I feel like I am making this WAY more complicated than it should be!!

          • Ohh okay I got you! If you signed up for hosting then you should be all good, you just need to figure out your way around WordPress :) No of course your blog will end in .com (unless you purchased a domain that ends in .net or something) Where exactly did you go to try and install the custom theme?

          • jamie fechtmuller

            Ahhh finally figured out how to log onto WordPress.org haha. Feeling a bit less silly now. I bought a custom theme from Etsy, and it’s all well and good except for the fact that apparently the theme is missing tags..whatever that means. So WP won’t let me install it. I think that’s something due to the theme itself though and not WP. Thank you again so much for helping, Paula! Your blog is awesome, definitely a huge inspiration! x

          • Oh that’s good!! If you have issues installing, I’d contact the theme seller. You’re very welcome Jamie, good luck with your blog and feel free to reach out with any questions! :)

  • I already have a blog but i found myself reading this post carefully for useful info! Your posts are such blessings! Pinterest is still a little confusing for me but i’m sure your tips will be super useful!
    Thanks, Paula!

  • This post is very interesting! I already have a blog and for this we choose altervista.org since this is our first blog experience and we wanted to experimented a little bit before to purchase a domain.
    but your advices about how to start a blog are very helpful!!! i saved this page between my favourite so that in the future, if i need some good tips, i know already ehre to look ;)
    thank you for sharing!!!
    x sandra

  • Jillian Rose

    Hello I followed your directions, but I am so so lost :( Are all themes $49? When I try to go to my website it says its unavailable. I’m so stressed out and confused.

  • Oh that’s very helpful. I have a Pinterest account I never use, I should most probably start working on it as well – though I don’t have a business account yet. Thank you for sharing, this post was very useful!

  • Laura Anderson Weiss

    This is just the level of handholding I need as a new blogger. Can’t wait to see what other resources you’ve shared. Thank you so much for providing this help!

    Love your black and white photo theme, by the way!

    http://Www.candidcondition.com