How To Start a Lifestyle Blog | The Complete Guide
So you're thinking about starting your own blog but you don't know where to start. I'm here to provide your step by step guide to starting your own blog or website that's easy to navigate and perfect for anyone just starting out! If you need more one-on-one help I offer consultations for only $100 that include a personal face to face call, exclusive blogging worksheets, a guide on how to start your blog, and we'll also work through your needs and goals for your own business. Look at my services HERE to see all of my packages!
1. Find your Why
Why do you want to start your own website or blog? Do you have a service that you want to offer, your own successful business, or do you just want to become an influencer? For me, my why was that I wanted to make an impact, to share my wisdom and advice with the world. Little did I know I would be reaching out to over 10,000 readers each month across the globe. While working on my blog I was also the Editor-in-Chief for my university and brought up our monthly views by 17.5% and 20,000 unique views each month. While managing this website and editing over 700 articles in a 6-month time frame I realized that this is my passion.
2. Choose a web host
Choosing a web host is much easier than it seems, trust me I was really anxious too but in the end, I said to myself "that was easier than I thought". I feel like I should have had a big red "easy" button attached to me. When you take your time and really review everything you're doing instead of rushing the process then things just flow very smoothly.
If you want to start a website whether it's a blog or for your already successful business then you need to choose a web host. This host will hold your blog in place, kind of like a home for your blog. You can either choose self-hosting or choose to host it for free, for example, my blog is hosted on wordpress.com which I pay for because it offers more features. Wordpress.com is a free hosted spot whereas wordpress.org is for self-hosted websites.
So what's the difference?
If you choose to have a free blog you might be missing out on some really amazing features that could make or break your online presence. If you're free hosted you might not own your content that you publish, there are certain advertising restrictions, and you won't be able to fully customize your website. With a self-hosted blog or website, you own your content and have support from the company that you decide to work with. I choose WordPress and to host through GoDaddy because there are so many tutorials and articles about how to use it, that I felt comfortable if I got stuck. I knew that no matter my issue there would be someone out there that could help me. It's so easy that I've taught myself coding, and how to use HTML.
Now let's talk about Weebly and WordPress.
3. Set up your host and domain
I started out with Weebly because it was easy and everything was drag and drop. You can either have a free Weebly site or you can purchase a host and domain package through GoDaddy like I did.
Here's how you can set up your Weebly website:
First, go to Weebly.com and click on "sign up" in the upper right-hand corner and choose whether you want a site, store, or blog!
Next, you want to choose your theme, which you can change later. Just make sure that you choose a theme that represents your business and of course your own personal style. Their free sites start at $0, the other packages range from $8, $12, and $25 each month. After you choose your theme you need to choose a domain name, which is temporary but will be set up so that it reads www.(yourdomain).weebly.com. If you want to have a custom domain name like I do then you can purchase one through GoDaddy for a very small fee!
Here's how you can set up a WordPress website:
Now because Wordpress is a lot to explain and I don't want you to become frustrated, I have found this amazing step by step video on YouTube! You can also hire a designer on Etsy to set up your blog for you.
4. WordPress or Weebly?
When I was using Weebly I felt like I had control over my content and that my website was as good as it could have been. When I switched to WordPress my entire view changed because I now had more customization, and greater access to create a beautiful website. The great thing about WordPress is that many creators on Etsy have templates that are already built so you pay for their template and they install it for you, which is exactly what I did. Through this process, I learned how to code and use HTML but I also had Gina my template creator by my side the entire time! If you're just starting out and don't want to pay for your website you can create a design that is just as beautiful as WordPress. You need to decide which option is best for you and your needs.
5. Choose your theme
Your theme should reflect who you are and what your desires are. If you are a business owner of a law firm having a bright pink website might not fit your business model. Likewise, if you're a blogger who focuses on wellness then choosing a theme that has very modern designs and dark colors might not appeal to your target audience. I chose my theme and its colors because I love things that are light and bright, and simple. Simplicity allows for my readers to see everything on my blog without it becoming too cluttered.
6. Set up social media
SOCIAL MEDIA IS KEY! Let me say that again, social media is key to your websites success no matter what stage you're in. If you don't have a name yet then you need to choose one that you are going to stick with. When I first started out I decided to call my business Frosted Bella, then Miss Liz Heart, then Healthy Eating Happy something or other before I landed with Miss Blonde Ambition. I waited to set up all of my social media accounts until I came up with a name that was permanent and made sense, which took me about 3 years. Before I set up any official accounts I promoted my blog through Facebook and various online blogging communities to gain more traffic.
7. Plan your content
Besides just creating your website and coming up with new post ideas you need to make sure that what your posting and when you're posting is consistent. I have a few checklists under FREE PRINTABLES FOR YOUR BUSINESS that can help you to keep track of your content on a weekly and monthly basis. It's really important to make sure that you're posting at the right time because your highest traffic on Instagram won't be the same time as Facebook or YouTube. You can print out these checklists and have them laminated at your local Staples or paper service location so that you can reuse them by using dry erase markers instead of pen or pencil.
Congratulations! At this point you should be all set with setting up your blog, choosing your own personal theme and launching your business. The second step that you can take to make this venture an easier process is to purchase my Personal Blog Consultation package! I am here to help you one-on-one with everything from SEO and Google analytics to helping you discover your niche and driving more traffic to your beautiful brand new website!