How to Start a Lifestyle Blog or Mom Blog in 2020
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Wondering how to start a lifestyle blog or website for money this year? You’re not alone. According to growthbadger.com, there are over 600 million blogs out there worldwide and 31 million active bloggers in the US alone. Ever since the first blogger reported making money from it in the mid-nineties, more and more bloggers want in on the action. Can’t blame us!
But is there room for more?
Oh yeah. Don’t you crave looking at new content online every day? So do billions of other people.
Plus, you’re the only one in the world who can offer your unique perspective on your blog topic.
Why you should start a lifestyle blog
I caught the blogging bug a few years ago when I kept finding awesome deals and I wanted a way to share these deals with others. It was hard to keep up that blog–imagine constantly keeping on the lookout for deals, then writing up posts, then promoting. But it was neat to have that creative outlet where I could write and an audience could read and benefit from what I wrote. The design aspect was a blast too–I think creating the website is the funnest part of all.
But the real fun comes when you throw ads and affiliates in the mix and suddenly your little blog starts earning a little money. Then a lot of money.
I constantly hear from other moms about a strong desire to stay home with their kids. But there are so many factors that hold them back:
- loss of income
- loss of a social life
- lack of some fulfillment that work often provides
- loss of self identity–fear of becoming wrapped up in their kids’ lives and losing their own.
- lack of creativity outlet
Interestingly, a lifestyle or mom blog can provide an answer to all these concerns. In the years that I’ve been blogging, my blogs have provided:
- Income! Yes, blogging for money is a thing! I know it’s hard to believe, but once you start seeing pennies, and then dollars roll in, you’ll know it’s true.
- A social life! It may not be the same as a real-life social life, but there’s actually a lot of online conversation and collaboration that goes on with other bloggers and readers. If you participate in Facebook groups dedicated to bloggers, you might even get too much socialization.
- Fulfillment! When you’re blogging about something you’re passionate about, blogging is very fulfilling. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but combine that with writing about a concept like blogging, and I’m your go-to gal! Heck, even if you’re not passionate about a topic, it’s amazing how passionate you can feel about a concept once the money starts rolling in
- Self-identity! I always thought I wanted to teach, but after working at a daycare and then as a teacher’s assistant for several years, I grew weary of other people’s kids. Teaching others how to blog fits me perfectly, because I love the idea of sharing knowledge about something I know–and I don’t have to deal with readers’ bratty kids.
- Creativity! There is so much creativity involved in blogging. From designing a logo on Canva, to finding the perfect font, to scouring the internet for stock photos, I love bringing all these ideas together into this one website that represents a culmination of all I have to offer on this subject.
How to start a lifestyle blog
It takes some work, some perseverance, and lots of patience. It also takes these steps:
1. Have an idea or ideas
Years ago, if you wanted to start a blog, the first step would be to decide on a niche or topic. While it’s still a great idea if you want to be seen as an authority figure in Google and Pinterest’s eyes, it’s no longer a necessity for traffic. With the massive success of list-type sites like Gatheringdreams.com and Chasingfoxes.com, new bloggers can see they have the freedom to blog about whatever the heck floats their boat. In fact, many of my favorite bloggers use their first and last name as their domain name and write about multiple topics. They know that as long as have have quality content and excellent search engine optimization (SEO), traffic will come.
Questions to ask when wondering how to start a lifestyle blog
What are going to blog about? What’s your bright idea or bright ideas?
- What are you knowledgeable about?
- Anything you love doing in your spare time?
- What do you always find yourself talking about to your spouse or friends?
- Have hobbies you could share?
- What could you see yourself writing about at least weekly?
Despite what most Pinterest mom bloggers will tell you, you don’t necessarily need to be passionate about your topic, but it helps if you’re knowledgeable. Sometimes, when the money starts rolling in, you’ll find “passion,” may be overrated! After all, isn’t it easy to be passionate about making money?
Make sure your blogging idea or topic is feasible for the long haul
Going back to my first blog as an example, man oh man was that hard to keep up. Imagine constantly scouring the internet for deals, then writing a post about said deal, and then promoting it. It wasn’t a feasible idea for the long term future, especially with a newborn. I then shifted to an easier idea: a more generalized “frugal living” concept, and that was much more fun for me to keep up.
What about the money? Any niche can be monetized, you just have to find the right strategy. More on that later.
Imagine yourself blogging, and blogging, and blogging
I’ve noticed something interesting about deal bloggers or any bloggers who post timely information with an expiration date. They often start out excited and strong, blogging daily about deals they’ve found. Then they fizzle out after a few weeks because it’s crazy time-consuming to write up and market 10-20 deal posts a day. Even if you do get them written up, the time it takes to keep timely deals updated and make sure links are still working–it’s absurd for one person. The deal blogger then looks at Krazycouponlady.com and Hip2save.com, and inevitably gives up. How can they compete with these teams of 20-50 people writing up and maintaining endless posts every day?
I don’t want to burst any bubbles, just get you thinking. Just because you enjoy something or have a passion for deal shopping doesn’t mean it’s a feasible long-term aspiration to write about. In the example above, the answer is to change your focus.
A change in focus to evergreen content–content that stands the test of time–instead of timely content will make sure you’re rewarded for your labor for years to come. For example, the exhausted deal blogger could become a more general frugal living blogger. She or he could still post weekly Walmart deal-type posts, but also general posts like “10 Ways to Save Big Money at Walmart.” No more posts like “Kohls 40% off Sale, Today Only.” Those posts require too much upkeep, and too much wasted marketing time only to expire in 24 hours. Plus they will have a tough time competing with the big bloggers on Google’s first page.
In contrast, generalized money-saving idea posts do really well on Pinterest and Google. As long as you practice good SEO (more on that later), you can write about whatever you want. Just make sure you can imagine yourself maintaining it long term.
How to start a lifestyle blog when you have lots of ideas
Grab your notebook and pen, and make a list of ideas. Think of your hobbies, what you love to talk about with friends, and what you know a lot about. Ask loved ones what they think you should write about. Browse Pinterest for these ideas, and see how other bloggers write about this topic. What are they missing that you could bring to the table? Or maybe you’d have similar content, and that’s OK too. Google and especially Pinterest can never have too much content.
How to start a lifestyle blog when you just want to write about one topic
Nevertheless, focusing on a niche could help you become more of an authority figure on your topic. This could make readers remember you more easily when they think of your topic. If you do want to go this route, think of a way to make your topic more specific. This can be as simple as taking a topic like “easy recipes,” and adding an adjective or a type of food. For example, “easy recipes” becomes “easy, healthy recipes.”
Many bloggers find it’s easier to stand out from the crowd if they choose a micro-niche topic. Even if you have a general recipe or lifestyle blog, niching down in posts could help bring in traffic that large websites tend to overlook. Niching down means to narrow your focus into an even more specific subject.
For another example, “easy, healthy recipes” might become “easy, healthy, gluten-free recipes.” By choosing to niche down, you narrow your focus and–sooner or later–become a master of that subject in Google’s eyes and your readers’ eyes. You narrow your competition, because your topic is more focused on a very particular set of words a person might search for on Google. Niching down helps you stand out from the competition.
2. Think of a domain name for said idea
Once you have your topic in mind–or not–decide on a domain name. This is where lots of folks get stuck. The analysis paralysis struggle is real, and I know I wrestled with this step for years. Yes, years.
Make sure to go with a .com domain, even if it means choosing an alternative name that’s slightly different than what you had in mind. Yes, it seems like all the good .com domains are taken. But, by adding a prefix or suffix to your original choice, you might be surprised to see what’s still available.
An extremely popular trend among lifestyle bloggers is to just use their first and last name as their domain. They assume that the readers they get will be subscribers or followers and not necessarily have to remember the website name every time they want to read it.
Need a domain?
If you’d rather go with a fun or catchy title, there are some domain name sites that can help. My two favorite sites to help choose a domain name–and find alternative domain ideas if your original is taken are:
Namemesh adds a suffix, prefix, or words you may not have thought of based on priorities like SEO. Leandomainsearch has a good selection of title name/word combinations to choose from if you’re having trouble thinking of title words. For example, I wanted something with the word “savvy,” but I wasn’t sure what the first or last word should be. Leandomainsearch gives you a humongous list of options to choose from.
You don’t need to decide on a domain name right this minute–but it’s more exciting if you do! It helps your blog idea become a little more real. You can always come back and determine the name at a later time, and if go this route, you’ll get a temporary domain where you can work on your blog whilst pondering its perfect name.
3. How to start a lifestyle blog with web hosting
If you want to look professional and start blogging for money, you need quality web hosting. I’ve tried several different blog host companies and my favorites are Hostgator and Bluehost. They’re both popular recommendation for bloggers in particular, because their web hosting is super affordable without sacrificing quality. Check out my Hostgator coupons here or my Bluehost review here for more details.
Want affordable, fast hosting with free SSL and a free domain? Need quick, easy setup and excellent customer service? Feel better if there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee? I’ve found these with Hostgator. Even though I’ve had more expensive hosting in the past, I’ve never noticed a difference in quality.
Hostgator web host Plans
You may as well buy the cheapest plan to start out and upgrade to a larger plan when your traffic warrants it. Most beginning bloggers or website businesses won’t need an upgrade within their first year. Why is it important to pay as little as possible for hosting when starting out? Most startup businesses or blogs are on a budget, and shouldn’t pay for more than they need. You don’t need the more expensive hosting plans until your website grows in traffic and server needs.
One key difference that makes Hostgator stand out from other web hosts is their month-to-month hosting. This can save you so much money if you’re really unsure about the blogging thing and just want to get your feet wet–Hostgator web hosting costs around $30 to start a website for a month. Compare this to a startup cost of around $80 for a year of web hosting. Yes, the year offers the better value overall, but many folks just want to dip their feet in.
Keep in mind, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Get 20% of all new Hostgator web-hosting plans here with code, “SNAPPY”.
A few tips when you purchase web hosting:
-ALWAYS check the box for domain privacy, unless you want to be inundated with spam phone calls starting from the day after your purchase. I learned this the hard way.
-Some hosts give different prices/values depending on how long you sign up for: monthly is usually most expensive if calculated on a monthly basis, whereas if you sign up for three years you often get a better overall value for your money. Of course, you’ll pay more upfront for this option.
-If you’re not sure about blogging for money or just want to experiment for a while, the monthly or one-year plan is probably a better idea than the three-year plan, even if the three-year is a better value overall.
4. Install WordPress
After your web hosting purchase, you’ll go to your Hostgator dashboard, where you can see the “Install Wordress” link on the right side.
WordPress is a popular software bloggers and businesses use to manage their site. Another option is Tumblr, but most bloggers recommend WordPress due to the vast customization available.
- Write at least 5-10 blog posts before sharing your site with others. You want readers to have at least a couple of articles to click on when they’re done reading the first one.
- Write an “About me” page that tells readers a little about yourself, what you have to offer, and why you started this blog.
- Decide what your categories will be. These will be the titles of the items in the menu near the title.
5. Choose a theme
Here comes the best part–choosing a theme. There is no reason for a beginner blogger to pay money for a premium theme. There are countless beautiful/functional themes available for free! Just look for the “Appearance” link in the left sidebar, and click on “Themes” from the subcategories that pop up. Sort them by “popular” and see what so many thousands of other users are using…for free. Play around with several…hundred…theme ideas to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t.
Some of my favorite free, SEO-friendly themes I’ve used in the past:
6. Canva, Canva, Canva
Get to know Canva, the free graphic design website that lets you play around with pictures and fonts. Just choose what you want to design: logo, pinterest graphic, etc. Then upload a picture of your own or choose from their huge selection. After you’re done with your logo, save your design so you can upload it in the media link in your WordPress dashboard.
For every post you make, you’ll want to create a Pinterest graphic in Canva to promote it on Pinterest. Canva makes this so easy by automatically including a pre-measured “Pinterest Graphic” option in their drop-down list.
You’ll want to bookmark Canva! You’ll use it for every single social media post you create. It’s addictive!
7. Customize and connect
After you create an awesome logo in Canva, go back to WordPress to customize your theme with said logo. You’ll find this option in the left menu under “Appearance>Customize.” Upload that bad boy under the “Header Image” or similarly titled section–depending on your theme–and watch your blog feel like it’s yours instantly.
Back in the WordPress dashboard, you’ll add an “About Me” page from the “Page” section on the left sidebar of WordPress. Then you’ll add categories from the “Posts” section in the sidebar. Together these pages and categories will make up your menu. The menu is the bar of topic links that often can be seen under a blog’s title or to the side. Pages are for things that don’t change, like “About Me” or a “Blog” page full of posts while categories are how you’ll organize your posts. For instance, will a post go under the “Side Hustle” category or the “Blogging for Money” category? Sometimes both.
Connect important plugins
This is also a good time to connect to necessities such as:
- Google analytics via the Monster Insight plugin
- Google search console via the Yoast plugin
- Pinterest for Business
- Plugins like Yoast, Monster Insights, and more (future post to come)
Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for–creating content. Fill that blog up with the ideas that have been brewing for years in your head.
7. Add affiliates: affiliates = money
Ah, finally the missing piece of the puzzle.
The dough. The moolah. The money.
How to start a lifestyle blog and make money:
You’re here because you want to start blogging for money. Remember how you read that it takes patience to blog? Money is one of the last pieces of the puzzle. This is because you need to have all this other stuff set up before you start applying willy nilly to affiliates and ad networks.
Affiliate marketing, ads, and products are how you’ll make money blogging.
Affiliates are companies who pay you to sell their product. I’m an affiliate of Bluehost. For every Bluehost plan I sell, I make money. I’m also an Amazon affiliate. For every Chevy encoder I sell on my Hubpage, I make money from Amazon. Bluehost, Amazon, and others pay me money to sell or refer their services or products.
While you don’t need a blog or website for some affiliates, it certainly helps to have a review or story to back up the service or product. If I just posted a link to a Chevy part on Pinterest, I might sell one or two a year. But if I write a 2000-word post about how to use this part to fix such-and-such symptoms on Chevy and then point people toward Amazon where they can buy said part, you’d better believe I can sell many more. I’m helping folks solve a problem and pointing to where they can buy the solution.
Where to find affiliates
The best affiliates to start with are the ones you’re already a customer with and therefore don’t need to apply for a publisher relationship:
- Your phone company: I have a post about Cricket where I tell about my experience with their service. I then show them how they can save (and make) money by becoming a Cricket customer.
- Web hosting: After you become a Bluehost customer, you can refer others and earn $60 per referral.
- TV service: When I had DirecTV, I used to refer others to them and make $100 in credit per referral.
- Internet service: Century link offers up to $600 off your bill for referring customers to their internet service. They give the new customer $60 off their bill.
- Ibotta: I refer others to Ibotta here and earn $5-$10 per referral. Ibotta offers the new customer a $10-$20 sign-up bonus and cash back on purchases.
Outside of your own companies, there are affiliate company sites you can join and apply to be store affiliates for. Some popular ones are Shareasale, Awin, Impact Radius, Panthera, and Flex Offers. I’m an affiliate at Impact Radius (for Walmart and Hostgator), Flex Offers for other stores, and Panthera for surveys. Shareasale and Awin have a lot of smaller stores I’ve never heard of, but they seem to be popular with many bloggers.
You can apply to Google Adsense to get automatic ads on your site. The minimum payment threshold is $100, an and it may take you a few months to reach this. While Adsense doesn’t pay the best, it’s a super easy way to monetize your site. After you get 25,000 visitors per month, you can apply to Mediavine who pays much better.
If you’re an expert at something, consider making an ecourse or book and sell it. Or sell a product that you’re providing an expert review about.
Know how to start a lifestyle blog?
You can research the heck out of “how to start a lifestyle blog,” you can read story after story and review after review. The truth is, blogging is very much a learn-by-experience type of concept. Toy around with WordPress. Explore every button on Canva. Experiment with different themes. You’ll learn so much more by doing than reading. You’ll really learn how to start a lifestyle blog when you’re in the process of making said lifestyle blog.
Have I inspired you to start a blog or website yet?
I know firsthand how the concept of blogging can be something you’re not completely sure about even as you’re jumping in. But that’s part of the beauty of blogging–you can make mistakes, and you can learn at your own pace. I’m here to help! Email me with questions.