If you are getting the “start a lifestyle blog” bug, you’re not alone. And that’s kind of exciting!
A lifestyle blog is one of the more generous kind of blogs you can launch, especially if this is your first blog ever. A lifestyle blog can cover anything from food to crafts, knitting, organic living and anything in between. If you enjoy reading magazines about pretty much anything, love writing, and you are looking forward to sharing rich life experiences, tips and general knowledge with others in an entertaining way… my friend, you are a lifestyle blogger. Or at least a soon-to-be-one.
We love to work with clients just like you, as most of the times, your hobby or your passion is actually the content and fuel for your blog. And, what’s even sweeter, a lifestyle blog becomes one of the most clever ways to mix pleasure with business. If we were to tell you that your grandmother’s recipe for buttermilk cookies can secure a brand sponsorship from a food company and pay your electricity bill…or that your amazing photography from your latest backpacking adventure in Thailand can actually fund your next vacation…wouldn’t you want to take advantage of all this?
That’s a great start.
However, the not so exciting part of the journey begins next. As, deciding to start a lifestyle blog is like 0.01% of the work of actually becoming one…but, fear not. We are here to help.
We have compiled our top 9 questions to answer as you are getting ready to start your lifestyle blog.
1: What kind of blogs do you read?
If you’re not reading any blogs, get on it. This is very important. It’s the equivalent of wanting to become a fiction writer when the last novel you read was back in…high school.
New bloggers usually get disappointed earlier on in their journey as they write passionate, long and complicated posts only to find out nobody is reading them. The reason? They are too complicated or they are too simple. They have too much information or not enough. They are too personal, or just too cold. Blogging is a lot less than writing and a lot more like being part of a community. And the only way to “fit in” into this magic community is, well, to hang out in it.New bloggers get disappointed as they write only to find out nobody is reading them #blogger #entrepreneurClick To Tweet
If your lifestyle blog is about goldendoodles, and you find out that your favorite bloggers tend to use a lot of pictures per post and just a few paragraphs or text… that’s a great starting point for your first post! On the other hand, if you’re writing about blogging or marketing (such as we do), we tend to write posts over 1,200 words, with a worksheet sometimes or with tons of bullet points or lists. Whichever the style of writing and content of your particular community is, you should always try to mimic it, in order to quickly look and feel inclusive, versus disruptive.
In addition, taking a close look at what kind of blogs you read will also help you out in deciding on your ultimate niche. If you read all DIY and home decor blogs, for example, chances are that you will be more comfortable, as well as motivated, to blog about interior design.
2: What are you going to write about?
You will need to write posts, as, of course, that’s the point of blogging! We like to keep a tight editorial calendar ourselves, which is just a fancy way to keep organizing the different ideas we have for posts and freebies we share with our followers every day. To get started, think about what inspires you the most about the certain lifestyle niche you chose, and jot down some ideas.
For example, if you love baking, you can write different recipes you want to feature right away, or organize them by season or celebration.
Our rule of thumb is to launch your blog once you have a decent amount of content pre-written. There’s a reason for this. You want to make a great first impression from day one, instead of having someone land on your page and only offer one lonely post! Try to have 15-20 posts ready before the big day. You don’t have to write them overnight, but you should write consistently. It gets easier every day.Our rule of thumb is to launch your blog with a decent amount of content pre-written - up to 20 posts #bloggerClick To Tweet
3: Do you have a blog name?
We highly recommend choosing your blog name AFTER you had a chance to write 3-5 posts. Writing the first posts is a great exercise in finding out if you are truly happy with the niche you are going to be showcasing. If not, no harm done. You can start again.
When you are finally ready to choose a blog name, consider how you are ideally thinking your blog will grow with you. Sometimes, being too niche is too limiting, and can hinder your inspiration. We don’t recommend life stage references (such as “collegeAnna.com”) as those tend to have a 3 to 4 year lifespan tops. Instead, choose a blog name that is broad, yet interesting.
We like The Minimalist Baker (she always cooks with a FEW ingredients), or Against All Grain (she only cooks Paleo), for example. They tell us a lot about what they are going to share with us, they are witty and different, YET, they are easily sustainable over time.
4: How personal are you going to get?
We love reading blogs and bloggers that are really sharing with us. It’s not just about their pancake recipe, it’s about how that recipe came to be, about the five prior failed recipes, and about how the blogger’s five-year old son really liked it. I want to know all of that, personally, before I even bookmark anything I might want to make later.
Bloggers that are more personal, more open, and warmer, tend to establish a stronger connection with their followers. However, you might not be comfortable talking about your family and friends and you might just want to focus about your incredible tips and tricks when it comes to organizing or managing a small business. And that’s okay too. You don’t even have to use your last name, really. Just know that keeping your identity completely anonymous will make it harder to connect with your readers (but not impossible).
5: Is your blog name available?
Okay, this is a great time to have a quick reality check! Now you have a bunch of great blog posts under your name, you decided on a picture and maybe even a bio. Yup. That lifestyle blog of yours is aching to get out. So what’s next?
Before you launch your new blog or you become too attached to your name, make sure the same name does not already exist. Or your domain is taken. (You can check for domain names at GoDaddy.com.). Once you have a good domain to purchase, DO also search for that name on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make it easy (read: fool proof easy) for your readers and audience to follow. This means that if your URL is GREATBLOG.COM we want to find you on Instagram at @GREATBLOG and on Twitter at @GREATBLOG and on Facebook at @GREATBLOG. You get the idea.
6: How much time do you have?
If you are planning to work on your blog only 5 hours a week on Saturday, then, that’s the exact return you will get on page views and visitors. Being upfront and honest with yourself about the REALISTIC time investment you will have for your blog will help you greatly and putting together attainable goals for it. Just so you have an idea, a blog post like the one you’re reading right now takes us anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. That includes around 30 minutes of ideation and research (what do we want to write about today?), around 45 minutes to write it and spell check it, and check it again, plus time for making all the graphics that will go to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter (each of them has a different size), and then finally scheduling and sharing.
And that’s on a blog that has been running for a while, so we don’t have to worry about kinks in the platform or a broken layout, or what tools to use.
7: Do you have a budget for your blog?
Blogging is not free. Some of it is, but not at thousands of page views level. There are tons of tools you will need to make the blog successful such as an email program, a graphics program, etc. Can you go get by without any of them? Of course! But your blog will look “free” too. And, if you’re not investing in your content, why would a total stranger?
WordPress.com and Blogger offer free hosting for your blog, but the templates are very limited. On the other hand, Squarespace.com offers great looking blogs for only $8 a month. Our favorite platform these days is WordPress.org, which needs a separate host such as Siteground or Bluehost (hosting could be as little as $3.99 a month depending how you pay and what you need). WordPress.org is a little bit advanced in terms of tons to do behind the scenes, but will offer, long-term, the most flexibility when it comes to SEO, etc.
In short, short-term? Use WordPress.com or Squarespace. You’re in for the long haul? WordPress.org! (Remember you will need to look at host platforms, too.)
8: Are you ready to invest in tools?
We prefer to ask this upfront so we get the full picture at once. If you’re not ready to invest beyond the $8 at Squarespace, it will be VERY HARD to build traffic quickly.
Just so you have an idea, here are some of the tools we currently use that are not free (some of the links are affiliate links – see our Terms and Conditions for full disclosure):
- Convertkit ($29/mo). We have over 5,500 email subscribers and we use Convertkit to keep communicating with them, as well as a delivery mechanism for some of our free classes by email, and other goodies.
- Siteground. We used to be on another host platform but after a few challenges, we are going to fully switch to Siteground in the next month. We use it to host Lazygirlco.com and some of the sites we support for a few clients.
- KWFinder ($12.99/mo). We love this little tool to do quick searches about keywords when we are brainstorming ideas for blog posts or articles. We noticed a huge increase in our SEO, too! This is a must-have!
- Canva. For ALL our graphics. We are currently using the paid version ($9.95) as it allows us to quickly resize for all social platforms.
9: How are you going to attract your first readers?
What happens after your first blog posts go live is as important as writing them! We are working on a blog post on just that, but for now, know that you should be sharing that blog post anywhere you can. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are pretty obvious, so we know they are making your checklist! We have found that Google+ is actually pretty amazing to help your blog get discovered by Google a lot FASTER than otherwise, so we include them in our distribution as well.
You should also starting thinking now about how to grow your email list, which we have written extensively about here.
And we are done!
We covered so much…if you could answer all of these questions (or most of these questions), you’re probably ready to start your lifestyle blog.
Tell us, if you haven’t started already, what might be holding you back?