How to start a lifestyle blog? Now that’s a question I get asked A LOT, and understandably so.
In the past decade, blogging has become a viable source of income and a lucrative career that simply didn’t exist a decade ago. More recently, the rise of social media influencers and YouTubers have expanded this insane ecosystem of digital content creators who are blazing their own trails and making a living doing what they’re passionate about from anywhere in the world.
The best part? Blogging is open to everyone and, unlike other creative and technical professions, does not require a college degree. With hard work and determination, and a specific set of skills (which anyone can easily develop in this digital age), anyone can start a blog and create content for a living today.
And since I get asked about this all the time, I decided to create this definitive guide with all my best tips and lessons learned from 2 decades of blogging leisurely and professionally.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of lifestyle blogging
- PART 1: What’s a lifestyle blog
- What does it mean to be a lifestyle blogger
- What are the types of profitable lifestyle blogs
- How lifestyle bloggers make money
And then we will deep dive into actually getting a profitable lifestyle blog started
- PART 2: The Purpose Formula for lifestyle blogging
- PART 3: Setting up a profit-ready lifestyle blog
- PART 4: Designing your lifestyle blog
- PART 5: Making money from your content
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through my links. Thank you for supporting The Purpose Blog! Read my full disclosure policy here.
Extra Reading: Why start a blog?
A Quick History
The evolution of lifestyle blogging
In the most basic sense, lifestyle blogs today may very well be the grownup versions of what we used to call personal blogs.
Remember the good ol’ days when blogging was mostly a documentation of passions, interests, and anything that strikes your fancy? An online diary, if you will.
If you’re not yet born in the 90s, you wouldn’t have a recollection of this period in time. But if you’re a blogger from those early days and you miss blogging that way, then guess what, this type of blogging still exists. In fact, some of those first-generation bloggers were never gone.
The best lifestyle bloggers today are still talking about their lives, passions, and interests. In fact, the ones who have survived the countless shifts in the blogging landscape are those who’ve mastered how to stay true to themselves, get personal, tell stories, write from experience, while adapting to the trends and applying a purpose-centric and profit-driven strategy.
It’s actually the profit factor that makes lifestyle blogging today different from what it used to be. Let’s put it this way: Blogs (as we know it) had to grow up and pay the bills. 😉
Today, we generally call these personal blogs, lifestyle blogs.
Part 1: Frequently Asked Questions
Lifestyle blogging 101
Whether you’re a beginner blogger or you’ve been at it for a while, I hope to answer your questions related to lifestyle blogging and, later on, to get in the nitty-gritty details of setting up a lifestyle blog for success. Here are some frequently asked questions!
What does it mean to be a lifestyle blogger?
Simply put, a lifestyle blogger creates and publishes blog content based on his/her lifestyle.
We need to state the obvious about this one because it really is as simple as it is. A lifestyle blogger curates content derived from or inspired by her personal experiences, interests, passions, world view, and way of life.
For so many years I avoided calling my personal blog (Chasing Dreams, in case you’re curious) a “lifestyle blog” and myself a “lifestyle blogger” because of the impression that lifestyle blogs are style blogs. Specifically, blogs that publish content about fashion, beauty, and makeup.
And if you’re like me who’s not exactly into creating that type of content, maybe you feel like the title “lifestyle blogger” doesn’t really fit you.
Obviously, this is not how I view “lifestyle blogs” anymore so I thought it’s important to set the record straight:
Lifestyle blogs are NOT just style blogs. While it’s true that fashion, beauty, and makeup are more focused sub-niches in the lifestyle umbrella, lifestyle blogging is really a lot bigger—and dare I say, deeper—than these.
And just in case you need permission to call yourself a “lifestyle blogger”, well, you don’t really need someone else’s permission but I hope this post does that for you.
What is a lifestyle blog?
A lifestyle blog is a blog about lifestyle, whatever that lifestyle may be.
And lifestyle, by definition, is “a way of living”.
Businessdictionary.com defines “lifestyle” this way:
A way of living of individuals, families (households), and societies, which they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis.
Lifestyle is expressed in both work and leisure behavior patterns and (on an individual basis) in activities, attitudes, interests, opinions, values, and allocation of income. It also reflects people’s self-image or self-concept; the way they see themselves and believe they are seen by the others. Lifestyle is a composite of motivations, needs, and wants and is influenced by factors such as culture, family, reference groups, and social class.
Therefore, a lifestyle blogger creates content about, as defined above, his/her behavior patterns, interests, opinions, values, and allocation of income. In other words, a blend of topics surrounding his/her way of life. This type of content entertains, informs, and educates readers above (and in some cases, convinces them to consider) a specific lifestyle.
Using this definition, then, any blogger who talks about a specific worldview or way of life are lifestyle bloggers. Which means even RV blogs, craft blogs, faith blogs, book blogs, and food blogs are, you got it, lifestyle blogs.
What are the types of profitable lifestyle blogs?
Many lifestyle bloggers niche down to more focused content topics, such as:
- beauty, makeup, and fashion
- family, relationships, and motherhood
- parenting and homeschooling
- food and recipes
- health, wellness, and fitness
- home, interior design, and decor
- travel and cultures
- books and literature
- art and creative life
This is usually where we start segmenting lifestyle blogger types, hence we hear of mom bloggers, travel bloggers, beauty bloggers, food bloggers, rv bloggers, and the more recent ones, book bloggers and creative lifestyle bloggers.
Inversely, more focused niche bloggers sometimes expand their content verticals as they grow their knowledge, reach, and audience.
Lifestyle blogs tend to have a combination of content topics. And more often than not, their blogs grow with them through their seasons in life. For example, a blogger might add a blog category on “marriage” after she gets married, or “motherhood” when she becomes a mother, etc.
This is why lifestyle blogging is one of the best ways to start as a beginner blogger. After all, you are basically just sharing stories and creating content about your life.
As you get to know the ins and outs of blogging, hone your skillset, and explore which topics work for you or not, then you can either niche down or expand as you go.
How do lifestyle bloggers make money?
While blogging for fun used to be a thing, it doesn’t make sense anymore in today’s time. If you just want to post random snippets of your day and share stories for fun, the best place to do that now is social media.
But if you’re starting a blog with the intention of making a living from it, your mindset should now be that of a content creator, a publisher, or a creative entrepreneur.
I’m not saying you can’t blog as a hobby. I’m saying blogging is an expensive (and time-consuming) hobby and if you want to keep doing this hobby, you want your blog to at least sustain itself. And chances are if you find that you actually do enjoy blogging, you’d want to work your way to a realistic salary so you can blog full-time.
So think about your profit strategy from the beginning.
Lifestyle bloggers earn through the following (or a combination of the following):
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital/Physical Products
- Brand Sponsorships
- Display Ads
I will discuss the above more comprehensively later but knowing which income stream you want to focus on in the beginning sets the course for your blog’s purpose and direction.
Part 2: The Purpose Formula for Blogging
Knowing your lifestyle blog’s purpose
Repeatedly, almost like a broken record (because I believe in it so much), you’ll see me talk about how blogging from a place of purpose is the way to set a blog up for success in this ever-changing digital landscape. I believe PURPOSE is the key to starting a blog that actually lasts and makes an impact on the world.
I use a formula called Purpose Formula for Blogging in teaching others how to blog. There are 3 elements to the Purpose formula:
Passion + Profession + People = Purpose
Of course, other bloggers simply start—and figure the rest out as they go. And this is okay too.
In fact, I’d recommend this if you’re the type of person who’s really good at winging it and starting before you’re ready.
But if you’ve been blogging for a while and struggling with feeling like you’re not achieving anything, or you’re the type of person who wants a strategic plan right from the start, this process will help you get started in the right direction.
Identify your passions
Think of the topics you won’t get tired of writing about for years to come. You’re going to invest hours and days of your life into this blog project, after all! You might as well create one that doesn’t only fulfill you financially but also artistically.
So ask yourself. What are your passions? Books? Travel? Music? Weddings? Interior Design? Motherhood? God?
Maybe you’re passionate about a specific gift or skill. Writing? Blogging? Photography? Entrepreneurship?
Or maybe you’re passionate about a specific worldview or lifestyle. Living a creative life? Pursuing health and wellness as a way of life? Traveling and experiencing cultures? Chasing dreams? Putting God first? Sharing your faith?
Start with your passion, and niche down (or expand) based on what you have ample experience in, who your target reader needs, and how profitable the market is.
Zone in on what you can confidently teach others
Since this blog is going to be about your life and your lifestyle, you want to create content about topics (or a combination of topics) you’re naturally good at.
You don’t have to be an “expert” at it, in the beginning, you just need an ample amount of experience or the passion to become really good at it as you go. It also helps build your authority if you have actual experience in these categories. For example, you may be a professional photographer (read: you’re already making a living as a photographer), then it makes sense to blog about photography-related topics.
Remember that you’re not just creating content because you like the topic but because you have the knowledge and the confidence to teach, help, and inspire others in that area. This is important when creating purposeful and profitable content.
Profile your target readers
Think of your intended audience and what value your content can add to their life, how you can help them in their challenges, answer their questions, or entertain them.
Think also of purchase intent. What would your readers naturally purchase online or willingly invest in?
Making money blogging is really all about selling something through your blog content—your own products, other brands’ products, your services, an idea. Think about this when you’re profiling your target readers because this is where the profit is going to come from.
If you want to go deeper into this process, you can also join my Free Blogging with Purpose E-course!
Part 3: Lifestyle Blog Setup
Setting up a profit-ready lifestyle blog
Once you identified your purpose, it’s time to set up a profit-ready blog! I get asked a lot if you really need a self-hosted blog and my answer is a definitive, 100% YES. You can’t just set up shop on Medium or Blogspot or Tumblr or whatever social media is “in” at the moment. If your goal is to eventually monetize your content or to build your life’s work on it, then you have to be willing to invest in your platform to start with!
Here are the essentials of a money-making blog.
1. A unique domain name
Investing in a domain name and a web hosting provider is imperative. No questions. Advertisers and affiliates won’t work with you or accept you in their campaigns if you’re not self-hosted.
More importantly, if you care about your creative and intellectual property, the best way to protect it is to have your content in a space that’s completely yours. (I had my blog self-hosted from the beginning because of this reason, even when I wasn’t making money from it yet.)
2. A fast and secure blog hosting provider
An efficient and fast-loading website is important throughout the process of growing, optimizing, and monetizing a lifestyle blog.
A fast-loading site, for one, is an essential Google ranking factor. Also, with a reliable customer support system, you worry less about the technical aspects of your blog and can, therefore, focus your energy on creating content.
A reliable web host is also very important for lifestyle bloggers because lifestyle blogs are generally photo-heavy (imagine food blogs, travel blogs, fashion blogs, and beauty blogs).
Dreamhost acknowledges this experimental first year that they give as much as 60% OFF in your initial sign up. I cannot recommend Dreamhost enough.
3. A tested and proven content management system
While Squarespace is becoming a popular contender, most full-time bloggers have their blogs on WordPress for a solid reason. WordPress blogs are easier to optimize for search engines and to customize however way you want to grow your blog. It’s robust and stable, and it quickly adapts to new trends, algorithmic updates, and best practices.
I tried out Squarespace for 3 months only to find myself crawling back to WordPress after trying out its functionalities.
I think it’s worth reiterating that professional bloggers and digital marketers recommend WordPress, hands down.
There is a one-click WordPress installation feature when you sign up with Dreamhost.
Start your blog the right way with Dreamhost
Pricing at Dreamhost starts as low as $2.95 per month for the first year (that’s about $35, with web hosting and domain name included). I love that the initial investment for Dreamhost is as low as possible for beginners. You’re not paying for server space that you’re not using yet, and you can just grow the space as needed.
Here’s how to start blogging with Dreamhost!
- Choose a Plan
- Choose a domain name
- Secure checkout
Uh yes, that’s it! Take note, you will only have to pay $35+ upfront and this already includes a FREE domain name and, if you like, an email address with your chosen domain too.
Once that’s done, it’s time to set up WordPress!
Installing WordPress is super easy with Dreamhost through their setup wizard and their AMAZING customer support team. (Real humans, not bots!)
Just follow the prompts and you’re all set! If you get lost at any point, there’s a chat support team that will walk you through the process.
Part 4: Aesthetic Matters
Designing your lifestyle blog
Others will tell you to skip this part and just come back to it later. But a good design is important for lifestyle blogs. Not to mention, a good aesthetic attracts readers and keeps them on your blog too! Your blog’s design is one of the best investments because it makes your blog look like pro from day one.
This being said, you don’t need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a custom blog design built for you to start with. Instead, I highly recommend investing in a premium WordPress theme.
Hint: You can find beautiful themes (like the one I’m using) for $60-80!
I highly recommend 17th Avenue.
I can name a handful of successful bloggers who use premium, off-the-rack WordPress themes on their blogs.
Here are some samples:
uses the Viviene Theme by 17th Avenue
uses the Parker Theme by Station Seven
[button url=”https://thepurposeblog.com/stnsvn” target=”_self” size=”large” display=”inline-block” float=”none”]Steal Design for Mankind’s Blog Design Here[/button]
ChasingDreams.net (my lifestyle blog)
uses the Charlotte Theme by 17th Avenue
When you use a premium WordPress theme, the theme developer already takes care of the plugins that you need to make your blog look functional, professional, and pretty!
Branding your lifestyle blog
Truth? I wouldn’t even sweat over creating a logo! 😉
I used to spend so much time designing my own logo, to be honest, but now I’m more appreciative of simple, minimalist, text-based ones.
My current straightforward logo design process? Pick a font, apply kerning, done!
Your branding, after all, is not your logo. Think of branding as the overall vibe of your blog, how you present yourself through your content, and what other people talk about you when you’re not in the room, so to speak.
When it comes to blogging, especially in the early stages, the best way to design and establish your brand is first and foremost through content.
So don’t stress out over your logo and design elements. Instead, when establishing your blog’s aesthetic, I highly recommend:
- Investing in a premium WordPress theme
- Be obsessed with learning how to take good photos
- Get into creating content ASAP!
Pro tip! The best off-the-rack WordPress themes have built-in typography that makes your blog title looking like a professionally designed blog logo as is. The trick is to choose a WordPress theme wisely. 😉
Affordable lifestyle blog designs
Get off-the-rack WordPress blog design from these highly recommended theme shops. Nothing above $80!
1. 17th Avenue
17th Avenue is for you if you love classic and sophisticated, and if you have a thing for good typography. As I mentioned above, I personally use one of 17th Avenue’s themes for my own lifestyle blog, ChasingDreams.net.
There was a time when I used a Bluchic theme for my blog. Bluchic is the place to go for feminine WordPress themes for small businesses and solopreneurs. If your blog is attached to a business or a shop, or if you’re looking to provide e-courses, Bluchic has a great selection!
Installing your WordPress theme
Installing your WordPress theme is as easy as uploading a zipped folder and clicking on a few links, but I do understand why this part of the process causes so much stress to beginner bloggers.
You have no time for this, you just want to get started on blogging already! I get it.
And this is why I love 17th Avenue and Bluchic. Unlike huge design marketplaces (the likes of Etsy, Theme Forest, or Creative Market), these boutique design shops have a small selection of high-quality WordPress themes, which means you don’t have to waste so much time just choosing.
Plus I can guarantee you that there’s another human being at the end of the screen responding to your emails and helping you get started. If you’re a DIY geek and you love figuring things out on your own, I love how thorough 17th Avenue’s Support Documentation is! Very user-friendly, even for beginners.
Pro tip! All the theme shops I mentioned in this post also offer installation services, where you pay a small add-on fee if you want them to handle the installation of your blog design. Win-win!
Part 5: Blog Monetization
Lifestyle blog income streams
Lifestyle bloggers monetize their content somewhat differently from other types of bloggers.
Because of the nature of lifestyle blogs, they easily attract consumers and online shoppers. That said, one of the top ways to get started on blog monetization is affiliate marketing.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is basically promoting other people’s products and earning a commission on each sale. Bloggers link to the product using their unique affiliate links and when someone clicks through and makes a purchase, they earn a commission.
What I love about affiliate marketing is it offers opportunities even for new bloggers, unlike other blog income streams which require a specific level of traffic or clout.
There are thousands of affiliate programs for lifestyle bloggers and here are some I recommend for beginners.
Shareasale is one of the biggest affiliate marketing networks that help connect online retailers with bloggers and website owners. With merchants from a wide range of lifestyle niches, you can begin to imagine all the types of content you can create for your lifestyle blog. Some of the product categories to choose from:
- Home & Garden
- Style & Fashion
- Family & Kids
- Food & Drinks
- Arts & Crafts
- Health & Wellness
By promoting and linking to products in the Shareasale network, you can earn a commission when someone purchased through your links.
Ultimate Bundles is in the business of digital products and education. They create digital bundles on various lifestyle and business topics like blogging, photography, arts & crafts, homemaking, essential oils, personal finance, travel, health and wellness, and more. Each themed bundle is packed with top-quality ebooks, online courses, and printables, usually valued at thousands of dollars but sold at over 90% discount.
Ultimate Bundles is great for creative and lifestyle bloggers because:
- They approve applications almost immediately, even when your blog is new.
- They give 40% commissions on every sale
- The bundles are really good, and therefore highly sale-able
These bundles are available for a period of time, but some of them go “evergreen” which means you can keep earning commissions the whole year.
How to make money from affiliate marketing
Create valuable, evergreen content that links to the affiliate programs you’re part of. The key is to create high-quality content that answers questions, provides solutions, and inspires readers, dropping your affiliate links only when it makes sense. You don’t want to hard sell.
If you started your lifestyle blog with a clearly defined blend of blog topics, choosing affiliate programs and creating content around these programs will also come naturally.
Hint: Start with topics (and products) you’re passionate about. I’m sure you’ll be churning out profitable blog content in no time!
2. Digital products
Selling digital products is great because they can be easily distributed without the hassles of an inventory, tangible storage spaces, or shipping. With little to no overhead, your main investments in creating digital products are your knowledge and time. The best part? You only have to create them once (and maybe update them periodically) and keep reselling them as long as you want.
Some of the highest-earning bloggers sell digital products based on the knowledge they’ve gained and the content they’ve built up through the years. But this doesn’t exempt beginner bloggers from selling digital products on their new blogs too.
Common digital products creatives sell are:
- Ebooks — Self-publishing is becoming increasingly popular for bloggers! Ebooks can be educational resources, self-help books, DIY guides, collections of stories, fiction, non-fiction, etc.
- Printables — Printables include worksheets, organizational templates, artworks, photos, blog planners, etc.
- Digital Tools and Apps — Also becoming increasingly popular for lifestyle bloggers and influencers, this includes photo editing tools, Lightroom presets, Photoshop templates, Canva templates, etc.
- Online Courses — Online education has become a million-dollar industry in itself, and bloggers who love teaching can earn from this stream. Takes a lot longer to create online courses though, so this works really well for advanced bloggers who already have a big following and have mastered specific skills.
How to make money from selling digital products
Create digital products surrounding your blog’s niche and then set up an online shop. WordPress has a built-in e-commerce solution that you can simply install and activate on your WordPress blog. Shopify also is a good platform to sell digital products.
Use your blog to publish content that will get people interested in your digital products. Create an MVP (minimum viable product) or a free version of your digital product to give your readers a glimpse of what to expect in the paid version. Use an email lead generation tool like Convertkit to capture email addresses in exchange for the free downloads. This way you can nurture these leads and promote your digital products to them.
3. Sponsored content
Brands and PR Companies like partnering with bloggers to create sponsored content for them for two reasons: Exposure (short-term), and SEO (long-term). Blog reviews are great for online reputation and search visibility. When bloggers create content that promotes a brand or product, it doesn’t only increase the brand’s mileage, it likely links back to the brand’s landing page or website too—which is great for search engine visibility.
There is no limit to the amount you can earn from sponsored content, depending on how established or popular you are as a blogger. Some brands do ex-deals, where they offer a product or an experience in exchange for a blog post. Ex-deals are good if you’re a new blogger who wants to test the waters first and see how it’s done.
My other blog, Chasing Dreams, thrive on 60% sponsored content and 40% affiliate marketing.
What I love about this income stream is how I can work with brands that fit my personal values, while creating content that doesn’t take away my own personal brand and my story. This is not always the case for other bloggers, but for me, I made a decision to be very picky with brands which mean not saying yes to every invitation.
Check out samples of sponsored posts I’ve created
- You’ll Always Be Our Babies (for Johnson & Johnsons)
- Why We Love Moana (for Disneyland HK)
- Weekends & Board Games (for Lemon Squares)
- Pink for Every Pinay (for Avon Philippines)
How to make money from sponsored content
Have a visible and easily accessible contact form on your blog so that brands and PR companies can easily reach out to you. Media Kits are particularly helpful for lifestyle bloggers and influencers. Having a media kit doesn’t only inform brands of your desired fee, it also shows them a level of professionalism.
If you’re a beginner blogger and you want to start attracting brand sponsorships, focus on creating good quality content on your first year. Make product reviews, write about your travel experiences, even when you’re not yet being paid to do so. This serves as a sample of your work, which gives brands and PR agencies an idea of your output should they sponsor you.
Be present in social media, connect with other bloggers, and attend networking events when you can. Other bloggers proactively approach PR companies and pitch their blogs to gain projects. If this is your thing, you can do this too.
4. Display ads
Ad networks like Google Adsense and Mediavine are some of the most popular among bloggers. They display ads on their blog pages and get paid when someone clicks through the ads. These ads are contextual, meaning, they are generated through keywords and certain triggers. For example, a travel blog post with keywords related to, say, “traveling Asia” will display ads that are related to “traveling Asia”, and so on.
How to make money with display ads
While advertising is a great passive income stream for bloggers, take note that it relies heavily on website traffic. Unless your blog is already hitting 20,000 pageviews per month, display ads will not work for your blog.
Aim to grow your content repository and website traffic first. Install Google Analytics so you can track your pageviews. Many creative bloggers have found great success with Mediavine, a popular advertising network for bloggers. But you have to be hitting 25,000 pageviews per month before you get accepted to their program.
Time to get started!
Starting a lifestyle blog can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By following the steps above, you can build a successful blog that lets you live your best life!