Creating a blog has never been easier, but it could still be the toughest challenge anyone’ll ever face.
Remember that each baby step could have long-term effects on your lifestyle blog’s performance.
No decision can be taken lightly. That’s why I created this post to encapsulate everything you need to do — from beginning to end.
Fellas, here’s how to start a lifestyle blog.
The Ultimate Guide on How To Start A Lifestyle Blog
- 1. What is Lifestyle Blogging and the Different Types of Lifestyle Blogs
- 2. Setting Up Your Lifestyle Blog Domain
- 2.1 Brainstorming your lifestyle domain name
- 2.2 Registering and hosting your domain
- 2.3 Installing WordPress
- 3. Preparing WordPress for Your Content Rollout
- 3.1 Choosing the perfect theme for your lifestyle blog
- 3.2 Intalling plugins that the best lifestyle blogs use
- 3.3 Putting your website under construction
- 3.4 Building “cookie-cutter” pages
- 4. Planning Your Content Strategy
- 4.1 Doing keyword research for the very first time
- 4.2 Using the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
- 4.3 Checking SERPs for more keywords
- 4.4 Looking at competitors for content ideas
- 4.5 Tap into questions that users are asking
- 5. Lifestyle Blog Marketing Crash Course
- 6. Ready for Monetization?
- 6.1 Affiliate marketing
- 6.2 Display advertising
- 6.3 Directly selling ad spaces
- 6.4 Publishing sponsored content
- 6.5 Selling your own products
- 7. Conclusion
What is Lifestyle Blogging and the Different Types of Lifestyle Blogs
In blogging, the lifestyle niche encompasses a range of focus topics that can become the backbone of your content strategy.
There are lifestyle blogs that focus on traveling, cooking, fitness, fashion, and relationships. Of course, there are also lifestyle blogs that discuss all of the above.
At the end of the day, you — as the blogger — decide which aspects of your life are worth blogging about. Choosing something you enjoy is the secret to maintaining a healthy and productive blogging way of life.
Here’s a list of things you can achieve by starting a lifestyle blog.
- Master your crafts — As a lifestyle blogger, you have a responsibility to provide readers with the best information available. This will compel you to constantly learn new things and improve what you already know.
- Springboard other projects — Building a blog is just the first step for a lot of lifestyle bloggers. Competitive bloggers then shift their attention to bigger things, like creating their own products and writing a book.
- Generate passive income — Let’s face it, a lot of people are motivated to start a blog because they’re attracted to the monetization side. Lifestyle blogging opens up several opportunities for this — from affiliate marketing to eCommerce.
Interested in lifestyle blogging?
I know this all sounds fun and exciting. However, I need you to realize that these benefits are still weeks or months away.
Before anything else, the first order of business is to get your website working.
Setting Up Your Lifestyle Blog Domain
Building a lifestyle blog from scratch involves a couple of things.
1. Brainstorming your lifestyle domain name
Your blog’s domain name is one of the first decisions in lifestyle blogging that you can’t afford to mess up.
While it’s possible to change domain names down the line, doing so won’t lead to a pretty sight.
You’ll be left with a pile of lost backlinks to reclaim and various other tasks related to rebranding. More importantly, your lifestyle blog will lose a lot of organic traffic, which can be difficult to recover.
My suggestion would be to follow my guide on naming your lifestyle blog to the letter.
Here’s the gist of it:
Start with your lifestyle blog’s mission statement
A mission statement outlines the following:
- Who your lifestyle blog is for
- What you plan to offer your audience
- A brief description of yourself and your brand
By writing a mission statement, you can identify important keywords that you can use in your domain name.
You can expand your relevant keywords list by looking for synonyms on the web.
For example, let’s say you came up with the following terms in your initial brainstorming:
Using Google, you can come up with more relevant keywords you can use in your domain name. Just plug in any keyword and add “synonyms” to your search query.
Combine these keywords to create something more brandable
Once you have your list of relevant keywords ready, you can start combining them to discover potential blog names.
Feel free to add any word you can think of as you round up and combine your keywords.
It’s always a great idea to consider common terms and phrases in your specific lifestyle niche. Some examples are “shoefie” and “thrifting” for fashion blogs and “road trip” for travel blogs.
You can also add adjectives that you’d describe yourself with, like:
If you need a hand coming up with combinations that sound good, try using Combinatronics — a free, randomized combination generator.
2. Registering a brandable domain name
You can make your lifestyle blog’s name official by registering and hosting it with the right services.
There’s just one thing you need to ensure before you go any further.
Checking your domain’s availability
You can’t use a domain name that’s already in use by someone else — that’s just the way it is.
Domainr is another free tool you can use to check the availability of any domain name you wish to use.
It checks domains using different domain extensions like “.com,” “.net,” and “.org.” But as much as possible, you should go for domain names with the “.com” extension.
Register your domain
Before you can use your domain name for your lifestyle blog, you must first pick a domain registrar.
The steps involved in registering and hosting a domain varies from host to host. You can, however, count on the fact that it’ll only take a few minutes to do.
3. Installing WordPress
WordPress is the most popular CMS or Content Management System for self-made bloggers, and it’s easy to see why.
It is versatile, scalable, beginner-friendly, and backed by tons of learning resources accessible through the WordPress Codex.
Oh — and did I mention that anyone can use WordPress without spending a single cent?
Installing WordPress on your domain is also an absolute breeze.
Thanks to its popularity, most web hosting services include an automated WordPress installation tool.
For instance, GoDaddy uses the application auto-installer Installatron to perform WordPress installations with a few clicks.
Again, the exact process is different for each web hosting solution.
You just need to look for the WordPress installation tool or service found in your hosting account’s “cPanel.” To give you an idea of what to look for, here’s what the auto-installation icon looks like on a SiteGround hosting account:
Preparing WordPress for Your Content Rollout
After you complete the previous step, you’re technically ready to start writing and publishing blog posts.
Unfortunately, doing so won’t be ideal.
If I were you, I’d at least start by installing an awesome WordPress theme for my lifestyle blog.
1. Choosing the perfect theme for your lifestyle blog
One of the reasons why WordPress is popular is its huge selection of professional-looking themes.
This includes thousands of free themes straight from WordPress’s official theme library. You can access them by clicking ‘Themes from the ‘Appearance’ sub-menu.
At first, WordPress will show you the list of themes already installed on your site. To install a new theme, click ‘Add New’ just above the list.
From there, you can choose between all the featured, popular, and latest themes that WordPress has to offer.
Just pick a theme you like and click ‘Install’ to add them to your WordPress site. Rest assured that, while some of these themes have premium versions, the ones you install via WordPress are free.
If, however, you prefer to use a premium theme to power your lifestyle blog, you should refer to this post.
Premium themes have a number of benefits like premium customer support, deeper customizations, and third-party integrations. Purchasing a premium theme now would save you a lot of work when upgrading to a new theme later.
2. Installing plugins that the best lifestyle blogs use
Apart from themes, WordPress also offers a host of incredibly handy plugins for lifestyle bloggers.
Yes — there are also loads of free plugins from the official WordPress repository.
You can start searching for plugins by expanding the ‘Plugins’ sub-menu and clicking ‘Add New.’
On the “Add Plugins” page, you can switch between the “Popular,” “Featured,” and “Recommended” tabs to browse the available plugins. If you need plugins with specific functions, use the search tab to the right.
WordPress plugins simplify the task of adding functionality to your website. They enable you to add fun stuff like image sliders, calendars, and forums to your blog — without ever touching code.
Here are some of the recommended plugins for certain website components you might need:
- WP Rocket — Performance optimization
- Smush — Lossless image compression
- LayerSlider 6 — Image slider
- Meal Planner Pro Recipes — Visual recipe cards
- bbPress — On-site message boards
- WP Customer Reviews — Customer reviews
- Elementor — Drag-and-drop page builder
- Social Snap — Social sharing buttons
Ready to spice up your lifestyle blog with plugins?
Just a word of advice: don’t install everything you want in one go.
Always contemplate if a plugin is absolutely necessary before installing them on your WordPress blog. Also, be sure to configure and optimize each plugin before you move on to the next.
Remember, installing a bunch of plugins in one go makes it difficult to check if they slow your site down.
Consider running a test on PageSpeed Insights each time you activate a plugin in your WordPress ecosystem.
It’s a simple tool that scores your website’s performance, identifies underlying issues, and offers actionable suggestions.
If your website slows down after installing a new plugin, look for ways to optimize said plugin for performance. Otherwise, look for alternatives that won’t make a measurable impact on your website’s performance.
3. Putting your website under construction
I don’t know about you, but when I’m working on a new website, I prefer to let potential visitors know.
While there’s a slim chance that someone would stumble upon your blog, the possibility of it still makes me uncomfortable. The good news is, you can use a plugin like Under Construction to remedy the situation in minutes.
Basically, it creates an “under construction” page that reminds users not to judge your site prematurely. It’s completely free to use and only takes a couple of minutes to configure.
After installing and activating Under Construction, click ‘UnderConstruction’ from the ‘Settings’ sub-menu.
This will take you to Under Construction’s configuration page.
Under the “Main” tab, you can manage settings like “Under Construction Mode,” “Google Analytics Tracking,” and so on. Just use the toggle switches to the right of each setting to turn them on.
Don’t turn on the “Under Construction Mode” yet — there are still a few things to do.
For now, switch over to the “Design” tab to change how your under construction page looks like.
Under Construction offers a handful of pre-designed themes you can activate in an instant.
Of course, there are also well-designed, premium themes available if you have the budget for Under Construction’s “Pro” version. Buying it, however, is only practical if you see yourself working on multiple websites in the near future.
It’s also worth noting that all Under Construction themes support opt-in boxes and pop-ups. This will enable you to possibly collect a few emails while you work on your website behind the scenes.
To make this feature work, you need to install MailOptin — a free opt-in and pop-up form builder plugin.
Under Construction can assist you through the express installation of MailOptin.
Moving over to the “Content” tab, you can modify the text elements on your under construction page. You can easily change the page’s meta description, title, headline, and content.
The plugin also lets you change the content’s font and footer code.
Lastly, you can grant special access to certain users by creating a whitelist. You can specify roles, usernames, IP addresses, and a direct access password that can be used to bypass the plugin.
An alternative to Under Construction would be Coming Soon Page, Under Construction & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd.
Temporarily discouraging search engines from indexing the site
Discouraging search engines from indexing your website may sound counterintuitive.
After all, being indexed means being visible in search engine results pages or SERPs.
However, temporarily discouraging the indexing process makes perfect sense if your blog is still under construction.
You don’t want Google to crawl and judge your website in the early stages of development — plain and simple.
In addition to the lack of meaningful content, new websites also don’t have an established internal link structure. Not to mention the broken links and missing pages you’ll have while you scramble to get everything ready.
To discourage search engines from indexing your blog, all you need to do is activate one setting.
You can find it by navigating to the “Reading Settings” page from the ‘Settings’ sub-menu.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to disable the setting again once your site is ready to go public.
You don’t want to undermine your own SEO efforts later on with this oversight.
4. Building “cookie-cutter” pages
Adding a theme, plugins, and an “under construction” page will prepare the frame of your lifestyle blog.
You’re almost ready to start writing your very first blog post. However, I would suggest setting up the essential pages of your website for future visitors.
I’m talking about cookie-cutter pages like the “About Me” page, “Contact Us” page, and your homepage.
Let’s talk about your About Me page first.
Writing an About Me page for your blog
An About Me page is one of the first things you should make for your brand-new lifestyle blog.
Its purpose is to make sure visitors will know exactly what content topics and types to expect. If it does a good job, visitors may check back again soon or keep an eye out for your brand.
To create a killer About Me page, you need to focus on six things:
- Headline — The headline is the first thing visitors see when viewing your About Me page. Be sure to address your target audience’s pain points while showing the personality they should expect from your blog.
- Main Paragraph — Your About Me page’s main content body should fill in the details that your headline didn’t cover. Just like before, it should be oozing with personality and emphasize the value you offer your would-be readers.
- High-Resolution Profile Image — A high-resolution, professional profile photo not only humanizes your lifestyle blog. It can also give readers a hint of what’s to come based on the story behind the photo.
- Introduction — While the main paragraph focuses on what the audience will gain, the introduction paragraph should focus on who you are. Write this as if you’re simply introducing yourself to a group of people — be yourself and enjoy the process.
- Social Proof — Even with a compelling introduction, how can readers know that you’re worth their trust? That’s why you should include a few bits of social proof, including testimonials and sites you’ve been featured in.
- Call To Action — Finally, suppose the rest of your About Me page worked in hooking the audience. A Call To Action or CTA will then be in charge of showing them what to do next.
I know that briefly mentioning the elements of a great About Me page isn’t enough to help get it done. For the nitty-gritty of the entire process, read the Six-Step Formula to Write an About Me Page for Your Blog.
Creating your Contact page
Apart from the About Me page, the Contact page is another thing you’ll find in almost every blog in existence.
Whether or not you’d like to integrate a contact form plugin into your Contact page is entirely up to you. Personally, I prefer to keep things simple and write a few, short paragraphs.
Here’s a screenshot of my Contact page to help you see what I’m talking about:
Now, you may notice a couple of things from my Contact page content.
For one, I highlighted a notice that says I don’t publish guest posts on the site.
Keep in mind that this is a conscious decision I made to make sure readers will get relevant, blogging-related articles.
You don’t need to do the same thing on your lifestyle blog. In fact, accepting guest posts from contributors have a number of benefits:
- Share fresh ideas from other bloggers with your readers — Accepting guest posts from other bloggers in related niches can expose your readers to new perspectives and ideas. It also gives readers another reason to check your blog often.
- Build your network — Publishing guest posts will also let you build connections with other brands in your industry. You can leverage these connections by publishing your own guest posts yourself or pitching various collaborative projects.
- Leverage a contributor’s online reach — Once a contributor’s guest post is published, chances are they’ll also make an effort to promote it to their audience. More often than not, they may also link to it on their own blog — thus, benefiting your website’s SEO.
- Free content — Guest posting means you’ll have another piece of content on your blog — free of charge. This is an absolute win as long as you carefully vet guest submissions.
- Guest posting can be monetized — Whether you like it or not, there are people who publish guest posts for the sake of backlinks. If your website’s authoritative enough, some might even be willing to pay you just to accept their contributions.
Long story short, use your own discretion to determine if you’ll accept contributions from other writers.
To learn more about guest posts, read my comprehensive guest blogging guide.
Another thing you’ll notice is that I switched out the symbols in my email address. Instead of writing my full email, I entered “ankit [at] masterblogging [dot] com.”
I did this to prevent automated tools from scraping my contact information. This simple habit can save you from a ton of spam down the road.
Just be mindful that it adds extra friction to the experience of users who wish to contact you.
For me, it ensures that I only receive serious queries from people who really want to reach me. Though, I also acknowledge that including a contact form in your Contact page is better for the user experience.
If you’d like to go that route, take a look at contact form plugins like:
These plugins allow you to create contact forms without a hitch.
There’s no need to go through hoops to configure how they look and function. The contact forms you can make with these plugins are designed to adapt to any theme.
Adding them to any page is also as easy as pasting a shortcode into any post or page.
Planning your Content Strategy
After building the essential pages of your lifestyle blog, it’s time to focus on what really matters for your audience.
It’s all about the value that your audience can get from your blog’s content.
As a lifestyle blogger, you have a lot of leeway when it comes to the topics you can discuss. You can talk about cooking, travel, fashion, relationships, parenthood — basically any aspect of your life you consider important.
You should already have a clear idea of what topics to focus on when you named your blog.
When you wrote your mission statement, you already defined what your target audience will gain from you.
The next order of business is to take that idea and refine it into usable keyword ideas.
Doing keyword research for the very first time
Keyword research is inevitable in blogging.
I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to write about things you personally like. But if you want a content strategy that leads to profitable growth, you should prioritize what your audience needs.
This will enable you to come up with content ideas that will attract traffic like a magnet.
To do this, you must look at the keywords they use when doing an online search.
Using the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
There are quite a few effective ways to conduct keyword research for blogging.
My favorite, however, is to use a professional keyword research tool.
The Keyword Magic Tool from SEMrush is, by far, one of my absolute favorites.
Simply access the tool from your SEMrush dashboard and type in a broad term to get started.
Upon click ‘Search,’ Keyword Magic Tool immediately gets to work by expanding your seed keyword into more keyword ideas. A good chunk of them are long-tail keywords, which are preferable for new bloggers creating content for the first time.
What are long-tail keywords, you ask?
The short answer is, they’re keywords that contain three or more terms in them.
In addition to keyword ideas, Keyword Magic Tool also pulls in relevant metrics to help you pick target keywords. This includes each keyword’s average monthly search volume, keyword difficulty rating, and average Cost Per Click or CPC.
Since you’re new to the industry, try not to aim for keywords with a difficulty rating of over 80. Keyword opportunities with a difficulty rating of 60 or less are even better, but only if they generate decent traffic.
To quickly scrape up these keywords, try to learn how to use Keyword Magic Tool’s built-in advanced filters. I explained this feature in my SEMrush review and tutorial, so check it out when you get the time.
I just have a few quick reminders for you if you’re new to keyword research:
- Mind the searchers’ intent — Keywords should give you an idea of what search engine users are looking for. Make sure their needs are fulfilled when you write your content.
- It’s okay to target multiple keywords — As long as your keywords make sense together, it’s perfectly cool to write about them in your post. This will allow you to harvest more traffic from a pool of low-competition keywords.
- Look for questions — Question-based keywords will make it easier for you to craft content that will satisfy readers. Additionally, they will help you optimize for voice search, which is a rising trend in the SEO sphere.
- You can go levels deeper with keyword research — Found a potential keyword idea? Use it for your next round of keyword research to reveal even more related terms.
Also, take note that you can use SEMrush to spy on the keywords of your competitors.
Let’s say you’re about to compete against Barefoot Blonde by Amber Fillerup Clark.
To spy on her target keywords, start by selecting ‘Organic Research’ on SEMrush’s main search bar.
Next, enter your competitor’s URL and click ‘Search.’
SEMrush will show you an overview of your competitor’s domain. This includes pertinent information like their number of organic keywords, monthly traffic, and traffic cost.
Just scroll until you find the “Top Organic Keywords” list to get some keyword ideas real quick. If you see a lot of branded keywords, click ‘View all organic keywords’ to see more.
For more keyword research tools, read about my top ten free and paid keyword research tools here.
Checking SERPs for more keyword ideas
Search engines like Google also offer a convenient way to pick up keyword ideas that will get you some traffic.
As soon as you type a word or two, Google will show you a handful of “Autocomplete” suggestions. These are related phrases that other search engines look for.
How about that?
What I like about Google Autocomplete suggestions is that they often equate to ideas for an entire, full-length article.
“Professional fashion trends 2020,” for one, could may as well be the topic of your very first blog post.
Here’s another useful trick when extracting keyword ideas from Google.
To cut to the chase, you can use Keywords Everywhere to turn SERPs into a goldmine of keyword ideas. It’s a browser extension that you can download and install from the Chrome Web Store and Firefox Browser Add-ons.
Before you can use Keywords Everywhere, you’ll need a special API key that will be sent to you via email. Give it a few minutes and you should receive an email with a link to your key.
When active, Keywords Everywhere will automatically provide keyword suggestions on SERPs.
Let’s take a look at the SERP for “professional fashion.”
That’s not all.
If you purchase Keywords Everywhere credits, you can obtain key metrics for your keywords. This includes their monthly search volumes, CPC, and competition data.
Looking at competitors for more content ideas
Before you, countless other hopeful bloggers already performed extensive content research.
Where are they now?
The best ones most likely already figured out proven content formulas that you can borrow.
You should be able to find them just by Googling one of your target keywords. Alternatively, just enter something broad like “travel lifestyle blog” and your top competitors should pop right up.
You don’t need a special competitor research tool to obtain content ideas from competitors. All you have to do is visit their site, glance at their blogroll, and handpick posts that capture your interest.
True, it’s easy to find lifestyle blogs that cover a broad range of topics. Despite this, it should still be easy to find content ideas that match your niche.
Good thing bloggers have a habit of organizing their content into well-defined categories.
Katie Did What exemplifies this by having a drop-down menu of her blog content categories.
Isn’t looking for content inspiration from Google search results easy?
There’s just one thing I’d like to point out.
Certain keywords in the lifestyle landscape may return results from websites like Pinterest.
For example, the keyword “professional fashion trends 2020” may get the following results:
It’s not just Pinterest.
If you search for anything in the fashion, DIY, and gardening sub-niches, you could also get results from eCommerce websites.
The bottom line is, there’s no point in checking those sites for potential content ideas. As such, you’ll need to perform some Google wizardry to omit results from these sites.
It’s easy — just use the minus operator and add the domain name of the site you want Google to ignore. You can also use the “inurl” operator to specifically instruct Google to only omit posts coming from that specific domain.
Suppose you don’t want any more content suggestions from Pinterest.
Adding “-inurl:pinterest” to your search query should do the trick.
If you find a post idea you’d like to use on your blog, I’ve got one thing to say:
Make sure your content will be a noticeable upgrade of your competitor’s.
Here are some of the content aspects you can improve on when borrowing content ideas from competitors:
- Visual content — If you’re creative enough, there’s always more room for visuals in any article. Use drag-and-drop tools like Canva to turn instructions and statistics into simple graphics.
- Actionable tips — Did your competitor’s content share generic advice that lacks step-by-step instructions? Walk your readers through the process to make your content more actionable.
- Shared resources — As you share more actionable tips, you’ll also naturally mention more tools and resources in your post. Don’t skimp on outbound links if they add value to your readers’ experience.
- Content length — There’s significant evidence from multiple sources that longer content tends to rank higher in search engines. However, it’s also important to avoid adding fluff that will only make your content more boring to read.
Also, don’t forget to check the keywords of your competitor’s post.
You can accomplish this by doing another organic research on SEMrush, which we already discussed earlier.
If you find a piece of your competitor’s content that’s worth outperforming, paste its exact URL into SEMrush. It should do the rest in a snap.
To get the full scoop on competitor keyword research, check out my in-depth guide right here.
Tap into questions that users are asking
Keyword research tools, like the Keyword Magic Tool, allow you to look for question-based keywords that users search for.
These keywords let you understand the problems your target readers are having. Not only do they have incredible SEO value, they also directly translate to engaging content ideas.
But what if you can’t afford a fully-loaded keyword research tool?
You are, after all, just starting out in the lifestyle blogging business. It’s perfectly fine to pinch a few pennies while your blog isn’t generating revenue yet.
That’s where free tools and Q&A websites come into play.
Using AnswerThePublic to discover what people are asking on the internet
I’ve already discussed AnswerThePublic a couple of times in this blog.
It’s a neat tool that looks for questions that people are asking online — useful for keyword and content research.
Using it is just as straightforward as using other keyword research tools on the market. You put in any term or phrase and AnswerThePublic will turn them into a long list of relevant questions.
For the best results, AnswerThePublic recommends entering only up to two words at a time.
Let’s take a look at what the tool can whip up using the keyword “men’s fashion.”
AnswerThePublic presents the list of questions related to your keyword in two ways.
By default, the tool uses visualizations to give you a quick look at the variety of topics you can cover.
Another benefit of the visualization mode is that it’s easier to view which questions are more popular.
Just look at the green dot next to each phrase. The darker the shade is, the more popular the question is.
For a clearer view of the questions, switch to the “Data” mode to organize them into cards.
If you need more topic ideas, AnswerThePublic also provides other lists of phrases under four groups:
- Prepositions — A list of phrases with prepositions like “to,” “without,” and “for.” Example: “Men’s fashion for larger guys.”
- Comparisons — Phrases that pertain to comparisons with words like “versus” and “or.” Example: “Men’s website like Fashion Nova.”
- Alphabeticals — A complete list of phrases sorted alphabetically. Example: “Men’s fashion brands” for ‘B’ and “men’s fashion clothes” for ‘C.’
- Related — Related phrases like “Men’s fashion week London.”
Getting more out of questions with Quora
AnswerThePublic serves as a lightweight tool for content idea generation.
I’d go there whenever I’m looking for fresh topic ideas I haven’t covered yet in my blog.
When I’m feeling motivated, I’d also check Quora to look for even more questions to answer.
Just like AnswerThePublic, all it takes is a single keyword or phrase to get things going.
In some cases, Quora will immediately show you a list of questions that their users have asked.
You can view more questions by selecting the “Search” result and navigating to the “Questions” category.
Apart from fueling your content idea tank, you can also utilize Quora as a traffic generation channel.
The premise is simple: find a question, provide an insightful answer, and link back to your blog.
It’s not that difficult, but it sure isn’t always easy, either.
There are several things you need to do in order to make the most out of your Quora marketing campaign. For the complete guide, check out How to Get Traffic from Quora.
Lifestyle Blog Marketing Crash Course
“Build it and they will come,” or so they say.
In blogging, you don’t just publish content and sit idly by. It doesn’t matter if you’ve served up the best content in the world.
What you need to do is dive into the world of marketing and go get that juicy traffic yourself.
What’s that, you have zero experience in digital marketing?
Don’t worry — there are several content promotion tactics you can leverage even if you’re no marketing expert.
Here are my favorites:
Share content on social media
Everyone — blogger or not — should know that social media offers a reliable way to promote content.
Start with major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to make the most out of your efforts. Build your brand’s official page, talk about your blog, and start sharing your content.
Here are a few quick tips on crafting a social media strategy for each network:
- YouTube — Create instructional videos and build your brand on YouTube. Some examples are makeup tutorials, DIY projects, recipe videos, and hair styling tips.
- Instagram — Lifestyle bloggers use Instagram to showcase their outfit ideas, food photos, and other share-worthy images. To make your profile more recognizable and “on-brand,” pick a color scheme for filters, text overlays, and other added visuals.
- Facebook — Commitment to active social interactions is key to successfully establishing your brand on Facebook. Respond to comments, share posts, join groups, and do your best to be an active participant in the Facebook community.
- Pinterest — Be sure to create a business account to access audience insights and analytics. Organize your posts into categorized boards so Pinterest users with specific interests will know exactly what to follow.
It’s also recommended to participate in online message boards to gain extra exposure to your target audience. This will also help you connect with social media influencers you can work with to maximize your social media reach.
Build an email list
Social media marketing is a great way to humanize your brand and make it more approachable. Not to mention the amazing amount of traffic you can get.
But in terms of acquiring and nurturing leads, email marketing is still king.
Statistics show that email campaigns enjoy significantly higher click-through and conversion rates than social media campaigns.
The first step in email marketing is to collect the email addresses of your audience. If you made an under construction page with an opt-in form, then you’re already off to a good start.
You should also look at email marketing services to achieve measurable results.
Even free email marketing platforms like MailChimp can do some impressive stuff. It can help you build sign-up forms, segment your audience, and create automation workflows like “welcome” and cart abandonment emails.
Below are some strategies you ought to try to put your email marketing in high gear:
- Create an opt-in offer to spur conversions — The promise of a free newsletter with content updates and promos isn’t always enough to get desirable conversion rates. To convince more visitors to sign up, promote offers like free eBooks, cheat sheets, and limited access to a webinar.
- Keep it natural — Numerous case studies have demonstrated that, in email marketing, less is more. Unless you’re an established retail brand that’s recognized worldwide, using plain text emails is more likely to generate results.
- Time your emails wisely — CoSchedule has published a post that compiled statistics from various sources to determine the best time to send emails. After crunching the numbers, the best times are 10AM, 8PM, 2PM, and 6AM.
- Try email remarketing — Email remarketing is the practice of sending emails to potentially lost leads. This includes users who left with items in their cart and subscribers who’ve been inactive for quite a while.
For more detailed tips on each strategy, read my post called How to Promote Blog Posts.
Covering the SEO basics
A lot of new bloggers miss the point of SEO and the role it plays in a website’s early days.
First of all, SEO or Search Engine Optimization doesn’t mean you should hire an agency for thousands of dollars.
Remember, search engines like Google don’t care who has the best SEO agency or biggest budget around.
They care about content quality and the experience their search engine users get.
With that being said, developing quality content should be at the very top of your SEO checklist.
Creating quality, keyword-optimized content
By quality content, I mean content backed by proper research, optimization, and your own dedication as a blogger.
It’s also important to learn how to make your content more SEO-friendly and.
Effective keyword research is a step in the right direction.
To make sure your research efforts count, let’s talk about keyword placements.
As a rule of thumb, your keyword should appear at least once in the title and once in the content.
The keyword can be in the content’s main body or one of the subheadings. If you are to include the keyword in a post’s main body, mention it as early as possible.
For example, my target keyword for the post below is “best email marketing service for bloggers.” Notice that the keyword is part of the post’s title:
I then mentioned the keyword again as soon as I finished the post’s introduction.
Should you mention your target keyword multiple times in your post?
You probably shouldn’t.
There was once a time when marketers are on a frenzy figuring out the perfect “keyword density” for SEO. This is a percentage value used to measure how often a keyword is mentioned in a post.
There’s no need to worry about keyword density now — search engines aren’t as easily fooled as they once were.
Instead, focus on writing as naturally as possible while focusing on the keyword’s topic.
If you’ll use images, which you should, then you should also try to include keywords in their “alt text” tags.
At least one image with a keyword-optimized alt text tag will do.
WordPress has a built-in feature you can use to directly modify these. As soon as you add an image, look for the “Alt Text” field in the image settings panel.
Bear in mind that the alt text tag should provide more context to the image.
If the image doesn’t have anything to do with the keyword, don’t force it. Just create and use another image that can be directly associated with your target keyword.
Another place to put your keyword is in the post’s URL.
Similar to image alt text tags, WordPress lets you change the post’s URL or permalink from within the content editor.
If you use the Gutenberg editor, select your post’s title to reveal the “Permalink” field directly above it. Click on ‘Edit’ to make quick changes.
With the classic editor, you can do the steps above directly without having to select the post’s title.
When wrapping up your post, you should also consider adding your target keyword to the meta description.
This refers to the small bit of text that shows below your post’s title on SERPs.
There are free WordPress plugins you can use to easily write meta descriptions for your posts.
If you use Rank Math, look for the ‘Edit Snippet’ button and look for the “Description” field.
If you use Yoast, click ‘Snippet preview’ and then modify the “Meta description” field.
That should be it — the places in your content where you should put your target keywords.
Keyword placement is only one of the things to pay attention to when doing on-page SEO optimization. Click here for the list of seven on-page SEO techniques you shouldn’t miss.
Once you decide to do some link building, remember to use your keyword in your backlinks’ anchor text as well.
This leads us to the next important SEO strategy beginners need to know.
Submitting guest posts to authority websites
Have no budget for a professional link building service?
You can earn high quality backlinks yourself through guest blogging.
Put simply, guest blogging is the practice of contributing content to other websites. Ideally, the websites you submit to have favorable SEO metrics that can help uplift your blog’s backlink profile.
This is where SEO analytics tools like SEMrush come in handy.
With SEMrush’s Domain Analytics tool, you can view any domain’s key SEO metrics.
SEMrush factors in all pertinent SEO metrics of a website to generate an “Authority Score.” This is an overall rating of how beneficial their backlinks can be for SEO.
The Authority Score is one of the first things you’ll see after running a domain analysis. It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 100 — the higher, the better.
How do you look for potential websites to analyze?
Since you’re a new lifestyle blogger, it might be helpful to look for paid guest blogging opportunities.
You heard that right — there are websites out there that actually pay you to submit guest posts.
EatingWell is my favorite example of this. Not only do they pay for guest posts, their SEMrush Authority Score is also more than decent.
The pay rate for guest posts isn’t too shabby, either.
If you can guarantee high-quality write-ups and a compelling pitch, you can make up to $1 per word. The only downside is, their small team may take a month or two to get back to you.
Another reason why I mentioned EatingWell is the scope of their content.
They accept guest posts about travel, food, and relevant, current events. Those are topics that align with a great deal of lifestyle blogs.
If you’re a good storyteller, here are three more websites that pay for submissions:
If you’re only interested in link building and not the money, there’s a painless way to look for potential sites.
Go ahead — open a new tab and head to Google. In the search bar, type in any relevant keyword and add a guest blogging footprint.
Don’t know what guest blogging footprints are? I’ll give you several examples:
- “Contributor guidelines”
- “Guest post by”
- “Add blog post”
- “Guest post guidelines”
- “Submit guest post”
- “Write for us”
In other words, guest blogging footprints are strings of text that you normally find in websites that accept guest posts.
When adding a guest blogging footprint to your search query, don’t forget to enclose them in quotations.
If I’m in the lifestyle niche, here’s the query I’d start with:
Keep in mind that every website has its own set of guest posting guidelines you should follow. They typically specify word count limits, linking rules, and content topics you can talk about in your submission.
Backlinks can take readers to your own blog with a single click. Target the right pages and you can feed those readers into your lead generation funnel.
Building your internal link structure
Backlinks aren’t the only type of links you should think about for SEO.
Links coming from another authoritative site make your own blog more discoverable to search engine crawlers. These are bots that travel through links — indexing web page data like meta tags, content, and keywords.
With internal links, you can help these crawlers discover more of your site by pointing to inner pages.
In simple terms, an internal link points to another page within your own website.
Seriously, go visit that link.
That’s actually a more thorough internal linking guide that will guide you every step of the way.
There are only a few very important rules you should always remember when constructing your website’s internal link structure:
- Don’t spam internal links — The number one rule in internal linking is to not overuse them. Too much and they’ll become too distracting to users — thus, negatively impacting their experience.
- Connect related pages with internal links — Before adding an internal link, always think of how it will benefit the reader. Link to posts that elaborate technical terms, discuss step-by-step instructions, or share valuable resources on the current post’s topic.
- Set links to open a new tab — While internal links don’t technically steal traffic away from your site, they can make users lose their focus. Be sure links open in new tabs so they still allow readers to finish your articles.
- Make internal links reveal pages within three “link hops” — Another important rule in internal linking is to make sure every post can be accessed within three clicks tops. Burying a piece of content deep in your internal link structure will harm its discoverability to crawlers and readers.
- Avoid using too many exact match anchor texts — Internal link anchor texts can be keyword-optimized, but not all of them should be exact matches. Using the exact same anchor text for all links to a certain page is a red flag in SEO.
It may take a few weeks before you start seeing results from your blog promotion strategies — SEO included.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing substantial results within the next month or two.
Take note that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient, remain focused, and stay committed — your efforts will be rewarded in due time, I promise.
On the plus side, any effort to raise your blog’s organic traffic will have long-term effects. Reaching Google’s first page, for example, will reward you with monthly traffic that requires little maintenance.
Ready for Monetization?
Be honest — you were probably thinking of monetization the moment you decided to be a lifestyle blogger.
That’s a good thing.
Allow me to just list down some of the best lifestyle blog monetization strategies:
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketers earn passive income by promoting the products of another brand.
To promote affiliate products, you need a unique affiliate link that tracks traffic from your site. You will then earn a commission for every sale from customers who used your link.
Some examples are:
- Amazon Associates — This affiliate marketing program from Amazon lets you promote products from their massive catalog. Luxury beauty products reward a 10 percent commission rate while other lifestyle areas range from 4-8 percent.
- RewardStyle — RewardStyle allows affiliates to promote products in the fashion, travel, beauty, and family categories. Commission rates range between five and 20 percent — much higher than plenty of other affiliate programs.
- ShareASale — ShareASale is another trusted affiliate marketing network that’s considered to be more beginner-friendly than Amazon Associates. Commission rates depend on the brands you wish to promote.
Read 29 Best Affiliate Programs for Lifestyle Bloggers for more affiliate marketing programs to join.
2. Display Advertising
Showing ads on your lifestyle blog is another way to earn passive income.
The disadvantage of display advertising is the low revenue potential even if you generate thousands of traffic. It is, however, an easy undertaking — thanks to ad networks like AdSense.
Just be mindful of your ad placements since they can disrupt the user experience on your blog.
3. Directly Selling Ad Spaces
Other than participating in ad networks, you can also sell advertising spaces directly to brands.
Custom ad spaces give you total control over their placement and format. To attract potential advertising partners, put up an “Advertise with Us” page that outlines your terms.
Here’s an example from The Vegan Society:
Not sure how to create and manage ad spaces on your lifestyle blog?
A simple WordPress plugin like Advanced Ads will go a long way. You can take advantage of rotating ads, custom ad expiration dates, multiple ad types, and other benefits — free of charge.
4. Publishing Sponsored Content
You can also make money from your lifestyle blog by publishing sponsored posts.
In some cases, the partner brand will provide the content for you. All you have to do is paste it to the WordPress post editor and click ‘Publish.’
You can, however, make significantly more by offering to create the content yourself. Hone your creation skills, be it in video, image, or text form, to entice more advertisers to your site.
Sponsored content also doesn’t strictly mean a blog post featuring another brand. You can also promote other brands through your newsletter, social media accounts, and other content distribution channels.
The Millennial Wives Club does this — as mentioned on their “Advertise With Us” page.
5. Selling Your Own Products
Finally, lifestyle bloggers can also create their own products and services for a living.
Food bloggers, for example, can sell recipe books whereas fashion bloggers can sell their own line of clothing.
If you don’t think physical products are an accessible option for you, you can also create digital products. Some examples are online courses, eBooks, and subscription-based webinars.
Alternatively, you can start a dropshipping store and let the manufacturer or wholesaler handle shipping.
WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform that can help you build a dropshipping business from the ground up. It’s also designed specifically for WordPress, so integration should be a walk in the park.
I personally believe that being a successful lifestyle blogger is one of the greatest accomplishments anyone can ever achieve.
Imagine making a lot of money while immersing yourself in your passion. You can keep learning new things, connecting with more people, and spreading your message by writing about things you love.
I believe that you’ll get there, eventually. But before you do, there’s work to be done — mountains of it.
The post above should get you busy for the following weeks. I’m more than eager to hear about your results, so don’t forget to check back again soon.
Also, feel free to leave questions, suggestions, and criticisms in the comments below. I’ll be waiting!