What is a Lifestyle Blog + How to Start One and Make Money
Lifestyle blogs were all the rage when blogging first came about: people would talk about what they had for dinner, where they went for a vacation, and everyone loved it!
But in the 2020s, what is a lifestyle blog and how can you start one?
What Is A Lifestyle Blog?
A lifestyle blog is a blog where you talk about things that you are interested in are in your lifestly, but in a way that appeals to a much broader audience.
In many ways, even this blog is a lifestyle blog: I eat, drink, sleep, and breathe SEO and blogging, and I use this blog to share SEO and blogging content with an audience that is interested in it.
Lifestyle blogs vs personal blogs
What started out as a “lifestyle blog” in the early days of blogging was just someone talking about themselves and their lives.
They’d describe how they felt that day, what they did, what they plan on doing, and their hopes and aspirations.
These blogs were wildly successful back in the day, with platforms like Blogger introducing a social aspect. Bloggers would follow each other, comment on each other’s blogs, and even have large blogrolls in their sidebars where they’d link to other individuals they were following and networking with.
Nowadays, it’s better to think of the “lifestyle” blogs of the early 2000s as personal blogs. These are more like public diaries or journals where you can share your life with everyone else.
Indeed, many niches still have “personal” blogs: a fisherman may use a blog to document his or her catches, for example.
However, the process of sharing and documenting one’s life has shifted from blogs to YouTube and social media.
The modern lifestyle blog focuses on the audience
A lifestyle blog in the 2020s and beyond does focus on the blogger’s life, but the content is more focused towards the reader than the blogger themselves.
Travel blogs are a great example of lifestyle blogs.
Most travel blogs document the blogger’s travels and adventures, but in a way that puts the focus on the reader.
So if you were a travel blogger and you just visited Turkey, your blog post would not be about “I Went To Turkey!”
Instead, you’d probably write about “10 things you HAVE to do in Turkey”.
Of the two topics, which one do you think is searched for?
The second one, right?
The advantage you’d have as a lifestyle blogger is that you’d have actually gone to Turkey, done those 10 things, and have a really unique perspective to offer.
Another example of a lifestyle blog is a mom blog.
Mom blogs used to be the quintessential lifestyle blog back in the day.
But while the biggest mom blogs nowadays do talk about their families and children, they do it in a reader-focused way.
To continue the example above, instead of writing about “My baby finally managed to sleep through the night”, a reader-focused blog would write “How To Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night”.
This is the beauty of lifestyle blogging. You can take any aspect of your lifestyle, flip it to the reader’s perspective, and you have the recipe for a successful blog.
A Lifestyle Blogger Can Be Anonymous
While it’s difficult to build a personal brand and lifestyle blog without the “personal” aspect, it’s possible. There are many bloggers out there who do put themselves out there, but in a very limited way.
Just because you start a lifestyle blog does not mean you have to expose your entire life to the internet.
Putting yourself out there(to whatever extent you’re comfortable with) will help your readers get more comfortable with you.
Plus, when it comes to promoting products and giving advice, people are generally much more comfortable accepting the advice and recommendations from a face they can connect with rather than a faceless company.
Your lifestyle blog can still be about yourself
At this point, you may think a lifestyle blog can’t be about “you”.
That’s not necessarily true.
A lifestyle blog can certainly be about you, but the more you focus on putting the reader first, the more success you’ll be able to see.
Many lifestyle bloggers leave the business to their blogs, and put their personal stories on YouTube or Instagram.
That’s just because of the way that content is now found.
Websites are usually found through search, and the only way to be found through search is to write about what people are looking for.
On social media, content is often consumed by following accounts or channels, so you have a lot of leeway as far as what content you can post.
In the 2020s, a combination of a blog/YouTube channel/Instagram account seems to be a winning formula, especially since each channel tends to bolster the other one.
How to Make Money with a Lifestyle Blog?
The primary way that you can make money with a lifestyle blog is through affiliate marketing.
Even though a lifestyle blog focuses on what you like and enjoy, there are certainly tons of products and services that you can promote.
Think of whatever defines your lifestyle: your interests, hobbies, and your areas of expertise. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of products and services tied into it.
Lifestyle bloggers write about the products and services that their potential readers are interested in.
If you’re into golfing, you can promote golf equipment.
If you’re a maker, you can promote 3D printers.
If you love coffee, you can promote coffee makers and coffee beans.
The possibilities are endless, and it just requires a little bit of creative thinking on your part to understand what kind of products appeal to your readers(people who are interested in the same lifestyle you lead).
Affiliate marketing has massive earning potential, especially if you can promote high-ticket products and services.
If you’re into fitness, for example, and you promote high-end exercise bikes, those can go for more than $1,000 per bike.
So if you get 10% for every sale you refer, that’s $100 for every sale. Not too bad!
Another great way to make money with a lifestyle blog is through display advertising. Though not as lucrative or powerful as affiliate marketing, display advertising is a great way to monetize every page on your blog.
While affiliate commissions are mostly made through product-focused pages, you’ll also have lots of informational content that is not directly related to a specific product or service.
You can use display ads to monetize those pages, too.
Display ads will vary depending on the niche(s) of your website and the types of websites that your visitors like to visit.
It depends on the niche, but it’s not unheard of to make $20-40 for every 1000 pageviews.
Although I am personally not a big fan of sponsored posts, many lifestyle bloggers make a huge amount of revenue through sponsored posts.
Sponsored posts are when a company pays a blogger to write about their product or service. The blogger already has a huge audience and readership, so the company is paying for exposure to that audience.
Sponsored posts can either work by monetary compensation for a blog post or receiving a sample product/service for free in exchange for a post.
Selling info products
You can also make money as a lifestyle blogger by selling info products like ebooks and courses. If you put your brain to it, nearly every kind of lifestyle involves some kind of skill that can be taught.
So if you’ve been doing something for a while and are really good at it, why not turn that into an info product that you can promote and monetize?
How to start a lifestyle blog
Step 1: Decide on an aspect of your lifestyle to focus on
The first step towards starting a successful lifestyle blog is to figure out what you’re going to talk about. It’s better to start broad and then narrow down depending on what works, since there’s no way to know what you’ll rank for before you actually write the content.
If you’re into golf, for example, you’d start a lifestyle blog about golf, but you don’t want to be “the golf club guy” or “the golf ball guy” (or gal).
Instead, start broad with just “golf” and then see what works, then double down on that.
Sit and make a list of things you’re interested in/things you’re good at/things you have experience in, and think about what products and services are involved.
Then you can do some competitor analysis to see how difficult your target industry is to rank for, and then decide whether it’s worth getting into this industry or not.
On the flip side, there’s another approach of topical authority where you can choose a smaller niche and then exhaust every topic under the sun about that topic.
So if you were into golf, you’d write everything about golf clubs and swinging golf clubs. However, this approach requires a lot of planning from the start and a huge investment into content.
Topical authority is definitely a status you want to achieve, but as an independent blogger doing most of the writing yourself, it’ll be a gradual process rather than something you can achieve in a short time.
Matt Diggity has an excellent video about topical authority:
Step 2: Find keywords to write about
Keywords are words and phrases that people use to search for things in Google and other search engines.
After deciding what niche/facet of your lifestlye you wish to write about, you need to find actual topics to write about.
Keyword research is a very deep topic and would need tens of blog posts to fully cover! There are also plenty of free and paid tools that you can use to make your work easier.
If you want to do it manually, you can just do so using Google itself using the Alphabet Soup method.
Start by making a list of all the products and services that you can think of related to your blog’s topic.
Then start typing those into Google and seeing what kind of search suggestions come up.
You can also add modifiers like “best”, “review”, “comparison”, and the like to find product-focused keywords.
Start with just “best golf” and see what comes up, and make a note of any topics that seem good.
“Best golf a” and see the suggestions, making a note of anything that’s interesting.
Continue all the way to Z!
You’ll notice that some topics have a LOT of suggestions, whereas others don’t have quite as many.
You can take the broader keywords and repeat the alphabet soup method to find even more topics to write about.
Aim to have at least 50 to 100 keywords to write about, and you can always continue growing your list as your blog grows.
Step 3: Register a domain name and sign up for hosting
Once you have the basics of your site planned out, it’s time to register a domain and get your website hosted.
To keep things simple, I suggest registering your domain and hosting it through the same company. This makes life easier, especially if this is your first foray into the world of blogging and websites.
Two great hosts to start with(that are also fairly inexpensive) are BlueHost and Hostinger. Signing up with both of them is quite straightforward and you can buy a domain and get it hosted in a very short time.
BlueHost and Hostinger are great to get your site off of the ground, and once you grow a little you can always upgrade to a better host.
Choosing a domain can be tricky since it’s your site’s identity. However, don’t sweat it too much because the quality of your content will go much further than the domain name you choose.
A good domain name for a lifestyle blog can simply be your name.
So JohnDoe.com, or JohnDoeTravels.com, or JohnDoeGolfs.com are great picks.
You can also choose a generic name that broadly encompasses the general niche:
- And so on
Don’t use these names: they’re just suggestions to get your brain going on a tangent! It’s likely that these domains are already registered!
Pro tip: Many hosting providers offer deep discounts on the first year or two of your hosting and/or domain name.
Step 5: Install WordPress and set up your site
After you have your site hosted, it’s time to install WordPress.
WordPress is a content management system(CMS) that lets you design your website and add content with ease.
It’s fairly straightforward to use.
The basics of WordPress entail:
- Adding a theme to give your site personality and design
- Adding Pages, which are static and don’t change
- Adding Posts, which appear in order of time on your blog’s page
- Installing Plugins for additional functionality
Themes like Kadence and Astra are really fast and easy-to-use.
Kadence also has a library of templates that you can use to virtually eliminate the design process. You can have a professional-looking website up within minutes.
This site also uses Kadence. I added a template and slightly modified it to my preference!
You’ll also need a few basic plugins:
- Yoast SEO or Rank Math SEO to help your site be easily found by search engines
- WordFence for security to prevent hacks
- WP Rocket, W3 Cache, or AutoOptimize to speed up your site
- ShortPixel to compress your images and increase your site speed
- Insert Headers and Footers to add Google Analytics and Google Search Console code
Step 6: Write epic content
Now that you have a neat-looking WordPress site live, it’s time to start writing.
You should already have a list of topics that you want to write about.
Now it’s time to write EPIC content about each topic. Mediocre content just won’t cut it.
For every topic you write about, strive to make your post the best information out there.
The best way to research how to write your content is to simply Google the keyword and see what kind of sites are currently ranking.
You then frame your content according to the top ranking pages and try to do a better job.
(That’s pretty much the gist of SEO).
Mastering search intent
Search intent is key to creating good content.
Search intent is what Google thinks a person searching for a particular query is looking for.
For example, someone searching for “types of golf clubs” is probably looking for information about golf clubs and you’ll see that the search results are lists of the different types of golf clubs and brief explanations about each type.
On the other hand, someone searching for “best golf club sets” is probably looking to buy a golf club set and is looking for recommendations, so the search results are lists of golf club sets with brief reviews and links to buy them.
Someone searching for “how to swing a golf club” is probably looking for a guide on swinging a golf club, and you’ll see that the results are videos or step-by-step guides on how to swing a golf club.
The importance of posting content regularly can’t be understated. This doesn’t mean you need to post something every day, but it’s a good idea to stick to some kind of schedule.
At the very least, aim to write one blog post every week.
While the importance of “fresh” content is debatable, freshness signals are no doubt important to Google. After all, Google wants to see that a site is being constantly updated and worked on rather than something that was written and forgotten about!
One of the easiest traps to fall into when producing content is rehashing the same content as everyone else.
The only way to provide real value in your blog posts is to offer a unique perspective that is not found anywhere else.
So while it’s important to cover all the topics that other people are covering, you need to have your own viewpoint within those topics.
Use images and videos
It’s the internet, and nobody likes walls of text.
Pepper your blog posts with images and videos to improve your user experience.
If you’re reviewing a product, try to source images of the product from different angles and it’s various uses.
If you’re explaining how to do something, try to source images of each step so your readers can follow along better.
You can also utilize screenshots and YouTube videos.
If you want, you can embed someone else’s video in your blog post as well. You’re giving them credit, and any ad revenue from the embedded video goes to the original creator, so it’s a win-win.
Step 7: Promote your blog
The last step to building out your lifestyle blog is to promote it!
The core of promotion is to build backlinks to your blog’s homepage and content to help it rank in search engines.
To build backlinks, connect with other businesses and bloggers and ask them to link to you. Link building is a whole topic in itself and entire blogs are devoted to it.
Here are some great resources to get started with link building:
You can also promote your blog on social media and YouTube and drive visitors from there.
Income School is a great example of a blog that has a strong YouTube channel that funnels traffic from the YouTube channel to the website.
Examples of Successful Lifestyle Blogs
Nomadic Matt is an incredibly popular travel blog where you can find information about popular travel destinations, travel hacking, and tips and tricks.
The site is monetized in multiple ways: books, a store, and various affiliate programs.
Nerd Fitness is another lifestyle blog that transitioned into a full-time business. There are awesome guides on diet, exercise, and health and fitness, as well as a private community.
Nerd Fitness is primarily monetized through their one-on-one coaching and private community, and affiliate marketing.
Have Camera Will Travel
Have Camera Will Travel is a photography and travel lifestyle blog that shares articles about all things related to photography: gear, how-tos, memory cards, and more.
There’s also some information about travel and a Cherry Blossom Watch.
The site is primarily monetized through affiliate marketing.
Cupcakes & Cashmere
Cupcakes and Cashmere is more of a “hybrid” lifestyle blog that combines personal updates with informational and commercial content.
There’s a lot of guides on food, beauty, and lifestyle, as well as some very personal stories about family.
The blog is primarily monetized through partnerships, their own products, and affiliate marketing.
I wanted to feature Oscar Liang here because it’s an “unconventional” lifestyle blog. Oscar is one of the best-known names in FPV drones, and his website is a great example of how you can start a lifestyle blog in highly technical or hobby-focused niches.
The site is primarily monetized through affiliate sales and advertisements.
Lifestyle blogs are the way of the future to build an online business. If you’re willing to put in the work and be consistent, you can build a lifestyle blog for yourself and grow it into something that can replace your income and bring you financial freedom.