How to build a lifestyle blog in 5 days

by Tara Fitness

So you want to be a blogger but you can’t quite pinpoint a niche? That’s ok. Build a lifestyle blog and adapt from there. By following this guide you’ll end up with a solid, classy, good-looking blog that’ll enable you to adapt to all the challenges and changes you face on your blogging journey. Let’s go!

Quick Links

What is a lifestyle blog?

In short, a lifestyle blog is anything you want it to be. You can write about a single topic or a few, but most of your blog posts will be inspired by your experiences and interests. Some of the most common lifestyle blog topics are:

  • Food and Recipes
  • Health and Fitness
  • Fashion and Beauty
  • Photography
  • Travel
build a lifestyle blog

I heard you can build a lifestyle blog in just 24 hours?

Some people say you can build a lifestyle blog in 24 hours. To be fair, they’re not wrong. If you’re looking for a simple website to create legitimacy for your lawn mowing business, for example, then you don’t need to spend days on a website. Your personal, face-to-face service will be at the forefront of your business.

As a lifestyle blogger, however, your blog is your lawnmower. Just like you can’t cut grass without a lawnmower, you can’t be a lifestyle blogger without a blog. More importantly, you can’t be a successful lifestyle blogger without a clean, elegant, user-friendly blog that people want to revisit.

Plus, if you build a lifestyle blog, they will not come. It’s not enough to design a simple website, post it online and send the link to your Mum, your sister and your best friend. If you truly want to monetise your site you need to optimise it for traffic – both in terms of site speed and performance, connectivity, and most importantly, user experience.

I’ve been trying to build a lifestyle blog for months; how can I do it in just 5 days?

I know this is the opposite of the last question, and this answer is for those of you who’ve been putting off building your blog for aaaaages. It’s also for those of you who are trying to make your blog perfect before you launch. If you’re the latter, I’m calling it here and now… you’re stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’, and you need to move forward.

I built Life After 27. in just three weeks. Sure, it’s not 5 days, but I had to import, review and format almost 100 blog posts from a previous site. Blog posts aside, I did all the work to build a lifestyle blog in just 5 days… and you can too.

Before we begin I want to give you one last piece of advice:

Everything can be changed later. So, make fast decisions and stick to them. That’s the only way you’ll have a fully functioning blog by the end of the week.

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You’ll need to refer to this post often as you build a lifestyle blog. You can either bookmark this page or download your FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint.

If you choose the latter – which I know you will – for the next 5 days your daily how-to guide will mysteriously appear in your inbox like a cabbage patch kid dropped at your front door – a bundle of joy and a little hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end.

PLUS if you download the FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint, you’ll receive an extra 3 how-to guides on days 6, 7 and 8. With these roast potatoes in your hot little hands, you’ll learn how to monetise, promote and manage your blog long term because that’s where the money is made.

At the end of The Lifestyle Blog Blueprint course, you’ll have a fully functioning, monetised blog … and a plan to use it.

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Day 1 – Decisions, Decisions

The first day of building your blog doesn’t involve building the actual blog at all. You see, you can’t build a lifestyle blog until you know what you’re building. Initially, today is about figuring out what you want to create. From there, we’ll critically analyse each blog topic, and identify which ones deserve a place on your blog from the get-go.

Now, remember any of the decisions you make on day one can be changed later. But there’s one huge mistake I see many blog owners make, and that’s getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

Today is about analysing your strengths and making some fast decisions off the back of that analysis. Because every day that you don’t have a blog up and running is a day you can’t make a living from blogging.

So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it.

Lesson 1: Select your blog topics

It’s easy to come up with topic ideas, but it’s not always as easy to come up with great post ideas. Complete the following exercise to analyse your blog topics, and determine which ones make the cut.

  • Step 1: Choose 3-5 topics that you’re interested in and write each topic at the top of an A4 piece of paper.
  • Step 2: For each topic, write a list of 10-20 blog headlines that you’d like to write.
  • Step 3: When you have your list, work through each headline individually and, being truly honest with yourself, consider if you have the knowledge, skill, experience and research ability to write the post. If the answer is no, cross it off the list.
  • Step 4: Assess each topic individually. The topics which have 10-15 quality headlines get a big tick. The topics where you struggled to write at least ten quality headlines, or where you wrote great headlines then crossed a lot out, get a big cross. In other words, they don’t make it onto the blog.
  • Step 5: By the end of this exercise, you should have 3-5 blog topics and 30-50 post ideas on your list.

Now please don’t stress here if your ‘golden topic’ doesn’t make it onto the list. Can you add it to the blog anyway? Yes, of course you can, it’s your blog. But in the pursuit of simplicity, if you’re creating a lifestyle blog with multiple topics, it’s easier to start with the topic that takes you the least amount of time, energy and research to complete.

Starting with a topic you know is especially important if you don’t have any posts prepared. If each blog post takes you a week to write, you’re not getting a blog up and running this month, let alone this week.

One of my mentors taught me to assess every business task through a lens of:

“What would this look like if it were easy?”

… and that’s how you build a lifestyle blog in just five days.

Lesson 2: Why x 5

Build A Lifestyle Blog

In lesson 1, we talked about your interest areas. Now while it’s important to know which topics you’re talking about, it’s probably more important to know why you want to build a lifestyle blog.

  • Are you doing this just to make money? And if so, are you prepared to do the hard work for 1-2 years before you start to see a return?
  • Are you doing this because you’re passionate about the topics and want to get your ideas out into the world?
  • Are you an aspiring writer, looking to build a lifestyle blog which allows you to monetise your writing while writing about the topics you love?

It may take you a while to get to the bottom of this, and I like to use an exercise called ‘The 5 Why’s?’ Now I can’t take credit for this at all. It’s a lesson that’s part of Precision Nutrition’s weight loss coaching program, and it helps people dig deep to find the reasons why they want to lose weight. There’s no reason we can’t use it here though.

So, grab a piece of paper or open a blank word document and answer the following questions one by one:

  • Why do you want to start a lifestyle blog?

e.g. I want to write about different things – fitness, travel, food, startup culture.

  • Why is that reason for starting a lifestyle blog important to you?

e.g. I enjoy writing, but I was sick of only writing about health and fitness. I want to continue to enjoy writing, so I want to be free to write about multiple topics.

  • Why is that important to you?

e.g. I want to stay passionate about my blog, so I continue to do the hard work it takes to monetise my blog.

  • What difference will it make?

e.g. Some days it’s really hard to keep going when I don’t see progress. From previous experience I know I need to be passionate about this blog otherwise, I won’t do the work, and I won’t be able to monetise the blog.

  • Why does this matter?

e.g. I love working from home, being my own boss and making my own decisions. I love having the freedom to work from wherever I want and to drop everything when, for example, my partner has a day off. I want to continue to do this. To make this a reality I need to be doing the work and making a decent income, and being passionate about my blog topics is integral in maintaining this passion.

This exercise matters because you need to have a deeper why. You need to know what drives you. There WILL be difficult days as an online business owner. You will likely go for months without getting paid for your hard work, and that’s tough to take. But if you know your ultimate reason to keep doing this, it helps you find the motivation to push on even when you don’t feel like you’re succeeding.

Lesson 3: Define your target audience

A lot of ‘blogging experts’ say you need to need to have an ideal client avatar – effectively a made-up person for whom you write everything on your blog. You need to know their gender, age, how many children they have, their income, their interests, where they shop, what sort of food they like…

I completely disagree!

When you’re first starting out, I think you need to have a general idea of your target audience – enough to target people with Facebook ads – and that’s it.

So for this blog, Life After 27, my target audience is women over 27 who are interested in weight loss, cooking, travel, personal growth and/or start-up culture. It’s not very specific, is it? But that’s ok because I don’t have a product I’m trying to sell or a particular person I’m trying to attract… I’ll make those decisions later. For now, I’m simply trying to attract women over 27 who are looking to take control of their lives and start living for them. In the longer term, I’ll survey my audience as it grows, and I’ll create products that will help my audience solve a problem in their lives.

I tried the ‘build it, and they will come’ approach once before… it didn’t work for me. That’s not saying it won’t work for you, but I’m not willing to repeat the mistakes I’ve made in the past.

  • For this quick exercise, write down what you know about your ideal target audience. So far, it may be age and gender. Alternatively, you may have a more specific audience in mind (e.g. people who are interested in luxury international travel.
  • Note: You are not your target audience!!! I cannot stress this enough. If you see yourself as the ‘target audience’ you will fall into the trap of only creating content for you, and it could very easily become a personal blog, instead of an online business. If you truly want to monetise your blog, you need to be the business owner who helps other people solve problems.
  • Of course, if you don’t want to monetise your blog and you simply want to write a personal blog, ignore everything I said and write about whatever you want.

Lesson 4: The fun part

Now you have an overview of your blog topics, your reasons for doing this (which is likely to form part of your website copy) and your target audience, it’s finally time to choose a blog name.

The simplest idea is to use your name. If you want to do this, skip to step 3.

But having been in the fitness industry for a few years now, I wanted to distance myself. With a surname like fitness, it’s hard to do.

If you want to use a name other than your own, like I did, work through these steps:

  • Step 1: On a piece of paper, brainstorm as many blog name ideas as you can think of.
  • Step 2: Cull the awful ideas, then the not so awful, and keep on culling until you have a top 2-3.
  • Step 3: Go to namecheckr.com and run your top three names through the name checker. This site will check domain names and social media networks to see if your chosen name is available. It’s best to get your exact blog name on the major networks – .com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Google+ – so if they aren’t all free, I’d recommend moving to the next name option. If you’re in Australia or the UK, I’d also highly recommend checking that the .com.au or .co.uk sites are available for your chosen domain (check them at [com]).
  • Step 4: If your chosen blog name is available on all sites, proceed to step 5. If not, repeat steps 1 to 3 until you find something that is available.
  • Step 5: Once you’ve chosen your blog name… and this is incredibly important… sleep on it! While it is possible to change business and domain names, it’s a costly experience, both in financial terms and for your Google Take it from someone who’s done it; try and get your blog name right the first time.
  • Tip: If you’re completely uncertain, use your name in the beginning. Your name will always connect to you, no matter what changes you make, so it’s the best option if no other names sit right with you. (My URL is tarafitness.com.au, and my social media is tarafitness27 for this exact reason).

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Overwhelmed yet? I did say you’ll need to refer to this post often as you build a lifestyle blog.

It might be a good time to download your FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint and get all this content in your inbox over the next 5 days. Plus, as a special thanks for visiting, I’ll sweeten the deal with an extra 3 how-to guides to teach you what to do with your blog once it’s finished.

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Day 2 – Start to build a lifestyle blog

Now you’ve slept on it; I hope you’re still feeling good about the name you’ve chosen for your blog. If not, head back to Lesson 4, and repeat the process until you’re happy.

I’m going to assume you’re all good though, so let’s talk tech today.

Lesson 5: Build a Lifestyle Blog – Domain Name & Social Media Handles

I’d recommend you jump back to namecheckr.com for a quick check to ensure your names are all still available (although you’d be seriously unlucky if they weren’t). Once you’ve confirmed they’re all free; it’s time to grab them with both hands.

  • Step 1: Go to GoDaddy.com (it should automatically redirect to your location, so you’re paying in the correct currency). Note: I purchase all my domain names from GoDaddy because they’re cheap, the system is easy to use and they’re a well-known provider. You can choose other providers if you prefer, but if you want a company that does the job, GoDaddy has you covered. PLUS if you use this link you’ll get 30% off your first purchase.
  • Step 2: Search for your required domain name. E.g. ‘myblog’ or ‘myblog.com.au’ or ‘myblog.co.uk’ etc. Find the domain you want, then click ‘add to cart’.
  • Step 3: Choose your alternate domains. If you’re short on cash, you can skip this step, but I often buy the .com, .com.au and .co.uk domains. So search for these and add them to your cart. Generally, I don’t buy any domains outside of these three extensions because it can become a costly exercise to purchase a lot of domains you aren’t going to use.
  • Step 4: Once you’ve selected your preferred domains, proceed to payment. If you have the option to buy privacy protection, make sure you buy it!!! Domain privacy will stop you receiving hundreds of calls from web design companies trying to sell you their services. Unfortunately, it’s not available for .com.au domains, but I have a few .com.au domains, and I haven’t received any sales calls from those.
  • Step 5: Now you have your domain name, visit your preferred social media networks and secure the social media handles too. You can wait until you’ve set up a custom email address, but I wouldn’t wait. Instead, use an email address you currently own – you can change it later. For social media networks I’d recommend at least:

>> Facebook page

>> Twitter

>> Instagram

>> Pinterest

  • For your Facebook page, ensure you set both the page name and the page URL. You should be given this option when you create your new page. You can’t set a YouTube or Google+ handle immediately, so don’t worry about those right now. Also, don’t get caught up in setting up your social media pages just yet. We’re building your blog right now; we’ll come back to build the pages later.

Lesson 6: Build a Lifestyle Blog – Custom Email

Build a Lifestyle Blog

A Google account is essential for any blogger. This account will allow you to access important tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics (more on those a later). You also get an entire suite of tools to use for free such as Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Forms, Sheets and Hangouts. Just trust me on this one; go and get yourself a Google account.

Of course, you could get a free Gmail address and with it, access to all the tools in the Google suite. However, considering you can get a custom email address using your domain name for just over $5 per month, I’d highly recommend you make this investment.

It’s pretty cool when you get an email address with a custom domain:

Like mine –> [email protected]

I’m famous!

Plus, let’s be honest, if you truly want to monetise your blog you need to be looking at this from a professional perspective. You’d be far more impressed by [email protected] than [email protected] … right?

So, commit to your business and get yourself a custom email address.

  • Step 1: Click here to sign up for a Gmail account using your domain.

Lesson 7: Build a Lifestyle Blog – Website Hosting

There are a few steps to this section as we’re setting up a ‘self-hosted’ WordPress website. Now you could go to wordpress.com, create an account, and do all of this in the one place. However, I would not recommend it. WordPress.com hosts all their websites on their servers, where you compete with these sites for bandwidth. While this is ok to begin with, if you’re planning to increase blog traffic in the future, you’ll have no option to upgrade to faster, more reliable hosting.

In choosing your website hosting, you have a lot more control over your site, including the option to move to another company if your provider isn’t meeting your expectations.

That said, if you go with SiteGround initially, the only changes you should ever have to make is upgrading your plan as your blog grows. They’re widely recognised as the best hosting company on the internet.

  • Step 1: Go to SiteGround and choose your plan. I’d recommend you choose at least the GrowBig plan as it comes with the premium feature of SuperCacher for increased site speed.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 2: Enter your domain and click ‘proceed’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 3: Review and complete.
  • Step 4: Enter your personal and payment details as requested. Note: The initial price is much lower per month than the ongoing price ($7.45 vs $24.95) and this only applies to your first purchase. If you can afford to do so, purchase at least 12 months up front. If you choose the monthly plan, you’ll pay $7.45 this month, then $24.95 each month after that. In this case, purchasing the 12-month plan means you get 12 months for the price of 4.
build a lifestyle blog

Lesson 8: Redirect Your Domain & Email

Before you can begin creating your site you need to tell your domain provider (GoDaddy) that your site will be hosted elsewhere (SiteGround). Follow these simple steps to redirect your domain.

  • Step 1: Log into SiteGround, click ‘My Account’ then click ‘cPanel’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 2: In another window open ‘Godaddy.com’ and log into your account.
  • Step 3: Beside your domain name click ‘DNS’.
  • Step 4: Scroll down to ‘Nameservers’ and click ‘change’.
  • Step 5: Select ‘custom’ then copy and paste the nameservers from your Siteground dashboard into the two Godaddy fields. Once complete, click ‘save’.
build a lifestyle blog

Note 1: It can take up to 24 hours for the domain redirection to be complete.

  • Step 6: Return to your SiteGround dashboard and click ‘cPanel’.
  • Step 7: Scroll down and select ‘MX Entry’ (you’ll find this in the Mail section).
  • Step 8: Select your domain.
  • Step 8: Click ‘Set Google MX’.
build a lifestyle blog

Now go to your email account and send yourself a test email to make sure it’s all working.

Lesson 9: Create Your Site

I’ve now had three different websites and worked with several others across multiple platforms. I started with a drag-and-drop website through Wix… it looked horrible, so horrible I’m ashamed to post a picture of it. While you can make a Wix site look much better than I did, the platform is severely lacking in functionality. The SEO options are quite limited, the lead forms are useless for automated tracking, it’s impossible to add targeted Facebook pixels (e.g. conversion pixel), and you don’t have access to back-end functionality of other platforms.

While you may be thinking ‘I just want a nice looking website’, trust me when I say you will run into problems later if you choose Wix. If you’ve built your site on a system with higher-level functionality (E.g. WordPress), you can always pay someone to update the areas you can’t complete yourself.

For my second website, I paid someone to build me a site on Weebly. While this system has more functionality than Wix, it still has far less than WordPress. So for that reason, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I know you’re just starting out, but your website is the face of your business. So, build a lifestyle blog for where you’re going to be in 6-12 months’ time, not where you are now.

Which brings me to the most important point, build a lifestyle blog (in fact, any blog or website) with WordPress. Follow these steps to build your site:

  • Step 1: Log into your SiteGround account and start a new WordPress website. SiteGround has already prepared a short how-to guide, so there’s no use in me reinventing the wheel. Follow this to get started.

Lesson 10: Build a Lifestyle Blog – WordPress Theme

Finally, we’ve made it to the fun part. It’s time to decide how your website will look!!!

Before you jump in head first, it’s important to consider exactly what you want from your site BEFORE you choose your theme. Take it from someone who made this mistake.

I originally started with the Ubud Theme by ElmaStudios. It’s a lovely theme, and I’d still love to build a site with it. However, as I started to build my site, I realised it didn’t have the functionality I needed to run my site effectively. I wanted to add an affiliate disclaimer and some advertising banners on the right-hand side of my site, and this theme didn’t have the functionality to do this. Sure, I could have paid a CSS expert to add this functionality, but I’m still not sure I would have been happy with the result.

build a lifestyle blog

Luckily, just before I launched this site, I stumbled across a blog that I loved!!! The blog owner had very kindly shared the name of the theme, and in an instant, the current version of Life After 27. was born.

I currently use the Soledad theme built by PenciDesign. It’s available from ThemeForest. What I like the most about this theme and many others by the crew at PenciDesign, is the customisation features of the site. The Soledad theme has 15 different live previews which show just how versatile this theme can be. You can check out all the theme options by PenciDesign here.

But first, make sure you know what you want from a theme, so you don’t get distracted by shiny things (like I did).

  • Step 1: Decide what you need from a theme:

>> Menu bar: Do you want this above or below your logo? (or choose a theme that allows you to have either)

>> Logo: Do you want this in the header bar or as the main image?

>> Header Image: Do you want an image header or a minimalist header?

>> Columns: Do you want 1, 2 or 3 columns?

>> Blog: How do you want your blog posts to appear on the homepage?

>> Advertising: Do you want to add ads banners to the left or right of the page?

  • Step 2: Go to Theme Forest and choose a theme. You can also go to WordPress.com to browse themes and choose a free theme if you like. When looking at any theme, be sure to check out the live preview and images. Some themes look great; then upon closer inspection, you may find there’s limited customisation options.
  • Step 3: Once you have a theme in mind, within your SiteGround account, click ‘My Accounts’ then ‘Go to Admin Panel’. You’ll be prompted to log in to WordPress; then you’ll be shown your site dashboard.
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  • Step 4: On your dashboard hover over ‘appearance’ in the menu bar and click ‘themes’.
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  • Step 5: Follow these instructions to install your theme.
  • Step 6: Once you’ve installed the theme, it’s time to customise it. In your Admin Panel hover over ‘Appearance’ and click ‘Customise’.
  • Step 7: From here, you should be able to customise most features of your site including header, menu bars, pages, blog posts, social links and footer (refer to the help documentation from your chosen theme for more information).NB: I’ll walk you through setting up pages and the content for your menu bar on Day 4.
build a lifestyle blog

Originally, I wasn’t going to add this part, but as it’s generally the first thing people want to do when they start a new blog or business, I thought it was only fair to tell you the options.

  • Option 1: Use text

>> Text is the simplest option, and it’s where I started with the logo for Life After 27. Originally, I kept it black because I wanted my site to be simple and minimalist.

  • Option 2: Make it yourself

>> You can make your logo at canva.com from a template or a blank slate. I used Canva to make the initial version of the Life After 27 logo. As you can see in the image above, it’s simple text with a dash of colour, so it was simple to create. Make sure you download it as a PNG, and if you have the paid version of Canva you can download your logo with a transparent background (recommended).

  • Option 3: Cheap and cheerful

>> If you’re happy to drop a note or two on a logo, but not much more, Fiverr is the place to go. My current logo is from Fiverr and I love it. But be careful, some sellers use cookie-cutter designs that you’re likely to see all over the Internet.

Fiverr
  • Option 4: Hire a professional

>> If you know what you want (or pretty close to it) and you’re adamant you want a bespoke logo, yo can approach a local graphic designer. Just beware, your prices will be a lot higher than any of the options listed above, so be prepared to drop 3 to 4 figures.

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Woohoo! You’ve now built something that looks like a real website. Well done! Don’t stop now though; there’s still plenty of work to do.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, enter your details below access your FREE 5 Day Lifestyle Blog Blueprint.

You want fries with that, yeah? Great because when I back up the Blueprint I’ll throw 3 extra how-to guides into the brown paper bag, so you can learn how to use your blog once you’ve built it.

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Day 3 – Install Your Plugins

Yesterday, you found a place to live (domain & hosting) and did a little decorating (theme). You built a basic website. Today, it’s time to make sure your site works as a fully functioning blog. Sure, it’s functional right now. But if you want to have a great website that runs efficiently, attracts new readers and allows you them to contact you, then you need to install some plugins.

Lesson 12: How to Install a Plugin

  • Step 1: Log in to your admin dashboard.
  • Step 2: Hover over ‘Plugins’ and select ‘Add New’.
  • Step 3: In the top right-hand corner, enter the name of the required plugin (it will search automatically).
  • Step 4: When you find the correct plugin, click ‘install now’.
  • Step 5: When the installation is complete, the button will change to ‘activate now’. Click this button again, and you’ll be redirected to the individual plugin settings.
  • Step 6: Repeat until you’ve installed all of the plugins listed below.

Backup & Security

Lesson 13: Updraft Plus Backup and Restore

It’s imperative that you have a backup of your site! I cannot stress this enough!!! Take it from someone who had two laptop hard drive failures in a 12-month period; there is nothing more devastating than losing all your hard work. It would be even worse to lose your blog content because your active blog is the key to your income… so protect it from the get-go.

What threatens our site? Well, all manner of things. There are the obvious threats like hackers and malware (malicious code that attacks your site).

You may choose to hire someone off freelancer.com to amend your website, and you’re taking a chance that they can do what they say they can. You’re giving someone you don’t know access to your website. Don’t take the risk of not having a backup.

Finally, don’t forget about the threats that originate closer to home. You’ll be in the back end of your site every day as a blogger. Most days it’ll just be to upload a new blog post, but sometimes you’ll install a new plugin, accidentally change the wrong piece of code or completely break your site, having no idea how you managed to do it.

With Updraft Plus Backup and Restore, you can save a copy of your entire site before making any changes and store it in an external location (I store mine on Google Drive). You can also set it to back up your site at regular intervals, so you always have something on file.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Updraft Plus as per steps in Lesson 12.
Updraft plus
  • Step 2: Once activated you should be redirected to the ‘installed plugins’ page. Under ‘UpdraftPlus’ click ‘settings’ then click the ‘settings’ tab.
  • Step 3: Set your backup schedule and choose your external storage location (I use Google Drive). Follow the steps to set up your chosen storage vault.
  • Step 4: Return to the ‘current status’ tab and click ‘backup now to create the first backup of your site.
  • If you need to create a backup at any time in the future (e.g. before you install new plugins), use the process in step 4.

Lesson 14: iThemes Security

This plugin goes hand in hand with the backup software above. Hopefully, having this will mean you’ll never have to use the backups generated by Updraft Plus. iThemes protects you from hacks, security breaches, malware and other malicious attacks.

      • Step 1: Install and activate iThemes Security as per steps in Lesson 12.
iThemes security
  • Step 2: Once activated you should be redirected to the ‘installed plugins’ page. Under ‘iThemes Security’ click ‘settings’.
  • Step 3: When prompted to run the security check, click ‘ok’.
  • Step 4: Enter email address (or confirm the correct address has been automatically entered).
  • Step 5: Choose whether or not you want to receive email updates.
  • Step 6: Click ‘activating network brute force protection’.
  • Step 7: Return to the ‘iThemes settings’ tab and locate the ‘password requirements’ box. Click ‘configure settings’. Uncheck the ‘strong passwords’ box and save settings. (If you don’t do this, at some point you may be forced to reset your password to something ridiculously complicated before you’re able to login to your WordPress admin console again).
  • Step 8: Locate the ‘Wordpress Tweaks’ tab and click ‘configure settings’. Scroll to ‘REST API’, change to ‘default access’ then click ‘save settings. (If you don’t change this setting you will be unable to add categories and tags to your blog posts).

Lesson 15: Cloudflare

Next time you’re browsing the internet, take a look at the left of the address bar (before the http://www etc.). You’ll probably notice there’s an image of a locked padlock and perhaps even the word ‘secure’. Recently it’s become imperative to have a secure site as, if you don’t, browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge will warn you that the site is not secure. If you want regular, consistent, loyal traffic on your site, you need to keep people safe. With a few mouse clicks, Cloudflare has you covered.

  • Step 1: Log into your SiteGround dashboard.
  • Step 2: Under ‘Site Improvement Tools’ click ‘Cloudflare.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 3: Follow the steps to create a free Cloudflare account, and set up your site security.
  • If you have any trouble with this at all (e.g. your site disappears, or you can’t access your wp-admin screen), send a support ticket to SiteGround, and they’ll likely fix the issue within SiteGround.

Site Speed

Lesson 16: SG Optimizer & SuperCacher

The SG Optimizer plugin enables your WordPress site to interact with the performance features found within the SiteGround console. This allows the use of SuperCacher, a tool that allows site visitors to store your static site content on their computer, so they don’t need to download this content every time they visit your site. It results in faster load time and thus, a better user experience.

Note: Only use this plugin if you’re using SiteGround for hosting. If you’re using any other host, you’ll need a standalone plugin. W3 Total Cache is a great option.

  • Step 1: Install and activate SG Optimizer as per steps in Lesson 12.
SG-Optimizer
  • Step 2: Once activated, on your menu bar hover over ‘SG Optimizer’ and click ‘SuperCacher Config’.
  • Step 3: Enable ‘Dynamic Cache’, ‘Autoflush Cache’ and ‘Memcache’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 4: Log in to your SiteGround dashboard and navigate to your cPanel.
  • Step 5: Under ‘Site Improvement Tools’ click ‘SuperCacher’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 6: In the ‘Level 1: Static Cache’ tab, ensure the manage domain cache is set to ‘ON’.
  • Step 7: In the ‘Level 2: Dynamic Cache’ tab, click download plugin and install via your WordPress admin console (in plugins > add new > upload). Once installed, return to SuperCacher and ensure the manage domain cache is set to ‘ON’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • step 8: In the ‘Level 3: Memcached’ tab, ensure the Memcache is set to ‘ON’.

Lesson 17: WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize allows you to systematically remove unwanted data from your site’s database, helping it run faster. Follow the steps below to set up an automatic weekly, fortnightly or monthly database clean-up.

  • Step 1: Install and activate WP-Optimize as per steps in Lesson 12.
WP-Optimize
  • Step 2: Once activated you should be redirected to the ‘installed plugins’ page. Under ‘WP-Optimize’ click ‘Settings’.
  • Step 3: Tick the checkbox beside ‘Enable scheduled clean-up and optimization (Beta feature)’, select your schedule and click ‘save settings’.

Lesson 18: Smush Image Compression

The number and size of the images on your site can greatly impact its load speed. To keep your site as fast as possible it’s important to compress your images. The best free tool I’ve found is Smush Image Compression. If you have the money, it’s worth upgrading to the premium plan. But if you don’t, you can get by on the free plan until you’re ready to upgrade.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Smush Image Compression as per steps in Lesson 12 (search for ‘image’ as I couldn’t find it when I searched for ‘smush’).
Smush
  • Step 2: Once activated you should be redirected to the ‘Smush settings’ quick start wizard. Turn on ‘automatic Smush’, ‘metadata’ and ‘image resizing’ and click ‘update settings’.
  • Step 3: Once you’ve uploaded new data to your site, make sure you return to the Smush plugin regularly to compress your images. A good habit to get into is to Smush your images every time you upload a new blog post.

Traffic

Lesson 19: Yoast SEO

It’s imperative that you install an SEO plugin on your WordPress site because it allows you to add metadata to your posts. Not sure what metadata is? That’s ok; I wasn’t either. But there’s a simple trick to see some.

Go to Google search and search for anything you can think of. Below is a Google search result when I search for my name, ‘Tara Fitness’. The page name ‘Tara Fitness’, site name ‘Medium’, URL and description are all sourced from the page’s metadata.

When you don’t add metadata to pages and posts, these descriptions aren’t available. As a result, it’s highly unlikely you’ll rank in Google search results.

Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. Follow these steps to install it on your blog.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Yoast SEO as per steps in Lesson 12.
Yoast SEO
  • Step 2: Once activated you’ll be redirected to your plugins page. Under ‘Yoast SEO’ click ‘settings’.
  • Step 3: Work through the SEO Configuration Wizard.
  • Under the ‘Environment’ tab click ‘Option A’ as your site will be live within a few days.
  • Under the ‘Google Search Console’ tab, open the Yoast SEO Guide and follow the steps to add your site to Google Search Console. Don’t forget to add all variations (https://www, http://www, https://, http://)
  • Yoast SEO will now be available on all pages and posts (I’ll show you how to use it tomorrow).

Lesson 20: Set up Insert Headers and Footers

This plugin allows you to quickly and easily access the header and footer codes of your website. Installing this code is imperative if you’re planning to use any paid advertising. In fact, even if you’re not planning on using paid advertising, I’d still recommend you install this plugin and your Facebook pixel from day one.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Install Headers and Footers as per steps in Lesson 12.
Insert headers and footers
  • Step 2: Once activated, hover over ‘settings’ in the menu bar then click ‘Insert Headers and Footers’.
  • Step 3: In another browser window, log in to Facebook Ads Manager then create and copy your pixel code. (Here’s a how-to guide –> https://www.facebook.com/business/help/952192354843755?helpref=page_content).
  • Step 4: Paste the code into this plugin.
build a lifestyle blog
  • The pixel will then track your website traffic, and you can retarget website visitors if you choose to use Facebook ads at a later date (hint: you should use Facebook ads to send traffic to your blog).
  • Tip: Google ‘Facebook Pixel Helper’ for your chosen browser (I use Google Chrome). Install Pixel Helper then follow the instructions to confirm your pixel is installed

Client Engagement

Lesson 21: Contact Form by WPForms

On day 2, we created a contact page. If you were paying attention, you probably noticed it was empty. WP Forms Lite is a lightweight plugin that allows site visitors to send you a private message. When a message is submitted, you’ll receive an email containing the message.

You can keep it simple, asking for just name and message. Alternatively, you can customise the form to add questions. As you can see below, I added a few checkboxes to allow people to select their favourite blog topics when they contact me.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Contact Form by WPForms as per steps in Lesson 12.
Contact form
  • Step 2: Once activated, you’ll be redirected to the ‘create forms’ page. You can watch the embedded video to learn how to create and customise forms, or simply click ‘create your first form’.
  • Step 3: Follow the steps in the wizard to create your desired form (I recommend you start with a contact form for your contact page).
  • STOP HERE > You probably don’t have a contact page yet. Once you’ve created your contact page on Day 4, return to these steps to embed your new form onto your contact page.
  • Step 4: Once complete, click the ‘embed code’ button and copy the code.
  • Step 5: On the menu bar, hover over ‘pages’ and click ‘all pages. Select the ‘contact’ page (or ‘add new’ if you don’t have any pages created yet).
  • Step 6: Hover over ‘write your story’ then select the ‘< >’ icon.
  • Step 7: Paste the copied code to embed the contact form on your page.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 8: Ensure you save the page before you navigate away.

Tracking and Analytics

Lesson 22: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free dashboard which allows you to track your site traffic, email subscribers and a plethora of other insights. We’re not going to use it immediately, but it’s worth installing from day one so when you’re ready to discover more about your site’s performance, the data is already collected.

  • Step 1: Install and activate Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights as per steps in Lesson 12.
Google Analytics
  • Step 2: Once activated, you’ll be redirected to your installed plugins page. Click the ‘settings’ link below the MonsterInsights plugin.
  • Step 3: Right click on the link ‘Click here to find out’ and follow the instructions to set up your Google Analytics account.
  • Step 4: Once you’ve completed your Google Analytics setup, return to your wp dashboard and click ‘Authenticate with your Google account’ and follow the steps to validate your Google Analytics account.
  • Step 5: Click ‘save changes’.

Download your FREE 5 Day Lifestyle Blog Blueprint.

Today has been a tough day. It might seem simple to install a few plugins, but now when you look at your site, there’s a bucketload of options in your menu bar. Don’t worry though; we won’t need to access most of those plugins again.

For the ones you do need, download your FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint and keep it somewhere safe so you can refer back to it later.

PLUS:

If you download the FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint, you’ll receive an extra 3 how-to guides on days 6, 7 and 8. You’ll learn how to monetise, promote and manage your blog long term because after all this hard work; you deserve to get something back from this blog.

Enter your details below to get your first how-to guide delivered to your inbox immediately.


Day 4 – Add your content

Woohoo, it’s hump day! The best thing about reaching day 4 is that we finally get to start adding some content to your blog.

A short disclaimer. This part of building my blog took an entire week; like 8-10 hours per day for 7 days! I built this blog a month after closing my online fitness business, and I’d been creating content consistently for almost two years. As I’d cancelled my previous website in early 2018, most of my content was on my Medium account. At this stage of building my blog, I imported 97 blog posts from my medium account.

So, if you don’t have any content, or you have less than ten posts floating around the internet, you can get this done in a day. If you have more content to add, it’s going to take at least a few days to work through this.

The best advice I can give is, do it right the first time. Once you launch your blog, you want to focus on creating new content and driving traffic to your blog. So, be realistic here, if you don’t import and SEO your old posts now, will you ever get around to it in the future? Probably not, so do the work.

So, what is the work?

Lesson 23: Create Pages, Categories & Menu

Now it’s time to create the pages that will make up your site.

At a bare minimum, you’ll need Home, Contact and Privacy Policy Pages. I’d also highly recommend adding an About page, and a Hire Me page if you want to offer services to clients (e.g. I offer marketing, ghostwriting and website design).

  • Step 1: Log into your WordPress Admin Console. Hover over ‘posts’ in the menu bar and click ‘categories’.
  • Step 2: Enter the name, slug and description for your first blog category then click ‘add new category’.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 3: Repeat for all topics you’ll discuss on your blog.
  • Step 4: Hover over ‘appearance’ in the menu bar and click ‘customize’.
  • Step 5: Click ‘menus’ on the navigation bar on the left of the screen. Click ‘create new menu’. Name your menu, tick the ‘primary menu’ checkbox and click next.
  • Step 6: Click the + sign beside the ‘home’ page.
  • Step 7: In the ‘add new page’ box, type your page name (Contact) then click ‘+ add’. Repeat for remaining pages (About, Hire Me).
  • Step 8: Click the ‘categories’ tab then click the + beside each of the categories you’d like to add to your menu.
  • Step 9: Reorder the menu items as desired.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 10: Click ‘publish’ then X to return to the admin console.

You now have a fully functioning menu bar, and you’re ready to add content to your pages.

Lesson 24: Add page content

Remember on day one when we talked about your why. You created your blog around everything you love about your lifestyle, so this is where you want to tell your readers what drives you to love those things (and write about them).

NB: All screenshots in this section are taken using the Gutenberg Editor as it will become the standard in the next WordPress update. If your pages and posts don’t look like these, click ‘dashboard’ and click ‘activate Gutenberg’.

  • Step 1: In your WordPress Admin Console, hover over ‘pages’ and click ‘all pages’.
  • Step 2: Choose your first page to edit.
  • Step 3: Your title should already be there, so start typing your page copy.
  • Step 4: Add a feature image to the page using the ‘featured image’ tab on the right-hand side.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 5: Complete the Yoast SEO section, aiming for at least orange lights (preferably green) –> seen Lesson 27 for how to complete your page and post SEO.
  • Step 6: Repeat for all other pages (and don’t forget to add a contact form to your contact page –> see Lesson 21).

Lesson 25: Add blogs

Finally, it’s time to add some blog posts! Here’s how:

  • Step 1: In your WordPress Admin Console, hover over ‘posts’ and click ‘add new’.
  • Step 2: Choose your first page to edit.
  • Step 3: Add your blog title then type or paste your blog text.
  • Step 4: Format your blog ensuring you use ‘Heading 2-6’ to format headings. (Don’t use ‘Heading 1’ for any heading besides the title).
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 5: Add a feature image to the page using the ‘featured image’ tab on the right-hand side.
  • Step 6: Add ‘categories’ and ‘tags’ to your post using the right-side toolbar.
  • Step 7: Complete the Yoast SEO section, aiming for at least orange lights (preferably green) –> seen Lesson 27 for how to complete your page and post SEO.
  • Step 8: Click ‘Publish’.

Lesson 26: SEO each post & page

As previously discussed, SEO optimisation is an essential part of creating a successful blog. The Yoast SEO plugin makes this simple, adding an SEO box to the bottom of each page and post when you edit them.

The name of the game is to complete as many of the suggested tasks as possible, hopefully leading to two green lights.

  • Step 1: Open the post or page you wish to edit (or create a new one).
  • Step 2: Add your content as per Lessons 25 and 26.
  • Step 3: Scroll down until you see the Yoast SEO toolbox.
build a lifestyle blog
  • Step 4: Update the SEO Title and Slug if required, then add a Meta Description and Focus Keyword.
  • Step 5: Read through the Problems and solve as many as you can.
  • Step 6: Click the Readability tab and solve as many problems on this tab too.
  • Step 7: Click ‘Publish’ to complete your blog post.
  • Step 8: Go to the published link and confirm the settings are correct (design, image layout, headings, bullet points ).

Lesson 27: Generate sitemap and submit to Google

Once you’ve added content to your pages and uploaded 3-5 blog posts, you’re ready to launch your site. But before you rush off in haste to shout from the rooftops, there’s one person who needs to be the first to know about your new blog… Mr Google.

Luckily, the Yoast SEO plugin automatically creates a sitemap for your blog, so this step is relatively simple.

  • Step 1: Create your unique sitemap URL > https://yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml
  • Step 2: Visit your sitemap in your web browser to confirm your sitemap is working. It should look like this:
XML Sitemap
  • Step 3: Sign into Google Search Console.
  • Step 4: Select your website.
  • Step 5: In the menu bar select ‘crawl’ then ‘sitemaps’.
  • Step 5: Click ‘add sitemap’, enter ‘sitemap_index.xml’ and click ‘submit’.

Do you need help?

When I first began working online, copywriting was something I struggled with a lot. The fear of writing the wrong words or sounding stupid stopped me in my tracks. The longer I waited, the more I felt the vines growing over my feet and holding me down. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes to start.

So, if you’ve truly tried to write your page content today and you simply can’t find the words… take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for trying. Action is always better than inaction, even if we don’t succeed.

Then, click here to flick me a message. I can help with copywriting and editing your page content, so you have something on your site that reflects who you are, and makes you feel proud of what you’re showing the world.


Day 5 – TEST EVERYTHING

Five days in and you’ve built a website from the ground up. Well done!!!

Your website is now live on the internet, packed with content, and a scattering of affiliate links. Fingers crossed you’ll be hearing the wonderful *ding* of your inbox filling with ‘new affiliate payment’ emails soon… but before you get carried away on that fantasy boat…

You need to TEST EVERYTHING!

Lesson 28: Test your site

  • Step 1: It’s important that you test your site because you know what it’s supposed to look like and how things are supposed to work. So, set aside an hour or two today, and play with your website. Check every page and post. Check every link. Send yourself a contact form. And be damn sure to check your subscriber forms work (subscribe yourself to be sure).
  • Step 2: While it’s all well and good to test the site yourself, the fact is, you built it. So, it’s very easy to overlook the minor details. So, pick 5 of your closest friends and family and send them a message asking them to check out your new site. Ask them for feedback and to let you know if they find any issues with the site.
  • Step 3: Post on your relevant social media profiles announcing your new blog and asking people to test it for you. I posted on my personal Facebook profile and my Facebook Business page.
Facebook Post
  • You don’t have to stop there. The testing phase is as small or as large as you make it.
  • Step 4 [optional]: If you have 100 friends who you think would love your blog, message them and ask them to check it out for you. You can even ask them to share the link.
  • Step 5 [optional]: Email everyone you know asking them to provide feedback on your site. Try to make the email personal though. Nobody likes that spammy friend who only talks to you when they want something.
  • Step 6 [optional]: If you’re in any Facebook groups where you’re allowed to ask for feedback, post your link in the group. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you get some eyes on your blog before you spend money sending traffic to your site.
  • Step 7: Don’t forget to fix any problems your friends identify.

You just built your own blog!!!

Build a Lifestyle Blog

Woo Hoo!!! You made it to the end of Day 5 with a fully-fledged, content-filled, tried and tested lifestyle blog!

Now, I want you to do your happy dance. Seriously… stop right now and do a happy dance. If you’re super keen, film it, throw it on Instagram and tag me in it so I can celebrate with you, and follow your progress (@tarafitness27).

I’m telling you to do this because as committed small business owners, we tend to put our heads down and keep working. Often, we only stop when the entrepreneurial world is kicking the shit out of us… and that’s not a fun place to be.

So right now, just five days in, I want you to start building a habit of celebrating your milestones and achievements.

You just built your blog…

Let that soak in for a minute…

You just built your own blog…

You’re awesome!!!

What should we do with it?

Well, this next part is easy. It’s time to tell the world about your new blog.

Download your FREE 5 Day Lifestyle Blog Blueprint.

I’ve been banging on about it all through this post, but that’s because it’s important. Now you have a completed lifestyle blog; it’s time to decide what to do with it. Unfortunately, it won’t just look after itself.

So, download the FREE Lifestyle Blog Blueprint to receive three bonus how-to guides that will teach you how to monetise, promote and manage your blog long term.

Enter your details below to get your first how-to guide delivered to your inbox immediately.

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