How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - become inspired to start a self-hosted Wordpress blog for bloggers | blogging, new

How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog

January 28, 2017
How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - become inspired to start a self-hosted WordPress blog for new bloggers!
How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - become inspired to start a self-hosted WordPress blog for new bloggers!How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - become inspired to start a self-hosted WordPress blog for new bloggers!

Do you want to start a lifestyle or travel blog, and you don’t even know where to start? I felt the same way when I started this project. But whether you are a new blogger with no idea where to start, or an old-school blogger trying to figure out how to grow, this guide will help you start your blog.

As a beginner, entering the blogosphere can be overwhelming. But, anyone can start a blog – even you! And once you do, you can write about anything. Suddenly, you have your very own space to write about whatever you want. And, before you know it, others will stumble upon your blog. Even better, they will love what you have to say.

I started my blog at the end of January, 2017, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I even made almost $75 in my first month of blogging.

A decision you will have to make when you start blogging is whether or not to pay for a host. It seems obvious. Why would anyone pay for hosting? But, having a self-hosted blog is essential to those who would like to monetize their blog.

Start a blog so you can share everything you're passionate about, and make money from it. Click To Tweet

The world of blogging is nothing short of incredible. And the benefits to starting your own self-hosted blog are endless:

  • Create a space where you can share everything you’re passionate about;
  • Start writing amazing, influential content;
  • Connect with the supportive blogging community;
  • Empower you and give yourself confidence;
  • Inspire others through your content;
  • Grow your skillset, including social media management;
  • Open up a world of opportunities to collaborate with other businesses.

The benefits are tenfold, and starting a blog is easier than you think. This guide will walk you through starting your very own self-hosted blog. If you ever run into any questions at any point during the blogging process, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
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Learn the Difference Between Free Hosting & Self-Hosted

When you have the choice between a free hosted or self-hosted blog, it sounds obvious, right? Everyone likes the word free. But, free hosting isn’t all that it’s cut out to be.

  • If you use free hosting, you do not own your content!
  • You have to adhere to your host’s Terms and Conditions.
  • There may be restrictions when you want to monetize your blog.
  • With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you appear more professional, which makes businesses more keen to work with you.

If you’re confused, yes, WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog are different!

  • WordPress.com starts as a free hosting service.
  • WordPress.org refers to a very similar software that can be installed to your very own self-hosted WordPress website.
  • With WordPress.org software, you have more control over the customization of your blog.
  • You also own your content!

Get a self-hosted WordPress blog!

If you are serious about blogging, you should make the small investment to start your own self-hosted blog. Personally, I love the WordPress software and once you learn about its functions it becomes very easy to navigate.

I am going to guide you through the process of purchasing your self-hosted blog from Siteground, and setting up WordPress on your blog (believe me, it’s easier than you think!).

Set up Your Hosting & Domain

To start your self-hosted blog, you will first need two things: a domain and hosting for your domain.

Siteground is an amazing hosting service highly recommend by most bloggers on the Internet for their great uptime and customer service.

  • 24/7 customer service
  • They install WordPress for you for free
  • Free website setup and transfer
  • Industry leading in terms of uptime

You can purchase your domain from Namecheap for what’s likely to be a lower cost. One domain I looked into was $29.95 on Siteground (they give you a .com for $14.95), but it was only $6.88 to purchase on Namecheap.

Siteground offers three options for hosting plans. When you use this link to sign up, you can get up 60% off your hosting plan! This discount only applies to the number of months you pay for upfront, so I recommend paying for as many months in advance as possible. I paid for two years in advance to take advantage of their deal.

Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

(I purchased two years upfront and it only took me less than two months to earn my money back for my domain and hosting, but it’s different for everyone).

When you’re just starting out, you can choose Siteground’s $3.95 per month and then upgrade as your site grows.

After you select a plan and purchase your domain, all you have to do is take a few minutes to fill out your information.

Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

Before you complete your purchase, you can select extra services. If you don’t want the personal information you entered to become publicly available, definitely spend the extra $12/year to purchase domain privacy. If you think about it, it’s only an additional $1 per month to keep your private information safe. It’s up to you to opt in and get the SG Site Scanner, which checks your website daily and lets you know if your website has been hacked.

Seriously, you can start a website at only $3.95 per month! That’s cheaper than a Starbucks specialty drink!

Set up WordPress

Immediately after you set up your domain and hosting, you can set up WordPress!

You can either take advantage of Siteground‘s one-click WordPress installation, or ask Siteground to install WordPress for you! 

If you want to install WordPress on your own, open the “My Accounts” area. Then, click the red Go to cPanel button.

Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

From there, look for the “Autoinstallers” section. Click the WordPress icon. On that page, you can easily install WordPress at the click of the button!

And, if you ever run into any trouble, Siteground has great, quick 24/7 customer service who are more than prepared to answer any questions you may have (trust me, I’ve taken advantage of this, too!).
Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

Once you install WordPress, you can access your WordPress Dashboard by typing in http://YOURDOMAIN.COM/wp-admin.

Learn to Navigate WordPress

If you’re new to WordPress you might be overwhelmed by its Dashboard. Don’t worry, once you learn all the terms, you’ll realize how simple it can be. Let me walk you through the WordPress dashboard options on the sidebar.

Start Your Lifestyle & Travel Blog with this Guide at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog

Posts

The “Posts” option helps you organize your posts, including your post categories and tags. You can view “All Posts” including drafts and edit your posts from here.

When you add a new post, you can also manage its categories and tags.

Please, please make sure “Uncategorized” is unchecked. Give each post the love and recognition it deserves. Assign it to a category.

Categories are your blog’s overarching concepts. Like, for example, my categories are lifestyle, travel and blogging.

As for tags, you can think of them like subcategories or hashtags. If you link your blog to Bloglovin, your tags will show up whenever you post a new post!

Media

The “Media” section showcases files you upload, including images. You can see what you’ve already opened by clicking Library. To add a new photo, click “Add New”. You can also add to your media library when you are editing a post.

You can title your images, edit their sizes, and update the Alt Text. Make sure you update the Alt Text on every image. This will contribute to your website’s search engine optimization and will help your articles rank higher on search engines.

Pages

Different than posts, Pages do not show up on your blog’s feed. You can get creative with the type of pages you make, but essential pages to write are an About Me page and a Contact page.

Comments

This section is where you can manage the comments on all your posts. You can approve comments, mark them as spam, and even reply to them!

Appearance

The appearance section of your Dashboard is where you can select or upload your theme, and customize the look of your blog.

Believe me, I really like the idea of being frugal. So, I tried finding a free theme. But, the customization that paid themes allow is tenfold. You are more likely to find the theme you want if you spend $20-50 on a theme. Themeforest has a huge marketplace for themes and it’s quite easy to navigate their website. While you’re searching for themes, all you have to do is hover over an image and it shows you that theme preview.

Plugins

Plugins are an additional way you can customize your blog. Think of them like apps that help you make your blog do what you want! Plugins are what make WordPress.org software so much better than free hosted blogs.

Now What?

How to Start a Lifestyle & Travel Blog | Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog - become inspired to start a self-hosted WordPress blog for new bloggers!Now your blog is all set up and ready for you to start building it! But, where do you go from here?

For future guidance, you can check out my Blogging Resources Library to find the tools you need to nurture and grow your new business.

There is so much to learn from the blogosphere, and I’m so excited for you. I’ve put in a lot of work for my blog, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. If you ever have any questions as you begin to start your blog, please feel free to contact me, or comment below!

Well, you can learn about making your blog your pay-thing, too! Check out this guide on How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Monetize Your Blog, and 12 Affiliate Programs You Should be Using! For regular blogging advice and article, don’t hesitate to subscribe to my email newsletter (don’t worry, I won’t spam you!).

If this guide helped you out, please pin or share!

Do you have any questions about creating a blog? What surprises you about blogging? 

Oh yeah! And I want to make sure that your blog launch is a SUCCESS so don’t forget to sign up for my free ten-day Passionate Profit email course. I’ll send bombacious blogging tips so you can start building a freaking beautiful, profitable blog immediately!

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20 Comments

  • Heather Bailey

    Awesome! As always Krista!

    January 28, 2017 at 7:50 am Reply
    • Krista

      Thanks Heather! YOU are awesome! xx

      January 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm Reply
  • Noveen

    Hi!! I stumbled across your article on pinterest,very in depth and thorough.I’m thinking of starting my own blog as a creative outlet and I was having some of the inhibitions that you felt initially,you have some very good ideas on how to tackle them keep up the good work!.

    March 3, 2017 at 10:15 am Reply
    • Krista

      Noveen, thank you so much for the very kind words! If you ever have any questions once you start blogging, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      March 3, 2017 at 10:18 am Reply
  • Hayley

    Who knew starting a blog was so easy! Great and informative post! : )

    March 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Thank you so much Hayley! Let me know if you ever have any questions. xoxo

      March 12, 2017 at 4:19 am Reply
  • Bianca

    Thank you for sharing this!!! I have recently started my own self host blog and I am trying to learn all of it on my own. I learned so much from reading your post.

    Sincerely,
    Bianca

    April 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm Reply
  • Alura

    This is really helpful for newbies! I started just a few months ago and I remember how difficult that initial stage was. I’m still really struggling! This blog looks fantastic though! Good job!

    April 8, 2017 at 3:43 am Reply
  • Kali

    Hello! Thank you for the post! I have my own blog using blogger but can I purchase the host and will it still connect with my blog with blogger? Or will it give me a whole new blog using WordPress?

    April 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Oh man my head is spinning. How do I get people to visit my site? Is WordPress business plan necessary ?

    June 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Hey there Sarah, and thanks for your comment! I think you are referring to the WordPress.com Business Plan. Actually, I recommend going self-hosted WordPress.org, which is what this guide is intended to walk you through. If you need any help making the switch, please either A) let me know, or B) chat with a Siteground representative during your transition to self-hosted. Cheers, and don’t hesitate to reach out in the future!

      June 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm Reply
  • Lesli

    Your blog has been so helpful! I would’ve been completely lost in this whole process. I am still a little lost, but it gets easier everyday. Thank you so much for sharing these tips!

    June 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm Reply
  • Angi

    Krista,
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I have been wanting to start my own blog, but it felt to overwhelming! You have broken many of the steps down into “do-able” portions, and I am excited to try some of your suggestions!

    June 23, 2017 at 8:04 am Reply
  • Rose

    Krista,

    Thank you for this wonderful information! Love your blog! So, I just installed word pressed through SiteGround’s Softaculous. However, when I get to my url/wp-admin/ page, it says that my browser can’t open the page because it can’t connect to the server. How long should I wait after installing WordPress?

    July 5, 2017 at 7:19 am Reply
    • Krista

      Hey Rose!!

      I’m not sure about that one. It took me a few days for mine, because I had to connect my domain to my hosting account. Not sure if this is the same for you. I would contact Siteground’s customer service to make sure everything went right, and to get a time estimate on when you can access your WordPress panel!

      July 6, 2017 at 10:29 am Reply
      • Rose Navalta

        Gotcha, will do! Thanks!
        Also one more question, are you from Hawaii? I noticed the “Aloha”. I’m from Hawaii too! ^_^!

        July 6, 2017 at 10:48 am Reply
  • Katrina Elbo

    Curious what plugins you use for email lists and newsletters?

    July 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm Reply
    • Krista

      I use Mailerlite. It’s free for your first 1,000 subscribers and sooo easy to use!

      July 15, 2017 at 11:05 am Reply
  • Claire

    Thank you so much for all your help with blogging.

    July 18, 2017 at 4:29 am Reply
    • Krista

      Girl you are so welcome. Let me know if you ever have any other questions. <3

      July 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm Reply

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