Creating a blog can be a fantastic way to share your thoughts, showcase your skills, or build an online portfolio. It’s also an excellent starting point for those aiming to make an income online. So let’s get started! This blog post will walk you through how to start a blog for free. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right free platform to crafting your first post.
Why Start a Blog?
Blogging is more than just a trendy pastime. It can serve as a creative outlet, a powerful tool for networking, or even a lucrative side gig or full-time job. Whether you’re passionate about travel, food, fashion, technology, or personal finance, there’s an audience out there eager to hear from you. The key is to begin, and the best part is that you can start a blog for free!
Choosing the Perfect Blogging Platform
The first decision you must make is where to host your blog for free. There are numerous free blogging platforms, but the most popular free ones are WordPress.com, Blogger, and Medium.
WordPress.com is a user-friendly platform that offers a wide range of themes and customization options. It’s an excellent choice for beginners who may later want to transition to a more professional, self-hosted blog. WordPress.com is the most complicated of the three free blog options listed here, IMHO.
Blogger is a Google-owned platform known for its ease of use. You can start a blog with Blogger in minutes if you have a Google account. IMHO, Blogger is the least modern free blog platform of these three options.
Medium is a platform that prioritizes writing over design choice (although the design they give you is incredible; I love its simple elegance). Here is my medium account as an example. Medium is ideal for those who want their words to take centre stage.
Also, Medium is great because you start off with a powerful domain: Unlike Blogger and WordPress, your blog is connected to Medium’s top-level domain, which Google loves. AND your blog posts can be found by Medium users in their “For You” page.
In any event, each free blogging platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so consider your long-term goals, the level of control you want over design, and your technical expertise.
Important: if you plan on monetizing your blog to its full potential one day, I do not recommend that you elect an entirely free solution to starting a blog. If things take off, you will have wanted a custom domain at the start, which costs money. To that end, WordPress.org is the most popular solution for a NOT-free blog (I know it’s confusing. Many newbies mix up WordPress.org and WordPress.com).
Picking a Blog Topic You Love
The topic of your blog is important. Choose a subject you are passionate about. First, Google ranks blogs higher in search when they demonstrate, over time, expertise in a niche (e.g. if you blog about food all the time, Google will think it’s weird if you make a new blog post about personal finance, so stick to food, generally). Second, a blog requires consistent content creation, and staying motivated is much easier if you’re writing about something you love. Your topic could be broad, like lifestyle, or more niche-focused, such as vegan baking or digital art tutorials. Remember, the best blogs are those where the writer’s passion shines through.
Signing Up and Creating Your Account
After choosing your free blog platform (WordPress.com, Blogger or Medium), you must sign up for an account. This process is straightforward and requires providing an email address and creating a password.
Crafting the Ideal Blog Name and Domain
Next, you’ll need to decide on the name of your blog, which is how readers will identify you. This name should resonate with the theme of your blog and appeal to your target audience. For instance, if your blog is about budget travel, you might choose a name like “Nomadic on a Dime.”
Free blogging platforms offer you a subdomain (e.g., yourblogname.wordpress.com) not a custom domain (yourblogname.com).
Important: while a free subdomain works perfectly fine in the beginning, as you grow, you will regret not investing, at the start, today, in a custom domain (yourblogname.com). Changing domains down the road is a disaster for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Customizing Your Blog’s Appearance
Now comes the fun part: personalizing your blog. Think about the impression you want to give your readers. Do you want a clean, minimalist look or a colourful, dynamic design? WordPress.com and Blogger offer a variety of free themes or templates, while Medium is very minimalistic in design. Spend time exploring different options until you find one that fits your vision.
Again, Medium is the best looking free blogging platform, but that’s just my opinion.
Writing Your First Blog Post
With your blog set up, it’s time to start writing. Your first post could introduce you and what your blog will cover. Aim for engaging, well-structured content. Break up your text with headings, bullet points, and images to make it easy to read. Remember, quality trumps quantity. Writing one thoughtful, well-crafted post a week is better than several rushed ones.
You could even make your first blog about “how to start a free blog” because if you followed this guide, and are this far into setting things up, you are nearly an expert!
Use spell and grammar-checking tools. Nobody likes to read mistakes in blogs (although it happens to everyone, even the biggest publishers in the world, so don’t get upset when it happens to you).
Also, consider the power of SEO. Reuse keywords relevant to your blog post’s topic in your blog post and headings, include meta descriptions, and create SEO-friendly URLs for your blog posts. This will help your blog appear higher up in Google and bring more traffic to your blog. Google is how your blog will grow, so don’t ignore SEO.
How to Craft Engaging Blog Posts
When crafting a blog post, always keep your audience in mind. What are they interested in? How can you entertain or inform them? What problems can you help solve?
Begin with a compelling title and introduction. Your title should be intriguing and give an idea of what the post is about. The introduction should hook your reader and make them want to continue reading.
As you write, keep your paragraphs short to make your post easy to read on screens. Use subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists to break up the text and make it scannable.
Include images (get them free from Pexels) and videos (embed YouTube videos) to provide visual interest and support your content.
Finally, end each post with a call to action. This could be a question to encourage comments, an invitation to share the post on social media, or a prompt to sign up for your email list.
Publishing and Promoting Your Blog
Once you’re satisfied with your first post, hit the publish button! But don’t stop there. Even the most fascinating blog post won’t make an impact if no one reads it.
Start by sharing your blog with your network. Send the link to your friends and family, and post it on your social media accounts. You never know who among your connections might enjoy or share your content with their networks.
Next, consider using social media platforms where your target audience hangs out. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook can be excellent places to promote your blog.
Also ensure that Google is aware of your new blog by setting up Google Search Console. Once you set up Google Search Console, Google should be able to find all your new blog posts automatically when its bot crawls your website periodically.
Engaging With Your Readers
Once people start reading your blog, encourage them to engage. Respond to comments on your blog and social media posts. This builds a community around your blog and shows readers that you value their input.
Remember, building a successful blog takes time and consistency. Keep going even if growth is slow at first. Keep creating high-quality content, promoting your blog, and engaging with your readers, and over time, you’ll see progress.
Your blog will take months to gain traction, but over time, your blog will grow like a hockey stick. Do not get discouraged in the first year. Google does not rank new blogs very well, but, IMHO, after about fifty blog posts, Google will respect your blog and promote it in higher search rankings.
Starting a blog for free is a fantastic way to express your creativity, share your insights, and connect with a broader audience. While it might initially seem intimidating, following the steps in this guide will make the process manageable and enjoyable.
So why wait? Start your free blogging journey today. With passion and persistence, you’ll create a unique blog, attract an audience that values your content, and potentially even turn your blog into a profitable venture. Happy blogging! I hope this blog post helped you learn how to start a free blog.
Final Note: As I said several times above, spend a few bucks on a custom domain name if you plan on taking your new blog seriously. While a free blog can be a fun hobby, you will regret not having your own custom domain name if you decide to turn your blog into something more than a hobby.
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Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.