You have a deep passion for writing, see all those beautiful blogs on the web and think that it’s right up in your alley. You have the ideas, the only thing left to do is put them out there.
However, you don’t know where and how to start.
Don’t give up just yet! I will not only show what you need to create a blog for free but will also recommend five best blogging platforms on the market. While we’re at it, I will also throw in some tips and tricks on how to make money with your blog.
I can see how eager you are to show your ideas to the world, so let’s jump into it!
Why Start a Blog in the First Place?
There are plenty of great reasons to start a blog – from broadcasting your creativity to making money from it!
If you don’t know already, a blog is a type of website that is regularly updated with new content and managed by an individual or a small group.
What good does blogging do? Quite a lot, actually.
First and foremost, blogging is one of the most popular digital marketing strategies. It’s easy, affordable, and fun. Most importantly, of course, blogging is also a super effective way to promote a brand or a product.
How so? A blog’s most essential part in digital marketing strategy revolves around SEO and web traffic.
Instead of throwing ads into visitors’ face, you increase brand awareness by publishing high-quality content. The goal of this is to end up high on search engine result pages.
The same marketing practice can be used to educate visitors regarding thus building trust. If they find your blog posts useful, they’ll be back for more and that could result in building a connection with them and even generating sales and conversion rates.
It’s basically a circle of success that could work out in so many different ways.
Not only that, but a blog also serves as a perfect outlet to show off your creative side. After all, blogs initially took off because people saw it as a great platform to share their ideas and thoughts.
Unlike business blogs, personal blogs tend to only focus on showcasing the blogger’s passion projects. Consequently, their ultimate goal is to be seen by the world. That being said, you’re free to put up whatever type of content that suits your interests.
Personal intentions aside, both personal and business blogs can earn you a lot of money. Just because you’re doing something you like doesn’t necessarily mean you get nothing out of it.
I hope you’re curious about that last part since I will discuss it further in a bit.
The Check List
Before you get to build your own blog, there are some essential things you need to prepare first. They will be the reason why your blog exists and is accessible in the first place so you might want to take notes.
To make your blog accessible, you need to purchase hosting first. A web hosting company will host your site on their server as well as provide you with the required technology and resources to manage your web performance.
2. Domain name
Similar to a house, you need to have an address that directs visitors to your blog. A domain name works the same way as a house’s address. To set your domain name, you need to purchase and register it to a domain registrar. By registering it, you reserve a custom domain name that only you can use.
To create and manage digital content — in this case, your blog — you need a Content Management System. CMS’ interface allows you to modify your content quickly and publish it directly to the web using little to no technical knowledge. Some of the most popular CMS include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
After you figure out all the technical elements, all that’s left is to determine the direction of your blog. Contrary to popular belief, putting random content to make your blog look merry is bad for both SEO and traffic. Just like in real life, you cannot please everyone you meet and having no direction makes it harder for you to build an audience.
Visitors of your blog tend to have specific needs and taste. Therefore, it’s best that you pick something specific that you’re passionate about and stick with it. It’ll be way easier for you to convert a visitor into a loyal subscriber when your content circulates around the same topic.
Considering that these four things are, in a way, the foundation of your blog, I’d suggest you take your time and set them up as best you can. That way, you’ll less likely encounter any technical issues in the future.
Top 5 Free Blogging Platforms
To save your time, I have selected five of the best free blogging platforms that could help you get started. Each of them has its own pros and cons so you have a general idea of what its specialties and weakness are.
WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs on the web. It started out as a blogging platform and grew to be a lot more than that.
This platform has plenty of customization options. You can choose from thousands of themes, to create a website of your dreams! What is more, with the help of plugins, you’ll be able to make your blog as powerful as it can possibly be!
The best thing is, that WordPress made it very easy to create, edit and publish content. Whatever blog you want to create – you won’t face any issues with WordPress.
Since WordPress is a self-hosted platform, you will need to get hosting. However, there are providers, such as 000webhost, that offer free hosting services! So you won’t have to spend a dime to get your blog online.
- Scalable — Ideal for all types of websites
- Highly customizable — Personalize the site’s appearance and functions with just a few clicks
- Plenty of plugins — You can easily add plugins to expand the site’s functionality
- Steep learning curve — Some customizations require technical knowledge
- Requires web hosting — WordPress.org requires to be installed on a server
Medium is a community-oriented CMS that positions itself specifically as a writing platform. Rather than hosting individual blogs, Medium provides space for niche-centric content.
If you only want to share your ideas with the world and not deal with the technicalities of managing your own blog, Medium is the ideal choice for you. All you need to do is produce high-quality content and let Medium worry about the rest while you can enjoy doing other stuff like spending time with family and friends or having a good night’s sleep on your best mattress.
- Instant exposure — Since the platform already has a massive following, your content will automatically reach a wider audience
- SEO optimized platform — Medium generates backlinks regularly to help their users rank higher in SERPs
- Social media friendly — The use of social media sharing elements will boost your exposure even further
- No control — If you don’t like how the platform present your content, there’s nothing you can do about it
- Weak analytics tool — Compared to what Google Analytics could offer, Medium analytics tool provides fewer insights
Ghost operates similarly to Medium. However, this open source CMS offers more flexibility as you’re allowed to choose your domain, design, and backlinks. Ghost also provides various integration that supports SEO, analytics, and ecommerce among other things.
While it still serves as a writing platform, Ghost gives more freedom to the user to personalize their website.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that Ghost’s free plan doesn’t include a hosting service. You can either upgrade the plan and get your site hosted by Ghost server or look for a third-party web hosting provider.
- Feature-rich — Ghost is packed with various integrations and internal plugins
- Markdown support — You can easily convert your writing to XHTML or HTML
- Fully customizable — You can upload your own theme, logo, and cover
- No multilingual support — Ghost’s CMS doesn’t support Asian fonts
- No comment section — You have to add this section manually
While not technically a blogging platform, Wix is still worth a mention on this list.
Wix is a dedicated website builder that is known to have premium-looking themes. They also provide tools that make the entire building process easy, even for users with limited to no technical knowledge.
One of their highlighted features is Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI). By taking advantage of this feature, you can easily build your blog just by answering a few questions related to your preference and needs.
- Easy-to-use editor tools — Web layout customization process will be easier with their drag-and-drop feature
- Wix ADI — They’re no Genie, but this feature does make it look that way
- Automatic backup — As long as you’re online, Wix will take good care of your data
- Ads — You have to upgrade to a premium plan to get rid of them
- No SEO features — You need to use third-party SEO tools to increase your traffic
Here’s another dedicated website builder that could help you launch a professional-looking site in no time. Despite catering more towards e-commerce sites, Weebly’s features can still be used to create other types of sites, including blogs.
Free plan users will have access to 500MB of storage and a wide selection of themes. While Weebly’s themes are already sufficient enough to meet most needs, you can still give them a personal touch by making use of their drag-and-drop tools.
- Built-in code editor — If you find the drag-and-drop tools limiting, you can always use HTML or CSS to customize your blog
- SEO tools — No need to use third-party tools to improve your SEO
- E-commerce features — It’s the perfect choice for users who want to build an ecommerce blog
- Manual migration process — The export feature only covers your page content, not your blog content
- Index paywall — To get indexed by search engines like Google and Bing, you have to upgrade to a premium plan
As you can see, each blogging platform excels in certain aspects and lacks in the others. Therefore, you should refer to your needs and personal preference when choosing one. Considering that they’re all free, there’s no harm in trying them before making a final decision.
How to Make a Profit With Your Blog?
Dumas and Flynn aren’t the only bloggers with a successful journey.
Want to know how to make money with a blog? Keep on reading!
1. Affiliate Programs
If you feel confident with your communication and persuasion skills, affiliate programs are your best bet in making some serious money. Many companies use affiliate marketing to increase their sales as this method allows their brand and products to reach a wider audience much faster.
The way it works is that you, as an affiliate, promote a brand or a product to your audience. Your commission rate will be determined by the number of successful sales and conversions or simply a visit made through your blog.
All you need to do is apply to an affiliate program of your choice. Once marketer accepts your application, you will get a unique referral link that will guide your audience to a targeted web page.
Your goal is to make as many users as possible click on the link.
2. Google AdSense
Don’t feel like actively promoting stuff? You can make use of passive monetization. With Google AdSense, you’re only required to lend a space in your blog to host ads. Correspondingly, you will get paid based on the number of page views you receive or the number of clicks per ad.
Here’s what you need to do to join AdSense:
- Sign up via AdSense web page
- Enter your blog URL and email address, then click Save and Continue
- Sign in to your Google account
- Select your country and accept AdSense Terms and Conditions
- Click Create Account
Congratulations, you have joined AdSense!
Why promote other people’s brand when you can promote your own?
From the perspective of a seller, ecommerce helps them reach a wider audience and save operational costs. As your blog nullifies the need to have a physical store, all that’s left is to make the site look appealing and ensure that your products can live up to people’s expectation.
If you want to build a blog using WordPress, you can use WooCommerce to help manage your online store. This WordPress plugin is feature-rich, incredibly flexible, and, most importantly, free.
Here are the steps on how to set it up in your WordPress site:
- Log into your WordPress site and install the plugin via the Plugin section
- Click on Activate Now
- Fill out the required data in the WooCommerce Setup Wizard page, then click Let’s go!
And you’re good to go!
That’s all Folks!
Having a blog is not only about creating an online presence. You can use it to share your ideas to the world, promote various things, and make a living. What’s more, you get to create one for free with little to no technical knowledge.
Here are some of the best blogging platforms that could realize your dream blog:
- WordPress — Extremely flexible and powerful
- Wix — Premium-looking themes with easy-to-use editor tools
- Weebly — SEO and ecommerce-optimized
- Medium — Simple blogging platform with a lot of exposure
- Ghost — Feature-rich and customizable blogging platform
There are tons of options to monetize your blog. Bloggers who have good communication and persuasion skills can join affiliate programs.
Additionally, you can also join the Google AdSense program and earn commission just by showing ads on your site. If you have services or products to sell, you can transform your blog into an ecommerce site.
If other people can be a successful blogger, why can’t you?