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Have you chosen your blog name? Is your blog name available? Well if YES, the next step is to start a blog for free. How to start a blog for free? I bet if you search on google, many steps will pop up, you can find video tutorials and many more.
I found many blogs that teach me how to start a blog for free. BUT, many things make me confused, scary to start my own blog and things were frustrating. The truth is, yes, to start a blog is need a lot of hard work, but it’s not that complicated to get started.
That’s why I wanted to make that you and anybody else wasn’t in that confusing situation when starting a blog. Especially for people with zero tech experience. I really determine to help new bloggers to start their first blog. All you need to have is a determination to do it! You could be done with this guide in less than an hour or – more.
I started out my blog with Blogspot– a long time ago. I was really just doing it for a hobby. Many things happened and I quit from it. I started fresh again last year by buying my hosting plan and domain. Now I’m here to guide you step-by-step on how to start a blog.
Let’s walk through how to start a blog for free in 2020!
DECIDE YOUR TOPIC
Here’s where you need to be more inspired. You need to choose your blog name! My blog’s name is simply word combination from mono and dream. You can research, mix, and match, and use your name for your blog name (advantage – your own name gives you more flexibility in what you write about). Find more about how to choose your blog name here.
Choose something that you passionate about, figure out what you want to write. Do you want to write about food? Your finance strategy? Healthy food? There are many popular topics out there you can choose from – whether your blog is about fashion, food, finance, lifestyle, blogging, etc.
My tips for you, you don’t need to focus ONLY on one topic. There are plenty of bloggers out there who write about several topics. I write about blogging and lifestyle but also share about the planner, productivity, and more useful topics. Regardless of what topic, it is your choice to make. You’re going to make the decision for yourself, just to know that … you can always change your mind later. Be add more topics and focus on one topic only.
CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING + DOMAIN
A purpose to start a blog can be for hobby, place to write things you love, or to turn it into a business. If you want to make money blogging, the important thing is you need to be self-hosted. WHY? This is perfect for bloggers who want to create a business and make money from a blog. You also will have access to many more customizable features that free platforms simply can’t offer. Make a small investment and your earnings could be huge. Check this list of bloggers who make thousands of $ every month.
CAN YOU START A BLOG FOR FREE?
Of course, YES. You can start a blog for free with WordPress and blogger. No different, though. They’re easy to set up. However, if you trying to run a business or turn your blog into a side hustle on a free platform, it isn’t a really good idea.
The main reason I don’t recommend using a free platform is that you are considering to be hosted by ‘that’ company. Whether it is a blogger, Weebly, Wix, etc. They can do anything they like (the worse is shut your down) because your blog is their property.
The easier way to do this is to sign up with Bluehost. WHY? You get a free domain. Free SSL Certificate – if you want Google to take your blog seriously and rank it, your blog needs to be safe and secure. This is the function of the SSL Certificate. Sometimes you have to purchase it separately, but with Bluehost, you get it free. They offer you 24/7 support. You get questions and their SC is always there to answer. One-click WordPress installation, so you will find the process really simple.
So here’s the offer – you can use my link to register, it costs you nothing extra. It’s my affiliate link, meaning I’ll get a little credit for helping you get started. So go ahead and click here, then I’m going to help you with the next step.
Okay, now get started.
1. Click “Get started” as shown in the photo below.
2. Then “Select“ your plan.
I choose the basic and it has all the features you will need for your first blog. But you can choose another one. All blogs have different needs, so this is totally up to you – depends on what you’re wanting to do with your blog. Click “Select” on your chosen plan and you’ll be taken to the next page.
3. Create a new domain.
A domain is your website URL (www.monodreame.com). If you are starting a new blog and don’t have own domain, type your blog name and check if the name you desire is available as a domain name by click “Next“. Once the name is available, you will be taken to the page below.
4. Fill in the information.
Fill in your basic account information.
5. Scroll down and you need to select your hosting package.
The price will automatically set to 3 years. When you purchase the first three years upfront, the monthly price is lower, but you are welcome to change it to a shorter plan. Remember that you will save more money by selecting a longer plan.
6. Package extras
If you don’t need this, don’t feel any pressure and don’t tick any of these then you can save money.
However I recommend to tick DPP and SLL. Domain Privacy will make sure your personal information (phone number, email address, street address) as the owner of your main isn’t listed in online search directories.
7. Fill in your payment information and click “submit“
Congratulations! Your purchase was successful. Go to your email to confirm your purchase. If they suggest you change your password, do it.
8. Login to your Bluehost account. Name your site and give it a tagline.
9. Pick one of the themes that you like.
Don’t worry, you can change this many times later. You can pick a free WordPress theme or invest a little to make your blog look nice and professional. I don’t recommend using a free theme if you are planning to create a business with your blog. If it is for a hobby, a free theme is perfect.
You can purchase the various awesome themes on CreativeMarket (like my theme here) below $20 or check out Bluchic’s new feminine WordPress theme, ChicServe, which is outrageously stylish, incredibly flexible, and easily customizable.
INSTALL + GET WORDPRESS READY
Why WordPress? If you’re really want to start a blog for free and do this professionally, I believe you need to start and stay with WordPress. I’ve been using this platform for many years and WordPress allows me to optimize my blog and it is easy to integrate with many awesome features with WordPress plugins!
After picking your theme, install WordPress, and start building your blog!
You will be taken to your WordPress dashboard.
Here you can start explore and decorate your blog.
And, honestly, this is the part that makes me struggle the most. Most tutorials make me more confuse and I just somehow start to work it on my own!
You will do all the customize stuff for your blog on your WordPress dashboard. You will be controlling most aspects of your blog through this dashboard.
Here I’ve made a little overview of the most important parts for beginners.
- POSTS – “All posts” will show you all the posts on your blog (publish or draft posts). Create “categories” and later you can organize your posts into categories.
- MEDIA – Where all of your photos, videos or other files you upload will be stored.
- PAGES – Where you will have different pages for your blog. Create “About me” page by clicking Pages > Add New
- APPEARANCE – Where you can decorate your website.
Themes: where you can choose any different theme. The theme is software that gives your blog it looks. You can either buy a theme or use a free one. If you are hoping to make money from your blog, then I highly recommend purchasing a theme.
Customize: this will take you to the live editor. You can make changes to the look of your blog whilst previewing the changes you are making.
Widget: these can be added in particular places to make your blog easier to use. I currently have a sidebar widget on my blog.
Menu: this helps make your blog easier to navigate. I currently have a menu at the top of my blog that takes my audience to different pages.
Mostly the plugins are FREE. The plugin is a software to help your website, which you need to install. To install plugins, you just need to go to Plugins> Add new. Find or type the plugin you need on the top right-hand side and click “Install” next to the plugin. Then click “Activate”.
This is a place where you can change settings for your blog. One thing that really important is the permalink structure. It is the URL format when you publish any blog posts. It helps your SEO. I’ve changed mine to the one below:
For now, maybe your blog will look empty and …. lack many things.
Again, don’t worry! I feel the same when I first start my blog! I don’t feel satisfied even when I have done half of starting a blog. SO, let’s continue to the next step.
CREATE BRANDING MATERIAL
You need branding material. You need a logo, photo, posts, anything that makes your blog looks good! You can create your logo with Canva (I made it with Adobe Photoshop) and use free photos to make your posts interesting.
I mostly make my branding material with Adobe and Canva – it is really easy to use. Start from my logo, header, site icon (favicon), and signature.
In an alternative way, you can find beautiful fonts, graphics, brand-related stuff on Creative Market. There are many amazing kinds of stuff there you can choose including the theme to make your blog look presentable and professional.
Related: 3 Secrets To Create Your Brand
SET UP YOUR CUSTOM EMAIL
Why create a custom email? It looks more professional to your audience. Most email marketing, such as Converkit won’t let you send email marketing without professional email. If you’ve purchased a domain name for your blog, you DEFINITELY have the ability to use that domain for your custom email address.
Once you’re logged in to your Bluehost account, go to the Email and Office Section. Select the domain name that you want to create a free professional email and click “Manage”. Click the “Create” button to make a new address. Fill in the information and click the “Create” button at the bottom of the page.
START YOUR EMAIL LIST
My biggest regret is that I held off on starting my email list. I don’t create it as soon as I launch my blog. Fortunately, I’m not too late to make it now.
I use Convertkit as my email service. You can grow your email list with Converkit and keep your subscribers updated about your new post, deals, news, whatever it is that you need to contact your subscribers about. Converkit is so user friendly and it allows you to have up 1,000 free subscribers. You can see that I use Converkit plugin on my sidebar.
CREATE WELCOME EMAIL
Once you’re done creating an account with Converkit, start to create a welcome email to your new subscriber. ConvertKit gives you various templates and even provides tips for writing your first emails. This is a really important step to start a blog.
Login to your Converkit account and create your welcome email by clicking the “Landing Pages & Forms” on the top right-hand side of the Toolbar. You can easily customize forms to match your blog design and embed the form on your website.
You can install the ConvertKit Plugin on WordPress and add the shortcode provided under the WordPress tab, insert it inside your post or page. Or use Widget “Custom HTML” and paste the embedded link in it. You can easily add your form to your sidebar, footers, or pop-up when readers visiting your blog.
INSTALL GOOGLE ANALYTICS + SUBMIT YOUR SITEMAP
Once you’ve started creating content on your blog, you will need to install Google Analytics. This allows Google to track the activities of visitors coming to your blog. Google will collect these activities and show them in the form of statistics in your Google Analytics account. Check out this tutorial that explains the whole process.
SET UP SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
The important thing about having social media is that they can promote your blog, content, and connect with your audience. Honestly, I’m not into social media since I graduate from college – but these days I choose to keep consistently handling my social media. So, to start a blog, you have to make sure to set up your branded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
First post! Excited and …. again, frustrating! I’ve done research many times about how to post your first blog. I have no idea how to do that! I have a love-hate relationship with writing. But I have to do this and you too!
I recommend you to write your draft in Microsoft Word before actually putting it in WordPress. Many bloggers suggest writing it in Google Docs, for backing up purposes. You can do it as well.
Since I already install google drive backup and sync in my computer so all files, photos, everything will automatically back-up. I don’t have to worry about losing all my files, everything already stored on my google. You can do this too. This will save you from a headache and save your work somewhere else which you can open anywhere and anytime.
Pinterest will provide you many ideas for your ideal first post. Don’t think hard about it and go with the flow! Thinking hard about it will make you stress, just like me. I want to make my first blog perfect, complete, useful, and include anything. These are that make me frustrated and keep delaying everything. SO, I just make a whole month plan on my bullet journal (in the middle of the night). When I will post this, this and this – and save me from wasting more time.
I suggest to write down at least 3-5 posts for each category before launching your blog. So when you launch your blog, you will have many interesting posts on your blog to be read.
SHARE YOUR CONTENTS
At this point, you have done creating your own blog and even create your posts. So why not share it with the whole world? You want and need to get notices. Your audience not just come accidentally to your blog. You want to build traffic, then you need to share your blog posts, anywhere you can.
Once you publish your post, share it with your friends, social media (all of them)! Anywhere, anyone, everyone! You have to do it!
Congrats, you have done creating your blog!
I hope this post helps you to start a blog. I find these are a simple and easy way for beginners to start a blog for free.
Don’t worry, many tips coming up soon so stay tuned on my blog. Subscribe to my blog to get your free ebook and access to my freebies page!
If you found this guide helpful, please share it!
Otherwise, happy blogging 🙂