Starting a blog, even a free one, is a big move—so don’t do it without preparing first. Get to know the steps and top websites for new bloggers.
This guide on blogging contains several tips to keep in mind while developing your domain. You’ll quickly realize that there’s no simple answer for how to start a blog, but there are options to make the process as smooth as possible.
How to Start a Blog
Before you begin your blogging adventure, it's worth keeping a few tips in mind. Here are the absolute musts to consider.
1. Find a Niche and Name
Do your research. Look at what’s popular and what your competitors do. More importantly, what can you deliver and sustain? In the end, you need a focused and interesting niche.
The blog’s name should then come naturally. Make sure it’s simple, catchy, and not already in use. Most platforms will even help you find an available name.
2. Choose a Blogging Platform
How to start a blog for free and make it successful, we hear you ask? That partially comes down to choosing a platform to host your data and give you the best possible tools.
To be exact, what you’re looking for are platforms that offer free hosted blogging. This means that the provider stores your site’s data on its servers without you needing to pay a fee.
One downside is that you share that space with other clients. With a free account, the provider also expands your blog’s URL, attaching the subdomain it belongs to. So, your website will read something like: myblog.wordpress.com.
Paid options get you a custom name, domain, and your own server. This is referred to as self-hosting because you have more control over your storage and space. It’s something worth considering once your free blog starts gaining traction.
3. Select a Theme and Design Your Blog
Free blogs have a selection of free themes to choose from too. These stylize your site with certain layouts, color schemes, and even fonts.
You can then customize your theme until your blog is just as you want it. Try out different effects, widgets, plugins, and wordings, but be careful not to overwhelm your blog and visitors.
Keep in mind that there are limits to how much you can customize each theme. For more freedom, look into design tricks like simple CSS coding to optimize your website.
4. Publish and Manage Your Posts
Learn SEO techniques before writing anything. Basically, the words and structure of your online content affect how well they perform on search engines—if these discover your blog at all.
Another issue to be aware of when choosing a good platform is that some services actually block bots from entering hosted blogs and indexing them on their respective search engines. In other words, getting your site on Google or Bing is harder.
Apart from sorting out your discoverability, make sure you maintain the blog, publish regularly, and present your posts in an attractive way. Readable text, clear categories, and a user-friendly design should do the trick.
5. Promote Your Blog
Turning your blog into a hub for your niche takes work. Posting content that interest people is a good first step, but they have to find it too.
Social media is the best free route. Create a dedicated Facebook page, for example, and share your posts with followers. You can also join groups on LinkedIn or Reddit that allow promotion and drop your blog’s links in there.
Also consider free tools on services like Pingler and GrowthHackers, which can boost your popularity and visibility—even on search engines.
Best Websites for Free Blogs
So, now you know what you need to consider before starting your blog. Which websites can you use to turn your dreams into reality?
Here are seven websites that support free blogging for beginners.
Wix's prestige rivals WordPress, while welcoming free users with a range of benefits—including SEO, marketing, and management tools. You’ll still have wixsite.com attached to your URL, but the service you get is worth the inconvenience.
Wix asks a few questions and then offers to create the site based on your answers or lets you choose and design it yourself. If you go for the latter, there are various and beautiful themes available.
The website editor is user-friendly and full of ways to fine-tune your blog. You can change the colors and fonts, add pages and free apps, and even create videos or enhance images. The post editor is just as handy, inspiring you to do your best work.
Blogging for beginners always involves WordPress—whether .org or .com. The latter platform offers free and less technical domains for blogs and lots of impressive themes for different types of content. Choose the best one and customize its layout, visuals, tabs, and widgets.
The default post editor works with blocks of content, from normal paragraphs and headings to image galleries and feedback forms. There’s plenty you can do to make your blog posts interesting.
In terms of additional tools, you have limited access to Jetpack, a plugin that can take care of your monitoring, marketing, and security. For more, you need an upgrade. In fact, you can’t install other plugins or make deeper changes to your domain without a Business plan.
All-in-all, a free blog on WordPress is possible but without cool toys to help you manage it. You’ll need to take matters into your own hands with issues like SEO and tracking website traffic.
Weebly is more like Wix in layout and variety of tools, from themes and sections to meta data and blog settings for your sidebar, post sharing buttons, and more.
Even though the domain editor is less slick than some of the other sites on this list, you’ll be happy with how your site comes out. Despite the limits of a free domain, you can make it very attractive and efficient.
A more professional platform to check out is Jimdo. Apart from creating websites for experienced and new designers, it can also help you develop a logo for your business.
To create your blog, Jimdo can take you through more steps than Wix, as it tries to determine whether your domain is for a hobby or professional project.
When you reach the web editor, your options depend on the theme you choose—but they’re mostly user-friendly. Even with a free plan, you can still tweak your blog’s appearance, and include some features for SEO and sales.
For a simple platform, try Blogger. As the name suggests, it’s specifically designed for blogs. Whether you’re posting articles, photos, or cooking recipes, you’ll have a clean-cut domain to showcase your content for free.
How to start a blog doesn’t get easier or freer than this, but don’t expect your domain to look or perform as well as on Wix. That said, there are attractive themes to choose from, as well as ways to customize them to very pleasing effect.
Blogger is a Google service, so you’ll have quick access to tools like Google Analytics, AdSense, and a simple search engine visibility button. Apart from managing, promoting, and monetizing your blog, there’s a community of website creators to join and share your posts with.
If you don’t even care about having a website, consider Tumblr. It’s a free social network for bloggers, offering a platform to post your thoughts and creations with a few clicks. Additionally, you have an audience for your niche ready and waiting.
You can customize your profile’s colors, images, and settings. In terms of the post editor, it looks simple but gives you a good range of tools, depending on what you want to share. Text, videos, audio, screenplays, and more are on the table.
Tumblr is by far one of your easiest options, but you still need to grab people’s attention with keywords, tags, mentions, and enjoyable content.
A final platform that can teach you the basics of how to blog is Medium. Your free profile is easy to create and somewhere between a website and social media account, but not as high functioning as a dedicated domain.
This means that you can post beautiful articles as you wish, customize your Medium profile, and gather a following on the platform and beyond without the stress of managing your own site. The tools on offer are few, however, restricting how much you can do as a blogger.
Create Good Content for Your New Blog
Thanks to these services, starting a blog is as simple as picking the right platform and designing your hub. Your choice ultimately depends on your goals and web design skills.
From there, your content needs to keep attracting visitors. So, work on your content's structure, readability, and appeal. Most importantly, create consistently!
About The Author