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How can you start a blog for free?

Whether you’re a business owner who’s learnt about the limitless benefits of blogging, a freelancer who wants to make a career out of writing or just someone with a hobby you want to shout about from the rooftops, creating a blog is the perfect way to get your ideas out there.

As you test the waters, you won’t want to invest hundreds of pounds into a state-of-the-art site, so if you’re wondering how can you start a blog for free, here’s how:

How can you start a blog for free?

1. Pick your platform

Here are some of the main blogging software options available free of charge:

WordPress

There are two different versions of WordPress blog.

WordPress.com is perfect for individuals who want to quickly and easily start a blog for free. Your URL will include the site’s name: ‘yoursite.wordpress.com’.

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WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a self-hosted version: the CMS (content management system) itself is still free, but you’re required to pay for hosting and a domain name via an external provider (we’ll come onto that later). It takes away some of the annoyances of WordPress.com, such as the looming WordPress logo in the corner of your blog, and brings greater theme options, unlimited plugins, and space for your own ads so you can make money from your blog.

Medium

This multipurpose platform has sections on a huge variety of subtopics, from space and spirituality to workouts and world news. 60 million readers visit the site every month, so even if your topic is highly niche, there’s sure to be a built-in audience who can easily find and follow you.

The only downside is that all of your content ‘belongs’ to Medium – the blog isn’t your own space.

Wix

This free website builder brings you complete front-end website functionality.

With a straightforward block-based interface in the live preview mode, there’s no interaction with your site’s back end at all, so it’s perfect for bloggers who aren’t clued up on code. Just choose a theme and drag all your elements where you want them.

If even that is too much effort for you, on signup you can choose to complete a questionnaire detailing what you want from your blog, and Wix AI will automatically build it from scratch based on your answers.

Weebly

Similar to Wix, Weebly lets you drag any multimedia element – a button, a photo gallery, a slideshow or anything else – onto the page and then adjust it. The free plan includes five site pages for you to customise, 500MB of storage, space for advertising, and a Weebly subdomain. The paid plans are specially designed for online stores and include added extras like custom domains and Google Ads credit.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial to get the hang of the site builder before paying for one of their business packages. Known for offering the best-designed theme templates on the market, it’s another simplistic, code-free platform that lets you drag and drop everything into place.

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One of the best aspects of Squarespace is that it has highly visual themes for showcasing product images, magazine-style layouts that highlight your writing, and much more.

2. Pick the blog’s name

The best blog names clearly describe the overall themes of your content so anyone reading your URL immediately understands what they can expect when they click the link. Engadget and Bright Eyed Baker are wildly successful in their respective fields because their blog names are simple and revealing.

If you’re starting a business blog, the available options for free blog names might not appeal to you. We’ll explore how to choose a custom domain later.

3. Customise and tweak

How can you start a blog for free Copify blog 4Once you’ve followed your chosen platform’s steps for creating an account and choosing your blog name, it’s time to choose the free theme which best complements your blog style. If it’s an editorial blog, prioritise article layout, but if it’s more visual make sure your theme offers strong image display support.

4. Write and publish your first ever post!

At this stage, it’s wise to create a content plan. Consider the following:

  • What is the tone and voice of your blog – humorous and friendly or formal and expert?
  • Who is your target audience – how can you write content that appeals specifically to them?
  • How often will you post – conduct some research on the most effective posting times to attract your audience.
  • What are your goals – to generate leads, to become an authority in your industry, to build your email list, or to boost sales?

These considerations impact on what you need to include in your blogs – maybe you’ll focus on SEO to encourage visitors, include a call to action to sign up to your mailing list, or link to professional research and statistics. You’ll probably use a mixture of all three.

Now, get writing!

Paid extras

If you’re simply blogging to amuse yourself and gain some writing practice, these steps are enough. But if your blog is part of your business strategy, the following additional steps – which come at a small cost – will help you boost its reach considerably.

Domain names

How can you start a blog for free Copify blog 1 (2)There’s no doubt that a custom domain – ending in ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ instead of ‘wordpress.com’, for example – makes your blog look more professional, credible and. GoDaddy and 1&1 Ionos are some of the most popular UK domain services, and you can buy one for less than the price of a cup of coffee per month.

Web hosting

Free hosting offered by the platforms mentioned above is a great starting point, but there are some drawbacks. Most free hosting packages, including WordPress.com, prevent you from monetising your blog by placing ads next to your content, and there often aren’t as many plugins or customised themes available. If you want to make the most of an unlimited self-hosted blog, why not try popular providers like BlueHost, Siteground or iPage?

It’s up to you to decide whether you need these paid extras to make the most of everything blogging has to offer.

Now you’ve managed to start a blog for free, check out our post on how to write killer blogs to make sure your content is always top-notch, and learn how long you’ll have to wait before you can make money blogging.

If you’re looking for freelance bloggers to help achieve your content marketing goals, speak to us at Copify. Our blog packages even let you publish automatically to your WordPress blog. Or if you’re a budding freelance writer looking to earn some extra money, why not apply to be a writer?

 

Main image credit: Pixelcreatures
Internal image credits: Screenshot of WordPress themes, screenshot of Squarespace templates, ulleo, StartupStockPhotos

Alice Hiley

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