Blogging is on the rise for quite some time. As the popularity of blogging grew, the competition also grew in this field.
According to techjury in 2019, 4.4 million blog posts are published every day worldwide.
20 billion blog pages are read each month on WordPress.
There are 488 million blogs on Tumblr in 2020.
These facts are quite fascinating and can inspire you to launch your WordPress blog.
Although there are other blogging platforms as well in the market, WordPress is the market leader with 455 million websites hosted on it.
It is 35% of total websites in the world.
But before launching your first blog or your dream blog, you should have some knowledge about blogging and how it works.
In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through each and every little thing to create your first online presence.
In this guide, you will learn how to start a blog for free and make money blogging.
Of course, you can choose a free hosting platform for your blogs like Blogger or WordPress.com.
So that you can start your blog for free with literally zero costs. But I will insist you to choose a self-hosted blog so that you can monetize it lately.
The only cost for a self-hosted blog is your hosting plan ( A free domain is included in most cases ).
So, lets dive right in.
How to Start a Blog for Free
First take a look at what is a blog and what is called blogging.
What is a Blog?
A blog is a shorter version of “weblog”, a type of website intended to share information and knowledge about a topic primarily in textual form.
You can share your knowledge and expertise in the form of long or short posts.
Often blog posts are arranged as reverse chronological order with latest posts at the top and older at the bottom.
Blogs were created as online diaries in their basic form but today, blogs and blogging are used in their more advanced forms to create brand awareness and marketing purposes.
And the art of publishing blog posts is called blogging.
Blog vs Website
People often see blogs and websites in the same way. But technically these are two different ones.
Websites in their most common form, are more complex properties of Word Wide Web.
Here is an example of a website.
On the other hand, blogs are the simplest web properties in terms of ease of use and navigation.
Just like techcrunch.
Now, more business websites are using blogging as a marketing strategy for their products or services.
A typical product or services website consist of two parts:
- Non-blogging Part
The non-blogging part is often static and doesn’t change very often. It includes the main product or services page, pricing page, an about page and reviews and testimonials of users.
A blog is a dedicated section of the website in which educational and informational material is posted about that particular product or service.
A potential buyer can read and benefit from this resource and get to know about the business better.
Businesses use blog pages to reach a larger audience because these textual pieces of content are easier to rank in search results.
So, whether you are a business owner who wants to capture more leads or you are an individual (like me) and want to write about your passion (in my case it is blogging).
There is something for everyone in this post.
Essentials of Blogging
The pre-requisites to launch a blog from scratch are following:
- Niche/Topic Selection
- Domain Name
- A Content Management System
Now we will dig deeper in each part of this process.
Believe me or not, this the step most people skip through or don’t pay much attention. If not done properly, you can end up wasting months or even years of time.
Most of the newbie bloggers make the mistake and try to blog about everything that pops-up in their head.
But, niche selection is important for your blogging career.
Here is the process that you can use to identify a niche.
- Grab a paper and a pencil.
- Identify and write down all of your interests in the paper.
For instance, I have written 10 interests on a paper that I can blog about.
- Run a query in Ubersuggest about the main keyword for every topic that you have written.
- Look for a niche with max 10k-100k search volume per month for the main keyword.
- Some niches such as Health and Technology have very large search volume and hence the competition is also very high.
- Try to focus on a more specific niche. For example, in the technology niche, you can focus solely on gaming, or PC hardware or blog related Softwares and OS.
- Similarly, in the Health niche, you can write about a specific disease that you have recovered from. Writing about such a topic will provide authority and accuracy in your content.
- Try to understand the difference between a news site and a blog.
- News sites require more resources and the content is not evergreen.
- On the other hand, blogs require little resources and contain evergreen content.
Let’s say you have shortlisted 4 niches that you are probably going to blog about.
Now, the method I am mentioning here is taken from the blog of Ryan Robinson. He is a genius blogger. You should definitely check his work.
Come up with at least 50 blog post ideas about every niche that you have shortlisted.
Not a full post, not a draft, only titles of the posts.
If you are unable to satisfy these criteria for a specific niche then this might not be a niche that you should blog about.
But I think if you can think of at least 35-40 blog post ideas, then this is an indication that the niche might suit you.
At this moment, I am assuming that you have a chosen a niche and ready to launch a blog around that niche.
So, let’s go further.
Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name is what people use in their address bar to directly access your blog.
This is the URL of your website. A complete URL consists of the following parts.
The protocol defines how a browser should retrieve information about a specific resource from servers.
https is a protocol secured with a valid SSL certificate.
WWW is called a subdomain part of the URL. A subdomain also looks like this: blog.exampledomain.com.
The middle part of the URL is main domain name of your blog.
Last part is called a TLD (top-level domain). Think of it as a category of the website.
As most sites use .com as TLD. There are government sites with .gov and educational sites with .edu domains.
Things to remember while choosing a domain name
Your domain name is not only an address to reach your site on the web but also an identity of your brand.
People used to remember the site by its domain name. Therefore, choose a domain name that resonates with your product, service, blog niche or whatever you are offering online.
Your domain name will be used all over the internet so it should convey an instant message about you and your service when encountered.
Your domain name should be brandable as it will help you, in the long run, to build a brand around your blog.
Who will remember you and your blog if your domain name is hard to remember?
Try to make your domain name as easy-to-read as possible. Such a domain name is easy to remember as well as to type.
You can also include a related keyword in your domain name. But the name should resonate with the niche that you are going to blog about.
At this point, let’s say you have registered your domain name and ready to dive into the next step.
Hosting is where your websites’ files reside. It is a virtual home of all of your files related to your blog.
Here are some points to pay attention before purchasing a hosting plan.
As you are going to start a blog, there is only one primary content in a blog and that is text accompanied by images and videos ( in some cases ).
Therefor pricing should be your top priority if you are on a budget.
And BlueHost is a dead-simple choice if you are looking for affordable hosting.
There basic plan starts at $3.95/month.
They have various plans included in their list. But for a WordPress blog, shared hosting should be enough.
You can always upgrade as your blog and traffic will grow. It all depends on your current needs.
Above plans are all for shared hosting. They also have Managed WP Hosting service which includes all the necessary tools for a WordPress site such as themes, automatic backups, email marketing and much more.
Price starts at $19.95/month.
With BlueHost, you don’t have to worry about storage. The basic plan comes with 50GB SSD storage. This storage is far more than required for your blog.
UPtime can be described as the reliability of a machine to work. It is a percentage of time a server has been running or Up.
With 99.98% of uptime, BlueHost is surely unbeatable when it comes to reliability and speed.
BlueHost is around since 1995 and the guys are really professional and know their work.
By choosing BlueHost, your blog is in good hands and you don’t have to worry about downtime.
Page Load Speed
Page load speed is important not only for user experience but also for your site’s SEO.
As Google has announced page speed as a ranking factor. It is important to pay attention to the speed of your hosting provider.
Although there are also other factors included in the overall load speed of a page.
But a good host with good loading time can dramatically reduce your page’s load time and increase your rankings.
BlueHost with a load time of 400-500 ms ranks among the top five fastest hosting providers.
Customer support is really handy when it comes to hosting. Although, security and maintenance of your blog is your responsibility.
But, if something gets wrong with your blog or you run into a technical problem, a good host can be a real help for you.
BlueHost offers 24/7 customer support on all their plans which makes them stand out.
As I am not doing a review of BlueHost. So we leave it here and move onto the next part.
Content Management System
A content management system aka CMS is known as a software that makes it easy to manage websites and dynamic content especially blogs.
Blogs are dynamic. In fact, every type of website is dynamic now. So a content management system becomes a need of the day to control your blog easily and effectively.
These CMSs are all about ease of use. So choosing a CMS that is easy to use should be your top priority.
And you guessed it. WordPress does it best. Born as a platform for blogging, WordPress has come a long way.
In fact, It is the most widely used CMS in the world. WordPress powers 35% of the web.
Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using WordPress.
Pros of WordPress
- Free to use and open source
- Easy installation and manageable.
- Regular updates.
- User friendly.
- Fast and secure.
- Ability to use themes and plugins.
- No coding skill required.
- Best for blogging
Cons of WordPress
- Limited functionality (if you are using free theme).
- Themes and plugin updates can be messy sometimes.
- Upselling of products e.g plugins.
There are some other content management systems as well, like Joomla and Drupal.
This should not be hard as most of the good hosting providers (including BlueHost ) offer one-click install facility for WordPress.
Just click on the install button and the host will automatically download the setup on your server.
The Next Steps
You have just created your first self-hosted blog with default theme activated.❤
Now go to Appearance >>> Themes and search for a theme of your choice and activate it.
There should only be some dummy posts in your new theme. Because you didn’t create some.
Now is the time to fill your blog with some real stuff. Let’s add some pages first.
Go to Pages >>> Add New and enter the name of your page.
Now let’s create your first ever post on blog.
Go to Posts >>> Add New.
Next, add title of your post and start writing.
Blog Launch Checklist
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