June 29, 2017

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How to Start a Blog for Free

We’ve written a couple of times before on how to start a blog. Today I want to cover this subject again but get down to the real basics, that is… how to get a blog online without any costs at all. Instead of explaining the what, why and providing advice on performance and SEO, today I just want to present a simple checklist of things to do to get a blog online. We’ll worry about design another day and about performance tweaks etc.

Before you continue with this tutorial, note that this instruction is for setting up a free blog. This will have a domain name such as yourblog.wordpress.com. If you want to use yourdomain.com then I’ll post a detailed post about this and link to it when ready. There are several reasons why you will want to host your own blog with your own domain, but again… these will be covered later this week. If you are happy to proceed (remember that it’s free, so if you change your mind later this week then you have only lost time but gained some experience at working with a blog).

Setting up a free blog with WordPress

The first step is to navigate to the WordPress.com website and then on that site, click the orange button as seen below:

Your domain name will be in the format of blogname.wordpress.com. In the form, enter your desired blog name. If the name is already taken by someone else, you’ll get a message like pictured below:

If you get the message, you’ll need to come up with a different variation or a different name until you see that the name is acceptable.

When you select an available name, the next field down (username) will be automatically filled in. You can change this if you desire. After that, set a password, provide your email address and under the free section, click “create blog”. If you are new to wordpress.com then you shouldn’t run in to any problems here. If you already have a wordpress.com account you will be asked to log in. When all is complete, you’ll get an email through asking you to activate your blog as seen below. You’ll also be taken to another page to enter your profile information.

Activate your blog and follow on to the next screen which allows you to set a theme. Note that some do cost money but that there’s the basic free theme (which actually looks quite good) as well as a few other free options to choose from:

Now that your theme is selected and activated you can now get on with getting content on your blog. To do this, click on New Post and fill in the title box and put some content online. After you are done you can click the Publish button and the post will go online for all to read.

Wrap Up

Starting a blog for free and getting content on to it is an extremely simple process. Just follow the instructions above and when you are done, repeat as often as possible the “New Post” procedure and keep adding content to your site. It doesn’t matter in the early days if you make a small mistake. In the first weeks there’s only a handful of people visiting your site which means you have a perfect opportunity to switch a theme around, add images, reorganise content and adapt it to yours and your readers needs.

As always, post any questions below. The remainder of this week I’ll cover setting up a blog on www.yourdomain.com as well as explain the pro’s and con’s of why you might want to pay for a domain and a hosting account.

As this post talks about the “free” way of doing it, this can prove to be a good testing ground. Good luck!

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