Huffington Post, the most lucrative blog in existence, earns more than $14 million every month. And it’s not alone. There are thousands of blog creators out there living on passive online income.
Are you thinking about getting in on the action?
You should start by creating a blog for free. Yes, you can blog without opening up your wallet. It’s a simple way to learn online marketing skills without putting your money at risk.
And it only takes a matter of minutes to get started. Ready to give it a try? Here’s how you create a successful blog — for free.
1. Deciding on a Topic
Before you create a blog, it stands to reason that you should know what it’s about. Don’t worry about future monetization concerns or your audience at this time. Instead, keep it simple and list every topic you’re interested in and knowledgeable about.
Once you have a good amount of potential topics, you’ll want to narrow them down. It’s important to locate a niche, even if you’re just creating a blog for fun. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time picking up traffic.
A good niche is narrow in scope and has little competition.
If you love cooking, don’t run just a cooking blog. That’s too large in scope. A better niche would be a vegan cooking blog.
You can specialize this further and talk about cooking utensils for vegan recipes or shopping for vegan ingredients.
How can you tell if it’s a good topic? Well, the most important component is that you want to write about it. If you’re concerned about future monetization, look for other blogs in your niche and see what kind of competition you’re going up against.
2. Creating a Blog for Free
There is a litany of free blogging sites, each with its own incentives and drawbacks. You’ll want to compare these different platforms to determine which is the right choice for your personal needs.
WordPress is perhaps the most popular. Since it’s ubiquitous, there’s plenty of support and widgets that can help you make the most of its free blogging service.
Wix is less popular, but more intuitive if you struggle with software, coding, or HTML. Blogger and Weebly are also worth a look.
No matter which platform you choose, you’ll have to accept that it will exist under the owner’s domain. That’s standard practice for any free hosting package. Instead of a clean “.com” domain, you’ll have something like “.wordpress.com.”
Once you choose a service, create a simple and memorable name for your website. With a few clicks, your new free blog will be up and running. Well, sort of.
Although you created your blog, it’s not ready for visitors. You’ll want to customize it with themes and navigation to truly turn the site alive.
3. Customizing Your Blog
We can’t provide exact steps to customize your new blog. Each provider will have their own tools and functionality at your fingertips. It’s up to you to discover how they work.
But web design principles are boundless. You’ll want to keep these in mind as you create your blog, no matter the platform.
In general, simpler is better. Too much visual noise can make navigation difficult. There’s nothing wrong with a simple logo and whitespace, so long as the site feels complete.
Focus on the internal navigation and structure to ensure it’s easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Your site should at least have a home page, an “About Me” page, and a blog section.
4. Releasing Routine Content
You’ve created your blog. But is it really a blog without any actual content?
Now it’s time for the meat and potatoes. You’ll want to brainstorm topics, figure out the average length of your articles, and stick to a release schedule.
Ideally, you’ll write at least 4 posts a week. This is the sweet spot that leads to higher traffic with minimal work. But there’s nothing wrong with posting more often.
Realize that your blog won’t become popular overnight just because you’re creating content. Old content will still draw clicks. The more you publish, the more traffic you earn.
It’s that simple.
5. Integrating SEO
Even with great content, your free blog is going to struggle at the start. You should look into search engine optimization tactics to boost your daily traffic. The SEO that works for you will depend on the content you create.
Are you running that vegan cooking blog we spoke of earlier? Head to Google’s Keyword Planner and search for vegan cooking terms you can incorporate in your blog posts and across your site.
Remember: You want high search volume and low competition. But SEO does more than draw traffic. There are plenty of other reasons SEO is important, too.
6. Monetizing Your Blog
PPC advertising isn’t available on a free blog. Your blog host will instead insert their own ads on your site and generally take 100% of the revenue.
But there are other ways to make money with a blog. Affiliate marketing is perhaps the easiest.
What is affiliate marketing? Basically, you mention a product in one of your blog posts. In that reference, you’ll provide a special link that directs traffic to the product’s storefront.
If someone buys that product from your link, you’ll earn a small commission from the sale. It’s that easy.
Of course, once you’ve made a bit of money from your blog, you should consider upgrading to a paid hosting plan. This will give you more control and more monetization opportunities.
Anyone Can Run a Successful Blog
Creating a blog for free is a great way to test the waters. Maybe you’re curious about blogging or just want to try it out for fun. These free plans make it simple and convenient to get started, with no risk to you.
But creating a blog is only one small step of running a truly successful website. You’ll need more information if you want to take things to the next level. Check out this free online marketing course and learn how to make money online.