So, you want to start a blog, but you don’t want to spend any money? I’ve been blogging since 2006, and I’ve used multiple solutions. I’ve seen what works and doesn’t, and I’ve heard feedback from my blog friends in the community. In this post, I’ll show you How to Start a Blog for Free in 2018. Since the hardest part is figuring out which solution to use, a lot of this post is about my recommended solution and why I like it. And the how-to is towards the end. Ready? Let’s go…
Too Good to Be True?
There are many scammy solutions out there. So, as you research (I assume you’re reading multiple articles), make sure you look for a legit solution.
There is a free option out there that I personally trust. I’ve met people who work for the company, and I use their sister software. While this option has a 100% free option, there are some limitations with it, which I’ll explain below.
How Can I Start a Blog for Free in 2018? Simple: WordPress
The answer is: WordPress.com
(Which is different than WordPress.org – I compared both in this post in case you want to read more)
I’ve used Blogger, TypePad, and now WordPress. I used Blogger and Typepad back in 2006, so I’m pretty flippin sure both are quite different now. So, in full disclosure, I can’t speak to either regarding current functionality.
I can say that after converting to WordPress, I haven’t looked back. And I like WordPress for even more reasons…
Why I Trust WordPress
WordPress (between .com and .org combined) currently powers 30% of the web (according to a recent survey by W3Techs).
I’ve met many Automatticians (the employees of Automattic – the company behind WordPress), and they’re great.
WordPress has meetups in most major cities and WordCamps (WordPress-specific conferences) all around the world.
WordPress is what I’ve used to run my food blog, The Chic Life. This blog currently averages 30,000 pageviews/month with over 2,000 email subscribers and has been featured on Buzzfeed, Women’s Health Mag, Huffington Post, Dr. Oz, and other publications.
I also use WordPress.org to run this blog and a couple other sites.
My experience with WordPress has been wonderful, and I wouldn’t switch to a new blogging platform if someone paid me. Note: I personally use WordPress.org though.
Who is WordPress.com For?
WordPress.com is great as a free solution if you:
- want to keep things easy and:
- You do not want to spend the extra 10-30 minutes required to set-up for WordPress.org
- You do not want to deal with maintenance
- do not want to monetize your site
- do not mind if WordPress.com displays its own ads on your site
- are not particular about which plugins or themes you use on your site
- do not need or intend to use Google Analytics
The free version of WordPress.com does have some limitations related to the above. While this list doesn’t have all the limitations, I’ve pulled the ones that are most relevant for new bloggers IMO.
If you’re a hobby blogger (or you’re simply not picky about the above points), then WordPress.com could be great for you.
If You Don’t Like the WordPress.com Limitations…
If you find the above limitations off-putting, you can consider getting a paid WordPress.com account or jumping straight into WordPress.org (which is what I recommend to new bloggers anyways – whether you’re technical or not!).
If you’re ready to use WordPress.com, then let’s continue…
How to Set Your Blog Up on WordPress.com (Step by Step)
If you’re ready to set your blog up on WordPress.com, then you can easily do that by visiting their site. The free set-up is a bit buried, as you can see in this screenshot:
Just scroll to the bottom and click the link to “Start with free”. Follow the screens, and you’re good to go.
WordPress.com Setup: Step 1 of 4 (Create Site)
Fill out the fields displayed. Click the Continue button.
WordPress.com Setup: Step 2 of 4 (Choose Address)
Next, enter your desired blog name to get domain options. After entering your name, wait. The page will load with domain options (however they will not all be free).
And if you need help choosing your blog name, Click here for 4 Features of a Winning Blog Name.
For example, if I wanted to call my blog “Diana’s New Blog”, I’d want “dianasnewblog” in the domain. WordPress will show you different extension options (for example: .com, .org, .blog) depending on availability.
However, to maintain the free account, you must select the option with “.wordpress.com” as the extension.
WordPress.com Setup: Step 3 of 4 (Choose Plan)
Since you’re looking for a free blog solution, you’ll want to select the first option to keep things $0 cost.
Note: Of course you’re welcome to upgrade at this point if you think the options are worth you forking over the moolah. Though, personally, I still recommend WordPress.org if you’re looking for flexibility at a rate of approximately $6/month as a baseline according to this price breakdown.
WordPress.com Setup: Step 4 of 4 (Create Account)
Finally, enter your email address, username, and password (or choose the Google option), select Continue and that’s it. You’re all set up!
Next Steps – Get Your Blog Going
From here, you can select your theme (if you don’t like the default) and even write your first blog post. Woop!
Want to have monetization flexibility, ability to use any plugin and/or theme you’d like, and more flexibility? Click here for my 3 steps to starting a blog with WordPress.org
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you decide to use to start your blog and whether you went with a free option. Additionally, if there are other solutions outside of WordPress that you use and love, please share with us. Let’s create some awesome content to help each other out!