Don’t think too hard about this. I didn’t. I basically thought it would be fun to talk about my life and then I started a blog. It has morphed into something completely different now, as you can see. No matter what your reason is for wanting to start a blog, there are basically two ways to do to; free or pay as you go.
This post is about free ways to blog.
PICK A NAME:
This should be the easiest part, but for some it is a source of frustration. I originally wanted to be KissingBlue. That was my name on blogspot, where I started my blogging adventure. If you look you will see that someone in China owns that domain (they have since 2010). I suggest picking something you want to be referred as. I put my actual name in the title, so that’s easy for people to associate with me. Adding numbers to a name you like is never a good idea, people tend to forget about those.
Once you have a name in mind then you find a place.
FREE PLACES TO BLOG
There are quite a few sites you can start a blog with zero monetary investment.I put these in the order I rank them. Some have more customization options then others.
The next three options are just for those who want more of an online journal. Some of these can be kept completely private:
If you decide to invest in your blog, then you need to buy your domain name.
I would personally recommend starting on wordpress.org. Most bloggers use wordpress and you can upgrade later without having to learn a whole new system. Blogger (blogspot.com) has a lot of customization options as well. With all of these options you never have to pay them to host your site, but you do not own your content. It can be deleted even if you own the domain name if you are caught breaking the rules. Read the agreement carefully before you sign up. You may find that restrictions in the user agreement that have limits on advertising and/or the type of content you can post.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Now that you have all that settled. It is time to figure out what to blog about. Depending on what you want to put out there, there is sure to be a community for you. Want to vent, talk about your parenting woes and/or give advice? Want to review products (or just figure out how to get them to review)? Do some research. Find the blogs that you think are good and see what they are talking about. I blog books so I try to keep up with the book blogging community. I started by seeking out people that blogged what I wanted to blog. I cast out a wide net at first, since I wasn’t really sure, but eventually I found a few good blogs that have great content. These are the blogs that make me want to be a better blogger.
As a bonus, this community has pointed me to all the places I can go for free books. Although, it isn’t really necessary. I could just review the books I have or start up discussion topics about books that I am really excited about. Some very well respected bloggers don’t haggle for free books, they buy what they want to read and then blog about it. It is the same in any niche. Parenting/Mommy bloggers talk about their own stuff, fashion bloggers talk about fashion, tech bloggers talk about techie stuff, etc.
Not sure where to start? How about an introduction post with 20 questions and answers? Talk about your passion, bitch about your life, share a secret, tell a story, whatever. Put some posts up. Running low on ideas? Look to your community for more niche specific ideas. Hold a giveaway. Get social, tell people about your blog. Most of all, have fun with it. It may take some time to get a lot of posts up, but when you get ideas away from your computer jot them down to write about later.
A big bonus to being an established blogger, (or one that been blogging for more than a month or two), is the opportunity to try things before they are even available to the public. Companies want blogger’s opinions so they can gauge their marketing, to help create a buzz for something new, or if they need to take the product back to drawing board. Loads of bloggers review products and it is not that hard to get free stuff in exchange for an honest opinion. You will need to add a disclaimer to your site if you plan to do this, but we can get to that later. You may find contact information for companies who send out free products by perusing other blogs.
Blogging has been a thing for a while. Some may think they don’t need to “meet” people to get traffic. Before you start asking for free stuff you need to establish yourself in your niche. That means putting yourself out there. Commenting on other blogs, joining in when you can, maybe even going to events (virtual and/or in real life) to get to know people. I would like to see just one successful blog that has stuck it out and made themselves popular without making ties to some virtual community. I have made some great friends blogging. I hope you do, too.
That is all for now. I will post more blogging tips soon. If have any questions, please leave them in the comments. I am happy to help any new bloggers, or point them in the right direction to someone who can help.