Are you looking for a complete guide on how to create a successful WordPress blog for free? Well, you’re in the right place! In this tutorial, we’re going to show you step-by-step how to create a beautiful and functional WordPress blog.
WordPress.com is one of the most globally renowned blogging platforms you can choose from that allows you to publish your blog posts for free. Used by millions of bloggers such as yourself, WordPress.com is a simple and easy to use platform that works seamlessly for both personal and business websites.
That said, before we continue, it’s important not to confuse the free blogging platform WordPress.com with the self-hosted solution WordPress.org.
Be sure to check out our detailed comparison of WordPress.com versus WordPress.org.
Quick Start Summary
In a hurry? Check out this quick summary of everything you need to do to get a free WordPress blog up and running within minutes:
- Go to WordPress.com and set up a free account.
- Pick a domain name that fits the type of content you’ll be publishing.
- Customize your site in terms of a blog name, navigation menus, and homepage layout.
- Select a theme that looks great and works for the type of content you want to publish.
- Make your WordPress blog live for people to see.
- Write and publish your first blog post.
Following all of these steps – with the help of the exclusive WordPress.com dashboard checklist – will take you from an aspiring blogger to a real-life one writing for people that want to know more.
But, enough of that. Let’s check out how to create a successful WordPress blog for free using WordPress.com.
Table of contents
- Quick Start Summary
- How to Start a WordPress Blog for Free
- Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog a Success
- Final Thoughts
How to Start a WordPress Blog for Free
Setting up a blog on WordPress.com is not difficult to do. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have a fully functional blog that shares your thoughts and creativity with the world.
What You Need to Get Started
Before creating a free WordPress blog, you’ll need to make sure you have everything on hand to get started:
- A Purpose: before you start out to create a blog, you should have a purpose in mind. For example, are you wanting to share your thoughts with likeminded people, educate people about a certain topic, or make some money from your published content? Whatever you end goal is, know it before you start so you can make informed decisions along the way.
- Computer: this may seem obvious, but to become a successful blogger you’re going to need a good computer. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right computer when you want to be a blogger, especially if you use a laptop. For instance, screen resolution, battery life, size, performance, and of course price all play a role in which one you choose. Check out this detailed article rounding up the best blogging laptops in the market for help with your decision.
- Internet: again, if you want to go online you’re going to need internet to do so. The type of internet is going to center around where you live and what is offered. That said, this review site does a great job of comparing the top internet providers around.
Of course, this is just the basics. There are other things you might consider when getting ready to start a blog, depending on the type of content you want o create:
- Webcam for vlogging and adding video content to your blog
- A high-resolution camera for taking unique pictures to add to your blog posts
- Social media profiles for sharing your content and extending your audience reach
- Third-party content management system such as CoSchedule, Basecamp, or the free option Trello to keep track of your blog posts and the status of each
- An RSS feed reader for staying on top of the competition and sourcing ideas for your own blog
- One of the best email marketing service providers so you can build a bigger email list and send out email campaigns
And that’s about it. Now, let’s find out how to create a successful and free WordPress blog.
1: Set up a WordPress.com Account
The first thing you need to do is go to WordPress.com and click on the Start your website button.
Next, you’ll need to create a WordPress.com account by inputting your email address, username, and password. Then, click Create your account.
Once you confirm your account using the email address you used during the signup process, you’ll be taken to the WordPress.com dashboard where you can begin creating your first WordPress website.
2: Create a WordPress Site
To create your first WordPress site, start by clicking on the Create Site button in the WordPress.com dashboard.
You’ll then be prompted to choose a domain name.
Remember, if you’re using the free WordPress.com platform, your blog’s domain name will be connected to WordPress. In other words, there will be distinct branding in the domain name you choose for your blog.
That said, when we said you could create a WordPress blog for free, we meant it. You just have to be okay having the wordpress.com extension attached to your domain name.
Not sure what a domain name is? Think of it as the address for your blog. It’s the URL people type into their browser when they want to visit your website. For example, http://myfirstwpblog.wordpress.com is the domain name for a free WordPress blog.
If you’re a new blogger, you might find it tough to decide on the perfect domain name. And while the content of your site is what truly matters, it’s important to know that your blog’s domain name matters too. After all, the domain name of your blog can impact your ability to establish brand recognition and rank well in search results.
You cannot change your blog’s domain name after you’ve chosen it, so choose wisely during this step.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Here are some of the best tips and tricks for picking a standout domain name for your new WordPress blog:
- Use keywords that relate to your blog
- Make it short, simple, and easy to remember
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- Make it memorable
- Use an evergreen name that gives you room to grow
- Get some help using a domain name generator like LeanDomainSearch (brought to you by the creators of WordPress.com)
Lastly, conduct some research and make sure the domain names you’re thinking of using are available. Since there are millions of people using the WordPress.com platform, the chance your first option is already taken exists.
Also, you’ll want to see what your competition is doing. Even though you might be just starting out, you’ll want to grow your readership and beat the competition. So, knowing what other popular blogs in your niche are already doing can be really helpful.
Have a domain name all picked out? Click Select to continue. When you do, you’ll see all the premium plans offered by WordPress.com. But don’t worry, you can still create a WordPress blog for free by clicking Start with a free site link.
3: Name Your Site
Once inside your WordPress.com dashboard, you’ll be able to name your blog. This name will appear on the frontend of your website for all your site visitors to see, so make it a good one. Oftentimes, people will match their blog’s name with their domain name for consistency.
Start by clicking Name your site.
Once you do, you’ll be able to customize the following:
- Site Title: the name of your WordPress blog. This helps your visitors know which site they’re on.
- Site Tagline: a brief description about your website that further describes what you’re all about.
- Language: the website’s primary language. You can change this to another language other than English if you want.
- Site Timezone: the city in the timezone you want your site to be in.
- Footer Credit: a section in the footer of your site that can be customized.
When you have made the changes you want, click Save.
4: Create a Site Menu
Navigation menus are the crux of any good website. Don’t believe us? Just ask the experts over at Code Tuts and see for yourself why your WordPress blog’s navigation is crucial to your success.
To start, click the Add a menu button.
When you do this, you’ll be brought to the WordPress Live Theme Customizer, where you can create menu items for your navigation bar. You’ll likely have a Home, Blog, About, and Contact menu item already created for you.
Here, you can edit, change, remove, and even add any menu items you want. Keep in mind that in addition to the primary menu bar, you can also add a footer menu and social menu bar too.
Click Save Changes when you’re done.
5: Choose a Homepage Layout
A clear and eye-catching homepage layout plays an important role in the success of a blog. A good layout offers users easy access to your site and helps them find your content more easily.
When you click Edit homepage, you’ll be taken to a live view of your newly created WordPress blog.
Once here, you’ll be able to customize everything such as the layout of your homepage, font styles, and even color schemes. Don’t worry, if you aren’t quite sure what kind of changes you want to make, it’s ok. You can always come back to your homepage and customize it later.
Better yet, check out this infographic by Hubspot and learn about the must-have elements for every website homepage.
6: Pick a Theme for Your Blog
Before you jump into launching your blog, which is the next step in the convenient checklist WordPress.com offers new blog owners, you’ll want to do a little extra customization first.
To start, click on the Themes tab under Design on the left hand side of your WordPress.com dashboard.
The great thing about WordPress.com is that you have plenty of beautiful themes to choose from for your blog. No matter which one you go with, you are sure to leave a lasting impression on site visitors.
The theme of your blog is the design of all of your content as it displays for site visitors. It includes typography, color schemes, formatting and layouts, and much more.
Here’s a sneak peek at just some of the themes you can choose from:
It’s important to remember that each theme will come with its own set of customization options. For instance, some themes will come with custom headers, while others may offer a variety of widgets to choose from. If you’re brand new to blogging, it’s best just to start experimenting and see which type of theme best suits your blog.
To learn about a theme you’re interested in, simply click the Info button and check out its overview information as well as support options.
Here are some excellent tips for choosing the right theme for your WordPress blog:
- Pick a theme that is easy for users to read and navigate
- Have a responsive theme that will render well on all device types and sizes
- Choose a theme that works well with the native WordPress.com plugins so your site looks and functions the way you want it to
- Take advantage of SEO optimized themes as they will help boost your rankings and make your site more visible to your target audience
7: Launch Your WordPress Site
Now that most of your basic customizations are done, it’s time to launch your new WordPress blog. To do this, click the Launch site button in your WordPress.com dashboard. From there, choose the domain you want to stick with. To make sure your blog remains free, just select the current free site address from the options.
You will then once again be taken to the premium plan options. To skip this, click the Not sure yet? Continue with your free site link.
Of course, you can always work on your blog from within the WordPresss.com dashboard, which is right where you will end up next. However, if you click the WP Admin link on the sidebar, you’ll be able to log into your actual blog.
After clicking this external link, you’ll be taken to your blog’s official dashboard.
8: Create Your First Blog Post
A blog is supposed to have tons of blog content, so it makes sense that the next step in creating a WordPress blog for free is to create your first blog post.
To do this, start by clicking Posts > Add New in the WordPress dashboard.
In the WordPress editor, you will be able to do the following:
- Add a blog title
- Input written content
- Add images and video content
- Create a custom permalink
- Assign categories and tags
- Select a featured image
- Save your post as a draft or publish it
Once you publish your first blog post, search engines like Google will start crawling and indexing your site. In other words, crawlers will identify your site as live, determine who your target audience is, and rank your site in relevant search results so you can get some traffic.
Just remember, this process takes time and will not happen overnight. You will need to continue to churn out high-quality blog content optimized for your target audience and wait for the traffic to come.
Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog a Success
There are many things you can do over the course of your blogging career that will help your blog become successful. That said, here are some surefire ways you can get started on the right track from the very beginning.
Publish High-Quality Content Regularly
In order to promote your blog effectively and drive more traffic your way, you’ll need to update it with a fresh, high-quality content on a regular basis.
Creating engaging and useful content will cause your loyal readers to eagerly await your next post. Moreover, fresh content will help you rank better in search results. Search engines like Google love new content and will reward for it – especially if it’s content your readers want more of.
Share Your Content on Different Platforms
One of the best ways to boost visibility of your blog and grow your audience is to promote it on popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All it takes is a few great posts to drive more traffic to your site and grow your following.
Interact with Your Readers
If you want to show your readers you care about them, it’s crucial you interact with them. Whether this be via comments on your blog or your social media networks, engaging with people’s thoughts, questions, and concerns is a great way to establish yourself as an authority.
People want to know there’s more to you than just blog content. This will be especially useful later on if you decide to move your blog from the free WordPress.com platform to either a premium plan or the self-hosted WordPress.org platform and open up an online shop.
Optimize for SEO
Though we have already mentioned this a few times, it goes without saying that optimizing your blog for SEO is one of the most effective ways to become a successful blogger.
Here are some tried and true SEO optimization tips anyone can easily follow:
- Include keywords you want to rank for in all your blog content
- Make sure your site loads quickly for site visitors
- Externally link to authoritative websites your audience will find helpful
- Write unique meta descriptions for every blog post
- Make your permalinks pretty – on other words, customize them to be readable
- Include relevant search terms in images
- When given the choice, create long form content over short blog posts
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly for those on the go
Be sure to check out this **long** but uber helpful guide to SEO for those dedicated to improving their search rankings.
And there you have it! Every step you need to create a successful WordPress blog for free. And the best part is, it’s not hard to do at all.
With just a handful of simple steps, you can have your very own blog up and running and waiting for you to publish killer content for your target audience. Just remember, becoming a successful blogger takes time. Not only do you have to consistently share your thoughts with the world, but you also need to take the time to understand what it takes to be number one and implement a solid plan, albeit over a long period of time.
Have you ever created a WordPress blog for free using WordPress.com? What was your experience and would you do anything differently next time?