How to Start a Free Blog and Quickly Become a Blogging Superhero

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start a free blog

Last update: August 8th, 2016.

I was driving with my cousin when he asked me, “Why would anyone want to start a blog?”

He was of the opinion that perhaps blogging had given way to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and was no longer a very popular thing to do. After all, he sure as hell doesn’t read them anymore!

Pffft!

Actually, turns out that blogging is more popular than ever.

Let’s just look at Tumblr – over 120,000 people start a blog there every single day!

And that’s just one blogging service.

In this post I’m going to show you how to start a free blog and grow it insanely fast while building a beautifully loyal readership. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into sport, travel or fashion blogging – these platforms and tips are built for everyone.

If you already have a blog I’ll make sure there’s still some handy tips down below for you.

A word of warning about free blogs

Before we get started I want to issue my usual word of warning about free blogs like Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.com.

While these services have many positive features, they also have too many drawbacks to be a viable option if you want to make money or build a career from your blog.

This is not true of all free blogging services, but on many of these platforms:

  • You can’t advertise
    WordPress.com, for example, won’t let you do many forms of advertising on your blog.
  • You can’t edit the backend
    If you want to tweak your site to boost conversions or change the layout you won’t have access to the backend code.
  • You don’t fully own it
    This is the big one for me. When you are using a free blogging platform you are not the full and complete owner. You are building someone else’s asset.

This is why I recommend that all bloggers should start a new blog with a self hosted set up and their own domain name. It’s cheap and gives you complete ownership and control of that asset.

How to start a free blog: the best options

If you still want to start a blog on a free platform, that’s okay.

However, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you get started as the choices you make now will have a big impact on things you can and can’t do when you start to grow and expand.

Before you get moving it’s important to consider:

  • Your goals for the blog
    What are your goals for the blog? Will it just be a personal journal or are you going to try and build it for some commercial aspect?
  • Your target audience
    What age group of reader are you targeting? Each blogging platform seems to have somewhat of a different audience that interacts with it.
  • How you’ll be blogging
    Will you be typing your entries from your laptop or iPhone? Some free blogging platforms lend themselves well to smartphones while others do not.
  • Whether you need your own domain name
    Some blogging platforms (like WordPress.com) will let you have your own domain name while others will restrict you to ones that have the company name in the domain.
  • Whether you might want to sell
    If you ever want to sell your blog in the future it’s worth considering who will actually own your blog and whether you are allowed to sell it. On a self-hosted platform this is no issue.

Once you’ve had a good think about what you want to do with your blog it’s then a good idea to spend some time browsing around the different platforms to see what might work best for you. Here is a list of a few of the best ones that I think might be a good place to start.

1. WordPress.com

start a free wordpress blog

I am a huge fan of WordPress.org (that is the self-hosted version I use) so it’s natural for me to recommend WordPress.com (that’s the free version that WordPress hosts for you) because the platforms are very similar. It’s also pretty easy to migrate across from WordPress.com to WordPress.org if you decide you want a real blog/website in the future.

The main benefits of WordPress.com are:

  • Good range of features
    You get a lot of the features that you get with WordPress.org which makes it quite a robust free platform.
  • Ability to add domain name
    You can purchase a domain name and add it to your free WordPress account. This comes in handy if you ever want to migrate to your own host.
  • Huge support network
    WordPress is open source and as such there is a huge amount of support material available.
  • Basic stats
    WordPress.com has basic stats built in so you can see how much traffic you’re getting when you write posts.
  • 270+ themes
    There are heaps of themes to choose from so you can make your blog/website look pretty much however you want. Of course, you can’t really tweak these too much.
  • Mobile publishing
    Pretty good apps for publishing and updating while you are on a smartphone.

While these are all well and good, there are some really annoying disadvantages that might make this option untenable for some people:

  • Inability to make money
    There are big restrictions on making money from advertising or affiliates which is one of the best ways to make money from your mailing list.
  • Forced ads
    WordPress.com will show ads on your blog. This is the help pay for the costs of running the free platform. For me, this is a massive downside.
  • No plugins
    The most beautiful thing about WordPress is the tens of thousands of free plugins that you can install with one click and totally change the functionality of your website. On the free version you can’t use any.

2. Tumblr

start a tumblr

Tumblr has been an absolutely huge phenomena. So big, in fact, that Yahoo! bought the blogging service for a cool billion dollars last year. Yep, that’s billion. There are a few reasons why a blogger might want to start with Tumblr.

Some of the main features you get if you start a free blog with Tumblr include:

  • Easy re-blogging
    Everyone on Tumblr re-blogs everyone else. It’s easy to do and it’s a great way to get your blog new traffic really quickly.
  • Easy subscribing
    Tumblr pioneered this little pop out box that asks people to subscribe to your blog. It works really well and you can get followers quite quickly.
  • Beautiful layouts
    The designs of Tumblr blogs are really simple, sexy and are built for page view. That means people will often spend a lot of time scrolling through your posts.
  • Excellent mobile interfaces
    Tumblr is made for mobile. It looks great on all devices and is really easy to post articles or photos from whatever you’re using.
  • Simple backend
    Beginners will find Tumblr really easy to use. You just sign up with your email and post away.

So what are the disadvantages? Well…

  • No domain name
    Tumblr does not allow you to use your own domain name so you will always have .tumblr.com at the end of whatever name you choose. This is very bad if you want to migrate to your own domain name as you’ll lose a lot of links and page rank.
  • Uncertain branding
    Tumblr has an undeniable “feeling” associated with it. I am yet to really see a lot of Tumblr blogs that are used in their own branded way without escaping that feel that comes along with Tumblr.
  • Yahoo! acquisition
    When Yahoo! purchased Tumblr in 2013 there was a reported 70,000 blog posts migrated to WordPress on the first Sunday after the announcement. A lot of people don’t trust Yahoo! to maintain Tumblr properly and as such don’t want to risk putting years of effort into starting a blog there.

3. Medium

start a free blog medium

Medium is a very interesting new platform that has promised to put the focus back on simple content. This makes it both a good and a very bad option for some people.

The main benefits of starting a blog with medium include:

  • Utter simplicity
    One of the main goals of Medium was to make it as simple as possible to use. You’ll find the back end and the front end extremely basic and beautiful.
  • Ability to upgrade
    If you need to upgrade to something more substantial in the future, Medium has a Pro version that is quite affordable.
  • Focus on writing
    There isn’t a lot of other stuff going on at Medium. The focus is on the written word and many people have found that quite refreshing.

All that being said, some of the downsides to this blogging platform include:

  • Not great for growing a brand
    One of the benefits that Medium itself lists about their service is, in my opinion, one of their downfalls. The author is not a prominent feature, rather, the writing is the new hero. For example, if you click an author’s bio on their article it goes to their Twitter page, not the other posts they’ve written.
  • Limited control
    As with all of these platforms, you have very limited control with what you can do if you need to customise or change your blog in any way.

The great thing about Medium (and the others) is that they are free so it’s easy enough to sign up and just have a play around before deciding whether it’s a good place for you to start your new blog.

How to quickly become a blogging superhero

Now that I’ve introduced three places to start a free blog I want to go over some strategies for how you can grow it as quickly as possible and build a loyal and thriving audience.

1. Find a way to stand out from the crowd

This is the most important step in blogging (or any business!) an unfortunately one that a lot of people totally forget.

There are literally tens of millions of blog out there. You need to find a way to make sure that when someone sees your blog they get excited and remember the name.

Even better, you want them to subscribe for future updates.

So how do you do that?

  • Find a point of difference
    Why are you different to the other sport/fashion/travel/personal blog out there? Research and find a way.
  • Tell stories
    Make sure you inject your story into everything that you do. This will help people to become more interested in your blog.
  • Copy
    Not steal. But take a look at what the successful blogs in your niche have done and figure out what sets them a part. Make a big list and then see if you can replicate it in a new and unique way.

I can’t remember where I heard it but someone once said that you don’t need to be original, you just need to be distinctive. This is so important.

2. Take a single problem and solve it many different ways

If you want to start a blog and be a blogging superhero you need to solve problems for people. This is the most fundamental way that people find your blog and keep coming back.

But the thing that the really successful bloggers do is solve problems in many different ways. This is a smart idea because everyone is different.

Pat Flynn

Take a look at Pat Flynn. Not only does he have a blog about building a passive income, he also offers people content by video and podcast.

But he didn’t stop there!

When he realized that there was space for it he started a conference where he met people face to face with Chris Ducker. And when he realized it needed to be done, he built his own podcast player for people to play their downloads on a nicer environment. This is in addition to the app that he already has for people to see his site.

Figure out what problems people are having and then solve them in different ways.

3. Forget small posts, go big!

If you are going to go to the trouble of writing a blog you may as well go to the trouble of writing really long form articles that provide a lot of useful information.

Short little update style posts are dead.

The statistics tell us time and time again that both Google and real live human beings prefer long content. It gets shared more and it gets more conversions.

So think 2,000+ words instead of four 500 word articles.

Now, this is obviously not always true of every niche. There are a lot of ViralNova style sites out there that just show you one video and have a lot of Facebook share buttons around it doing very well. But for the most part, you’ll need to produce highly useful long form content if you want to cut through.

4. Be exceedingly cool (professional)

When you run a blog that you’d like to take to the big time it’s important to treat it like a business. And that means being professional.

A very popular Tumblr blog called What I Wore is the perfect example of this. The branding is tight, the concept flows well and then there are features integrated with the design to make the reader really interested.

start a fashion blog

The image above is a screen shot of a color picker that you see in the sidebar of Jessica’s blog. Such a good way to tag posts and get people to dig deeper. This was the exact type of thing I was talking about in my (now popular) article on how to start a fashion blog the right way.

5. Make it look good

Blogs are a very visual medium. Sure, people are doing well with podcasts and the like but, for the most part, the most successful websites are still text, photo and video based.

And so it’s important to make it look good.

cake blog
Photo by Heather from SMBP

Blogs like Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes use stunning photography to bring posts to life. This also has the added bonus of making it a beautifully competitive blog on photo based sharing sites like Pinterest.

Whatever platform you end up using, make sure you spend the time and money to make your stuff look good. That means a nice responsive WordPress theme, good photography, logos, and so on. You don’t need to do it all at once but bit by bit is good.

Resources for starting a successful free blog

That should be enough to get you started but you need to always be growing and learning. Here are a list of resources that might help you out.

Has anyone used a free blog?

I’d love to know if any of the Tyrant Troops have started a free blog and had some success. What did you like or not like about the platform or the process? And did you end up migrating to a self hosted set up?

Please leave a comment with any tips you have.

© Top photo: Florianr | Agency: Dreamstime.com

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87 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Elena

    I used a .blogger.com blog in the past. It was ok for learning, but have to tell you, I wish I started with a personal domain and hosting sooner. Migrating, rebranding, etc. took a little time and skill. Free blogs are great for practicing and personal blogs…but that is just my opinion. When I wanted to make money I knew I had to self-host.


    1. Ramsay

      I totally agree with you. That’s why I always give the warning about migration when mentioning free blogging platforms. Unfortunately I think some people need to try the free option first before they are ready.


  • Ankit

    This post is just all you need to start a blog in the beginning. I am sharing this info and post with my friends. Thanks for sending me an email to visit this post. You guys are doing a great job helping new comers in the field of blogging.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks very much Ankit. I really appreciate it.


  • Mia Sherwood Landau

    Good summary article. I built dozens of blogs on Blogger.com and still have many up and running, but I’ve learned a lot. I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned is to post cool things I want to remember and be able to find in the future. That means I’m blogging for myself, basically. The thousands of people all over the world that may choose to visit and read for a few seconds or a few minutes are a bonus. I’m blogging for me, so there’s a record of my great ideas and resources (like yours, Ramsay) for posterity. I love it, and sometimes others do, too. Bloggers rock and bloggers rule!


    1. Ramsay

      Nice one Mia!


  • Barry Feldman

    What a great, informative post.

    Another free option (on rented land): LinkedIn.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Barry.

      Yeah, I’ve been hearing a lot about LinkedIn blog lately and people who are driving a lot of traffic with them. Any experience with that?


  • Adam Franklin

    Hi Ramsay,

    I’ve found that syndicating my blog content with other websites, like Business2Community works well.

    When I first did this I got way more readers! And most importantly it gave me confidence that my writing was actually OK. I was doubting myself big time when my blog had no traction but when I saw my content resonate and get shared on syndicated blogs I realised I just needed to promote my articles better.

    Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Adam.

      Do they just take your whole articles and publish them like that?


      1. Adam Franklin

        Hey Ramsay,

        Yep, they syndicate it with permission, as is. That mean my links and everything are all included. Once I was approved, they got my rss feed and hooked it up to their site.

        That said, they don’t publish every article, as it’s at their discretion. For example when I was doing more promotional posts for my book launch, they opted not to publish them.


        1. Ramsay

          Any worried about duplicate content from Google?


  • Noufal Binu

    I like such type artilces, Because I’m always beginner in Blogging.
    Thanks for sharing us.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for commenting!


  • George

    Ramsay,

    I’ll only nit-pick a small point: writing long posts.

    This really depends on the focus of your site, and the audience that you intend to draw. I agree that really tiny status updates aren’t really good blogging material (in fact, the whole category of micro-blogging exists on Facebook / Twitter / etc. for exactly this kind of post). However, we also live in a time where there is a popular saying that started on Reddit and shows up on many social networks now: tl;dr — which means “too long; didn’t read”.

    I write reviews. I started off targeting about 1000-1200 words per review. It seemed like a natural length for that type of article (especially when newspapers and magazines write about that length in their reviews). But, I found I wasn’t getting traffic, and worse: my bounce rate was extremely high, and visit length was extremely low.

    I cut the articles to 500-800 words (on average) and immediately watched my traffic increase — and more importantly, the bounce rate decrease and visit length increased. Shorter articles has lead to people looking at more articles, and staying on the site longer in the process.

    Not saying this works in all cases, but sometimes you have to consider the nature of your content, and the target audience needs and write to their needs.

    George


    1. Ramsay

      Hi George.

      Love your comments; always good points.

      Yeah, there is a lot of Reddit and Imgur style content on the web that does so well – short posts, quick bits of information.

      My only concerns are Google rankings and conversions. How are your shorter reviews ranking and do they lead to more sign ups? I’d be interested to see a month of 2,200 word articles vs a month of 500 word articles.


      1. George

        Ramsay,

        (Sorry, this is going to be another one of my really long posts…)

        It’s a bit difficult to do a head-to-head comparison between the longer and shorter content since a lot has changed since I started the site (it’s been around nearly six years at this point). However, I can say that my Google rankings have been very good with shorter content.

        I have three posts on my site that I published within the last 24hrs. Each of them are quite different, and the rankings / length of the articles don’t seem to bear any immmediate or direct correlation:

        The first article places #8 on Google (although my post of the article to G+ is #2). This article is only 500 words long. It’s the runaway champ of traffic on my site right now — it’s getting about 15-20 percent more hits than my second article.

        A second article is around 2000 words, and it ranks #4 on Google (again, the G+ post is #2). However, there are several reasons it is ranking a bit higher: (1) it’s a listicle, (2) the title is link-baitish, (3) the article is like reading 15 mini-reviews, instead of reading a review of a single release. It’s definitely doing what I intended it to do: getting people on the site and driving them to other content… Since my content is my “product”, increasing the eyes on a lot of the content is the goal for me.

        A third article around 1000 words long has a strong Google rank (#8 like the first article, with the G+ post at #2 again). It isn’t getting the same kind of traffic. Not even close (less than half of what the other two articles are seeing). I think I have an explanation why it isn’t doing as well though: timing. Several similar articles came out within 24hrs on sites that rank a lot higher than mine and are getting some “bias” in Google.

        I did some informal research before changing my style. I had a few friends read some articles on my site. In their feedback I was frequently told things like: “had to invest too much time”, “there was too much detail for the topic”, “this wasn’t something I would normally read”. So, that set up my decision to change my style (and, in fact, started me looking at SEO for style guidance).

        Shortly after I changed my style I installed the Yoast SEO plugin (not trying to advertise, its just the one I chose because of what it does). I’ve been following the recommendations from that plugin for writing better structured content. The plugin is pretty clear on content being a minimum of 300 words (eliminating short status-like posts). I also apply many other writing / structure rules: at least 3 h2 headings, repeat the target words in the main body of the content, have an image, alt tags with the article keywords, etc.

        My point wasn’t that all shorter content is good, or all long content is bad. Or vice-versa. I believe you have to write to your audience. Understanding how to write to your audience, first and foremost. If you don’t understand your audience it won’t make a difference if you write short or long articles, and no amount of SEO is going to help.

        Hopefully this makes my point more clear.

        (As for conversions and signups, I can’t talk about those at the moment – other issues have gotten in the way of me focusing on those items.)

        George


        1. Ramsay

          Hi George.

          Great points. My only “come back” would be that there is often a difference between your current audience and getting a new audience. Sometimes it takes different things. Depending on the goal of our blogs, reach is the most important thing so it might mean less content for the existing users.

          It’s all about testing though. Sounds like you’re on it!


          1. George

            Hi Ramsay,

            I wasn’t looking for a “come back”. My intent in writing that long comment (and even my comments on a previous article that we won’t name…) wasn’t to put you on the defensive. Instead it was more to challenge an assertion to see if you had feedback from a different perspective… You seem to be more open to looking at things from a different perspective than many other SEO “experts” I’ve encountered.

            I’m still struggling with some things on my site.. Like implementing A/B testing and getting my newsletter up and running. A/B testing I’m having more issues wrapping my head around, while a newsletter has been a more technical / time crunch issue (as I mentioned before). So I do read your articles for the level of information you bring to us.

            George


          2. Ramsay

            Hey George. Apologies, that wasn’t meant to sound defensive. I wrote “come back” in apostrophes just because I wanted it to sound more friendly! You made good points and just sort of wanted to add to them.

            Love your comments, as always.


    2. David Spaulding

      Hi, George.

      I write reviews on my blog as well. Mainly tech/electronics related. What is your website called? You can check mine out at: http://www.tech-knowjudge.com


      1. George

        Hi David,

        My site is The CerebralRift: http://cereralrift.org. I focus mainly on reviewing Creative Commons music. Check it out. Just taking a look at your site.

        George


  • Premkumar Masilamani

    Ramsay – Are you purposefully avoiding blogger.com platform in all your blog posts?. I know you are a wordpress fan, but that doesnt mean that you dont describe in detail about other better platforms?…

    Blogger does allow you to advertise, change the backend code completely, allows you to have your own domain name. Regarding ownership, you can always backup your entire blog in the form of xml, html etc.

    I have six active blogs right now… Five of them are running in blogger.com… My personal blog was on blogger earlier, moved to self-hosted wordpress, then moved again to Jekyll. Somehow I am not so impressed with WordPress. Too many features, ended uo as too much noise for me.

    Many of my friends have started blogs after me… All of them are in blogger platform and happily blogging… Do you really think that the self hosted platform is better than google infrastructure?… Why pay for hosting when google provides you for free?… Unless ofcourse its a business and you need to have your data in your own servers… Even in self hosting, you dont have the control over the servers… Do you?..

    Regarding migration, I dont see a big challenge… As long as you have the backup of your blog posts and images, your migration should be a breeze, including the url redirections… If someone says otherwise, you should choose a better web designer… I have done all the migrations by myself…

    I like all your posts except the one’s that preaches for wordpress and self hosting for beginners…


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Premkumar.

      The main reason I don’t promote Blogger is because it doesn’t rank very well in Google compared to self hosted platforms. There are obviously some exceptions to the rule.

      There are also many scripts that I use in WP that won’t run on Blogger.

      Thanks for commenting.


      1. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd

        My blogger blog is currently doing better Google and Alexa ranking-wise than my two WP blogs at the minute. It has slowly overtaken my top WP blog but I’m not sure how – must be the content itself (or maybe because it’s older?) because I have no clue about SEO. The topic is the same for both – Tarot.


        1. Ramsay

          WP self hosted blogs?


  • Darius

    Great post Ramsay! I used to use Tumblr when I first started. Installing WordPress with your own hosting is the best choice. Always better to build your own asset but free platforms are great for beginners.


    1. Ramsay

      Totally agree. Did you migrate your blog from Tumblr?


      1. Darius

        I actually sold the Tumblr blog on Flippa about 2 years ago. Tumblr is great for when your content gets reblogged on other Tumblr blogs. Other than traffic, you get a lot of good backlinks for ranking. I might start another Tumblr blog strictly for driving traffic interested in certain topics from Tumblr to my main site.


  • Michelle

    self hosting is definitely the way to go! What I did was open a reseller hosting account and am offering a free wordpress.org blog to all my team members that want to brand themselves.
    I’m using a swanky them that is perfect for internet marketers. Now I’m doing trainings for my team on things they can do to their blogs, they are branding themselves, and I’m retaining my team.


    1. Ramsay

      This is awesome! Love it. Nice work Michelle.


  • Tony Yao

    ACtually, you can host your domain name on Tumblr. My blog uses a URL I have from GoDaddy. Unless you meant something else.


    1. Ramsay

      Hmmm….


      1. Elise Xavier

        He’s right. You can use your own domain name for Tumblr. However, if you change your domain name to your own personalized one after starting with the x.tumblr.com one, to my knowledge, you’ve broken all your permalinks that you’ve previously built (with other people reblogging your stuff). So you sort of have to start with the domain name if you want to go that route.


        1. Ramsay

          And I’m imagining Tumblr doesn’t let you do 301 redirects?


  • Hayden

    Good article, some great actionable stuff for beginners.

    IMO, people aren’t ready to invest their time reading 2000+ words unless it’s UBER specific and they trust the author.

    Would be interested to see more evidence that Google and humans are moving away from smaller content?

    Haydo


    1. Ramsay

      G’day Hayden.

      A better blogger would have included that information in the post. Unfortunately, you only have me. Ha ha.

      Here’s a good article by Neil Patel about the long form stuff: http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/12/20/the-science-behind-long-copy-how-more-content-increases-rankings-and-conversions/


      1. George

        This fits my point:

        2. Copy doesn’t always boost conversions – for some web products or web pages, shorter copy may convert better. You just have to test things out. The reason it works well for Crazy Egg or NeilPatel.com is because we first surveyed potential customers and found out all of the objections they had with the services. […]

        Neil is making (in a lot fewer words than I used) the exact argument I was making: you have to know and write to your audience.

        George


      2. Hayden

        haha thanks dude


  • George

    This was a really helpful article. Thanks, Ramsay! I set up a blog on Blogspot a couple of years ago because I liked what Drayton Bird had done with his. Didn’t work for me, and I’ve just now gotten up the nerve to start a real blog again. Just acquired three domains, and determined to create some mischief. I’ll be doing this one carefully. Heh . . .


    1. Ramsay

      Let us know how you go!


  • Vidya Sury

    You know, Ramsay, I moved from Blogger.com to self-hosted WordPress after reading one of your posts, years ago (when you had that scepter in the header) . I’d been lazily toying with the idea, but your post struck a chord at the right time and I took action.

    While Blogger and WordPress.com are all okay, I agree they’re not for committed bloggers who want to “build” something – regardless of whether it is business-based or personal. Interestingly enough, many beginners claim they are not in it for the money. I used to, too. But eventually, when I built some exposure and was approached by brands and found that they were a perfect fit for my blogs – content-wise and money-wise – I was happy. I instantly decided to monetize my blogs and donate my earnings to my local welfare home. And that was the motivation I needed to work harder at blogging, even though it is not my source of survival income. I completely agree about the long posts, too. They always rank better. When done consistently, readers happily expect it.

    I found that brands, while occasionally okay with Blogger.com and WordPress blogs, offer better payments for self-hosted blogs and prefer them.

    So, in the long run, if one actually wants to build a presence and grow, self-hosted is the way to go. As the adage goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – the expense on a free platform can easily be non-monetary, the worst of which is the case of the disappearing blogs on Blogger.com!

    Always nice to live in my own house, which is an investment, rather than in a rental – which is a recurring long term expense.

    What I liked about your post is – while it is not new knowledge, it is something every blogger needs to hear, like a refresher course. I like that you practice what you preach. Thank you. 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for the awesome comment! Love seeing you back here.


  • Will

    Hi Ramsay,
    Thank you once again for the information. I started out using a GoDaddy platform and transfered to WordPress and found it so much easier.
    By the way, can you tell us the wordpress Theme you use or is that a secret? 😉
    Regards,
    Will


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Will. I designed this WP theme myself.


  • Brad Dalton

    I think when it comes to technical posts, its better to keep them as short as possible.

    Stories are probably a different story.


    1. Ramsay

      What makes you say that?


  • Fiona

    I use blogger for my blog and I find it simple to use and can do what I want with it. However I also have a main website hosted on it’s own domain and sell advertising and run my business through that site. So I’m not using the blogger blog to make money.

    I’ve never really fancied WordPress, I’ve seen a few other people using it and it seems a lot more complex, not so easy to use. The thing I love about Blogger is it’s pretty intuitive and you don’t need to have much knowledge to use it.


    1. Ramsay

      Let me know how long you stay with it. I’m very interested in the way people use blogs.


  • Elizabeth @ Rosalilium

    I started out on Blogger simply because that was all I was aware of at the time. It was a super simple backend to use and customisable. It was great for starting out but the functionality was lacking. So within a year I migrated over to WordPress self-hosted and it was the best thing I ever did.


    1. Ramsay

      Nice one!


  • Rob McNelis

    I’m skipping the blog for now and just growing subs with off site marketing. When I go back to blogging I might use something like post haven or something simple.


    1. Ramsay

      FB Ads?


  • Stephanie Matushoneck

    Thanks so much for this article! I just started my new (and first) blog last week. It’s a fashion blog for teachers. I did what you advised, went to WordPress.org, then Bluehost where I purchased my own domain name. I think the only issue I have is that both WordPress and Bluehost assume you have been blogging for centuries and know what the jargon (i.e. plug-ins, widgets, SEO) mean. I haven’t found they are extrememly user friendly in that aspect, but with a little diggin I have found other blogs (like you!) that have helped me out. The big thing I am struggling with now is advertising. I’m not sure how or who to approach, when do I approach them (is it based on number of visits or views?) mostly things like that.

    Thanks again!
    stephanie


    1. Ramsay

      Are you talking about buying ads to get traffic to your site or selling advertising?


      1. Stephanie

        a bit of both, more selling ads on my site. I have a Facebook ad and an ad on Independent Fashion Bloggers. They have attracted a few site visits, but not much more. I don’t think I can sell space on my blog until I have a high # of followers, what do you think? And I’m not quite sure how to get people to commit to follow…
        thanks so much!


        1. Ramsay

          I wouldn’t worry about selling advertising for a while. Focus on growing a mailing list. That is the best way to keep your blog profitable over the long term.


          1. Stephanie

            Thank you! There is so much to learn : )


  • Lisa Frideborg Lloyd

    The website link for this comment is to my tumblr blog – just to prove that you CAN have your own domain name for it 😀 I’ve only just started using it properly in the last few weeks and I agree about the ‘FEEL’ aspect of tumblr but it works really well for metaphysical subjects and the audience is fab. I’m quickly gaining readership for my pro blogs there too!


    1. George

      Lisa,

      I tried to go to your blog, but was blocked by my employers firewall. The reason given is that you are using Dynamic DNS, and that doesn’t fit within the allowed policies for the firewall. (This isn’t something I have control over, it’s a corporate-wide firewall.)

      Just thought you would like to know — it does mean (potentially) that you might not be getting all the potential customers you can, especially if you are doing a B2B type of business.


      1. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd

        Thanks for the heads up, George. This is not a main blog for me. I have a few so I’m not terribly bothered by that 🙂 Would love to hear if others are having the same problem. I do get quite a lot of traffic and posts reblogged so I can’t imagine it’s too common a problem.


  • TJ

    I loved the line, “you don’t need to be original, you just need to be distinctive.”

    As a creative I get SO hung up on being original I nearly throw up in my mouth if somebody tells me my work “reminds them of…”

    The real reminder is that everything has been done. Somehow it’s a matter of finding your own twist or niche that makes you shine.


    1. Ramsay

      Ha ha. Yeah, it can be super frustrating. I see my posts all the time that other people just copy and change a few words.


  • Shahzad Kamboh

    I was overawed after catching this post. How beautifully you divulge the concepts one can came up by initiating.

    Free platforms are no doubt a good option to start when you’re just jumping into the blogging (as a habit or business whatever). I have seen many successful blogs turned from a free to paying source on getting success.

    But here, particularly, I’d like to endorse the point your raise about copying. It is a narrow difference abstraction which is normally overlooked by beginners. I think every great write is copying something or more. Some copy the nature and other goes for something else. But the core part is, copying means inspiration not that of imitation.


    1. Ramsay

      Yes, I agree as long as it is not copying straight up ideas or words. There has to be some big change of our own.


  • femmeflashpoint (Angelia Phillips)

    Ramsay,

    Lovedddd this post and I shared it all over the place!

    I started blogging regularly about five years ago, and then super-seriously about 2 years ago. My established readership is consistent and consistently developing in new ones.

    I started out in more traditional journalism, but blogging has been a fantastic adventure for me, allowing me to write what I want, and not have to slant it to a publisher’s preference or whim.

    A majority of the news I get I read from independently produced blogs and I also prefer to use blogs to gather research information.

    It’s also rewarding to encourage someone else to blog, and watch them progress from beginner to adept and hopefully to expert.

    The only troubles I’ve encountered with blogging is for the old-school media lovers to consider them as serious venues for information, rather than basic online, personal journals but even that is changing as little by little, bloggers and their readers are helping to educate their friends, families and colleagues.

    Thanks for putting this together and doing such a great job with it! I know of several who will find it interesting and very helpful!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much for sharing it. Means a lot.


  • Christina

    Hi Ramsay, just a quick question about something you mentioned in the post. Does Medium have a pro version? Any idea how I can upgrade?


    1. Ramsay

      They do. There’s an upgrade button on the pricing page. 🙂


      1. Christina

        This is really baffling. Sorry if I seem particularly dense but I can’t seem to find it. Is this a recent development on Medium?


  • Catherine

    I had a wordpress.com blog for years and never realised that it was not mine. I made some error with it and locked myself out. I was never able to log in again because somehow it was then owned by someone called Edward!


    1. Ramsay

      Oh no!


  • Marwan

    I guess the problem is where to get your first 1000 fan or subscribers, now guest posting (in my opinion) became less valuable than it was years ago, back then you could easily start your tribe with a couple of great posts on top blogs that give a good space for bloggers to write on like Pro blogger for example, but nowadays unless you`re posting on the huffington post you won`t get that kind of publicity unless you write 40-50 guest posts….

    And the problem with some of these “big” blogs that they refuse to accept your guest post if you had already written something that resembles it on your blog (not duplicate, just the same topic) and,
    some bloggers (including me) find themselves stuck between either send their well written guest posts and get few fans/subscribers for them or forget about guesting and keep their best content for themselves and wait for google to surprise them…

    What do you think Ramsey,
    -is it better to promote your best content for search engines or send them as guest posts even if you know that they won`t give you the desired outcome?
    and,
    -what are the best ways for a new blogger to get his/her first X,XXX subscribers??

    Thanks for your time 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Guest posts absolutely still work. You just have to create something exceptional and take a lot of time with it. Have a look at Boost Blog Traffic and their guideline for guest posts. That’s the way to do it.

      Failing that, I would try a landing page with a free giveaway and some FB Ads. It’s not free but it works.


      1. Marwan

        how much do you think I should spend on FB ads? (on average)

        and what`s the best landing page template
        should I buy one or look for a free template
        what do you recommend?


  • vinod

    Hi,

    I was reading your blog post about fashion blog, it was really nice.
    There I saw communication over designing and designer.
    If you need any low cost designs then please let me know, I will be more than happy to help you.


  • Digital Deepak

    This is a very informative article for people starting out on blogging.

    I do use the self-hosted WordPress myself, and I am all praises for that. I have also experienced the Blogger platform. Though it is simple, it doesn’t offer much customisation.


  • Jessica

    A lot of useful information. I already have the blog. But it’s still important to check all the tips. I have definitely forgot about something!


  • Charis

    It’s hard to find your blog in google. I found it on 22
    spot, you should build quality backlinks , it will help you to
    get more visitors. I know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tricks


  • Cedric Eve

    One very usefull wordpress feature is the multisite. Sites like InstantReviews.org let you start your blog for free.


  • Wendy

    Hi Ramsay,

    I know you closed the comments to your article about writing lengthy posts, but I just wanted to give you a shout because one of your sub-headings said to “practice writing like you’re speaking to a mate.”

    When I first start reading your blog, I was initially put off because of the length of your posts (I’m a skimmer, then a reader), but it wasn’t long until I became a fan of yours simply because you feel real.

    So kudos to you for presenting yourself as a real person (and for not using a bunch of automated messages or ignoring comments)!

    I haven’t written many blog posts, but my number one tip to bloggers is to write for BOTH skimmers and readers. This way you can cater to both audiences without having to focus too much on the length of your post. 🙂


  • phần mềm quản lý bán hàng miễn phí

    Theo mình hiểu thì bác phanmembanhang muốn đề cập đến sự khác nhau giữa một công
    ty phần mềm và một nhóm làm phần mềm. Một công ty phần mềm
    đa phần sẽ tồn tại lâu dài (trừ trường
    hợp phá sản) và sẽ hỗ trợ và nâng cấp sản phẩm
    liên tục.


  • Biz Infotech

    WordPress is one of the mostly used CMS in web sphere these days.
    As a web design company in London we aim to combine quality web design with clever
    development in order to provide our online solutions.
    Between three and four months to clean the building’s exterior facade.


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