The question today is, Is it possible to set up a blog for free? The answer is yes. I did. However, what I will say is that there are certain things I would start with if at all possible.
In this post, I’ll tell you how to do the key things for free but then where to invest your money when you can.
This is ideal information for anyone wanting to try out blogging without throwing any money at it for now.
I’ll also give you an idea of how much things will cost as your blogging career develops.
DISCLOSURE: Please note that I have included referral links in this post. This means if you buy anything using my links I may receive a payment. This is one of the ways I make money blogging. And I love to genuinely share great services/products with you. I am also able to offer you bonuses in some cases.
A Free Website
I recommend a free WordPress site. It is going to be a bit limited but it will get you started. You won’t have your own Domain name. So let’s say you name your site Best Blog Ever. Your Wordress domain would be bestblogever.wordpress.com
It’s not ideal but it gets you starting on a blogging platform.
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As soon as you can
Buy your own domain name and get hosting. I recommend using Lyrical Host – I use them for all 3 of my blogs. I’ve used other companies and they have not been a patch on Lyrical Host. You can read my full review Cheap WordPress Hosting with Exceptional Support. I can tell you that the time and stress they’ve saved is amazing. I never had that with other hosting companies. Also, there are no hidden costs.
Go to LYRICAL HOST and use MBC at checkout to get 10% off your first hosting plan. You can also ask them about anything you don’t understand.
Anything you’re not sure about, ask them. They really genuinely want to help. And they’re especially great at helping with all the techie stuff.
1 year hosting is £99.99 (please note this may change and remember to use MBC at checkout to get your 10% discount)
A domain name for a year is approximately £11.50
These costs will vary between providers but I only recommend Lyrical Host.
If you have any money to invest in your blog. I recommend you get hosting and your domain straight away. This will give you full freedom of your blog and more security. It also gives a much more professional look to your blog.
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I paid for my theme and child theme. I’m not even going to get into this one but what you need to know is that it’s not super important to have a paid them straight away, if ever.
Great posts for theme ideas…
There really are some wonderful free themes. Just make sure the theme you choose is responsive (this means it will work well on mobile and desktop devices).
COSTS: I have the Genesis framework and a child theme (Daily Dish Pro) which together cost $99.95 (at the time of publishing this post) – These are available along with other paid themes at Studio Press
Getting traffic to your site
The best way by far to advertise your blog, in my opinion, is Pinterest. Definitely have a presence on other social media, especially where your target audience spend time.
Pinterest is actually not a social media site, it’s a visual search engine. Social media sites, especially Instagram, don’t want people to leave their site, so moving people from Instagram to your blog is going to be difficult.
Pinterest is a lot like Google but visual. People are looking for information. They are trained to search for what they’re interested in and then click the image knowing they are going to be taken to a blog post (or some other form of information).
As a blogger, you want people to visit your site. It’s great to have thousands of people follow you on Instagram (and I do think Instagram is great for some things) but if those people don’t visit your blog, that’s not helpful to you as a blogger.
Pinterest is free. You can pay to promote pins but I’m not even going to get into that here. It’s not needed, especially at this stage.
Where the cost comes in – At this present time, I post around 10 of my own pins daily and pins from other people. This is very time consuming and hard to maintain. You want to be pinning regularly throughout the day and every day really. It is doable. I’ve done it but using the Tailwind scheduling service will make life so much easier and will free up so much of your time to actually create new content on your blog.
Tailwind costs from $120 a year (there are extras but I’ve found that the basic plan is fine). I do recommend Tailwind to help with productivity as soon as you can after hosting and your domain costs.
Create images in Canva
There are different ways to create images for your blog but I like Canva best. The free version is great and I used it for a long time. I now pay to have access to more specific images.
Images are important for your blog. As a minimum, I add 1 pinnable image (vertical image with text) and a smaller, usually square social media image without text.
Canva has template sizes for different platforms.
COST: The paid version of Canva that I use is £10.99 a month. This is not a necessity. It just makes my life easier.
NOTE: I apologize that some prices are in dollars and some in pounds. This is just the currency I pay them in. I’ll do the total in both currencies.
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I do have other expenses but they are definitely not necessary. These are the ongoing costs that I pay for my blogs.
Total yearly expenses for 1 blog rounded up = £416 or $537 (approximate costs as currency conversion changes all the time)
I hope this gives you a good idea of how you can start out with a free blog and what kind of expenses you could expect.
If you do have any money to spare I would always recommend starting out with your own domain and blog hosting. Everything else can come later. This would mean your start-up costs would be approx £112 for the year. Lyrical host offers monthly costing for £9.99. The domains are paid yearly. Keep in mind that when you add MBC at checkout you’ll get 10% off your first hosting plan. If you only do a month the saving will be a lot less than if you pay for a year.
New blogger advice
I’ve been blogging for a long time, full-time since 2017. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way. When I talk to people wanting to start blogging and they ask for my advice. I always tell them the same thing. Just get started, you can always change things you don’t like later. If you write a blog post you think is terrible in a few months time, you can totally edit it and make it better.
You need to get plenty of content on your blog especially in the first year. Ideally, 3 posts a week would be amazing but if all you can manage is 1 post every couple of weeks then that’s okay too but your blog will grow slower.
Share your blog – The place I get most of my traffic from is Pinterest, but also share on Facebook, twitter, anywhere you can.
Don’t overthink it. Just get started and keep going.
Other helpful blog posts
- Advice for new bloggers
- Cheap WordPress Hosting You Can Trust – This is my Lyrical Host Review
- 5 essentials for blogging success
- How I spend my day as a full-time blogger
- 4 ways to make money blogging
- Why I love sharing affiliate links (referral links)
I hope you’ve found this post really helpful and yes, you can definitely set up a blog for free if you need to. Please share wherever you can to support my blog. Thanks. Wendy.