You are convinced that it would be interesting to develop a new blog but you don’t know where to start? You have arrived at the right address! During this article we will give you our advice on how to create a blog and totally for free!
Choosing the right platform
We quickly realize it by searching on Google, the number of platforms offering services to create a blog for free is huge. It is therefore often difficult to see clearly.
Among this offer, 3 large free platforms stand out: WordPress, Blogger, and Wix.
That’s the reference! In its early days, WordPress was intended for the creation of personal blogs. Today, it claims more than 70 million users worldwide. Behind this success, there is a powerful blog platform renowned for its ease of use, with a large catalog of free customizable themes. In less than half an hour, you have completed the installation and you can create your first article directly, like in a text editor, add images, etc. Free tools and basic functionalities, but very practical like sharing buttons, forms or the newsletter are available. For the thousands of other more advanced plugins, as well as the more advanced themes, it will still cost from a few tens to more than a hundred euros.
It is the blogging platform attached to the giant Google. Blogger is 100% free, and does not offer any option or paid formula. The interface is also very easy to use and allows you to create your blog in just a few clicks. Blogger offers nearly 900 rather nice features, and there are some free predefined themes a bit classic. To use Blogger, you must have a Google Account. But after that, it will link your blog directly to YouTube, Google+, Picasa, Google Analytics, Adsense, etc..
This platform, queen of drag and drop, has the wind in its sails. Its ultra practical use is therefore the master card of Wix. It should also be recognized that Wix themes or templates are particularly neat and well designed. This is not its primary vocation, but this young blog platform has serious strengths despite obvious weaknesses. It would prevent well referencing blogs on search engines compared to its two other competitors. Another drawback is that there are no default comments. To remedy this, an external application must be selected and installed. And finally, you’ll still get Wix banners until you pay a premium package.
Some important criteria to make your choice:
- Can you directly modify HTML and CSS code?
- What storage space do you have?
- Is advertising allowed?
- Does the platform offer an interesting variety of “plugins”?
- Does the platform offer many free themes?
- Which platform is the most ergonomic for your company?
Choosing the right theme
This is a crucial moment, especially on some platforms that allow you to create your blog for free like Wix, which do not allow you to change it once the choice has been made. So take the time before you set your heart on the theme of your future blog. Feel free to run “demos” to get an idea of what it might look like and check that there is no advertising here or there.
There’s free theme and free theme!
Depending on your choice of platform, you will find a number of free blog themes online. As most of the time in the free offers, there is good but also very bad.
A visual consistent with your activity and your colors
Your blog should reflect your image and be in line with your business objectives, so be careful when making your choice.
The ability to go further in customization
You may have more advanced technical knowledge than average, check that the HTML code and CSS of the theme are accessible and editable.
A responsive theme, or nothing!
For your blog display to adapt to all existing devices, including smartphones and tablets, you have no choice, you need a responsive theme, especially as the number of Internet users who no longer pass by computer continues to grow.
At this level, it is therefore appropriate to ask some essential questions:
- Is it possible to easily modify the theme via HTML and CSS?
- Is there any advertising displayed on your pages?
- Are the colours in line with your company ?
- Is the theme in line with your online goals?
- Is your theme suitable for mobile devices?
Customize your domain name
There are several reasons why you should choose a custom domain name, rather than keep the one the blog platform gave you.
Most of the time people will type your domain name directly into the search bar. They could also fall on your domain name in your possible advertisements or on your business card.
The default domain name on the platform will be too long
Generally, the form “nameofmysociety”.wordpress.com is impossible to remember, unsightly and not credible for a professional. It is therefore important to personalize your own domain name with your company name in order to highlight it and shorten it as much as possible.
A custom domain name will be yours forever or almost forever
Think about buying a domain name: often at a derisory price, it is a profitable investment that will ensure the security of your blog. Even if you change your platform to host your blog in the future, you can link it to that name, and everything will be transparent from the point of view of Internet users. You will not need to modify all the links you have published everywhere: website, flyer, business card, etc..
Some platforms may offer you these customizations in the URL but most of the time you will need to invest a minimum amount of money in your domain name. Services like OVH offer from 4€ TTC per year.
Content is King!
Whether it’s images, text or videos, your blog content contributes over 80% to the conversion. On the web planet and even more so, in the world of blogs, content reigns supreme. With your content, you drain traffic, you create links and you know how to share your expertise with your potential customers that you can build loyalty. And, in addition, you receive valuable information about their true expectations. This allows you to adjust your business strategy and increase the conversion rate. Search engines also appreciate sites and blogs where content is often enriched. In short, publishing content on a regular basis is interesting for your readers, SEO and your company.
What content to publish?
This may surprise you, but there is not only one type of blog article. You can vary the pleasures while respecting your editorial line with :
- The ultra professional articles. In these, you can talk about company news such as product launches, partnerships, development projects, etc. You can also share what’s new in your industry, etc.
- The real life of your business. This type of article where you invite the reader into the privacy of your company is ideal to create proximity and display your human side: make them discover your employees, your premises, etc..
- Customer references and testimonials. As in the real world, customers are more confident when they realize that others have already done business with you, and even better if they have been delighted with your services or products. Needless to say, positive reviews create word of mouth on the web.
- Tips and tutorials. Internet users are keen to find answers to very specific needs. So you can offer them an article that goes deep into a particular subject. You can even ask them what theme they want you to address next time. In addition, it creates proximity.
- The guest blogging. It consists in inviting another blogger to publish an article on your blog, always in connection with what you do. So you don’t waste time creating content, and everyone gets new visibility with the other blogger’s readers.
- The interviews. The concept is to get out of the pattern where you are alone in front of the readers. By conducting an interview with an influential player in your community, your credibility skyrockets. This can take the form of an article, audio or video podcast.
- Reactions to recent studies and articles. By giving your opinion on a survey conducted or an article published related to your activity, you show your readers that you master the subject. The other advantage is that you have little research to do, much of the content is already provided by the study in question. If the article comes from a very popular site, it is only a bonus for your referencing.
Create outstanding content
Remarkable content has two implications:
- The wow effect. The reader will be impressed and excited about what you publish because your content will have brought real solutions to their problems. He thinks he finally found THE professional blog.
- The snowball effect. Very quickly, your content will be viral: it will spread on social networks, it will be tweeted, retweeted, comments will flow.
And how do we get there?
- Produce content that is neat, structured and enjoyable to read. Spelling and grammar mistakes, draft articles, too long, etc. have no place. Also, use clear language that your audience can easily understand.
- Hang up the player. Bet on a title that captures attention, provocative. The rest of the article must also be relevant, unique, even original.
- Know your audience. Who are they really? What is their profile? Age, gender, region, work, etc.
- Identify the topics that interest them, the obstacles they face that you can help them with and propose your expert solutions.
- Bring the reader to action. Your reader should feel like he is growing wings thanks to your advice. You’ve taught him something, and he won’t hesitate to come back to find out more.
In the end, the remarkable content will have succeeded in generating traffic, improving your blog’s positioning on search engines, strengthening your credibility and certainly expanding your customer base and generating sales in the medium term.
Puncturing with a quality image
Internet users quickly get bored with texts. Break the routine with illustrations, photos, computer graphics, etc. After all, learning naturally works better with images, they print better in the minds of readers.
However, these images must be:
- Relevant to the topic.
- Clear, well-framed (if you make them), with good resolutions, no large pixels, etc.
- Not too heavy for quick loading.
- Original. Corporate or hyper classic images found on image banks will not make you stand out. Either you choose a style of your own that you hold throughout the life of the blog, or you make your own photos.
Be sure to use royalty-free and free images.
Share your publications on social networks for free
They are numerous and powerful, social networks are essential partners to share your publications and make your blog known to the greatest number.
If the free creation of the blog has already taken you some time, the diffusion to the general public is just as time-consuming. And yet, this is where you must perform best, otherwise your work will have been useless.
Setting up your free blog will require a lot of energy. However, this is only the beginning of your online adventure. In addition to setting up a good organization of your writing process, you will need to be efficient in the distribution of your content through the web. Social networks are a major ally at this level. In order to optimize your shares, different tools like Buffer or Hootsuite offer a free version. Don’t hesitate to take inspiration from other blogs before you start.