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Start a Free Blog

If you've always dreamed of starting a blog, but you don't want to risk spending too much money on setting it up, then you'll be pleased to know that you can set up a blog free of charge. On this page, you'll discover how to start a free blog and make it successful.

Why I prefer Blogger to Wordpress


Many online entrepreneurs (or people claiming to be entrepreneurs!) will suggest that you use Wordpress.org for your blog. That's because many of them are actually earning a commission by trying to get your to sign up for hosting.

Now, although I have nothing against Wordpress, it will cost you at least £70 in hosting to get it up and running, and probably more. While there are many free theme templates you can use, you will soon discover that the features are limited on most of them until you purchase the full template, which will set you back another £30-40 or so.

I have used Wordpress myself, but I actually got frustrated with it and found myself endlessly installing and uninstalling themes and plugins, discovering that they weren't quite what I had anticipated. Indeed, I installed Amazon's own affiliate plugin, but found I couldn't use it with the new Gutenberg block editor.

Quite frankly, it all became rather time-consuming, and all I wanted to do was write posts!

That's why I turned to Google's Blogger platform. I managed to set-up this blog within 15 minutes, and all it cost me was £10 for the domain name. Although the themes are limited, it's easy to adjust them to your liking and you can also edit the HTML. You could also choose to move your blog over to Wordpress at a later date if you need to.

For this blog, I am using the Notable theme as I find it to be the most modern-looking theme. All you need is for your blog to have a clean, minimalist layout with easy-to-read text. Choose a font such as open sans which is both modern and very readable. Arial and Verdana are easy on the eye, although rather dated compared to Open Sans.

I have another successful Blogger blog at 80sFashion.online which I started in 2016, and it is earning me a decent income each month.

However, I have had several blogs that have failed, which is why I am suggesting not to use Wordpress unless you have money to burn. The other problem I have with Wordpress is that you have to choose a domain name before you create your blog, which you'll be stuck with if you make the wrong choice.

I suggest creating a free blog and then testing the water to see if it actually takes off. Imagine spending around £120 creating a blog and discovering you're in the wrong niche - something I did and regretted it!

Remember the rule quality over quantity. Don't rush to create as many posts as possible in a month. Make your posts comprehensive and write enthusiastically to give them a better chance of reaching the first page of Google.

Choosing a Domain Name


When you create your Blogger blog, all you need to do is pick a title, a subdomain (eg. mynewblog.blogger.com) and choose a theme. Using a subdomain will give you time to choose a proper top-level domain at later date.

I suggest picking a proper domain name within a month so you can test how your blog is performing. Do not continue to use a subdomain as it won't perform as well in the search engines.

Try and go for a .com which is often cheaper than other extensions, such as the .online I used on my 80s Fashion blog. However, you will more than likely find, like myself, that the .com is not available.

By the way, all extensions are top level and will be equally good for SEO. Type "80s fashion online" into google and you will see my blog on the first page, proving that a .com is not essential.

Promote Amazon Products and Earn a Commission


Before signing up with the Amazon affiliate program (which allows you to earn up to 12% fees promoting their products without carrying any stock), you'll need to give your blog time to become successful, otherwise you won't be accepted into the program. It won't happen within three months. In fact, it usually takes a year before a blog becomes established enough to sign up. The important thing is to keep writing posts, stay enthusiastic and, above all else, be patient!

If you are planning on promoting affiliate products, then you might want to choose a domain extension relating to your country. For instance, if you join Amazon.co.uk, then choose .co.uk or .uk. Also, if you aim your blog at a specific audience (ie British people) it will perform better in the search engines.

Having said that, I thoroughly recommend signing up with Amazon.com (the US store) even if you don't reside there. Currently, I believe this is the only store that has Native ads. These will show geo-targeted products relating to the country your visitor resides in. So, if someone from the UK visits my blog, they will be shown a product from Amazon's UK store. Please note that you will need to sign up for the Amazon affiliate program in every country you wish to earn money from.

Regarding Native Ads, I strongly recommend creating a search ad. Type in the title of the product and it will show the product on your country's store. Then copy and paste the HTML code to your page.

Always feature an image of your product at the top of the page. Simply use the Amazon image link they provide you as an affiliate. You can alter the code to make the image larger than the maximum 250px. I prefer 400px. You can do this by making a simple alteration to the HTML code. Change "Format=_SL250" within the code to the size you need such as SL400. Simple!

Then add a text link to the product within your article, preferably within the first or second paragraph. I have found that simple text links are actually more effective than any other type of link. Picture links are great, too, but avoid banners as these days they don't work that effectively.

Why You Must Choose a Niche


To write in an enthusiastic and engaging manner, you'll need to choose a subject matter/niche that you enjoy or have some knowledge of. If you simply write to make money, and you are not enjoying the process, I guarantee you will fail.

I made the mistake of starting a blog about unblocking drains and sewers. I spotted a low-competition keyword and targeted it, with the aim of promoting products on Amazon. However, I quickly discovered that I was growing tired of writing posts, and couldn't find enough subjects based around drain cleaning to write about.

When you choose a niche, make sure you will be able to continue to write about the subject for years to come. Micro niches are okay for a post/article, but you'll need a broader niche to create a long-term blog.

You need to become an authority on your chosen niche. For instance, I have an established website called Simplyeighties.com which is about the 1980s. This is a good, broad niche and there is always plenty to write about. It's a great niche for promoting products from Amazon, although a bad one for making money with adsense as the cost per click (CPC) is low.

I narrowed down the niche to post only about 80s Fashion for my separate blog, which is great for promoting costumes from Amazon, and also creating backlinks to my site as it is in the same niche. But I would not want to narrow it down any further, or there would not be enough to write about.

If you plan on making money through Adsense, I suggest researching the niche to see if the CPC is high enough. I highly recommend a tool called KWfinder which will help you find high CPC and long-tail keywords with low competition. You can use it free of charge, although you will be limited to just two searches per day. I pay for the service as it is a very worthwhile investment.

If you don't choose a niche, then both Google and your visitors will be confused as to what your blog is actually about. So let's say you choose to review books like myself. If you don't specify a particular niche to review, then you won't have a strong target audience. If you know exactly what your visitors wish to buy, you can target them with related products on every page.

For instance, starting a site called Book Reviews is going to be very difficult to make successful. You would have huge competition and you would have little idea about which type of books your readers are looking for.

Now, if you were to create a site reviewing just Fiction Books, that would be slightly better, but this still doesn't define what kind of fiction your visitor enjoys.

Choosing Science Fiction would be a much better choice, but you could go even further and create a site reviewing just books about Star Wars, but only if this is of interest to you, of course. You would need to check Amazon to see if there are enough books about the subject to make it worth blogging about.

Creating a review site is, in my opinion, the best way to make money from blogging. Write real, honest reviews and your visitors will love your blog. Reviewing books is a great idea because you can find many free Kindle books to review. I highly recommend signing up for Kindle Unlimited which will save you the expense of purchasing anything. The choice of niches is huge, too, and the first 30 days is free.

Be honest and don't rate every product highly just to get a sale - your visitors will see through this. Also feature articles that don't just promote products, and articles that are helpful to your visitors.

So there you have it. Starting a free blog does not need to be complicated or costly. The sooner you get started the sooner you'll start to earn an income.





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