How To Start a Blog for free

The complete beginner’s guide 2020

How many times did you heard that a blog is the first step to be online and have success? It is a powerful tool to boost your expertise and traffic. Is it right? Is it false? Well, …the numbers tell us the truth about it.

Blog statistics 2020: how many blog there are on the Internet
Blog statistics 2020: how many blog there are on the Internet

When blogging started

The Blog was born in the USA in December 1997, when John Barger published a personal page. The RobotWisdom was dedicated to his passion: the hunt. He coined the term “weblog” to describe the list of links present on his page.

Then, in spring 1999, Mr Peter Merholz, on his site Peterme.com, transformed the term weblog in Blog. It is still active and it is a sort of memento.

From 1999, we saw established the first free blog platforms, such as Blogger, AlterVista, Io Bloggo, MySpace. And of course, WordPress and Google AdSense in 2003.

The first version of a blog post was just a list of links and comments. People used them to find the right information on the network. These blog pages acted as Search Engine, because Google, Yahoo or Bing weren’t created yet. Then the Blog became an exciting reality for many people, and this tool spread up very quickly worldwide.

What blog should you start?

To answer this question, I’m going to outline what types of the blog there are out there:

  1. Personal blogs: the original goal of blogging was talking about own passions, ideas and thoughts, hobbies. To stick to it, you can write about anything you like;
  2. Business blogs: it is a space where the company talks to its customers or potential ones. The company has to show its expertise in the field but personalizing the message and the content. The main goals of this type of blog are: boost web traffic, build a relationship with customers, expand mailing list, promote products and services;
  3. Niche blogs: these focus on a specific topic to target a particular audience. They can range from travel to fashion, from cuisine to fitness.
  4. Professional Blogs: many people with a good writing and creativity attitude can make these talents profitable. How does it happen? By inserting in the blog, Ads, Affiliate Links, Sponsorship deals.
  5. Media blogs: they are a revisited version of blogs. Many bloggers moved from writing to creating videos, images, podcasts. These are also a way to do content marketing.

Before deciding which type of blog you are most interested in to start, please draft a list of your passion, idea, project, goals. Understand where you can introduce yourself, how you can break it down with your content, and how your target could engage with it.

Then select the one that can have an impact on your and customers lives. Take this commitment seriously because a blog requires time and effort to be successful.

Recommendation to write a successful blog post: text lenght and number of posts
Recommendation to write a successful blog post: text lenght and number of posts

How is the blog beneficial to promote your business?

Blogging is a powerful tool for businesses of any size and sector. The Blog belongs to the Content Marketing area, and it is the best tool used to boost Organic Traffic.

Implementing a Blog on a Business website has multiple benefits:

  1. It is inexpensive: it doesn’t have any cost. You can write your post or article free. The only things you need is your knowledge and competence, your hands and of course, a laptop.
  2. Incentive your rankings: Search Engines love new and fresh content. Publishing blog posts, the business gives to the search engines, original content to index. In this case, your ability and knowledge to do in-depth keyword research are essential.
  3. Increase Customer Retention: a business involves its customers in its activity and life. The customer feels included in a journey where he can find information, details, inspiration, emotions. Give to your audience a reason to be followed and shared.
  4. Establishes your authority. Providing valuable and high- quality content, the reader can see the business’s expertise in that particular industry. The business’s goal will canalize its customers in a marketing funnel. This system will influence the user to take action and do a conversion.
  5. Increase Brand Awareness: blogging will show every side of the brand, its vision, personality and message. It should be the same as every marketing channel the business will have.
  6. Earn money: you can use your blog as a space where promote your Affiliate links. It is always the former way to earn a pretty sum. There are many Affiliate programs out there but remember: if your blog’s topic is travelling, you can’t sell detergents. Be consistent and accurate.

Seven ways to avoid the blogging failure

Do you have a shop online? Maybe your goal is to boost sales, writing about the benefits that your products or services can bring to your customers.

Do you have a business blog? Maybe your goal is increasing the mailing list to use afterwards for newsletters or direct emails.

Do you have a Personal Blog? Your goal could be Customer retention and fidelity.

2. Define the target: any product, service or marketing aspect, should have in mind the target audience. To define your target, you should take into consideration five questions:

  • Where is your target?
  • Which language does it use?
  • Which issues do they show to have?
  • How do they engage on social? Which network do they use most?
  • Gather your target data: age, sex, occupation, status, interests.

Once you have all these vital information, I suggest you create two buyer personas. 2 customer profiles to keep in mind when you create content and try to answer, every time, to each of these questions above.

3. Research of trending topics: this particular point doesn’t concern a Personal Blog. For others, you have to research a topic that is trending in that specific period. You can talk about everything else, but the outcome could be mediocre.

There are many free tools you can consult:

  • Google Trends: it is a free tool that allows you to understand what people are looking for in a specific timeline and country. You can confront it with another keyword and see which trend is more popular. It will give you also related keywords and resources online.

YouTube trend: YouTube acts as a Search Engine and a Social Network. In the column on the left, you can find the section: Trends. Insert your keyword in the search box and click enter. Select the first five videos that show up, and analyze their content, keywords, topics. Take note of everything because you are going to cover points that others left out.

  • For academic resources and reports, I suggest you visit Google Scholar. If you are going to use some of these reports, docs or quotation, it is mandatory citing the source.
  • If you need numbers and statistics, the best is Statista. You can select the country where you are interested in and start the research. It is a free tool, but if you need specific information, you have to access to the paid membership.
  • At last, two famous forum and communities: Quora and Reddit. Here you can find all questions and problem that your target is trying to sort out. You have to listen to them, answer on the forum itself or take inspiration for your content.

4. Keyword Research.

This is the part that I love most. Research, gather data and make them work! After choosing the topic, you have to do in-depth keyword research. Which terms does your target type in the search engine? What are they looking for? I’m going to show you some free tools and ways to gather keywords.

– Google SERP: insert the keyword in the search box without click enter. You’ll see that will appear other terms beside your keyword. Take note of them because are additional and relevant keywords. Then click Enter and on the bottom of the first page, you’ll see two important sections. One includes the related keywords and the other the “People are asking also”. Take note of both of them because are terms to take into consideration.

Ubersuggest: this is a free tool created by Neil Patel, a SEO expert that I love so much because it provides high-quality content. Insert your keyword in the search box and the tool will show you the Search Volume, CPC cost, Competition score of your keyword and suggested one. You can also consult the Backlink section and see which website is gathering most of the links;

Answer the public: a free tool that shows you all prepositions and questions related to your keyword. It is helpful because you can see what your target is questioning.

– Google Keyword Planner: this tool is accessible if you have a Google Ads account. It is helpful if you like to run Ads and you need to check CPC cost and search volume of your keywords;

Kpaser: this tool is very powerful because it is able to find you keywords for Google, YouTube, Amazon and negative keywords.

5. Competitor Analysis.

Following the same system of Keyword Research, stop by the first page of Google SERP. Click and open up the first five organic results of your competitors. Examine their articles, the content, keywords, tone of voice. Which headlines do they use? Are there any images or videos? Fill a void they left. Use keywords they didn’t use. Give information they were unable to cover.

6. Content Planning.

Now it is time to gather all data, information and organize them in an Excel sheet, Google Sheet or PowerPoint. Take a whole look at them. Clear up your mind. Did you miss something? Do you want to add something else? Make a bullet point to organize better the put in writing of your post or article.

Did you optimize your images? Resize and compress them, because could make the page very slow, and we don’t want it. Include graphics and reports, citing the source. No rush! Take your time and plan everything.

7. Blog post template.

Every blogger or writer has his template or structure of the blog post. I have mine as well, and I’d like to share with you. You can download it, clicking here.

For the Headlines, I can recommend using free Headlines Generator Tools, such as Portent or Kickass Headline Generator by Sumo. Select two or three headlines and use CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to optimize them.

Keep in mind to always include internal and external links in the text, because they are crucial On-Page SEO elements. Check if the blog post is well presented and readable on mobile devices.

What blog platform should you use?

In the video below I will introduce you the most popular platforms and their features.

Recap

Creating and writing a Blog seems easy but you need to take into consideration many factors.

  1. Write an article with an SEO perspective.
  2. Produce high-quality content.
  3. Follow the 7 ways to avoid to fail.
  4. Be different from your competitors!

If you need any help to start your blog, please feel free to contact me here, by email or on my social profiles.

Consult my SEO services to understand how optimizing your blog is essential to be Google’s friend 🙂

Valeria Di Lonardo

Digital Marketer Freelancer| Ita & Eng| I help professionals and small businesses find the simplest way to boost their activity.

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