Are you thinking about starting a free blog? Blogger otherwise known as Blogspot by Google serves as one of the platforms where you can create your very own blog with no investment.
Free blogging platforms such as blogger are a great way for new bloggers to enter the blogosphere. After gaining experience on free blogs, you can then move to a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Apart from Blogspot, there are other blogging platforms as well where you can create a free blog. But let me tell you this Blogger.com and WordPress.com are the 2 most popular free blogging platforms.
To start a free blog on Blogger you need very little technical knowledge. And with that said it is also important to keep in mind every blogging platform has its pros and cons. So does Blogspot.
Pros and Cons of Blogger
Merits of Blogger
- Blogger is free of cost and you will get a .blogspot.com subdomain after registering.
- Your blog is hosted by Google (Saves the hosting cost) and Google takes care of the speed and security.
- It has a very simple and easy to understand user interface. Like I earlier said very basic technical knowledge is required for running Blogspot blog.
- You just need your Gmail account to sign up for blogger.
- You can generate a passive income through your blogger blog. Once you have posted a few articles and have traffic on your site. Get the AdSense approved and start earning through your free blog.
Demerits of Blogger
- Blogger is not suitable for professional blogging as you have very limited control.
- You can only customize Blogger themes to a certain extent. Freedom to make changes to a theme is limited.
- To look professional online .blogspot.com subdomains do not make the cut. Although there is a feature available where you can buy a domain through Google or any other domain registrar and add your domain later on.
- Most of the Google products have customer support but for Blogger, Google has a forum.
- As Blogger is a free platform, you have to abide by the terms and conditions. This limits the ability to self-express.
With a serious intent to start blogging, you have to know all the pros and cons of the platform. So you know what will you get and then you can plan for the future in advance.Learn everything about Blogspot and how can you start a free blog on blogger. #Blogger #Blogspot #blogging #geekyplug Click To Tweet
Taking all these merits and demerits into consideration, if you are a beginner or just starting out starting a blog and getting experience on blogger is not a bad idea. Here is a small disclosure, I started my blogging journey with Blogger.
How to Start a Free Blog on Blogspot
Step by Step Tutorial to Create a Free Blog on Blogger
1. Getting started
To start your free blog on Blogspot visit Blogger.com and click Create your blog or Sign in.
Like we discussed before, signing in will require a Google or Gmail account. In case you don’t have one you can create one for free.
You can click the Create account button to create a new google account. To sign in with an existing account enter your credentials and hit next.
Once you sign in it will you to a new screen where you have to enter the display name. This is the name that readers will see when they visit your post. It is something similar to the name of the author and this name will also be displayed on your blogger profile.
Also in the image above you can see the Switch to Google+ profile has been highlighted. I will not recommend doing this as Google has made an official announcement regarding the deprecation of Google+ API.
Once you have entered the display name, click Continue to Blogger.
2. Selecting the domain name and theme
After clicking Continue to blogger, you will be taken to a new screen where you need to hit to the Create new blog button.
When you click Create New Blog, a popup will appear where you have to enter the Title and address of the blog. The address of the blog is the URL of your blog. If you do not have a custom domain, Blogger will provide a free subdomain for your blog.
The subdomain looks like this “example.blogspot.com” where the example is the name of your choice.
A domain name is the fundamental part of any website or a blog online and has to be selected carefully. It is the name by which your brand will be recognized online.
While selecting a domain name, go for the generic names first that visitors can relate to and later one you can convert it to a brand using a custom domain. In case you are facing difficulty, you can always refer to Tips to select a domain name for a blog.
Enter the Title and address of the blog and select a theme of your choice. The theme you select can be changed later on. Once you have entered all the details and selected a theme Click Create blog button at the bottom.
And Congrats you have created a free Blogspot blog.
When you hit the Create blog button, it will direct you to a new screen where you will see the dashboard of your blog.
The first thing you see when you enter the Blogspot dashboard is a popup by Google Domains. The search box already has the domain name of your blog. When you click search, it will show you the availability of your domain and the price. There are other domain registrars such as Godaddy and Namecheap that offer domain names at a better price.
However, if you are not willing to make the initial investment, you can always skip this by clicking No Thanks.
Now that you have created your free blog, its time to increase the visibility.
3. Settings to improve visibility
Once you skip the Google Domain popup you see the dashboard or the backend of your blog.
In the above screenshot, you can see the display name and the Title of the blog. The title will also be displayed on your blog. The display name will be visible on your Blogger profile.
Also on the left, you can see various tabs that can be used to create pages, check the stats, change the layout and theme and much more.
You can click on Create a new post to create your first blog post. But before you do that you need to navigate to the settings tab and make a few changes to improve the blog’s visibility.
Click on Settings and it will by default take you to basic settings.
In the basic settings enter the description of the blog by clicking the edit button next to it. The length of the description is 500 characters. This description can be seen right below the blog title. Writing a description will make it easier for visitors to understand what the blog is about. Here is how the description looks like on your blog.
The next step is to edit the privacy setting which is right below the description. In the privacy setting, you will get 2 options
- Add your blog to our listings
- Let the search engine find your blog
I recommend picking yes in both and then Save changes. After selecting yes, you have now listed your blog in Blogspot listings and your blog is visible to search engines.
Once you are done making these changes head over to Search Preferences in the settings. Under the meta tags, you can again see a description. By default, this is set to disable.
Click on edit and select yes to enable the meta description. The meta description has a length of 150 characters. Enter the description and click on save changes.
Now you may be thinking why is this description required as you have already entered it once?
The answer is very simple and straight forward. This description is the one that you see under the blogs on search engine results pages. This is also known as search description and it helps users know what your blog is about on search engine results page or SERP.
With the help of this description, your blog will be visible to a wider audience.
4. Adding Pages
Like any other website or blog, you can add pages to your Blogspot blog. Pages such as About and Contact are very important for any website or a blog.
Adding the About page will let the visitors know about you and the blog and with the help of a contact page, visitors can contact you. This establishes a personal touch or a connection which is very important.
To create pages on Blogger blog, navigate to Pages >> Create a new page or New page.
In the next screen, enter the page title and content. To make the page more appealing you can add images and also use the formatting option available on the toolbar.
You can change the font type, font size, insert videos and do much to make your page look attractive and engaging.
If you want to save your page as a draft, you can press the save button on the top right. It is very important to preview your page before publishing as it will let you know how the page will appear to your visitors. You can do this by clicking the Preview button.
Once you are satisfied and ready to publish the page, hit the publish button and you have created your first page on blogger.Step by Step guide to Start a Free Blogspot blog #Blogger #blogspot #geekyplug Click To Tweet
5. Customizing the theme and layout
To be honest, default themes on Blogspot are a little boring. The design is a huge part of the identity of your blog. It is recommended to have a clean and elegant blog design.
You can find free and premium Blogspot themes online. After finding the theme that fits your requirements, head over to the Themes >> Edit HTML.
In the above screenshot, you can see how your blog looks on both mobile and desktop devices. You can do some customization to your blog such as change the background, the font size of the title and body of the blog post, configure gadgets and much more by clicking the Customize button.
Using this option you can upload a new theme and also edit the code as per your requirement. But this will require some HTML knowledge.
I recommend using this option only if you are comfortable with coding.
Once you have made the desired changes, you can preview the changes by clicking the Preview theme button. And if you are satisfied click on Save theme to save the changes made.
Once this is done, its time to customize the layout of the blog. To make these changes, Navigate to the Layout tab of the left. Here changes like adding, removing and rearranging of the gadgets can be done.
Google has made this process very simple and easy to execute for people with very little technical knowledge. With just one click you can add and remove gadgets and increase the functionality of your blog.
To add a Gadget, Click Add a Gadget and a popup will appear where you can find the list of available gadgets. By clicking the + sign you can add it to the blog.
While we are updating the layout, it is important not to forget about adding the logo and the favicon. Logo and Favicon are 2 vital components of any online brand.
You may be thinking what is a favicon?
Favicon is generally the small icon that distinguishes your website from others when several tabs are open in a browser. This is what a Favicon looks like.
You can see the logo of GeekyPlug right next to Home, which is the Favicon.
To change the Favicon, in the layout click edit on the section where it says Favicon. A popup will appear where you can upload the Favicon from your computer. After uploading click Save.
After completing this step, its time to add the logo. To add a logo go to the header section in the layout and click the edit icon. Again a popup will appear and you will see the option where it says Image.
Upload the logo and select the placement of the logo from the 3 available options.
- Behind the title and description
- Instead of Title and description
- Have the description placed after the image
Select the option that fits your requirement and save the settings.
After making all the layout changes don’t forget to Click the Save arrangement button.
Once this is done let’s discuss how can you monetize your free Blogger blog?
But before we start with this part it is important to keep in mind you cannot monetize your blog using this method as soon as you have your blog up and running.
6. Monetizing your blog
After you have completed the blog set up and have published a few posts and are getting regular traffic to your blog. Then you are ready to monetize your blog and start making money online.
To monetize your blog using Google Adsense, click the Earnings tab and it will take you to a new screen. Here is a screenshot.
Now click on How to qualify for Adsense and it will redirect to a new page which is Google Adsense support. This page contains all the information you require to qualify for the Adsense program.
Once you have the Adsense approval, you will be able to place ads and earn online
Recommendation- Do not apply for this program until you have decent traffic and some posts published. You may get rejected.
Blogger is a platform for beginners which you can use to gain experience. If the blogger seems too basic for you and you want to take a more professional approach you can always use WordPress. Here’s the article How to Start a WordPress blog
I hope you find this guide helpful to start a free Blogspot blog. If you have any queries regarding this feel free to contact us via social media or the comment section.
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