OK, so you want to know how to build a free website. Don’t worry – it’s pretty easy, and a really good idea for many people.
Thankfully, there are lots of great resources out there to build a free website/blog.
So first, I’m going to cover who I think can and should build free sites. And if you’re ready to jump right into the ‘how-to,’ click here.
Why Build A Free Website
I should say up front here that I also have a guide to building an inexpensive website that you might want to consider.
But a paid website isn’t for everyone.
First, if you’re not an existing small business owner and you aren’t planning on making money off your site, then OF COURSE you should use a free blog. Free blogs are great ways to communicate and connect with people who share your passions.
And don’t think you’re limited to a blog, where you’re just writing all the time. I have an old friend who is a brilliant artist, but also a brilliant scientist and dedicated mom. Her art is completely a hobby, not something she has any intention of monetizing.
BUT, she also has a big extended family that was always asking her, ‘when are you going to get a website?’. And she is proud of her work.
So I helped her set up a free portfolio page that showcases her work beautifully, but that she hasn’t had to think about since she set it up. There’s just no reason for someone in her situation to spend the time and resources to do more.
Second, if you think you might want to make money off your website or you’re testing a business idea, then a free website might also be a good idea to start. Especially if your budget is super limited.
Setting up a free website is a great way to test the waters, to see if setting up and running websites is something you will actually pursue. You might have a dream of quitting your day job, but it’s ok to start small and see if you actually have the time and bandwidth to actually pursue something new.
Third, you can use a free blog to hone your writing and design skills. Early in my freelance career, I gave myself the task of writing a blog post on a personal, free website every day for 6 months. I definitely believe the practice helped me learn how to come up with good article ideas quickly, which is a great skill that still serves me.
So setting up a free website can be great if you’re starting out and you want to learn how to write better, how to come up with content, or how to use WordPress.
Jump In: How To Build
A Free Website/Blog
OK, so you know a free website is right for you. Let’s do this thing!
We’re going to use WordPress, which is the best platform for both free and paid blogs. WordPress is beloved worldwide, with millions and millions of both free and paid websites using it (source).
So when you use WordPress, you’re in good company, and you’ll be able to find tons of free resources to help you out (like this one!).
Now, there is a very important distinction we need to make. We’re not going to be using self-hosted WordPress to build your free website, which is what I used to build this website. You get paid, self-hosted WordPress through wordpress.org.
Instead, we’re going to WordPress.COM, which is where you can set up a blog for free.
So, mosey on over to wordpress.com, and click the big ‘Get Started’ button.
And you’ll see that there are 4 easy steps.
Step one, like you’d expect, is to register.
Next, they’re going to ask you some prompts about the type of site you’d like to create – the site name, what your site will be about, and your primary goals.
Third, you’re going to give your website an address. Hopefully your dream domain name is available, but don’t worry if you have to deviate a little.
And then you need to pick a plan that works for you … ie, pick the free one!
So these steps are how you get your free website. And if you can manage to get through these simple steps, then WordPress makes things really easy for you. Follow their prompts, and you’ll be on to writing your first post in no time.
I do suggest that one of the first things you’ll want to do is pick a theme, because a theme is what determines the look and feel of your site. You can find the place to do this on the left hand menu of your Site Checklist (which is where you get taken right after you set up your site).
You’ll find almost 300 hundred free themes to choose from. Try out a few to see what you like.
Finally, when I’m working on posts on WordPress, I like to do it from the WordPress Admin Dashboard. Find it by clicking here, over on the left hand side menu again:
And when you’re on your Dashboard, you can manage everything – your posts, your pages, your comments, your users, your site settings …. everything you need.
As long as you’re familiar with Microsoft Word and using the Internet in general, then you’ll probably get the hang of the Dashboard pretty quickly. For now, let’s go over the most basic way to get content on your website – by writing blog posts. And don’t worry – it’s pretty intuitive.
Go to where you see ‘Posts’ on the left hand menu, and click ‘Add New. When do that, this screen will pop up:
You screen might look a little differently, depending on your theme. For example, you can only use the Divi Builder (affiliate link) if you’re using Elegant Themes.
Finally, and thankfully, building pages for your core content (Home, About, Contact, etc) works exactly the same, you just go to the ‘Pages’ section instead. If you’re confused, please learn more about the difference between posts and pages here.
Know Your Limitations
So, that’s how you get a free website/blog. And like we covered, there are lots of beautiful themes you’ll be able to use, so you new site should be pretty great.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out the limitations of your new site.
With a free WordPress blog, you have limited space, limited seo control, and limited analytics. You can’t remove the WordPress branding, and you can’t use WordPress plugins, which are the handy features that let you customize your site and ramp up its usability (see my favourite plugins here).
And, perhaps most importantly, you won’t be able to run ads on your site, or set up a store or a membership site. So your ability to make money will be severely limited.
Again, if you don’t want to monetize your website, none of that will matter. If you just want your website for fun and to connect with your family and people who share your interests, great! You’re all set. Your new, free blog will do you fine, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance.
You can always upgrade your free WordPress blog through WordPress.com, but when you compare what you get versus what you’d get through a self-hosted WordPress site, it doesn’t really make sense.
So if you really want to monetize and grow your site, or if this site is for an already-existing brick and mortar business, then you’ll want to pay up (just a little) for a self hosted site of your own.
And if you have any questions about how to build your free website or your self-hosted one, please email me at yourbigsisteronline@gmail – I’d love to help out. Good luck!
Psssst …. like the Pinterest graphic in this post? I built it super easily and FOR FREE using Canva.
And all these great images are from Unsplash, and they were FREE too!
They’re two of my favourite online resources available to digital marketers …
find them all with links here!