How to create a blog and start blogging for free in Kenya

Blogging in the simplest terms possible is the writing of a journal that is stored on the internet; a diary where you can express whatever you want and post online privately or for the world to see.  A blog mainly constitutes of posts, which contain the articles you write (plus elements such as images) and pages, which are used to display different sections of your blog.

With that in perspective, let’s immediately dive into the steps to follow if you are completely new to blogging and wish to set up a free blog for fun and without any hustle.

1. Select your platform

Three major platforms offer the most for bloggers and are genuinely free to start blogging. Each has its own pros and cons which you should consider while choosing the platform to use

a) WordPress

The most popular platform for bloggers in Kenya and around the world and considered the ultimate blogging platform. It’s best for people who want to own their online space from the beginning and customize their site appearance without any coding.

Advantages
  1. Thousands of themes available for free. A theme is a template that defines how your site looks like.
  2. Your blog is independent and owned mostly by you.
  3. It has a very easy to use interface, which requires little practice to grasp
Disadvantages
  1. Requires you to upgrade to a premium domain and hosting services in order to install externally acquired themes, plugins(which add functionality) and display your own ads.
  2. You have to promote your blog to earn readers

b) Blogger

Owned by Google and has a considerable share of bloggers but not very popular among Kenyan bloggers. Best for people who just want to write and share their ideas without ownership concerns.

Advantages
  1. Thousands of themes/templates to choose from
  2. Completely free and easy to use
  3. Security and maintenance is taken care of by Google
  4. You can make a few bucks with good traffic
Disadvantages
  1. Your content is owned by Google and thus all your work can be erased in a second
  2. Very limited customization
  3. Upgrading to a premium blog will be challenging
  4. You have to promote yourself to earn readers

c) Medium

A rather new blogging platform and network. It’s not popular in Kenya but has a substantial share in the USA. It’s designed for people who just want to share their ideas and tap into an existing network of readers (60 million monthly unique visitors) without concern on owning their content.

Advantages
  1. Easy to use and intuitive interface
  2. A large audience you can tap into from the start
  3. Medium themes available for selection

For more advantages of using Medium as your blogging platform, check out, 10 Outstanding Reasons for blogging on Medium

Disadvantages
  1. Content is not completely owned by you, changes in policy can affect you.
  2. You build the Medium brand rather than your brand when using their platform
  3. Limited customization abilities
  4. Challenging to migrate to other platforms

Personally of the three choices, I believe WordPress is the best, and this is Why you should use WordPress for your blog. Once you have selected your preferred domain, head to the platform website and start the registration process.

Medium vs WordPress vs Blogger

2. Choose your domain name

A domain name is your identity; it’s like the ID of the internet. For people to access your website, they require your domain link. This website’s domain is kampusville.com. Choosing your domain name requires a good deal of thinking especially if you want to make something out of your blog. Your domain defines your brand and hence it should be unique and at best, describe what your blog is all about.

Since you are creating a free website, your domain name will be a freemium domain and hence will be a subdomain of the specific platform. For instance, if your domain name is kenyaneats; a free WordPress domain will be kenyaneats.wordpress.com.

3. Register and launch your blog

a) WordPress

Head to wordpress.com. A ‘Start Your Website’ button will be available on the launch page, click it and follow the easy instructions provided to launch your blog.

  1. Register an Account
  2. Choose the kind of site you are building, preferably blog
  3. Type the topic that your blog is about
  4. Choose blog’s name, should be unique and well thought about.
  5. Choose the design style as provided
  6. Type in the blog name you provided in step 3. A list of domain names or addresses will appear, choose the free address provided. Your blog name and domain name don’t have to match but it’s advisable they do. If unavailable, change till you get an available name.
  7. Choose Start with a Free Site which is visible above the plans provided

Wait as your website is deployed. You will be welcomed with a simple WordPress dashboard. To write your first post, click the Write button on the top bar. Rather, you can follow the recommendations provided to fully set up your blog.

Using WordPress dashboard henceforth is quite easy especially for a freemium site due to it’s easy to navigate interface. However, if you encounter any issues, there is enough documentation available online a single google-search away.

b) Blogger

Head on to Blogger.com. Click the Create Your Blog button visibly displayed in the launch page and the site will take you through easy steps to deploy your blog. Once you log into your Gmail account, the site should direct you to blog launch page. If it fails by redirecting you back to the launch page (as it does for me), consider using WordPress or Medium.

c) Medium

Head on to Medium.com and create a Medium account by clicking the Get Started button at the top right corner. The site gives you an option to sign in using your Gmail or Facebook accounts, which automatically create your account. Select at least 3 topics you are interested in; consider selecting your blog topic if available so that you can receive blog updates from other bloggers writing about the topic. Once you’re in,

  1. Click your profile picture at the top right corner.
  2. Scroll down and select Publications
  3. Click new Publication, a form will be displayed.
  4. Type your Blog Name, a short description and upload an image that will appear as blog’s avatar. The rest of the form is optional but you should consider filling it. Social links connect your blog to your Twitter and Facebook account and pages, while the tags help people within the Medium fraternity to discover your blog posts. Lastly, I doubt whether you need other writers at this point, so click on next.
  5. A dashboard where you can customize your homepage (first page of your blog) is displayed. Play around with it; upload a logo if you have one, select how your blog posts will be displayed, etc. Once you’re done, click Create at the bottom right corner.
  6. Your blog will be deployed and to post your first article, click on your blog avatar beside your account avatar at the top bar and select ‘New story’.

Well, that’s all you had to do to build your first blog and kick-start your blogging journey. Hope you had some fun. 

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