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Jeremy Clarkson tours Guardian HQ after joining fossil fuel divestment drive – video



Former Top Gear presenter meets Guardian staff following his decision to back campaign for fossil fuel divestment in an effort to ‘regain the trust of the British public’ Continue reading…

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Quiz: Is comment weird? Spot the real Guardian headlines amid the fakes | Media



Sydney jokester and internet personality Dan Nolan has been having fun this week with
his new ‘comment is weird’ Tumblr. The blog is an extended parody of headlines on the Guardian’s opinion pages, featuring lots of made-up headlines juxtaposed with photos of real Guardian commentators. The whole thing has caused enough of a stir on social media that Australia’s NT News
has put a reporter on the story. So how easy is it to tell the difference between Nolan’s fake headlines and some real headlines from the Guardian’s website?
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What are your experiences of renting in London? | Society


Private renters in London face soaring costs with the shortage in housing, and a host of other factors, pushing up prices everywhere. Renters find it difficult to get on the ladder and workers are pushed further and further from the centre of the capital.

In the three months prior to June rental prices rose five times faster than the average tenant income, according to the Office of National Statistics.

As the shortage of housing causes prices to spiral out-of-control, unconventional living arrangements emerge. Room-sharing with strangers, for example, is on the rise and increasing numbers of 20-to 45-year-olds are moving back in with their parents.

So what’s your experience of renting in London?

Have you seen your rent go up by exorbitant levels mid contract? Are you one of those who has moved back with your parents because you can’t afford rent?

Perhaps you are one of the many divorcees in their 30s or 40s or key workers who just find it difficult to live in London because of the accommodation expenses.

We want to hear from you. Share your story by filling in the form below. We’ll use a selection in a feature on the London rental crisis.


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Life after disappointing exam results: share your positive stories | Education


Not everyone finds themselves jumping in the air on exam results day for an enthusiastic newspaper photographer. While some students receive the grades they want, others will be more than disappointed.

A levels and GCSEs are great markers in our lives, with the former signalling the end of thirteen years of school education. There is a lot to celebrate. But for those of us who don’t make the grades it can be hard to see a way forward.

Grades fell slightly last year, but does this mean that more people will fail to go on to have fulfilling lives? No, it doesn’t. I got an E in textiles. But it all worked out okay in the end.

Did you receive less than desirable GCSE or A Level results? What happened next? We want to hear your positive stories for a feature on the site.

Fill in the form below, or email: carmen.fishwick@theguardian.com


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A proper coffee at last.


Restaurants and bars are allowed to open all over the island as of today. I was expecting many places to be really busy, but this wasn’t the case. It’s been 9 long weeks and apart from the odd takeaway coffee, I finally had coffee in Garajau this morning and it was very quiet with only […]

The post A proper coffee at last. appeared first on Madeira Island News Blog.

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New South Wales’ new logo and slogan slips by unnoticed – almost | New South Wales


When Victoria unveiled its new state logo and tagline to much fanfare in August, the New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, was quick to get a jibe in.

But at least people noticed Victoria had a new logo.

Perhaps wary of similar negative publicity, New South Wales seems to have changed its corporate branding with no fanfare at all.

In fact, the new logo and slogan appear to have been in place for at least a week. That’s at least a week in which Baird has managed to avoid a witty retort from Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews.

The earliest reported sighting of the logo was at a press conference in Martin Place on 2 September, but ABC Sydney’s photo of it was met with a straight-faced response on Twitter: just one retweet.

When it resurfaced on the social network a week later, the response was somewhat larger, but also rather less kind.

“The definition of designed by committee,” tweeted The Feed host Marc Fennell.

Though the state government website and branding guidelines were on Thursday still showing the old waratah logo, a spokesman told Guardian Australia that there had been no attempt to conceal the “freshening up of the state brand”.

“Victoria had a huge campaign and a huge launch, costing a huge amount of money. We’re just quietly filtering it through into the different bunting and branding and so on.

“We haven’t made a big deal out of it, but we’re certainly not trying to conceal or hide it.” He agreed that it was something of a “soft launch”.

When asked what “it” was that New South Wales was making happen, the spokesman said it was “just a buzz around the state in terms of economic growth and infrastructure”: “The premier has used the phrase several times this week in media conferences and it feels like we are making it happen.”

The Victorian premier had yet to publicly respond to the new NSW logo as this article was published. Your move, Daniel Andrews.

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Finally girls matter: Why religious leaders are vital in fight to end FGM | Society


As someone who comes from a very conservative Muslim household, one of my biggest struggles has been trying understand the link between Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Islam. My father is an Imam and growing up I always heard my family refer to FGM as sunna. Even though sunna is not an obligation, it is a favoured action in Islam.

Last year I sat down with Imam Fatty, the former imam of the State House Mosque who has strongly advocated FGM in the Gambia.

Although we did not agree on the majority of issues around FGM, it was an important moment when the renowned hardliner admitted to me that FGM is not a religious obligation.

This was a huge step forward for the campaign. In the past few months we’ve witnessed previously unthinkable changes in the approach to FGM in the Gambia. In November the country’s President Jammeh agreed to ban the practice and since then we have been working behind the scenes to make sure that this law is really used to protect the rights and lives of young women from FGM.

My team and I in partnership with Think Young Women and Women’s Bureau with funding from The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund and The Girl Generation organised the first National Islamic conference in The Gambia.

This event gathered religious leaders from all regions of the country and also with well-known religious scholars from Senegal and Mauritania. In the lead-up to the conference we were faced with a number of hurdles that we had to overcome and even getting some of the religious leaders in the room proved difficult. Ninety per cent of the religious leaders who attended were pro FGM, and this was a steep learning curve for us as we were addressing an audience who we needed to convince to come on side.

It was important for us to provide a space where we could encourage them to engage in the issue and speak their minds so that we could find a way to move forward together.

By the end of the conference we could sense that something had changed. The general consensus was that FGM is a harmful practice that is not Islamic, although there are some who still need to be convinced.

A simple majority of 16 from the Supreme Islamic Council agreed that circumcision or mutilation, should be stopped as recent times has proven that the practice causes more harm than good. These sixteen religious leaders signed a declaration to join other leaders involved in the fight to end FGM in The Gambia.

One statement that really stuck in my mind was by a religious scholar from Farafeni. He is known as one of the most pro FGM religious leaders. At the end of the conference he stood up and said: “If this practice is bad for our daughters, lets please end it now”. He then walked up to me outside and thanked me.

Culture is not stagnant. When you look at where we started to where we are now, you will see that change is happening.

This conference was needed to create an understanding than FGM is not just an Islamic issue but it also practised in non-Islamic states and communities such as those in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. By addressing the misconceptions around FGM and Islam with discussions involving religious leaders, The Gambia can serve as a model for other countries in Africa.

There is hope for the millions of girls that are at risk and as young people, with the future ahead of us, we know that hope is the only thing stronger than fear.

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60 Entrepreneurs Share Best Business Advice & Success Tips


As an entrepreneur, I’ve painstakingly learned the importance of heeding the best business advice I’ve received from many of the world’s top entrepreneurs. The bottom line: It takes a lot to start a business and grow it to profitability. Funny enough, the most impactful lessons have come from my biggest failures though.

All in all, despite receiving great business advice and success tips back during my college days, I’ve gone on to learn more about how not to start a business through my experiences. Still, my early failures haven’t stopped me in learning from my mistakes and moving on to become gainfully self-employed.

Over the past five years, I’ve gone from learning how to start a blog and growing it to more than 500,000 monthly readers (head over here if you want my top blogging tips). I’ve launched online courses, started a profitable freelance businessbuilt physical products and more.

I grew my side business to over six figures in revenue before quitting my job in 2016.

Now, I’m teaching other entrepreneurs how to do get started in my free course, Find a Profitable Business Idea today. But this post isn’t really about me (surprise). And I want to start by answering an important question…

Why put much stock in business advice?

I’ll be the first to tell you that each and every one of these entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed to share their business advice with you—have had their own unique journey to building a successful business. They’re all different. Some come from backgrounds of wealth and influential connections—while others have built empires starting truly from nothing.

Don’t take the business advice you hear as gospel to be followed word-for-word. Rather, use it as a tool to inform your big decisions and major strategic moves within your own business.

The reason you should care about the business advice other successful entrepreneurs have to share with you… is that their experiences and words of wisdom may just come in handy one day. I worked hard to bring advice from a diverse sampling of the world’s most successful and respected entrepreneurs, so you’ll be prepared to start a business in today’s climate.

From Richard Branson to Arianna HuffingtonTim FerrissMark Cuban, Sophia Amoruso and many more, the business advice from this group of entrepreneurs is collectively worth an incalculable amount of time and money.

They’ve created products & services we’ve all heard of, turned entire industries upside down, redefined what it means to be successful when you start a business and many have also written business books or taught online business courses about it. Suffice it to say, their business advice is worth its weight in gold.

Not surprisingly, many of these entrepreneurs had very similar pieces of business advice to share, based on what’s worked for them when it comes to learning how to grow a business.

Here were some of the biggest trends in their business advice:

  • Business ideas alone are worth very little. If you want to start a business and become successful with it, you need to solve meaningful problems. Execution is everything in business.
  • Don’t just learn how to start a blog (or any type of business) unless you’ll be doing something you truly love and are good at, or unless you can dedicate yourself to becoming that expert over the coming years. And if you do want to start a blog, be sure to get started on the right foot with the advice from one of these blogging courses.
  • Becoming successful in business is more about your mentality, psychology and determination than it is about finding little tips, tricks, hacks and exploitations in the marketplace.
  • Start today. The only true way to learn is by doing and you can’t afford to sit around waiting for funding, hoping someone else will come along to help you execute on your idea or complain that you don’t have the time. Making excuses won’t help you start a business and it sure as hell won’t help you create the lifestyle you want for yourself.
  • Launch before you feel ready. If you wait until your product or service feels perfect, someone else will already be doing a better job of helping your customers solve their problems. Validate your business idea by launching fast, bringing on a small group of paying customers and adapting to make your solution great for them over time.
  • How you choose to manage your time and decide which opportunities to pursue will greatly impact your success when starting a business. Outsource everything you can, so that you can focus on doing what only you can do in your business.
  • Do everything in your power to avoid spending money when you start a business. Build a lean solution that provides value to your customers and only spend money on the absolute essentials at the moment you need them.
  • Never stop building meaningful relationships with customers and other people in your industry. Choosing to instead view competitors as potential partners and collaborators can positively impact your business in a big way.
  • Focus on setting & achieving small incremental goals rather than trying to start a business and instantly build your vision of what the company should be in the years to come. Setting realistic goals and milestones is a major component of building long-term success. This mentality is how I went from learning what a blog is, to eventually choosing a website builder to growing my blog with tactics like guest blogging and social promotion.
  • And much, much more…

Whether you want to start a business for the first time or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find incredible value in the best business advice and success tips these entrepreneurs have to share today—some of them even made their way over to my list of the best motivational quotes I’ve heard.


Want the really good stuff?

Join my community today and I’ll send you weekly tips, strategies and insights on growing a side business.


Oh, and one last word of advice—I highly recommend reading this entire post.

You’ll hear from some of the most recognizable names in business from the past several decades.

60 Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Business Advice and Tips for Success

Let’s kick this off with one of my biggest heroes in the world of business, Sir Richard Branson.

1. Richard Branson. Start-Business-Advice-Richard-Branson-on-ryrob

Sir Richard Branson, one of the world’s most recognizable billionaires, and the founder of Virgin Group, has built an empire comprised of more than 400 companies including airlines, record stores, publishing organizations and he’s even tackling commercial space travel. He’s also the author of more than a dozen business books, including his latest (fantastic) autobiography, Finding My Virginity that shares from behind-the-scenes of the ups and downs throughout Branson’s more than fifty year career as an entrepreneur. During his interview on 30 Days of Genius with CreativeLive, I got to hear his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own, first-hand:

“The best businesses come from people’s bad personal experiences. If you just keep your eyes open, you’re going to find something that frustrates you, and then you think, ‘well I could maybe do it better than it’s being done,’ and there you have a business.”

“If you can improve people’s lives, you have a business. People think, ‘well everything’s been thought of,’ but actually, all of the time, there are gaps in the market here and gaps in the market there.”

2. Arianna Huffington. Start Business Advice Arianna Huffington on ryrob

Arianna is a co-founder of The Huffington Post, author of the recent New York Times best-seller The Sleep Revolution and stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post to pursue her new wellness startup, Thrive Global, which will offer wellness trainings and workshops on stress reduction. Here’s her business advice for entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time:

“If you’re going to start a business, you need to really love it, because not everybody is going to love it. When The Huffington Post was first launched in 2005, there were so many detractors. I remember a critic who wrote that The Huffington Post was an unsurvivable failure.”

“When you get reviews like that and detractors like that, you have to really believe in your product. When you really believe in your product, you are willing to deal with all the naysayers and persevere.”

3. Mark Cuban. Start-Business-Advice-Mark-Cuban-on-ryrob

Mark is an entrepreneur and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank. He’s the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, and is the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV. In his recent interview on 30 Days of Genius with CreativeLive, Mark talked a lot about the mistakes many new entrepreneurs make when they think they’ve found a profitable business idea. Here’s his business advice to those who want to start a business:

“What I always ask people is, (1) is it something you love to do and (2) is this something you’re good at?”

“Then, taking that first step is always the hardest. It’s terrifying, but really, it’s about preparation. We all go through this process where you’ve got the business idea, you get that feeling in your stomach and you get all excited. Then you talk to a friend, and your friend says, ‘oh wow that’s pretty cool, I’ve never heard of anything like that. I’d buy that.’ And then you do the Google search.”

“The first thing I’ll tell you, is that just because you don’t see it on Google, doesn’t mean one hundred companies haven’t gone out of business doing the same thing. It hasn’t been done for a reason, because every company that’s tried it, has gone out of business.”

4. Robert Herjavec. Best Business Advice from Robert Herjavec on ryrob

Robert is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor who’s built & sold several companies to major brands like AT&T. Now a leading authority on information security technology, he’s also one of the most recognizable faces from ABC’s award-winning show, Shark Tank where he’s earned a reputation for sharing down-to-earth business advice to young entrepreneurs. Here’s Robert’s best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs when it comes to pitching your idea:

“You have 90 seconds, if you’re lucky. If you can’t make your point persuasively in that time, you’ve lost the chance for impact. Facts and figures are important, but it’s not the only criteria, you must present in a manner that generates expertise and confidence.”

“If you’re not prepared to make your pitch, you may just miss your next big opportunity.”

For more advice on how to successfully pitch investors, check out my friend Jock’s guide on how to pitch a Shark.

5. Sophia Amoruso. Start-Business-Advice-with-Sophia-Amoruso-on-ryrob

Sophia transformed Nasty Gal from an eBay store into a multi-million dollar empire with her own clothing line that was named the fastest growing retailer in 2012. She’s also the author of the New York Times best-seller #GIRLBOSS. Here’s her best piece of business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer; you never know what you’re going to learn along the way.”

“The people who told me no, were the people that eventually told me yes; so don’t forget it.”

6. Tony Robbins. Start Business Advice Tony Robbins Quote on ryrob

Tony is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, philanthropist and the nation’s #1 life and business strategist. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations and organizational turnaround, he has served as an advisor to leaders around the world for more than 38 years. He’s also the author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller MONEY: Master The Game. Tony has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“The most painful mistake I see in first-time entrepreneurs is thinking that just having a business plan or a great concept is enough to guarantee success. It’s not. Business success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. And, frankly, most people’s psychology is not meant for building a business.”

“My business advice? Think honestly about who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what mindset you need to have to get there. Because the biggest thing that will hold you back is your own nature. Few people are natural risk-takers or emotionally ready for the challenges of building a business. You can’t just sign up for a marathon and run it without ever training. You have to increase your capacity and become fit. Being an entrepreneur requires similar kinds of emotional and psychological fitness so that you don’t become the chokehold on your business’s success.”

7. Tim Ferriss. Tim-Ferriss-Start-Business-Advice-on-ryrob

Tim is a New York Times best-selling author of three books, including the The 4-Hour Workweek. He’s also an investor, host of what’s usually the #1-ranked business podcast and an entrepreneur in his own rite. Today, he’s passing on the best business advice he’s received:

“The best advice I’ve ever received is that you’re the average of the 5 people you associate with most.”

“I’ve actually heard this from more than one person, including bestselling authors, Drew Houston of Dropbox, and many others who are icons of Silicon Valley. It’s something I re-read every morning. It’s also said that ‘your network is your net worth.’ These two work well together.”

8. Guy Kawasaki. Start Business Advice with Guy Kawasaki on ryrob

Guy is Chief Evangelist of Canva, the author of thirteen books including the acclaimed Art of the Start, which has been hailed as a weapon of mass creation by entrepreneurs around the world. He’s also the former chief evangelist of Apple. Here’s his business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“My best business tip is to focus on the prototype. Don’t focus on your pitch deck, business plan or financial projections.”

“If you get a prototype out and you get enough people using it, you never have to write a business plan, do a forecast or do anything like that. A prototype is where you separate the BS from the reality.”

9. Derek Sivers. Best-Business-Advice-from-Derek-Sivers-on-ryrob

Derek has been a musician, producer, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and book publisher. He started CDBaby and HostBaby, which got way too big, so he gave them away. Now he’s a writer, programmer and student. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Start now, you don’t need funding. Watch out for when you want to do something big, but say you can’t until you raise money to fund the idea. It usually means you’re more in love with the idea of being big than with actually doing something useful.”

“For an idea to get big, it has to be something useful–and being useful doesn’t need funding. If you want to be useful, you can always start right now with just 1% of what you have in your grand vision. It’ll be a humble prototype of your grand vision, but you’ll be in the game. You’ll be ahead of the rest because you actually started, when others waited for the finish line to magically appear at the starting line.” Read this post from Derek for much more.

10. Nir Eyal. Want to Start a Business Advice from Nir Eyal on ryrob

Nir is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and blogs about the psychology of products at NirAndFar.com. Here’s his two cents and success tips for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“The easiest way to tell if someone is a first-time entrepreneur is when they’re secretive about their ideas. I don’t reply to people who ask me to sign an NDA. Real entrepreneurs know good ideas are cheap and that success comes from hard work, not a stroke of genius.”

“The other big mistake I see entrepreneurs make is building a product for a customer they don’t know well. That’s why I always advise entrepreneurs to build a product for themselves–at least that way you ensure you’ve built something for a user you know intimately. All of the great tech companies of the past decade–Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Snapchat–were built by founders who were making products they wanted to use.”

11. Tara Gentile. Business Advice and How to Start a Business with Tara Gentile on ryrob

Author, speaker, and the founder of What Works. Tara works with business owners to help them transition into more profitable business models, more compelling messaging, and more influence. She’s featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc, and DailyWorth for the work she’s done with her clients. Here’s Tara’s take on the biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make when they want to start a business:

“They wait to get started. They wait until they have more information, more experience, more, more money, and a more perfect version of whatever they have created.”

“All that waiting means they’re not really learning. When you’re an entrepreneur, the best way to learn is to do something, to put your idea into someone’s hands, or to talk to the people you want to serve. Stop waiting and do… something.”

Want to learn more from Tara? Check out her classes on CreativeLive covering a wide range of topics like turning your service into a product, building a community around your business, writing and selling eBooks, and more.

12. Chase Jarvis. Start Business Advice with Chase Jarvis CreativeLive on ryrob

After becoming one of the world’s most well-known photographers at a relatively young age, Chase went on to co-found, CreativeLive, the world’s largest live streaming education company. Here’s his business advice for new entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“Scratch your own itch. Go after solving a problem that you have. Something that’s near and dear to you, not some random market opportunity.”

“Because, when things get hard, if you’re chasing just the dollars, or a random market opportunity, you’re not going to be able to have the fortitude, the passion, to stay with it.”

13. Noah Kagan. Start Business Advice from Noah Kagan on ryrob

Noah’s the Chief Sumo at AppSumo, a community for entrepreneurs to discover and utilize the greatest products and blogging tools and even some blogging books for growing businesses. He also runs Sumo, a powerful suite of tools for growing web traffic, and was employee #30 at Facebook before getting fired and moving on to be an early director of marketing at Mint. Here’s his business advice for entrepreneurs wanting to start a business for the first time:

“Don’t waste time or spend money on non-core issues when starting a business. In fact, don’t spend any money until you make some.”

In an interview on my podcast, The Side Hustle Project, Noah shared with me even more of his business advice and thoughts about how aspiring entrepreneurs should go about starting their projects and successfully promoting your blog—including how he earned $1,000 in 24hrs on a brand new idea… selling beef jerky.

14. Steli Efti. Start-Business-Advice-with-Steli-Efti-on-ryrob

Steli is the CEO of Close, a high-powered inside sales communication platform (and my pick as the best CRM for small business) that’s powered by his years of experience driving millions of dollars in sales for hundreds of venture backed Silicon Valley startups. Here’s what Steli has to share as far as business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business today:

“One of the most painful and common mistakes I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they fall in love with their own business idea.”

“They’ll spend months building what they believe to be the next innovative, disruptive, game-changing startup. Then they launch… and nobody buys, nobody cares, nothing happens.”

“Don’t fall in love with your business idea. Instead, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, and validate your business idea early on that it is a problem worth solving.”

15. Vanessa Van Edwards. Start a Business with Vanessa Van Edwards on ryrob

A Huffington Post columnist, Vanessa’s groundbreaking work at Science of People has been featured on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show and USA Today. Here’s what she believes is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when they start a business for the first time:

“There is no path! I think the biggest mistake first-time entrepreneurs make is they desperately want a structured business plan and direct path.”

“One of the most important things about starting a business is being flexible. Listening to customers, watching data and making iterations and changes as needed. Sometimes having a path or a rigid business plan can limit you. Think of your business like a meadow not a path, just play!”

16. Lewis Howes. Start-Business-Advice-Lewis-Howes-on-ryrob

Lewis is the New York Times best-selling author of The School of Greatness, and host of the top-ranked podcast bearing the same name. He’s a writer, speaker, and online educator that teaches entrepreneurs how to start profitable online businesses—and he shares his story in this episode of my podcast, right here. Here’s his single best piece of business advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs:

“Perfectionism cripples a lot of entrepreneurs. They won’t launch their site or put their product up for sale until they think it’s perfect, which is a big waste of time. It’s never going to be perfect.”

“Pitch your product or service as soon as you have the bare bones of it put together. This will give you valuable feedback about whether your market really wants it. You can polish it later.”

17. Jon Acuff. Start-Business-Advice-with-Jon-Acuff-on-ryrob

Jon is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including Do Over. He’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose and Staples. Now, he speaks to hundreds of thousands of people annually and reaches over 4 million readers on his blogs. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“What I’ve learned, and what you’re going to learn too, is that being an entrepreneur takes hustle. And here’s the problem: Sometimes we think hustle is about becoming a workaholic or adding a lot of stuff to our lives.”

“Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It’s not about doing more, it’s about focusing on the things that you need to do, in order to move your business forward. Hustle the right way.”

18. Syed Balkhi. Best Business Advice from Syed Balkhi on ryrob

As the founder of WPBeginner, Optinmonster and several more successful online businesses, Syed has learned a thing or two about creating a successful blog business plan and launching companies in his 25 years as an entrepreneur. When asked to share his best business advice for young entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to figuring out how to promote your blog in the early days, here’s what he has to say:

“Perfect is a curse. Innovation is messy. Test, learn, and improve.”

“Often new entrepreneurs wait too long to put their product out in the market. With limited resources at hand, its crucial that you get an MVP out ASAP and start getting traction. Take the user’s feedback to iterate and improve your products.”

“Not launching fast enough is a mistake you simply can’t afford to make. If you want to get an edge over others, launch now!”

19. Sujan Patel. Start Business Advice with Sujan Patel on ryrob

Sujan is a growth marketer and co-founder of the content marketing agency, Web Profits. He also runs Mailshake, Narrow and jumps out of airplanes in his free time—but seriously, Sujan has some impressive marketing skills and he (unknowingly) taught me much of what I’ve learned about going from learning how to make a website to picking up how to drive traffic to my blog. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business today:

“The most painful mistake I see inexperienced entrepreneurs make is copying or doing the same things that successful entrepreneurs have done, expecting similar results. What first-time entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the world is not a vacuum and there’s more going on behind the scenes than it appears. There’s much more effort that has gone into creating the success they see on the surface, and there’s no guarantee that a particular tactic or strategy will be successful for everyone.”

“My advice to first time entrepreneurs is to not get caught up in the glamour and don’t take things for face value. Rather, use these successes they read about as inspiration for what you can do too. I almost always recommend they set more realistic goals and forget about ‘going viral’ or trying to be like someone else.”

20. Ilise Benun.  Start a Business Advice from Ilise Benun on ryrob

Ilise teaches creative professionals how to get better clients with bigger budgets. She mentors, coaches, and sells marketing tools for entrepreneurs on her site, the Marketing Mentor. Here’s how she advises first-time entrepreneurs when it comes to setting expectations around what it takes to start a business:

“Most people start out with completely unrealistic expectations of what level of effort is required and how long it takes to get a business off the ground. They are easily discouraged and give up way too soon. I blame it on wishful thinking.”

“The reality is that there is no way to know how long it will take or whether it will work at all. So my advice is to approach it with humility, grit and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, even if that means you have to work really hard for a long time.”

21. Jeff Haden. Start-Business-Advice-Jeff-Haden-on-ryrob

Jeff is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer and contributing editor to Inc. He worked his way up to managing a 250-employee book plant and has become a sought-after ghostwriter for the world’s top business leaders. He’s written more than 50 books, including six Amazon Business and Investing No. 1’s. He’s collected four years of business advice in his most recent book, The Motivation Myth. Here’s his best piece of business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“Never forget that your business needs to take in more money than it spends. I know that sounds too simple, but so many people lose sight of that. That’s also why so many first-time entrepreneurs over-invest (or spend so much of their time looking for investors) early on.”

“Instead, work to come up with a creative solution that costs little to no money. That forced discipline will help you spend less than you make, even when you’re not making a lot. Sometimes capital is necessary, but at some point there must be return on that capital. There’s nothing wrong with taking equity investment, investing for the future, even losing money for a few years. But your plan has to get you back to that simple equation of making more than you spend.”

22. Larry Kim.Business-Tips-and-Advice-on-How-to-Start-a-Business-with-Larry-Kim-ryrob

Larry is the founder of both Mobile Monkey, a next-generation chat bot for marketers, and Wordsream, a leading provider of AdWords, Facebook and keyword research tools used by over a million marketers worldwide. Larry is also a top columnist at Inc magazine, a Techstars mentor and keynote speaker for events around the world. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is over-estimating the novelty of their big idea.”

“Most often when I get pitched ideas from first-time entrepreneurs, I ask how is this different from [x]? Seriously, because it takes so much time and effort to go all-in on a business idea, you might as well wait for a truly great one.”

23. Srinivas Rao. Start-Business-Advice-with-Srini-Rao-the-Unmistakable-Creative-on-ryrob

Author of Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best and host of the acclaimed podcast, The Unmistakable Creative, Srini has interviewed over 600 entrepreneurs, creatives and thought leaders from all walks of life. From Tim Ferriss to Seth Godin, Kevin Kelly, Ryan Holiday and more, Srini has learned from the best, what it takes to become successful in business. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneur who want to start a business of their own:

“Probably the most costly mistake many entrepreneurs make is in choosing the people that they work with or hire. It’s a mistake I’ve made. And it’s a mistake I’ve seen over and over again.”

“The way we’ve gotten around that is to always work with somebody on a project before we start handing over significant equity stakes or large sums of money. If the trial project goes well, then talk about expanding the scope of the relationship. Sam Altman from Y-Combinator once said something to the equivalent of ‘a bad hire in the first few employees can be detrimental to a startup.’ I’ve really taken that to heart in my business.”

24. Michelle Schroeder. Business Advice from Michelle Schroeder on ryrob

Michelle is an entrepreneur and blogger that runs the personal finance and lifestyle blog, Making Sense of Cents. Since 2011, she’s been using her background in finance to write great content and grow her blog business to over $70,000 in revenue per month. Here’s her business advice for new entrepreneurs who want to start a business, become gainfully self-employed and avoid the biggest blogging mistakes out there:

“The most painful mistake I see first-time (or inexperienced) entrepreneurs make is that they see others in their industry or blog niche as competition. This can significantly hold you back, as you may never learn industry secrets and tips, make genuine friends, and more.”

“Instead, I think you should see others in your industry or niche as colleagues and friends. You should network with others, attend conferences, reach out to people, and more.”

25. Conrad Wadowski. Best Business Tips and Advice to Start a Business Conrad Wadowski ryrob

Founder of GrowHack, an email subscription of 17,000 founders and practitioners focused on repeatable monthly growth. Here’s the business advice Conrad has to impart with entrepreneurs who want to start a business today:

“At this point, I’ve worked closely with dozens of new technology products. Across the board, the most painful mistake I see first-time entrepreneurs make is placing too much focus on building product versus learning from users. There usually isn’t much risk in building software, but there’s a lot of risk in bringing a new product to market.”

“A few ways to solve this include: constantly talking to users, building an audience while or before you build and taking time to learn how users actually behave with your product. Not easy, but if you can really understand which type of user you want to optimize toward, you’ll increase your odds of finding an initial wedge in the market.”

26. Ankur Nagpal. Start a Business Advice from Ankur Negpal at Teachable

Ankur is the Founder and CEO at Teachable, the premier online course building platform that allows online educators to build beautiful course websites, self-host content, control the branding, student data, and pricing all from one place. Here’s his business advice for new entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“The most painful mistake I see people making repeatedly, particularly with their first project is striving for perfection over getting it done.”

“Weeks turn into months, months into years. As a result, whatever they are trying to launch isn’t out there gaining traction in the marketplace because of the fear of being perfect.”

“My advice is to go out and break shit. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission when you start a business. The only way your project, your business idea or whatever is in your mind is going to become better, is by having people use it in the real-world. Listen to them and iterate until you have a solid product.”

27. Laurence Bradford. Start a Business Advice with Laurence Bradford of Learn to Cofe With Me on ryrob

Laurence is the creator of Learn to Code With Me, where she empowers people to learn digital skills so they can get ahead in their careers and lives. Her writing has been featured on Forbes, Mashable, and more. Here’s her business advice to first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“The biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make is not putting themselves out there. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to show others what you’re doing.”

“Instead of praying an audience (or customers) will find you, get in front of people in your space. Start a blog, podcast or create video content. Take advantage of social media. Attend in-person events. One way to make “putting yourself out there” easier is by making an effort to help others. (Sounds counterintuitive, I know!) On the individual level, maybe it’s by making an introduction. For a larger audience, perhaps it’s by pursuing and executing on actionable blog post ideas. However, by being helpful you’ll make a lasting impression.”

28. Nathan Latka. start-business-advice-with-nathan-latka-on-ryrob

Nathan is host of the fastest growing business podcast The Top Entrepreneurs, and CEO of Send Later, a company he recently acquired after failing to acquire Success Magazine for $5m. He founded the social giveaway SaaS startup, Heyo and is an experienced online educator at CreativeLive where he teaches Facebook Marketing for Small Business Owners. Here’s his business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“The most painful mistake I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they try and invent something totally new because their ego tells them they have to.”

“It’s much smarter to copy a competitor you like, then tweak one or two things that you think will put you over the top.”

29. Tony Stubbelbine. Start-Business-Advice-with-Tony-Stubbelbine-of-coach-me-on-ryrob

Tony is the founder and CEO of Coach.me, an app that helps you put your goals into action by actively tracking your performance in diet, fitness, productivity and life. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“I’ve been trying to start companies for years and I still make this mistake. Planning too far ahead. Many new entrepreneurs are stuck on this idea of what the company could be five years from now. They’re trying to make the five year version of the company happen tomorrow.”

“What they need to realize is that if you have no customers, the next milestone is one customer. A very powerful tactic to overcome this is to help young entrepreneurs focus on building on momentum. That means focusing on the next step and trusting that those first few steps will build to the speed and impact you want.”

30. Steve Rayson. How to Start a Business Advice from Steve Rayson on ryrob

Steve is a serial entrepreneur and currently co-owner of BuzzSumo and Anders Pink. From his experience starting and growing four different businesses over the years, here’s Steve’s business advice for new entrepreneurs who want to start a business without falling flat:

“Avoid being a single founder.”

“Creating a company is hard work, most startups fail. The one characteristic you need above all others is resilience. You need to be relentless and work harder than the competition, and even then you will have tough times. It is for this reason I have always started companies with more than one founder. It means there is someone to share the load, to reflect and to support each other.”

“It’s not impossible to be a single founder but in my experience it is easier to be resilient and successful as a team.” You can read more from Steve about how BuzzSumo achieved $2.5 million in revenue during their first year right here. I’d also recommend reading my post about starting a business with a friend, in case you’re considering going that route.

31. Preston Lee. Business Tips on How to Start a Business Preston Lee on ryrob

Founder of Millo.co, the premier destination for expert advice from the world’s top freelancers & founders looking to score great work from home jobs. Here’s Preston’s biggest piece of business advice for new entrepreneurs, those looking to learn how to make money blogging and for more, listen to his episode on my podcast about how to get blog sponsorships:

“First-time entrepreneurs almost always focus too much on non-differentiating work. Work that doesn’t make a difference in their business. Work that definitely doesn’t increase revenue.”

“A few simple examples: Redesigning your logo or website a dozen times in hopes of finding that perfect blog layout, setting up every social media account possible, trying to stay on top of said social media. And the list goes on. Instead, focus on revenue. Do the tasks that will increase revenue and reduce costs. Without a focus on that, your business is just a hobby.” To add to what Preston had to say, I’d double down and emphasize that in order to even consider doing work that makes a difference, you need to building and leveraging your entrepreneurial strength every day.

32. Ian Paget. Business Tips on How to Start a Business Ian Paget on ryrob

Also known as Logo Geek, Ian designs logos and brand identities for startups and SMEs. He also has over 80,000 Twitter followers and runs a popular social media group where he creates valuable resources for designers. Here’s his best business advice specifically for freelancers, and for more check out his episode on my podcast about how to become a freelance designer:

“As a designer, I frequently hear horror stories from new freelancers who’ve had a client that vanishes without making a single payment. Designers who have worked for hours, sometimes weeks, yet received nothing in return. It’s upsetting for them, painful to watch, but easily avoidable.”

“To prevent disasters like this, I recommend taking a 50% upfront payment before you even start, then taking the final 50% before any final files are provided. Any client not willing to work this way is unlikely to ever pay and should be avoided. I also strongly advise freelancers to have a written freelance contract, signed by the client, detailing what’s been agreed upon and what will happen in various different circumstances. This will give you ammo should your client be unreasonable, and will also add a level of professionalism and credibility to your service.”

33. Navid Moazzez. Start-Business-Advice-with-Navid-Moazzez-on-ryrob

Navid is the world’s leading expert on producing profitable virtual summits. His media coverage includes Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, Business Insider and much more. His mission is to show entrepreneurs what’s really working to build a profitable online business. Find out more about his courses, summits, and expertise on his website. For now, here’s his business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“There’s one incredibly painful mistake that I see new entrepreneurs make. It’s painful because it keeps them from success. They feel like they’re working hard, but not making any progress. The mistake? Trying to do too many things at once.”

“Focus, by definition, means narrowing your field of vision and attention. It means choosing which opportunities, projects, and even customers you’re NOT going to pursue. And it’s really, really hard. When I first started online, I was trying to do it all: podcasting, writing epic guides, blogging and I wasn’t doing any of it well. I realized that each time I jumped from idea to idea, I was diluting my efforts.”

It wasn’t until I decided to focus in on just ONE strategy, creating an incredibly high-value virtual summit, that I started to make serious progress in my business. After several months of super-hard concentrated effort, I launched the Branding Summit at the end of 2014, one of the largest virtual gatherings of experts on personal branding anywhere. I grew my email list by almost 3,000 highly engaged subscribers in a few weeks, and generated $20,000 in profit — much more than I’d earned up to that point!”

“Choose the one thing that will move the needle for you and your business. When you try to be the best podcaster, blogger, author, business coach and event producer all at the same time, you end up being mediocre at all of them. Pick one (like learning how to master the art and science of cold emailing). Focus. And work it, hard. One piece of bonus advice: As a newer business owner, one of the biggest ROI’s you’ll get is from investing in growing your email list. Whether you plan on offering a mastermind, writing books or producing online summits, you’ll need a powerful, engaged email list. Make that a focus from day one. If you want to hear the best advice that over 60 online experts and world-class business owners have on list building, check out the online event of the year, List Building School. It’s free, and it’s epic. Ryan here is one of our amazing speakers too!”

34. Tim Soulo. Start a Business Advice from Tim Suolo of BloggerJet on ryrob

Tim is the head of marketing at Ahrefs and he runs a cozy little personal blog called BloggerJet, where he’s also covered tons of blogging topics related to doing smart blogger outreach, the best cheap hosting plans on the market, how much it costs to blog and more. Here’s Tim’s best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The most painful mistake that first-time entrepreneurs make is they rely on their business idea too much.”

“They’re convinced that success in business is pre-determined by the awesomeness of their business idea alone. And they couldn’t be more wrong. Execution is equally (if not more) important than the actual idea. Ideation is the easy and fun part and execution is the hard and tedious one.”

“That’s why people would rather put faith in their ideas than invest countless hours of work towards making it happen. Like the character of Mark Zuckerberg famously said in “The Social Network” movie: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.”

35. Caroline Beaton. Start a Business Advice from Caroline Beaton

Caroline is a writer and entrepreneur helping millennials uncover their professional purpose with stories, statistics and heart. You can find her at carolinebeaton.com, on Forbes and right here on my blog where she shares her incredible story of going from secretary to self-employed. Now, here’s her best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business the right way:

“The most painful mistake I see entrepreneurs make is launching before learning. For example, you may decide you want to launch a marketing consulting company, so you hastily make a website, content and reach out to people, but you haven’t yet figured out who your target clientele is. What people actually need help with or what you’re specifically good at. So no one bites.”

“Or you could launch a new app, but you don’t know what sells well in the app store or how to promote it. So even though you have a great product, no one sees it. Or you decide to write a book but haven’t really spent time with the key concept—researching, talking to people—so your book proposal falls flat and feels generic. Publishers ignore it.”

“This common mistake could also be framed as an inspiration/perspiration problem. We’re so inspired by the end result that we forego the process — a lot of which is hard, un-fun work. In turn, we sacrifice the best possible outcome. And this is painful because the solution is retrospectively so obvious: patience. Take time with each new idea; flesh it out; design it fully; have a plan and not just hope.”

36. Bobby Mukherjee. start-business-advice-from-bobby-mukherjee-of-loka-on-ryrob

Bobby is the CEO of Loka, a mobile app development company located in Silicon Valley. He previously started and sold two other companies in the technology space. He knows a thing or two about what it takes to build and sell a profitable business, and here’s his best business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The biggest mistake first-time entrepreneurs make is being deathly afraid that someone will steal their secret idea. Spoiler alert: Ideas are worthless.”

“It’s the execution beyond the idea that really brings home the gold. So focus on getting out there and meeting as many folks as possible to join your team, give you feedback and point you in the right direction. Any successful entrepreneurial journey is the sum total of a rather large (and under-appreciated) team that came together in a magical way. Get cracking on building yours.”

37. Jason Quey. Best Business Advice on How to Start a Business Jason Quey on ryrob

Jason helps entrepreneurs connect with influencers and experts to rapidly grow their business together at TheStoryTellerMarketer. He also co-hosts the Content Promotion Summit and teaches other entrepreneurs how to get more out of the content they create every day. Here’s what Jason has to share with aspiring entrepreneurs who need some business advice before they start a business:

“The most painful mistake I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they don’t count the cost or figure out how they’ll actually make money ahead of time. Since entrepreneurs don’t create a business as a ‘charitable deed to mankind,’ they need to think about where their revenue and profit will be once the business scales.”

“For example, when I launched the Content Promotion Summit with my partner Cody Lister, we started off by focusing on three things. What the costs would be, how much money we’d potentially make and what the key levers for generating more sales (traffic, email opt-ins, and affiliate partners) would be. This gave us key insights into whether or not the business would be worth investing into before we launched. It may surprise you, but by using Noah Kagan’s quant-based marketing system and asking a few friends for benchmark numbers, it wasn’t difficult to get an estimate. In fact, our numbers were only 7% off from our main target.”

38. Lauren Holliday. Start Business Advice with Lauren Holliday of Full Stack Marketer on ryrob

Lauren is a full-stack marketer who’s been featured on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, The Muse and more. You can find her on Twitter, Medium, or you can subscribe to her email newsletter. Here’s her business advice for millennials who want to start a business for the first time:

“The biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make is banking on an idea that isn’t valuable to anyone with actual, real-world problems.”

“You read about this new social media tool or this new game or social app. And it’s like: What happened to solving REAL, big, hairy problems as opposed to helping privileged kids send pictures that explode in a day (sorry, Snapchat – first example I thought of)?”

“My advice is to spend time with people who are different than you. This will open up your mind to different people and different problems, allowing you to connect the dots faster and make a real contribution to the world, as opposed to just being the next Mark Zuck.”

39. Cody Lister. Start Business Advice from Cody Lister on ryrob

Cody is the founder of MarketDoc where he helps marketers, business owners, solopreneurs and bloggers get more customers from smarter content marketing. He’s also a co-host of the Content Promotion Summit. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Many first-time entrepreneurs don’t follow the Customer Development Model (the Steve Blank school of thought). They won’t presell their product. They avoid surveying their market, meeting or calling people from their target audience before they pony up substantial money and time building a product.”

“In other words, too often first-timers build a product behind closed doors and don’t get the feedback necessary to ensure they get buy in for their idea. As a result, they don’t reach product-market fit and end up building a product that fails or succeeds by mere chance, not by calculated steps.”

“I recommend that first-time entrepreneurs take this as a real wake up call to avoid making excuses for not getting meaningful product validation before spending resources on development. You need at least 95% confidence that the thing you’re working on will be predisposed to some initial success. There are too many other factors out there working against you when you’re first starting out and are tight on resources that make the road of entrepreneurship hard enough as-is. Don’t make it more difficult for yourself by building a bunch of features no one really wants to pay for.”

“Avoid the common mistake of aiming to be the next Facebook. Achieve product-market fit by focusing on building one core feature better than the competition and make sure that feature solves a big pain point for your audience. Don’t get lost in creating a bunch of features off-the-bat.”

“Keep your first product extremely barebones. Get clear product validation from your target customer before you spend any time or money building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Start small. Invest more resources in product development as you generate enough operating income to cover your ongoing research and development expenses. Hold off on executing your product roadmap before you have enough consistent sales revenue to support that vision.”

As a fellow freelance content marketer myself who’s spent years building out content marketing strategies for my clients, I highly recommend Cody’s epic new online course and educational platform, Content Marketing School.

40. Vasil Azarov. start-business-advice-vasil-azarov-startup-socials

Vasil is a super connector for entrepreneurs. He’s the CEO of Startup Socials, a global community of entrepreneurs that connects and empowers professionals working in the startup ecosystem. He’s also the founder of Growth Marketing Conference, Silicon Valley’s largest digital and growth marketing event. Here’s his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“We have an exciting tradition at Startup Socials. Every Friday we meet with entrepreneurs one-on-one and help them solve startup related challenges.”

“One of the most costly and painful mistakes that I see over and over again is hiring in marketing and sales too early. Things tend to go VERY wrong when a founder brings on board a senior sales or marketing person who is lacking entrepreneurial spirit and/or experience working in startups. Instead of hiring full-time, founders should seek out and consult with experienced marketers and sales veterans who work with startups on a daily basis for a fixed fee or company stock based on specific goals.”

“Ultimately, your need to become your startup’s best sales person and best marketer before hiring.”

And remember, the fact that you can recite all the business slang, blogging terms or industry jargon that’s pervasive within your niche, doesn’t automatically make you a good salesperson. Connect with your target customers and learn how to truly help them.

41. Sol Orwell. Start Business Advice from Sol Orwell on ryrob

Sol is an entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience, 6 companies and 8 figures generated from his businesses, including Examine.com, the original authority featuring independent analysis on supplements and nutrition. He now writes about entrepreneurship on SJO.com. Here’s Sol’s best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs:

“I have to go with: inaction. New entrepreneurs tend to overthink things that don’t really matter (logo, copy, etc.), but instead of validating their idea, they get lost in the weeds.”

“The advice is simple – just do it. Do a minimum version, talk to some friends, and see if they would be interested in it. If so, make a quick version, and go from there.”

42. Jen Kessler. Start Business Advice Jen Kessler of Bizzy on ryrob

Jen Kessler is the CEO and cofounder of Bizzy, a state-of-the-art marketing platform for eEommerce businesses. Jen studied business at Stanford and math at University of Pennsylvania. She’s worked at the forefront of bringing inventive predictive modeling to portfolio management across multiple industries, and is excited to be bringing that innovation to the marketing industry. Here’s her business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“Stay balanced. As an entrepreneur, you need to be constantly processing new information, adjusting your plan, and making decisions.”

“If you are exhausted and 100% monopolized by work, you won’t have the perspective and insight that you need to guide your venture in the right direction. Sleeping, exercising, and having a life outside of work is critical for your endurance as a human information processor and decision maker.”

43. Guillame Decugis. Start Business Advice from Guillame Decugis of Scoop It on ryrob

An engineer turned-marketer, Guillaume, the Co-Founder and CEO of Scoop.it, has experimented a lot with content marketing and developed the lean content marketing methodology as a way to help marketers generate ROI with content. Here’s the business advice he shares with new entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“In 15 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve made many mistakes and I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs do them too. My answer is two-part since these are equally as important.”

Falling blindly in love with an idea. Entrepreneurship needs passion, but love can be blinding. Many entrepreneurs believe in their idea so much that they fail to validate it. They tend to dismiss negative feedback on their products or neglect collecting some. And they end up missing product/market fit. Overcoming that requires taking some distance with the idea and applying intellectual honesty. My advice is to talk to potential customers or users from day 1 and for every day after that: never stop collecting feedback. We’re now 25 people on the team at Scoop.it, but I still answer support tickets and take sales calls because there’s nothing as real and valuable than a direct conversation with a customer.”

Thinking that ideas are more important than teams. I hear a lot of first-time entrepreneurs tell me ‘I have a great idea for an app; I just need to find a technical co-founder to code it.’ But successful startups iterate their original idea constantly based on market feedback. Sometimes they even radically pivot like Paypal or Slack. Only great teams can do that, so the execution is much more important than the original concept. And it’s easier to change the idea than it is to change the team.”

44. William Harris. How to Start a Business Advice WIlliam Harris on ryrob

William is the founder of Elumynt, a growth marketing agency and a contributor for Entrepreneur, FastCompany and TNW. For first-time entrepreneurs, here’s William’s best business advice:

“The most painful mistake I see most inexperienced entrepreneurs make is not delegating tasks effectively. I actually came from a nursing background where bad delegation meant someone could lose a limb–or worse, their life. The nurses that didn’t delegate would be busier, risking careless errors from trying to make up time by cutting corners. Business owners try to do the same thing.”

“I advise entrepreneurs who struggle with this problem to first get their tasks organized and written down. I like Asana for this. The tasks that they find themselves adding repeatedly are tasks that they should think about delegating. At the end of the month you need to send out invoices, add numbers to your analytics spreadsheet, etc. Find someone else to do that. The hours you save by outsourcing these types of tasks will help you focus on the things that only you can do–like plan the strategy and direction of the business.”

45. Chiara McPheeStart a Business Advice with Chiara McPhee on ryrob

Chiara is the COO and co-founder of Bizzy, a state-of-the-art marketing platform for eCommerce businesses. She studied business at Stanford and Duke, and has a background in marketing and design. Here’s what Chiara has to say as far as business advice to entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time:

“Often I see first-time entrepreneurs struggle to organize and process feedback. When starting a company, you’ll get feedback from everyone: your early users, potential customers, investors, friends, and even your second cousin twice removed.”

“I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a framework in place to systematically collect, prioritize, and implement product features based on customer feedback–both from customers you have, and the customers you want!”

46. Bram Kanstein. Start Business Advice from Bram Kanstein on ryrob

Bram Kanstein is an Amsterdam-based entrepreneur and co-founder of We Are Off The Record, a digital growth agency for startups. Bram also made Startup Stash, a curated directory of 400 resources and tools to help you build your Startup that has helped more than 300k+ entrepreneurs from around the world. Here’s the best business advice Bram has to impart with entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time:

“I’ve discovered early on that building long-term value is more important than making short-term money. Sure, you can earn quick cash with some hustle but that won’t help you win in the long run.”

“I see a lot of people starting a business without thinking about the long-term value it can bring them. One of the things me and my business partner decided on when starting our digital growth agency We Are Off The Record, was that we wanted to build value with people and make sure that we’re able to call everyone we now work with, in 5 years and still have a good relationship. I haven’t won at the game of business yet, but I know that building a long-term network is the most valuable thing you can do.”

47. Silas Moser. start-business-advice-from-silas-moser-of-chasing-foxes

Silas and his wife Grace are the voices behind the wildly popular lifestyle, travel and personal finance blog, Chasing Foxes where they teach thousands of monthly readers how to live their best lives with a blog. They’ve written about topics like getting started with the best hosting plans, picking a domain name that’s right for your niche, and even how to choose amongst free hosting plans if you’re on a tight budget. Here’s the business advice Silas has to share with first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“Once when I was working at a young startup, I made a suggestion at a business meeting. It fell completely flat, but three minutes later, one of the company’s investors walked through the door and made the exact same recommendation word for word. All of the management lit up, eager to express their approval and that they were on board.”

“Shutting people down because of their position within the company doesn’t express value to them. My suggestion to young entrepreneurs is to treat people well and stay humble, you never know where you could learn something.”

48. Alyce Johnson. start-business-advice-from-alyce-johnson-of-newstability-on-ryrob

Alyce is the founder of New Stability, a site that teaches new freelancers how to grow a profitable service-based business. She’s also the host of the Freelance FAQ Podcast. I asked her to share with me the biggest mistake new freelancers make (and related business advice) when they start their own freelancing business:

“The most common mistake new freelancers make is not having a business strategy. Many freelancers start their businesses without thinking of the long-term growth their business needs to achieve. This often results on a broad service offering that could potentially be targeting the wrong market.”

“Successful freelancers are specialists in one particular service and not generalists with a broad offering. Specializing in one service area allows freelancers to build their expertise but can also understand their ideal clients. Being a specialist freelancer gives clients confidence that you are a professional in your field.”

49. Rhett Power. 

Start Business Advice from Rhett Power on ryrob

Rhett is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant and author of the new book, The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions. He’s been featured on Inc, Fortune, CNN Money and more for his work in the world of business. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“In my first business, we spent the first three years working 8 days a week in the business (and not on it). We weren’t making any progress and in fact we had thoughts of calling it quits. We got a lucky break when a national retailer saw and fell in love with one of our products. That was our saving grace.”

“It forced us to take a step back and take time to think about how we were going to deliver that product on a massive scale. I think many new entrepreneurs spend way too much time working in their businesses and not enough time working on their businesses. If you want to grow, then you have to carve out time to think strategically and think about the big picture, which is difficult to do when you’re first starting.”

50. Matt Feldman. Start-Business-Advice-with-Matt-Feldman-of-Case-Escape-on-ryrob

Matt is the CEO and co-founder of Case Escape. After receiving his MBA from Chapman University at age 23, Matt started his first business in California (which we started together back in 2013) and has since grown it into a worldwide business with over 100 clients and counting. Case Escape was founded with the goal of helping 1,000 entrepreneurs start their own phone case business. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“Many times, I see first-time entrepreneurs start their businesses without really understanding the total scope of work that’s going to be required. This could relate to the overall investment that’s necessary, the detail in your plan of action, or most importantly, personal capabilities and time.”

“While entrepreneurship is a continuous learning process, there still needs to be a solid foundation in order to grow the company. The amount of money you initially invest may not even be a fraction of the total amount needed, when accounting for mistakes and unforeseen events along the way. It’s difficult to balance a lean environment with needing the online business tools to truly succeed. You don’t want to find yourself in a bind where you can’t hire the talent necessary to complete task the right way, and you definitely will not have the time to learn everything yourself.”

“My advice is to plan for a solid buffer with your cash flow, create checks and balances to keep that plan in line, and surround yourself with individuals that will free up your time and resources.”

51. Bryan Teare. 

start-business-advice-from-bryan-teare-on-ryrob

Bryan is a coach and the host of The Quarter Life Comeback Podcast, where he empowers millennials to become the heroes of their own life’s journey. Here’s his business advice to first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business:

“After quitting my own corporate job two years ago with no plan B, as well as from interviewing several guests about this topic on The Quarter Life Comeback Podcast, I believe that one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a business is thinking that it’s going to be a kind of golden ticket to creating the life that they want.”

“This often stems from intense unhappiness in their current work situation, as it did for me. However, simply quitting to pursue your own thing causes a lot of stress (not to mention more intense unhappiness) if you’re starting from scratch.”

“These days, I advise young entrepreneurs to see their current employer as an investor in their own business, while they grow their business on the side. One of my guests mentioned that a day job doesn’t need to be seen as a bad thing as long as it helps you develop the skills, capital and/or network you’ll need when you do decide to go out on your own. So, learn to see and appreciate the job as a means to an end.”

“Finally, another crucial mistake I learned from a previous blog I ran is to get REALLY clear on who you’re speaking to and what you’re speaking about before you get started. If you try speaking to everyone, you’ll end up speaking to no one. And don’t be afraid of being too niche. If you’re 1 in a million, there’s still 7000 other people just like you in the world.”

52. Jim Fowler. Start Business Advice with Jim Fowler on ryrob

Jim is the Founder and CEO of Owler, a crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $175 million. Before his career in technology, Jim was owner and operator of Lookout Pass, a ski resort in Idaho, and served in the U.S. Navy as a diving and salvage officer. He’s seriously the man. Here’s Jim’s business advice to first-time entrepreneur who want to start a business:

“The number one problem that most entrepreneurs make is being overly optimistic, which often leads to them running out of cash or being cash strapped. Money problems can be seen from a mile away.”

“Entrepreneurs have to be optimistic realists, which allows them to make tough choices ahead of any cash problems. I learned this as a young entrepreneur when running a small ski lodge in Idaho. Overly optimistic, I ran my business based on the best case scenario, and in turn lived in constant and mortal fear of missing payroll or delaying payments to vendors. I’ve since learned to operate with optimistic realism. And have run subsequent organizations by the metrics with clear guard rails in place.”

53. Nick Grant. Start a Business Advice with Nick Grant on ryrob

Nick is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Killer Infographics, a Seattle-based leader in visual communications and the design of infographics, motion graphics, and interactive infographics. Here’s the business advice Nick has to share with new entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“One of the most painful mistakes I see way too frequently is when entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of a robust marketing and sales strategy for their fledgling business.”

“Many new CEOs are hyper-focused on making their MVP, but they don’t really have a long-term vision for how to make their companies profitable. I would recommend designating marketing and sales as a day-one priority. This will help your business earn fans before the MVP ships and ensures that what you create is truly something that a customer will want to pay for.”

54. Austin Belcak. Best Business Advice Austin Belcak

Austin is an entrepreneur, author and the founder of Cultivated Culture, where he teaches millennials how to land their dream jobs, skyrocket their salaries and work 100% remote jobs in a matter of months. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to find a side hustle idea:

“My best piece of advice is to focus on taking small steps and being consistent. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take work, you can’t start a successful side business overnight. With that in mind, you should start by doing three things.”

“First, come up with a tangible, overarching goal. This could be something like landing 5 clients at an average of $1,000/month per client in the next 6 months or building an email list of 1,000 subscribers, launching a course and selling at least 50 copies in the next 8 months.”

“Second, take time every night to write down a goal for the next day that will take you one step closer to your greater goal.”

“Then third, block off 1 hour every day to accomplish that goal. If you complete your goal in the first 30 minutes, use the next 30 to start on the next step that brings you even closer to your bigger picture goal.”

“That’s the easy part. The tough part, and the part that will make or break your success, is being disciplined and repeating these steps at least 5 or 6 days each week. If you can stay consistent, the results will add up and you’ll surprised at how quickly you’ll progress.”

To add to what Austin said, creating a regimented schedule of exactly when you’ll be working on your side business can help you stay in the clear with your day job and avoid making costly mistakes that could get you fired (or sued).

55. Josh Kraus. Start-Business-Advice-from-Josh-Kraus-Freelancer

Josh Kraus is a Chicago-born, Denver-based writer and mediocre autobiographist who likes to make things. When he’s not writing, he attends to his t-shirt business, Bird Fur. Find him at joshkra.us and birdfurtees.com. As a freelance writer by trade, I asked Josh to tailor his success tip to freelancers specifically. Here’s his best business advice for new freelancers:

“The most painful mistake I see new freelancers make is taking jobs at content mills, or other jobs with content mill prices, and get stuck doing those jobs long after they should have left.”

“It’s okay to take a job writing blog posts for 1 cent a word in order to build a portfolio, but once you’ve got a few good pieces from it, for the love of god get out! Use them to help you further your career, don’t let them use you.”

Learning how to write a kick-ass freelance proposal will teach you a lot about positioning your value, highlighting your strengths and selling yourself as a premium service-provider to your clients.

56. Chris Winfield. start-business-advice-with-chris-winfield

Chris is an entrepreneur, writer and coach based in NYC. He writes about productivity, finding happiness and creating a lifestyle you’ll love for publications like Inc, Entrepreneur and Time. Here’s his business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“The biggest mistake first-time entrepreneurs tend to make is not asking for help OR not asking for the right help from the right people.”

“And a close second is not following up and nurturing those relationships when they do ask for help. There’s something that Tony Robbins always says about the importance of ‘standing on the shoulders of other giants’ and I think this is such an important thing for people to keep in mind.”

“Pretty much anything you are going to go through, someone else has already gone through. Pretty much any feeling you are going to have, someone else has already had. Any obstacle, any roadblock, ANYTHING! Someone has come up against them and figured out a way to get around them. Tap into that. Whether it’s reading a book, reaching out or shadowing someone, get help and then do it better.”

57. Bill Reichert. start-business-advice-with-bill-reichert

Bill has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and operating executive. Since joining Garage Technology Ventures in 1998, Bill has worked with his partner, Guy Kawasaki to focus on investing in early-stage information technology and materials science companies. Here’s Bill’s best business advice for young entrepreneurs who want to start a business for the first time:

“One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs tend to make when raising capital is listening to investors.”

“When investors tell you why they don’t like your pitch, they’re almost always lying. They’ll usually tell you that you’re too early, or you need more traction, or you need too much money, or you need too little money.”

“But if they really thought you had something brilliant, they wouldn’t let you out of their sight. They’re simply offering an excuse for not liking your company. Don’t walk away thinking that the problem is that you just aren’t a fit. You need to find out what’s really wrong with your story. Don’t count on investors to tell you. Get a few good, savvy mentors or advisors to tell you the truth.”

58. Oleg Shchegolev. Best Business Advice Oleg SEM Rush

Oleg is the co-founder and CEO of SEMrush, an all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketers. Oleg has grown SEMrush to 400 employees in four offices around the world and in 2016 they celebrated 1 million users (!!!) with clients in more than 100 countries. Here’s Oleg’s best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs looking to start a business of their own:

“First-time entrepreneurs pay too much attention to what other companies are doing without thinking for themselves.”

“Every company is unique and has an entirely different DNA. A particular strategy may not work for your company, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for mine and vice versa. My piece of advice is that you should always ask yourself: Why didn’t that strategy didn’t work for them, and will it work for me?”

“What is the difference between our companies? Why did that strategy bring them difference results when it will never deliver the same for us? What is the difference in our DNA?”

59. Tomas Laurinavicius. best-business-advice-tomas-laurinavicius

Tomas is a lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger from Lithuania and has even dabbled in a bit of his own travel blogging over the years. He writes about habits, lifestyle design, entrepreneurship and we’ve had many conversations about managing taxes for bloggers too. Right now, he’s traveling the world with a mission to empower 1 million people to change their lifestyle for good. Here’s Tomas’ best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to start a business today:

“First, let yourself wander. Try new things, meet people outside of your comfort zone and travel.”

“It will help you design your personal MBA which will teach you more than any formal setting out there. Learn to read people, master the art of communication and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once you figure out what drives you, use that power to help people.”

60. Eric Siu. Business Advice from Eric Siu

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain, which has helped venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies grow their revenues. He’s also the founder of the marketing podcast, Growth Everywhere and does a daily podcast called Marketing School with Neil Patel. Here’s Eric’s best business advice for getting started today:

“For any business owner it is crucial to define processes behind every goal and KPI. Success is the continued refinement of these processes until results start to show.”

“Entrepreneurship requires continued learning and if you’re not constantly learning and testing new things, then eventually your competitors will take the lead. The trick is to quickly access new tactics and incorporate those that work to enhance your business goals.”

“Networking is the other main thing I see many new entrepreneur ignoring. Talking to the right person can be 100x more beneficial than some course or tactic alone.”

61. Jan Lukacs. Business Advice Jan Lukacs from Paymo

Jan is the CEO at Paymo, an online project management solution for small businesses looking to take away the pain of planning, scheduling, task management, time tracking, and invoicing. When asked to share his best business advice for new entrepreneurs, Jan shares:

“Focus all your energy toward one big objective. Try to become a laser, avoid being a stroboscope.”

“As an entrepreneur, your customers and your team rely on you to deliver. Try to harness your team’s energy towards your vision and do everything you can to avoid being distracted. A lot of businesses fail once the vision becomes blurry.”


What business advice would you like to add?

Did I miss anything or anyone that should’ve been mentioned in this post?

If so, please share their name with us in the comments below in the name of helping others start a business that’s positioned for success.

Otherwise, I’d love to hear which piece of business advice cut deepest for you.

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How to Highlight Text in WordPress (Gutenberg and Classic Editor) in 2020


Today, we’re talking about how to highlight text in WordPress (in both the Gutenberg editor and Classic editor), to get a highlighted result like this:

Here’s an example of highlighted text.

As a new blogger when you’re just getting your blog off the ground, all of the little technical components of learning WordPress can be a bit of an unwelcome challenge—for example, figuring out things like how to highlight text in WordPress, (or change font colors and font sizes) for the various different text elements on your WordPress blog.

Well, the good news is that while highlighting text in WordPress used to be less intuitive to learn on your own, it’s now gotten much easier to do in 2020 (both in Gutenberg and the Classic editor).

And to make sure we’re covering all of our bases, I’ll show you how to highlight text in WordPress both using the Gutenberg editor and Classic editor—in this quick tutorial.

Now, let’s walk through highlighting text in WordPress—without performance draining plugins that negatively impact your blog SEO and page load speeds.

How to Highlight Text in WordPress (Gutenberg and Classic Editor)

  1. How to Highlight Text in the WordPress Gutenberg Editor
  2. How to Highlight Text in the Classic WordPress Editor
  3. When to Highlight Text on Your WordPress Blog (and Why)

Alright, now let’s dive in and talk about highlighting text in WordPress!


1. How to Highlight Text in the WordPress Gutenberg Editor

The (best) process for highlighting text in both the Gutenberg and Classic editors, is actually exactly the same from a technical standpoint—it just looks a bit different, due to the visual changes in Gutenberg vs the Classic editor.

In both cases, you’ll be adding a background color HTML style attribute to the text you want to highlight.

That’s by far the cleanest, easiest and most performance-friendly way to highlight text in WordPress (without the need for installing plugins or using other tools that inject unnecessary code into your blog). So, let’s walk through this process.

Here’s a quick GIF (looped video demonstration) showing how to highlight text in the Gutenberg WordPress editor:

How to Highlight Text in Gutenberg WordPress Editor (GIF Recording) Tutorial and Screenshots

I know this GIF moves a little quickly (and isn’t easy to read on mobile devices). So, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on highlighting text in WordPress using the Gutenberg editor (in 2 easy steps):

1. Select the “Edit as HTML” option in the paragraph where your text is contained

Edit as HTML (Screenshot) in Gutenberg Editor

Once you’ve clicked on the “Edit as HTML” option, you’ll see your paragraph of text converted into something that looks like this (with all of the HTML attributes of your text now visible):

Screenshot of HTML Mode in Gutenberg

From here, this is where you’ll now add the background color style attribute (into the HTML version of your paragraph) which will highlight your text.

2. Add the background color style attribute (in HTML mode) to highlight your text

Background Color Style Attribute (Screenshot) in HTML Mode to Highlight Text in WordPress

This is the step that actually highlights your text, by adding this background color style attribute to the beginning your text:

<span style="background-color: #fdf2d0;">example of text you want to highlight</span>

Know that you can of course swap out the color code here for any 6-digit hex code you want to use as your highlight color—and you’re all set!

Don’t forget to wrap up the portion of text you want highlighted with a closing </span> tag (as pictured in the screenshot above)—otherwise the rest of the text in your paragraph here will automatically become highlighted.

Once you’ve finished highlighting your text, just switch back to “Edit Visually” in the Gutenberg editor like so:

Edit Visually (Screenshot) in Gutenberg

Now, your text will be highlighted, and it’ll look like this:

Highlighted Text Screenshot (Finished Tutorial) in Gutenberg WordPress Editor

Alright, you’ve now learned how to highlight text in the Gutenberg WordPress editor—so let’s walk through doing the same thing with the Classic editor.

2. How to Highlight Text in the Classic WordPress Editor

If you’re writing a blog post in the Classic WordPress editor and want to emphasize a particular section of text by highlighting it—that’s just as easy to do as it is in Gutenberg.

Here’s a quick GIF (looped video demonstration) showing how to highlight text in WordPress via the Classic editor:

How to Highlight Text in WordPress (Classic Editor) GIF Tutorial and Screenshare Walkthrough

Because that GIF moves pretty quickly and isn’t as easy to see on mobile as it is on desktop, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what’s happening when you want to highlight text in WordPress using the Classic editor (in 2 easy steps):

1. Use your cursor to select the text you want to highlight

Example of Highlighted Text in WordPress Classic Editor (Screenshot)

Once you’ve selected the text you want to highlight, it’s time to switch your editing mode over to “Text Mode” in the upper right hand corner over your editing pane:

How to Switch to Text Mode in Classic Editor (Screenshot)

Now, you’ll be viewing the HTML version of your blog post—and this is where you’ll add in the attribute that highlights your text.

2. Add a background color HTML style attribute (in text mode) to highlight your text

Screenshot of Highlighted Text Attribute (Background Color) in WordPress Classic

This is where you’ll actually be highlighting your text, by adding the following background color style attribute to your text:

<span style="background-color: #fdf2d0;">example of soon-to-be highlighted text</span>

Like in the Gutenberg tutorial above, you can also swap out the color code here to set any custom highlight color for your text.

Just remember to close out the portion of text you want highlighted with a closing </span> tag, otherwise you’ll highlight the rest of your content in the post (from where you started the background color change).

Now once you switch back to “Visual Mode” in your Classic Editor, here’s what that highlighted text will look like:

example of highlighted text

And voilá! You’ve highlighted your text in the Classic Editor! 👏

Final Thoughts: When Should You Highlight Text in WordPress (and Why)?

Now that I’ve spent a few minutes showing you how to highlight text in WordPress… we haven’t yet touched on why you’d want to highlight text in the first place, and when the application of highlighted text can actually have a positive impact on the content of your blog.

Here are a few of the reasons why I highlight text within my blog content:

  • To draw the reader’s attention to a very important takeaway or lesson
  • To make a particular word or sentence stand out visually on the page
  • To emphasize that the text is clickable (like a call-to-action)

Alright, that’s all for today!

You just learned how to highlight text in WordPress (both in the Gutenberg editor and Classic editor)—and how to use highlighted text to your advantage.

Like what you see? Sign up to get more technical tutorials and authentic blogging advice from me.


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10 Best Free Blogging Sites in 2020 (to Build a Blog for Free)


Now more than ever, the best free blogging sites like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Ghost, Medium and more are all helping millions of new bloggers to build visually appealing websites without ever having to learn to code.

Because building a blog has gotten so much easier in recent years, here are my picks for the ten best free blogging sites you should use to create your first site and lay the foundation for what’s to come in your blogging journey.

Blogging has a long and rich history. Since 1993, people have been creating blogs that interest them, generate income or help promote their main businesses.

Since you’re here on my blog, I’m guessing you’re interested in starting a blog of your own.

You may have a calling deep to blog about a personal passion. Or, you may want to start a niche blog as a side hustle to make money blogging outside of your day job. Whether you want to create a blog for family pictures, for monetization, or to let the world know about your passions—chances are, you don’t want to spend a lot of money to get things started.

While there are a lot of blogging platforms available today, not all of them are free. A free blogging site, however, allows you to experiment without creating a financial strain. It’s an excellent way to get creative and find your voice without spending much of anything aside from your own time up front.

If you want to use a free blogging site to power your blog, I’ve compiled my list of the 10 best free blogging sites you can get started with right away.

10 Best Free Blogging Sites to Build Your Blog for Free in 2020

  1. WordPress (Self-Hosted)
  2. Wix
  3. WordPress.com
  4. Weebly
  5. Medium
  6. Blogger
  7. Ghost
  8. Tumblr
  9. Joomla
  10. Yola

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase one of the products I recommend using my one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep my content free of charge to you. Know that I also only recommend products I personally stand behind.

Once you’ve done your research and are ready to build a profitable blog—head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.

Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?

Check out my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side).


WordPress the Best Free Blogging Site and CMS (Screenshot)

My #1 recommendation amongst the best free blogging sites is: Self-Hosted WordPress. WordPress currently powers 34% of websites on the internet.

Self-Hosted WordPress, also known as WordPress.org, is an open-source platform to build a blog on—and it’s 100% free to use, because the creators of WordPress believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source.

In other words, the people who created and manage WordPress believe that people should have access to a platform where they can publish the things that matter to them—in the way they choose to do it.

Who is a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog for?

One of the top reasons I recommend self-hosted WordPress as the absolute best free blogging site to use, is that it’s an all around great choice for a wide range of bloggers (and different blog budgets too).

Whether you’re an absolute beginner learning what a blog is today—or running a six-figure website, WordPress gives you the best tools to make an incredible site capable of structuring a profitable blog business plan around it. Most importantly, a WordPress-powered blog can grow with you as you develop your style, branding and content over time.

As WordPress.org explains, “Many end users of WordPress are non-technically minded. They don’t know what AJAX is, nor do they care about which version of PHP they are using. The average WordPress user simply wants to be able to write without problems or interruption.”

On the other hand, they go on to say that with the many themes, plugins and access to coding (if you want), those bloggers who are more technically minded also have the freedom to make their own websites however they want.

Whether you’re brand new or a seasoned blogger, WordPress is more than likely your best choice of free blogging sites—hands down.

General Information About Self-Hosted WordPress

WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress) is an open-source content management system (CMS) created in 2003 with the goal of giving the world a truly free blogging platform. Open-source means software that’s offered freely and can be modified by others. CMS is a software or program that lets you create and manage your digital content.

WordPress is completely free to use, but you will need to sign up for a paid monthly web hosting plan and purchase a domain name in order to use it (i.e. self-hosting).

We’ll go into more detail about web hosting below, but it’s important to note that it’s extremely affordable to run a self-hosted WordPress blog—think $2 to $10/mo.

What is WordPress Hosting?

Hosting refers to a company that stores your website so it can be viewed on the internet. Without it, your blog isn’t actually live and readable to others.

In order for your content to be stored and distributed properly, you need what’s called a server. A web server is connected to the Internet and it receives requests (people wanting to read your blog content) and responds by displaying the pages of your website.

A home computer is not set up for properly hosting your own website (without some serious modifications and expenses). That’s why you need the best web hosting plan from a reliable company to make sure your blog is connected to the Internet.

My personal recommendation for affordable & reliable web hosting is Bluehost. I’ve used them for years and am very happy with their services.

Bluehost Hosting for Free Blogging Sites on WordPress

Even if you choose their least expensive plan (around $2.95/mo), you’ll have a lot of great features like a free SSL certificate that makes your website ultra secure, unmetered bandwidth and a free domain name—along with their great 24/7 technical support to answer any questions you’ve got.

They’re also one of three hosting companies specifically recommended by WordPress themselves, and they offer an easy 1-click installation for installing WordPress as the free blogging site to power your blog behind the scenes.

Examples of Websites Created on Self-Hosted WordPress

Jane Goodall Institute

Self-Hosted Free Blog Site WordPress Used by Jane Goodall

The Pioneer Woman

Top Food Blog Pioneer Woman Built on WordPress

The Making Life

Crafting Example of a Free Blog Built with WordPress

A Look Inside Self-Hosted WordPress (Free Blogging Site)

If you log into your WordPress account and select “Add a New Post” this is the screen you will see.

There are a few plugins added onto this free example site, including Elementor and Yoast SEO.

In WordPress’ editor, you can add media, change text, add a contact form and many other things.

Where to Create New Posts Using WordPress as a Free Blogging Platform

If you want to add a new page you will go to a screen that looks pretty much identical to the add new blog post screen.

WordPress as the CMS to Blog for Free and Publish New Posts

Here you can add different things or you can use the Elementor plugin to use a drag-and-drop interface for easier viewing.

How to Move Images and Edit Content Using the Free WordPress CMS

The free version of Elementor gives you a series of “widgets” on the left-hand column that you can use to customize your site.

Pros of Self-Hosted WordPress as a Free Blogging Site

Customization and Flexibility

One of the most appealing features about self-hosted WordPress as a free blogging site, is that it is highly customizable. There are over a thousand themes to choose from and over 55,000 plugins. Many of the themes and plugins are free to use, but there are premium ones that add even more functionality as well.

With WordPress.org, you’re pretty much free to do anything you want with your blog.

Easiest Blogging Site to Monetize on 💸

If you’re planning on monetizing your blog, WordPress.org is a good avenue. You’re allowed to monetize your blog any way you choose. Zero restrictions.

How to Make Money Blogging in 12 Proven Ways

If you also want to use your blog as an eCommerce site, you can use a plugin like WooCommerce to accept payments, display products and manage inventory.

It’s a Free Blogging Site That Grows With You

Unlike many of the other free blogging sites, WordPress can actually grow with you. If you find that you really like blogging and you want to take it to the next level, WordPress can take you there.

Cons of Self-Hosted WordPress as a Free Blogging Site

Hosting Isn’t Free

The WordPress blogging platform is free, but you’ll still have to pay for self-hosting. You’ll also need to pay for a domain name with WordPress.org. This may be a deterrent for you, especially if you’re looking for something that is completely free.

But, chances are as your blog grows you’re probably going to want to find a platform that offers a lot more flexibility than the other free options. Instead of upgrading with a plan like Wix or Weebly, you can find a fairly inexpensive hosting plan and develop a blog that’s exactly what you want.

Higher Learning Curve

WordPress is a good choice, even for newbies, but it does have a higher learning curve than website builders like Wix or Weebly. The interface is not quite as easy to navigate as the “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) website builders.

If you do want to use a drag-and-drop page builder to create your blog, I’d highly recommend Elementor. Here’s what it looks like behind the scenes:

Elementor Best WordPress Themes Drag and Drop Page Builder Example

Elementor has an amazing free version that you can use and it allows you to view what your site will look like before you hit publish.

Plus, when this page builder is paired with their Hello Elementor (free) WordPress theme, it’s a lightning fast combination that’ll get your blog off the ground quickly—and set up well for the months and years to come.

Maintenance

One last potential drawback to using self-hosted WordPress as your free blogging platform, is that you’re responsible for managing and maintaining everything on your blog. That includes things ensuring security plugins are safe, backups are happening regularly and updates are going live.

Some of these things may be provided for you through your web hosting plan, especially if you’re using a top hosting company like Dreamhost or Bluehost—but regardless, it does take a little bit more time to maintain than some of the other free blogging sites we’re covering here.

Wix as a Free Blogging Site to Get Started on a Tight Budget

Wix first entered the scene as a free blogging platform in 2006. Since then, it has provided a website platform to a remarkable 150 million people. It is also used in 190 countries around the world.

Wix is a website builder with a drag and drop interface. It’s a (WYSIWYG) software so you know exactly what your blog will look like before you hit the “publish” button.

They have several paid plans, but they also offer a free option.

Who Would Like Wix

Wix is a good choice for someone who wants a really easy way to start their blog for free. If you want to start a blog without having to take care of things like security, backups, hosting and so on, Wix is a good option. Wix takes care of all that for you, even on their free platform plans.

The free version of Wix would not work for someone who is looking to monetize their blog or create a more customized look.

General Information about Wix

Wix was created by three founders who wanted a “platform that empowered anyone to create their own website with no coding or design skills needed.” Hence their continued focus on providing a free blogging site option to new bloggers around the world.

In other words, they wanted to create a really easy way for people to create a blog or website.

With the free version of Wix you get:

  • Up to 500MG storage
  • Up to 500MB bandwidth
  • Customer Support

Examples of Wix Websites

If you want to start a food blog and keep it ultra simple, here’s a good example of how to pull it off on this free blogging site:

Food Blog Example that's Built Using Wix for Free

And here’s an example of a more portfolio-driven site:

Example of a Free Blog Built with Wix

These are examples that Wix highlights as what you can create with their free blogging site tools.

They’re visually very stunning, but they were likely created using Wix’s more premium plans.

A Look Inside Wix

Wix is a true drag-and-drop builder. That means you take features from the left side column and drop them directly on to the page. You can then manipulate text, images, videos, apps, and more just by moving them around.

Wix Content Editor Tutorial Screenshot

How to Edit Content in Free Wix Blog Designer

Then nice thing about Wix is you can really change any element on your pages.

One of the drawbacks of Wix as an editor though, is it does not offer the same flexibility with blogging features as it does on your more static pages.

Example of a Wix Blog Post (Screenshot)

The blogging interface is fairly basic. There are a limited number of settings for images and text making this far less appealing for a blog site.

Pros of Wix as a Free Blogging Site

Very Easy to Use

It can’t be denied that Wix is really easy to use. With drag-and-drop for the website and the ability to see exactly what you’re getting, it’s super simple for beginners.

Completely Free (if You Stay on the Right Plan)

The free version of Wix is completely free. No need to sign up for hosting or a domain name.

Cons of Wix as a Free Blogging Site

Wix Branding and Advertising

Like WordPress.com, if you use a free Wix site, your site will have Wix branding.

Wix’s name will be in your URL, and there will be Wix advertising on your site.

Little to No Monetization

Because Wix uses their own advertising, they do not allow you to run your own ads on the free version. There’s also no ecommerce option for Wix’s free website.

Limited Blogging Functions

While Wix has very responsive website features that make it easy and intuitive to use, its blogging platform isn’t as strong. It’s still easy to use, but it’s far more restrictive than the regular website pages you can create on Wix.

No Site Migration

If you start your blog and decide that Wix isn’t where you’d like to stay, it’s extremely difficult to migrate away from their free blogging site. They have no easy option for site migration, so you’ll have to be more tech-savvy to transfer your content.

Can’t Change Templates

Wix has a nice selection of beautiful templates, but you’re more or less stuck with one once you’ve chosen it—a fairly common occurrence with free blogging sites like this. This is a big downfall if you have a different vision for your blog in the future, but nothing that can’t be overcome by working with their support team.

WordPress Dot Com as a Top Free Blogging Site to Use

Even if you’re new to blogging, you’ve probably heard of WordPress.

What you may not know however—is that there are two different types of WordPress. There’s WordPress.org (Self-Hosted) and WordPress.com.

I reviewed (self-hosted) WordPress.org first as our #1 pick amongst the best free blogging sites, but now let’s talk about it’s counterpart—WordPress.com

WordPress.com has paid plans, but they also offer a limited free version as well.

Who Would Like WordPress.com

The free version of WordPress.com would work well for someone who wants to test out a blog, but isn’t too concerned with monetizing it or having access to a lot of features—at least for now.

For those who want a simple hobby blog, or for those who just want to see if they enjoy blogging, WordPress.com is an easy option for a sturdy, free blog site.

Another nice benefit of WordPress.com is you do have room to grow with this platform. You can purchase more expensive plans for added benefits. You can also migrate your site easily from WordPress.com to WordPress.org if you would like more flexibility in the future.

General Information About WordPress.com

WordPress.com launched in 2005 as a way to “bring the WordPress experience to an even larger audience,” and has continued to offer their truly free blogging sites as a gateway for new content creators to enter the world of blogging on a budget.

WordPress.com describes themselves as, “a hosted version of the open-source software. Here, you can start a blog or build a website in seconds without any technical knowledge.”

Instead of paying for self-hosting, the hosting plan is part of the WordPress.com experience. This is true even with the free version of WordPress.com.

The free version of WordPress.com includes:

  • Jetpack Essential Features
  • 3G Storage
  • Dozens of free themes

Examples of Websites Created on WordPress.com

Here’s a look at some of the themes available for WordPress.com:

Examples of Free Blogs Built on WordPress (Screenshot)

A Look Inside WordPress.com

WordPress.com’s interface has some similarities to the self-hosted WordPress.org version, but it’s not identical and doesn’t come with as much functionality.

Tutorial of Creating a Free WordPress Blog

Once you create a blog on WordPress.com you’ll be taken to this page. You can choose options like “stats,” “design” and “tools.”

Screen Shot 2019 08 20 at 3.54.49 PM

WordPress.com does give you access to the admin dashboard that’s used in self-hosted WordPress, but it can be a bit more confusing using both dashboards if you’re not already familiar with WordPress.

Screenshot of the Free WordPress Content Editor

Pros of WordPress.com as a Free Blogging Site

Completely Free

If you use the free version of WordPress.com, you can run a blog completely free. You don’t even need to worry about paying for a domain name as your free blogging site will be hosted at a URL like yourblog.wordpress.com.

Maintenance Free

With WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about things like site security, updates, or hosting. These things are taken care of for you through WordPress—even on their free platform.

WordPress.com also offers live chat community support and a forum where you can ask questions.

Cons of WordPress.com as a Free Blogging Site

WordPress Branding

When you use a free WordPress.com account, your web address will include WordPress (like yourblog.wordpress.com), which is fairly common amongst free blogging sites.

While you don’t have to pay for a domain name, it doesn’t look clean and professional to have the WordPress branding. It’s also harder for people to remember your web address than if it was simply yourdomainname.com.

Limitations with Customization

WordPress.com does offer a variety of free themes and plugins that you can use with your blog. But, it doesn’t offer nearly as many as the paid versions of WordPress.com. Neither the free or paid version of WordPress.com offers as much access to plugins and themes as WordPress.org.

Little to No Monetization

WordPress.com is not a good choice if you’re planning to monetize your blog. The free version of WordPress.com may allow you to restrictively use affiliate links, but you will not be able to advertise in any other way.

Their ads are displayed on your site and you have no control over them nor do you make revenue from them.

There is also no eCommerce option with the free version of WordPress.com.

More Difficult to Use Than Other Website Builders

WordPress.com is not an extremely difficult interface, but it isn’t as easy to use as Wix and Weebly.

The ability to switch between the WordPress.com interface and the WordPress.org admin does give you more flexibility with this free blogging site, but it makes things more complicated for new bloggers.

Weebly Free Blogging Sites to Build Your Blog On

Weebly is another extremely popular option amongst the best free blogging sites today—largely because it’s easy to use and built especially with eCommerce in mind.

Like Wix from above, this free blogging site also has a drag-and-drop feature, and is centered around a WYSIWYG page builder. It’s very user-friendly to a brand new blogger that wants to test things out using a free platform to get familiar with blogging.

Weebly starts out as a free blog site, but also offers premium plans to unlock more features, get your own blog name and allow more readers to your site.

Who Would Like Weebly?

Weebly is another good choice for a blogger who wants a really easy (free) website builder to work with.

It also has an eCommerce option so you can use it to start a small business and sell physical or digital items right from your blog.

The free version of Weebly would not be a recommended choice as a long term blog that you intend on monetizing.

General Information About Weebly

Weebly was established in 2006, the same year as Wix. Their Free Plan Includes:

  • Free SSL Security
  • 500MB Storage
  • SEO
  • Lead Capture and Contact Forms
  • Community Forum
  • Chat and Email Support

Examples of Weebly Sites

The Whiskey Ball:

Example of Weebly Site Screenshot

Detailed Engagements:

Example of a Wedding Website Built with Free Blogging Platform Weebly

These examples are featured on Weebly’s website, but they’re more than likely created with premium plans (rather than just their free blogging site features).

A Look Inside Weebly

If you choose Weebly’s free plan, you’ll get this initial option:

Screen Shot 2019 08 22 at 1.08.54 PM

For our free blogging sites roundup here, I’ve decided to choose a website with an online store to fully explore what Weebly has to offer. If you want to run only a content-driven blog, choose “I just need a website.”

Then you can choose from a number of free themes.

Screen Shot 2019 08 22 at 1.35.55 PM

Once you pick a theme you can go to the editor.

Screen Shot 2019 08 22 at 1.50.26 PM

The sidebar dash is very to ease, but it is not as intuitive or easy to use as the Wix interface. Plus, you also have a lot more customization options with Wix.

If you want to add a blog post, it’s really simple. Plus, there’s more flexibility with Weebly on this side of things, than with Wix. The same drag-and-drop options you have for your website are available with your blog posts.

Screen Shot 2019 08 22 at 1.57.51 PM

Because Weebly is focused on eCommerce, you can also add products and categories.

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 10.58.51 AM

Pros of Weebly as a Free Blogging Site

Completely Free

Weebly’s free version is completely free. No domain or hosting costs. A great way to get started if you want to test things out on a free blogging site with no strings attached.

Easy to Use

Weebly is really easy to use and offers the same quick set up to create posts through their free blogging platform. You can make attractive and interesting blog posts using Weebly’s free plan. The Weebly blog option has more features and customization ability than Wix’s blogging platform.

Change Themes Easily

With Weebly, you can change your themes as often as you like. You’re not locked into a theme forever, which is a nice option if you’d like to change things up after you get your blog off the ground.

eCommerce Options

There is an option to sell items right from your blog with Weebly. If you’d like to use this as a way to monetize your site, it is possible with Weebly.

Cons of Weebly as a Free Blogging Site

Weebly Branding

As with WordPress.com and Wix.com, you’ll have to deal with the Weebly branding for the free version. That means your URL will have the Weebly branding and they will run Weebly ads on your site.

Unlike the other two options, Weebly does allow you to put in a custom domain name with the free version of Weebly. You still have Weebly ads, but you will be able to use your own domain name.

Not as Easy as Wix to Learn

Weebly has a more customizable blogging feature, but the platform, in general, is not as easy or intuitive as Wix.

Limited Customization

Compared to something like WordPress.org, Weebly has far fewer ways to customize your free blog site. With only a handful of themes and apps, it doesn’t compare to WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

Medium as a Free Blogging Site to Use for Getting Started Today

Medium is unlike the other names on this list of free blogging sites, because it’s not really a true website builder.

In fact, while Medium is a free blogging site, it functions slightly more like a community of writers meets social media platform.

That being said, Medium is completely free to share your blog content on, and you can get started right away.

Who Would Like Medium

Medium is a good option for writers looking for exposure through a free blogging site that also has a large built-in community component. It would work well for a hobby blog, or to start finding your voice as a writer.

Another reason people use Medium is to give new life to the content they produced elsewhere. Since Medium has a built-in audience, some people choose to republish blog posts that they have already posted on their primary blog—to help drive traffic back to their blogs.

General Information About Medium

Medium was created to be a social media outlet for people who wanted to write longer posts than the ones you could find on Facebook or Twitter.

When Medium launched in 2012, CEO Ev Williams posted a blog post named, “Welcome to Medium.” In it, he explained the purpose of the platform.

“Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share blog post ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world…”

“On Medium, you can contribute often or just once in a blue moon, without the commitment of a blog. And either way, you’re publishing into a thriving, pulsing network — not a standalone website, which you alone are responsible for keeping alive.”

So the main appeal of Medium is that it gives you a built-in audience—similar to when you post content on YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Example of a Blog Post Created on Medium

Here’s a post I wrote for my Medium blog a few years ago, where I sometimes republish content to attract more readers:

Medium Free Blogging Sites Article Posting Example Screenshot

There’s no need to show you multiple blog posts on Medium, because apart from different pictures or videos, the blog layouts are essentially all the same.

A Look Inside Medium

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 7.18.46 AM

When you start your Medium account you’ll be asked to pick topics you’re interested in.

This has more to do with the type of articles that will show up on your feed and less about your own blog.

When you start writing a blog post, this is what your initial screen will look like.

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 7.20.15 AM copy

These are your editing options. Here’s what it looks like with a title and top image.

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 7.26.16 AM

You can embed videos directly into your blog posts on Medium.

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 7.26.29 AM

You can also embed social media posts like this one from my Twitter account.

Apart from those features, there’s very little you can do to change the look of your blog post or customize it.

And you can search the Unsplash media gallery to add pictures related to your blog post.

Pros of Medium as a Free Blogging Site

Easy to Learn and Publish

Medium is might be the easiest platform to use. Just sign up and start writing. No need to set up a website or look for hosting. Everything is ready for you to get started immediately.

The blogging interface is also extremely easy and takes no time at all to understand.

Completely Free to Use

Medium is completely free to use. No hidden fees or upgrades needed, making it a truly free blog site.

Built-in Audience

When you publish on Medium, you’re writing to an audience that already exists. You don’t necessarily have to compete with SEO masters on Google for your content to reach an audience.

Cons of Medium as a Free Blogging Site

Virtually No Customization

Apart from adding images, videos, or embedding social media posts, every post on Medium looks the same. It’s like posting on Facebook—your text and images are different—but every post has basically the same layout and design.

With Medium, there are no themes, apps, or plugins to customize your posts, which does make it one of the most simple free blogging platforms on the market today.

No (Real) Monetization

Medium is not a platform you can use to monetize your blog. There’s no option for ads or eCommerce. It’s explicitly against the rules to, “advertise or promote third-party products, services, or brands through Medium posts, publications, or letters,” but you can still promote your blog content with tactics like blogger outreach.

You can use affiliate links, but you’re not allowed to create content, “primarily to drive traffic to, or increase the search rankings of, an external site, product, or service…Scraping and reposting content from other sources for the primary purpose of generating revenue or other personal gains.”

You Don’t Have a Blog of Your Own

With Medium as your free blog site, you don’t have to take care of the upkeep of a blog which could be a plus for some. On the other hand, you ultimately have no control over the content that you publish.

You do, “own the rights to the content you create and post on Medium.” But your content can also be removed for “any reason.”

Let me be clear. With Medium, you’re publishing on someone else’s website. That means they have control over the way things are presented.

They can also change the way they do things at Medium without consulting you or considering your interests… and hell, they can even go out of business one day, taking your free blog right along with it.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why hosting your own blog (where you’re in control) is the smartest way to start a blog.

Blogger as a Free Blog Site to Use for Building a Blog for Free

Blogger is another solid (yet slightly outdated) option for free blogging sites designed for those who want a free blog to test the waters on.

Purchased by Google back in 2003, with this free blogging site—instead of actually owning your own site, you’re more-or-less renting it from Google.

Who Would Like Blogger

Blogger can be a decent option if you’re looking for a free place to start your hobby blog. However, with many more future-proof, modern free blogging sites available on the market today, I wouldn’t personally recommend going with Blogger.

General Information About Blogger

Blogger was originally created by Pyra Labs in 1999, but was later purchased by Google in 2003.

At one time, it was a very popular way to start a blog on a budget. Today, not so much.

While there are multiple options for customization with Blogger, it doesn’t have the sophistication of more modern blogging sites.

Examples of Websites Created on Blogger

Example of Website Created on Blogger's Free Blogging Platform

A Look Inside Blogger

Here’s an example of some of the themes available with Blogger:

How to Create a Free Blog on Blogger (Screenshot Tutorial)

Your blog post editor has a number of customization options, which actually come close to what you’ll get from a better blogging site like WordPress.

Screenshot of a Blogger Article Example

There are a handful of fonts you can choose from, and you can load pictures and videos. You can also add HTML code for greater customization.

The website editor can be a bit clunky and difficult to navigate, though…

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 9.35.35 AM

You also have to “preview” your blog before you can see the changes you’ve made.

Pros of Blogger as a Free Blogging Site

Free to Use

You can create a blog with Blogger and you’ll have no fees. No hosting fees. You can choose to pay for a domain name which will eliminate the branding from blogspot in your URL.

Monetization Choices

Probably one of the best things about Blogger as a free blog site, is the ability to run AdSense ads on your page. You have a lot more freedom to monetize your site with Blogger than many of the other free blogging sites we’ve discussed.

Cons of Blogger as a Free Blogging Site

No Ownership of Your Site

Unfortunately, with Blogger you don’t actually own your site. That means Google can choose to shut down your site if they want to.

Not as Easy to Use as Other Options

While Blogger is fairly simple to run, it does have a higher learning curve than many of the other options. It also has a smaller payoff once you do learn how to run it.

Limited Customization

There are several different things you can change with Blogger, but ultimately it’s not loaded down with customization options.

Outdated Interface

Not a lot of people are using Blogger as a free blogging site these days, because it isn’t up-to-date with other options like we’ve broken down here already. The interface is not as user-friendly or modern as other blogging platforms.

Ghost as a Free Blogging Platform to Build a Blog on a Budget

Ghost was founded in 2013 from a Kickstarter project, with the intention of offering a free blogging site to professional writers. It has some similarities to WordPress, and like WordPress, it has a hosted and self-hosted version.

The self-hosted version is free, but (like with WordPress) does require a domain name and hosting.

Who Would Like Ghost

Ghost would work well for people who are looking for a simple, free blog site that’s specifically geared towards blogging. While WordPress began as a blogging platform, it has evolved into much more than that.

Ghost is still solely focused on blogging—not on general website production or eCommerce.

John O’Nolan, founder of Ghost has shared, “If you want a simple website with eCommerce that you use to run your business, give Squarespace a try. If you want to participate in a social network with sharing and re-posting and lots of cats, maybe Tumblr would be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to develop your own fully-fledged website or application with every imaginable bell and whistle, WordPress might be ideal.”

He continues, “If you want to have a simple but powerful independent publication, something that’s focused on the writing experience and giving you the freedom to be in complete control of your content, then you might find Ghost interesting.”

General Information About Ghost

Ghost exists as a free blogging site, primarily because John O’Nolan wanted to create something like WordPress that was solely for writers, while being more minimalistic and easier to navigate.

Ghost is a non-profit that is still in its infancy and still gaining its footing as a free blogging platform. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend Ghost over WordPress as a free blogging site at this point, I would keep an eye out for what they’re doing.

It also seems that they’re planning on changing the direction of their platform in upcoming months.

Here’s an excerpt from Ghost’s 2018 inside look:

“We spent a very long time trying to compete on convenience and simplicity. This was our biggest mistake and the hardest lesson to learn – because user feedback told us that this was what was most important… But it ended up being still not simple enough for the average user, and not powerful or flexible enough for the professional user — the worst of both worlds.

So the biggest takeaway after 5 years is that we have been moving, and will continue to move up market, toward professional users who value power and flexibility over ease of signup. This is where we can win compared to the competition. This is where Ghost comes into its own.”

The hosted version of Ghost has its lowest plan priced at $29 a month, so it obviously doesn’t have a free option.

Ghost is an open-source CMS though, so there is a free self-hosted version available. Signing up for it though, is less straight-forward than WordPress.org.

Hosting Options for Ghost

Not all hosting companies support Ghost as a blogging platform, but here’s a list of great hosts that do:

  1. A2 Hosting
  2. Cloudways
  3. Digital Ocean
  4. HostPapa

An Example of a Ghost Theme

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 2.07.02 PM

A Look Inside Ghost

One cool thing that Ghost offers is an actual way of checking it out before you dive in. It’s called play-with-ghost.com

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 2.10.14 PM

With it, you can pick a theme, insert the admin info they provide, and actually mess around with the software for free.

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 2.11.35 PM

Once you’ve selected a theme, it takes you to a testing area where you can choose different options and play around with the features.

The blogging features are very clean and simple.

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 2.12.46 PM

Here’s a look at some of the elements you can add to your blog post:

Screen Shot 2019 08 23 at 2.16.46 PM

An example of what you can create as a blog post:

Ghost Screenshot of Free Blogging Platform Content Sample

It’s a fairly simple layout without an abundance of options. It does, however, have a feature called “markdown” which converts content into HTML code.

Like this:

Example of a Blog Post in Ghost Blogging Platform

To this:

Screenshot of Ghost Content Editor as a Blogging Platform

Pros of Ghost as a Free Blogging Site

Simple and Easy to Use

For those who want a clean space to sit and write—Ghost offers just that.

It’s easy to navigate and isn’t weighed down by a lot of extras. It’s minimalistic setup makes it easy for bloggers to sit down and write.

There’s Room to Grow

Ghost is a newer establishment so it will be interesting to see how they develop over the next few years. They may change the blogging sphere in interesting ways—like using javascript instead of PHP to run their blogging site.

Cons of Ghost as a Free Blogging Site

Not the Most Customizable Option

It’s pro is also somewhat its con, as founder John O’Nolan has noted. In their effort to create simplicity, they have missed another group of people who want more flexibility and customization.

Hosting and Domain Name Fees

As with WordPress.org, Ghost offers no completely free blogging site option, because you’ll still be responsible for your monthly hosting plan and getting a domain name.

Harder to Find Hosting Plans

Because Ghost chose to use javascript (node.js) to power their free blogging platform, it’s more difficult to find a hosting company that supports it from a technical standpoint—aside from their own hosting plans, of course.

Tumblr as a Top Free Blog Site to Get Started on

Tumblr is an alternative free blogging site that currently hosts 476 million different blogs, and it was just recently purchased by Automattic (the company behind WordPress). Like Medium though, Tumblr is a mix between a blog and a social media channel.

Who Would Like Tumblr

Tumblr is geared towards a younger generation and trends well with 18-29 year olds. It’s a fun and interesting way to share your content. Tumblr describes itself as a place where you can find just about anything, making it a fascinating blend of free blogging site and built-in community.

It’s a great choice for people who want to produce relatively quick or short content and don’t want to be bogged down by website production or the extra work involved with running your own site.

Tumblr would not be an ideal choice for someone interested in owning their own blog/website. It would also be an unlikely choice for someone starting a business, although you could use Tumblr to funnel traffic to an outside shop like Etsy or eBay.

General Information About Tumblr

Tumblr was created as a free blog platform in 2007 by David Karp. Sometimes Tumblr is referred to as micro-blogging, which is what Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are. But, Tumblr is more middle of the road between Twitter and WordPress. It’s multi-media and a little different than most other forms of blogging sites out there.

In an interview with TechCrunch, David Karp describes the reason he created Tumblr. “All blogs took the same form… I wanted something much more free-form, much less verbose.”

He went on to explain that some people want to create an online identity without learning the process of website building. He said, “It’s a commitment, you need to sit down for an hour and hammer out a post.” He believes that WordPress is the best tool for people who enjoyed writing and wanted to put in the extra time, but it was the wrong tool for those who didn’t.

Tumblr describes their platform this way: “We made it really, really simple for people to make a blog and put whatever they want on it. Stories, photos, GIFs, TV shows, links, quips, dumb jokes, smart jokes, Spotify tracks, mp3s, videos, fashion, art, deep stuff. Tumblr is 476 million different blogs, filled with literally whatever.”

Another compelling part of Tumblr is you can follow people on it. You can build a following through the platform and like Instagram, those people will see your new posts on their dashboard. People can also reblog your content so it gets shared and shared again.

Changes for Tumblr

As of August of 2019, Automattic, owner of WordPress, purchased Tumblr. It’s still unclear what changes might come from this acquisition, but executives from both entities said they’re looking for ways for WordPress.com and Tumblr to share services and functionality.

Tumblr has lost popularity since its original launch, partly due to its more recent ban of adult material, but Automattic may breathe new life into the platform.

Examples of Blog Posts Created on Tumblr

Here’s a fun one from NPR:

Example of a Blog Post on Tumblr (screenshot)

And here’s another example of creative Tumblr content:

Tumblr Free Blog Site Example of Post Format

A Look Inside Tumblr

Tumblr allows you to include things like gifs, audio, and quotes.

How to Use Tumblr as a Free Blogging Platform

It functions as a social media platform as well but it’s very playful in nature.

Here’s what it looks like when you first log in to your account.

Tumblr Content Editor Screenshot

You can also add videos, images, and tags.

Pros of Tumblr as a Free Blogging Site

Fun, Creative and Interesting Community

If you want to produce fun and interesting content without being weighed down by website construction, Tumblr is a vibrant place to express your creativity—and one of the most widely used free blogging sites in the world.

Free to Use

Like Medium, you don’t have to pay to post on Tumblr. You’re free to do what you want on the platform without extra fees—it’s a truly 100% free blogging site.

Ability to Monetize

Surprisingly, Tumblr offers a variety of ways to monetize your blog including ads and affiliate links.

Cons of Tumblr as a Free Blogging Site

You Don’t Own your Site or Your Content

When you use Tumblr you have no control over changes made to the platform, which is one of the biggest drawbacks of using this as a free blog site. And while you own the “subscriber content” you create, Tumblr also has certain rights to it. Their privacy policy explains,

“When you provide Subscriber Content to Tumblr through the Services, you grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of, such Subscriber Content.”

On Tumblr, when people reblog your content, they also have the right to modify it. This may not be the worst thing, but if you want your original content to remain untouched, Tumblr probably isn’t your best choice.

Limited Customization

While Tumblr allows you to be very creative with the multimedia content that you share, especially amongst free blogging sites, the outlet itself is very standard. You don’t have the flexibility to extend your features or add custom themes.

Joomla Self-Hosted Free Blogging Site to Use on a Budget

Similar to WordPress, Joomla is also an open-source CMS. And like with running a self-hosted WordPress site, you’ll be required to purchase your domain name and hosting plan in order to fully utilize this otherwise free blogging site.

Joomla is the second most popular CMS in the world (behind WordPress) and powers around 58 million websites.

Who Would Like Joomla

Joomla requires a bit more technical knowledge than WordPress and most of our other top free blog sites here today, so it wouldn’t be ideal for someone looking for a very easy (non-technical) platform.

It also has a more advanced user system, so that means if you do have the technical knowledge, there’s more you can do right out of the box.

Another selling point about Joomla is it has multilingual support built into it without adding any additional plugins.

General Information About Joomla

Joomla was originally called Mambo. Mambo was developed in 2000 by an Australian company called Miro. Eventually, the source code was “forked” into what’s now called Joomla.

Joomla was officially launched in 2005, and has had several major updates since.

If you want to increase the capability of Joomla, you can add an extension.

Joomla has five types of extensions:

1. Components

Components are like mini-applications. Most have two parts to them, an administrative side and a site side.

2. Modules

This extension is used for page rendering. A footer or a login would be examples of modules.

3. Plugins

Plugins in Joomla refer to a function that triggers an event. This could be something like adding a form to your site, adding shortcuts, or adding an extra authentication method.

4. Templates

A template is the way the website looks. It changes the way the component and the modules will be viewed.

5. Languages

Extra languages are already built into the core Joomla package, but more can be added with an extension.

Hosting with Bluehost

Joomla also requires you to self-host your website, which technically pushes it a little away from being a completely free blogging site. I highly recommend using Bluehost for your Joomla hosting as well. Bluehost currently hosts over 85,000 Joomla sites, and it gives you a 1-click installation option immediately after signing up.

Examples of Websites Created on Joomla

Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences:

Harvard Website Built on Free Blogging Site Joomla Screenshot

The Hill (a politics news website):

Example of a Joomla Built Blog Screenshot

Pros of Joomla as a Free Blogging Site

Great Multilingual Options

Joomla is a great choice for people searching for a way to translate their website into many different languages.

Customization and Flexibility

Joomla allows you to do many things with your website and blog. You’re not locked into a particular theme or minimal set of features. This level of flexibility gives you the ability to grow your blog.

Good for Monetization

With Joomla, you can monetize your site however you like, even as a free blogging platform which is an attractive feature. You can include ads, use affiliate links, and sell products as you see fit.

Joomla has eCommerce extensions like Eshop and J2Store that you can use to set up shopping carts and add products.

Cons of Joomla as a Free Blogging Site

Requires Moderate Level Tech Skills

If you’re brand new to site building and blogging, Joomla would probably not be the best choice for you. Someone who has some running knowledge of coding would do better with this free blogging site.

Cost for Domain and Hosting

The Joomla CMS is free to use, but you will still have to pay for your domain name and hosting.

Some Compatibility Issues

Some of the plugins with Joomla have compatibility issues. These could be resolved by someone with more extensive coding experience, but is not a reasonable avenue for people with limited coding knowledge.

This frustration is compounded by the fact that many of the plugins are not free, so you’re paying for a plugin that is incompatible with other plugins you’ve installed.

Site and Security Maintenance

Again, with any CMS, the onus is on you to make sure that your site is secure and properly maintained. If you’re looking for a very easy way to maintain your site, you may prefer something like Wix or Weebly who do the background work for you—even on some of their most basic free blog site plans.

Yola Free Blogging Site Homepage Screenshot and Example

Yola is a free blogging site that’s fairly easy to use, with a drag-and-drop feature.

It’s WYSIWYG, straightforward and it doesn’t take long to learn & use.

Who Would Like Yola

I personally wouldn’t consider Yola’s free version as the best free blogging site to go with. While it does give you access to some nice responsive templates, the free version is very limited and doesn’t quite stack up against the other free blogging sites we’ve compared in this list.

The ability to use your Yola site as an eCommerce space is probably one of its more alluring features. Unfortunately, this is not available with the free plan.

Most importantly, you can’t create a blog directly on the Yola site. You can only create a blog by integrating an already existing Tumblr blog.

With these things in mind, I would only recommend the free version of Yola’s a way to play around with website building or to determine whether you’re interested in paying for a higher premium plan.

General Information About Yola

Yola began as a free blogging site in South Africa during 2007. The company is located in Cape Town and currently has over 12 million users.

Yola has around 80 templates — one minor issue with their templates is they are not categorized in any way. So you’ll have to determine if you think the template works for the site you’re trying to create.

The Sitebuilder is available in six languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Their goal is, “Making it easy for you to get your business online.”

With a free plan you get:

  • 3 Pages
  • 1GB bandwidth
  • 1GB storage
  • Yola subdomain

An Example of a Website Created on Yola

Transportation Children’s Center:

Example of a Free Blog Built on Yola

A Look Inside Yola

Screenshot of Yola Tour

Yola allows you to choose a template to start with designing your blog. You can even choose a blank template if you’d like to start from scratch.

Example of Free Blogging Site Yola Built Blog

Here’s what the editor looks like with the chosen template. In order to get started, you can remove the standard pictures and exchange them for your images.

Yola Editor Example of a Free Blog Site in Progress

There are a lot of things you can customize on Yola including font, color, alignment etc.

Yola Editor Screenshot of Free Blog Site in Action

You can drag-and-drop widgets into place, but they do have to land in a predetermined area.

This can be a little restrictive if you have a different vision of what your blog should look like in your mind.

Pros of Yola as a Free Blogging Site

Fairly Simple to Use

Yola has a low learning curve and it doesn’t take a lot of time to start putting together a website.

Free to Start

You can start using Yola right away without paying for anything, but will have to upgrade to remove Yola branding, add multiple pages to your site or sell products online.

Customization and HTML

Yola does offer quite a few customization choices for a free blogging site and you can add coding for additional features. They do explain that your coding may conflict with their Site builder at times, so that’s something to be aware of.

Cons of Yola as a Free Blogging Site

Yola Branding

With the free plan, you will have a prominent Yola ad on the footer of your page.

Only Three Pages

If you’re using the free plan with Yola, you are only able to have three pages total.

No In-House Blogging Options

Possibly the biggest problem with Yola is you cannot run a blog straight from the editor. You would instead have to create a blog on Tumblr and integrate it into your Yola site.

Have to Upgrade to Add a Store

Yola does have quite a few attractive eCommerce features, especially for a free blog site, but you’ll have to upgrade to use them. You can’t add a store with the free package.


Which Free Blogging Site is Best For You?

Which free blogging site matches what you’re looking for is ultimately up to you.

If you’re looking for an extremely simple way to start a blog and aren’t concerned about making a profit with your site, something like Wix might be your speed.

If you want something fun and a little unusual with a built-in community, you may want to choose Tumblr.

For the top one-size-fits-all answer to which of these blogging sites are best though… I would only recommend self-hosted WordPress as the way for you to start your blog today—especially if you eventually want to touch the lives of lots of readers or build a business around your blog.

WordPress gives you the greatest potential to grow as a free blogging site (without forcing you to migrate your site soon after you get started). On WordPress.org you can start a simple hobby blog or build a profitable business. And for those who want something easy to start, you don’t need any tech experience at all.

A self-hosted blog on WordPress has by far the greatest potential for bloggers who want to build a real business—and you can keep your blogging costs down to around $5.00/mo with the right cheap hosting plan, too.

Once you’ve done your research and are ready to build a profitable blog—head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.

Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?

Check out my ultimate guide How to Start a Blog (on the Side).