Should you use a free blog platform or self hosted blog platform? This is a question that a lot of would be bloggers tend to struggle to understand. I certainly did when I was starting out. That is because for the novice the whole self-hosted concept is hard to distinguish from the free blog platform, except for the fact you have to pay for it. Back when I was starting out I have to be honest and say I thought people recommended self hosting so they could make money from me. Most of the research I did just said things like self hosted is better.
Instead of saying the same thing as hundreds of other start your own blog posts do, I am going to say use a free blog platform to get started if you want to. I will provide the info here so you can make up your own mind on the matter 😉
Which Free Blog Platform?
If you want to use a free blog platform I highly recommend staying away from sites like Blogger and instead use WordPress.com. This is simply because if you do find you want to develop your blog later, starting with WordPress.com makes the whole process a lot easier. Sites like Blogger are perfectly fine to use, and they allow you to start a blog with about 3 clicks. It is because of this simplicity however that they can also be very restrictive. If you are 100% sure you want to blog as a hobby, and not to build an income any of the quick start blog platforms will meet your needs quite sufficiently. On the other hand if there is even a hint you might like to take things further go with WordPress.com which takes about 5 clicks to get started.
What Do Free Blog Platforms Offer?
Without going in to a lot of technical detail here, free blog platforms offer a cut down version of blogging. Of course you can write posts, publish them and build an audience. Most free blog platforms also allow you to change the appearance of your blog in certain ways. You can change the colours, the layout and often the text as well. One thing that free blog platforms offer which is very appealing to the beginner is a pre-exisiting blogging community (or audience).
If you do use a free blogging platform the main thing you need to know is your blog does not actually belong to you. You are writing content on a site that someone else ultimately has control over.
What do Self Hosted Blog Platforms Offer?
Self hosted blog platforms offer you the opportunity to use and experience the full monty version of blogging. Just like the free blog platforms you can write posts, publish them and build an audience. Instead of allowing you to change a few things with regard to the appearance of your blog with a self hosted version the sky is the limit. There are a practically unlimited supply of themes available. You can change every single aspect of your blog in any way you choose. Instead of working within the constraints of a free blog platform your imagination provides the only constraint.
In terms of an audience you do not have the people who visit one website already in place, however every person who uses the internet becomes a potential reader. Most importantly the site you create belongs to you and you have full control of it.
Why Choose Self Hosted Over Free?
If free blog platforms offer the ability to write a blog then why would you choose a paid version? In my opinion a free blog platform is like having a tiny black and white 4 channel TV and a paid one is like having a massive flat screen smart TV with all the bells and whistles, surround sound, 3D, and unlimited channels. They both allow you to do the same thing just in very different ways. A free blog platform will enable you to take the first tentative steps into blogging, but so will a self hosted one. They are not really more complicated than each other to use, the self hosted version just has a lot more to offer. You can still take things slowly to begin with, but once you learn you don’t then need to start learning how to use a remote control instead of an on off button and dial.
They are very different animals, and quite frankly for the difference of a few pounds its better to be unlimited if you can. If money is an issue then go with the free WordPress.com option which will at least teach you how to use some of the same controls.
Which Self Hosted Blog Platform?
There are loads of self hosted blog platforms available and they all have different prices. The two that I recommend are Global Domains International or Bluehost. Both are self hosted platforms and will grow with you if and when your blog develops. They are both great for beginners and professionals alike aswell. In addition, if you want to earn from writing a blog I can advise you and help you gain an income from Global Domains International – In my opinion you might as well make a little cash at the same time as writing a blog as not 😉
For more information about that you might like to read Want Cheap Website Hosting Fees? My Provider Pays Me!
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