Hosting is a very important factor you should consider when you start a blog.The blog platform you choose depends on the reasons why you start a blog, your capabilities and your goals behind it.Choosing a proper blog platform is very crucial for your blog.Many of the hosted services available to bloggers offer a basic blogging package at no cost. A great number of the non-hosted blogging software packages are also free, but the web server that you need to install them on isn’t free.So, this article is intended to give a clear insight about the top 5 blogging platforms, along with a detailed documentation on their pros and cons and when, what and how to choose a proper free blogging platform.Hope it helps!
Free Blogging Platform Vs Self-HostedBlogging Platform
There are two kinds of blogging platforms. One is the hosted blog (free blogging platform) and the other is the non-hosted blog (self-hosted blogging platform).
Hosted blog: With free blog hosting services you don’t need to worry about the software technology at all. You can concentrate on worrying about what your next blog post will be about, rather than how to configure a web server. To use hosted blogging software, you log into the editing tool, write a post, click the Publish button, and log out. If you choose hosted software, you don’t have to worry about web hosting — the software company is providing that service for you!
Non-hosted blog: If you want to run your own blogging system right from the beginning. This type of setup is known as non-hosted blogging software. By installing blog software on your own web server, you take on all responsibilities related to maintaining the blogging software and the data created when you blog.
Here is the list of top 5 free blogging platforms you should consider:
Blogger is the conventional hosted free blogging platform. Started in 1999 Blogger has become the most well-known hosted free blogging platform. Blogger has many features that allow bloggers to publish multiple blogs:
- Blogger offers free blog hosting services, with no hassles and no mess.
- It also offers a wide variety of free templates, which you can customize in a number of ways.
- The publishing tool includes Google AdSense, a blog advertising program and other elements, such as polls and lists.
- Monetization on blogger is easy and quick with Google Adsense unless your blog contains restricted/spammed content.
- Because it is owned by Google, Blogger links with your Google accounts, including Gmail and Google+.
- Custom Design/Templates: The templates are too simple and plain and do not meet the standard of a professional looking blog.
- Though the interface is easy to use, it’s not possible to customize the blog as per your requirements, and hence it is restricted to what to you see and can’t be modified even if you edit the html at the back-end.
WordPress is another most popular free blogging platform launched in 2005, in addition to software that you can install on your own server. WordPress, offers a clean, easy-to-use interface, and bloggers tend to see it as more flexible than anything else on the market.
- Is also offers free blog hosting services.
- Has many options for design templates, letting you choose a look that suits your content.
- Includes features such as tags and categories, permitting easy organization of your posts.
- Offers spellchecking, rich-text editing, and photo uploading.
- Even measures your site traffic and statistics to help gauge your popularity.
- It includes tools that allow you to insert photos, videos, and audio files into your blog posts.
- Integrates an excellent spam-fighting tool, Akismet.
The free version of WordPress is called WordPress.com and a self-hosted solution called WordPress.org where you can download the application yourself, install it, and use it on your own server.
Tumblr, purchased by Yahoo in 2013, is a fun and really easy-to-use free blogging platform that offers free blog hosting services. It is one of the most popular micro blogging services out there. Tumblr blogs are a little different from other major blogging platforms in that it is really easy to re-post material from another Tumblr blog to your own blog, so sharing is a big part of the Tumblr experience.
- The ability to run several blogs from a single dashboard interface
- The ability to quickly post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or e-mail
- Many different themes that let you customize the way your blog looks so that it’s personal to you
Tumblr emphasizes on providing a visually appealing content rather than a professional blog. Hence can be adopted for publishing visual content like videos and photos. Suitable for photography and food blogging.
TypePad was launched in 2003.It is a professional blog software for businesses and journalists. It allows you to do more than just blog, it offers flexible blogging platform that puts the publisher in control. TypePad offers tools that allow you to insert photos into your posts quickly, automatic re-sizing them and adding thumbnails to blog posts. It offers great one-one support.
TypePad offers a 14-day free trial for new users. TypePad pricing starts at $8.95 a month and ranges upward, depending on the services that you include.
SquareSpace launched in 2004,is ideal for building a static business website. It is the easiest all-in one solution on the web. Sqaurespace is user-friendly with an advanced builder. Whether you need simple pages, striking galleries, a professional blog, or an online store, it has everything you need to get your job done. It also integrates an excellent spam-fighting tool. Squarespace makes adding your custom domain simple, and every annual account receives a free custom domain and moreover it offers a 24×7 support. Squarespace blogs come with many of the features that bloggers on other platforms are required to add with special themes or additional plug-ins. Squarespace account provides you with website analytics, social media integration, and automatically mobile-ready designs.But Squarespace has limited access to code with weak e-commerce tool and limited number of templates.
Like Typepad, Squarespace also offers a 14-day free trial with plans starting from $8 and up afterwards.There’s no real danger in giving this platform a try.You can export your content elsewhere once you decide to move your blog to a different platform.
So, when to Go for a free blogging platform?
- short of cash
- New to blogging
- Want to experiment with blogging
- Blogging for fun
- Not blogging for benefit
- You don’t want to mess around with programming code and blog design
If technology freaks you out, you can make life easier with these free blogging platforms.Free blogging platform mostly offers A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) posting and editing environment, which means you don’t need to know HTML .
WordPress is the best free blogging platform used by more people than any other. It is extremely easy to install, even for newcomers, and works very well out-of-the-box. There’s no need to meddle under the hood to write coding or whatnot just to get it working the way you want it to. Hearmefolks is built on WordPress and it is my choice of blog software. Blogger is another most opted free blogging platform but has its own limitations. It requires no set-up and is simple to use. Blogging on blogger is as simple as drafting a mail. Free blog hosting services like Blogger and WordPress can be used as a learning tool, even if you plan to use other blog software for your real blog.
You can Start with a free blogging platform (like wordpress.com) and when you plan to take your blog to the next level, move to a non-hosted platform (like wordpress.org) sooner, where you can download the application yourself, install it, and use it on your own server.
If you end up using a free blogging platform, you don’t need to get web hosting, you can buy a domain and forward the address to your blog. This is handy to do!
Realted Reading: How to Choose a Domain Name for Blog
But beware! With free blog hosting services, you may not actually own the rights to the content you are posting! Google doesn’t give as much weight to free blogs on their search results, because they don’t consider them as being authoritative.Always, remember to read the terms of service carefully when selecting a hosted blogging platform.
The content on hosted blogs is technically owned by the hosting site and not by the blog author . . . you. If content ownership is more important to you than ease of use, hosted blogs are not the right option for you.You need to go for web hosting or non-hosted or self hosted blogging platform.Choosing a web hosting provider for your self-hosted blog is critical.For your self hosted blog Learn to Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider
So the free blogging platform you choose for your site depends on your needs and to a certain extent ability. If you go through the list of assets and limitations of each of the platforms mentioned above, as well as my notes on when you should use each of these blogging sites, you should be able to decide on the software that is best for your purposes.
What do you think is the best free blogging platform? Let me know in the comments below!