One of the questions I get the most from clients when it comes to starting a blog is, “Can’t I do it for free?”
The answer is YES! Absolutely!
There are some amazing free blog platforms that will allow you to get a blog online, without spending a single penny. If your goal is ‘dip a toe in the water’ and start publishing right now – maybe to see if you enjoy blogging – then there are free setup options available to you. And they’re easy to get started with.
That said, most people who want to start a blog want to be able to make money from it. Maybe not now, but possibly down the line.
Free Blog Platforms
You might have heard of Blogger, Tumblr and Weebly… and these are great option for people who want to start a blog for fun.
With a quick signup and the click of a few buttons, you can have a blog online, for free. That’s great but like most freebies, there’s are some downsides.
– You won’t control ads shown on your blog
– You don’t have full control or ownership
– Monetisation options are limited
Examples: WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Wix.com, Tumblr.com
The biggest issue with any of the free platforms is that YOU DON’T OWN IT. If they wanted to shut you down, they could. One you start making ANY money off it, that’s not acceptable, in my opinion.
WordPress vs WordPress
You might have also heard of WordPress, and that’s where there’s a couple options.
WordPress.com will let you get up & running for free, but it’s limited in design and you’ll be really limited with money-making opportunities.
WordPress.org is a completely different beast. This is where you organise your own web hosting (aka ‘self-hosting’) and register your domain name. Then you use the free WordPress.org platform and “plugins” to create and customise anything on your blog that you can imagine.
This is the most popular approach for professional bloggers.
The downside of WordPress.org is that there’s a bit of a ‘tech’ learning curve. You’ll have be responsible for things like installing and updating software. If you’ve got a secret fear of tech then this might not be the best option for you, unless you’ve got a helper you can count on.
Two platforms that have become really popular lately are Squarespace.com and Wix.com. They offer ‘website builder technology’. These are drag-and-drop tools that makes it ridiculously easy to build an amazing looking website from scratch with just a few clicks of a button.
If you’re short on tech skills and patience, using a web builder like this might be your best approach.
What’s the Best Option?
People often ask if they should just get started with a free website platform. There’s no right way or wrong way, but you must consider your long-term blogging goals.
If you’re just exploring blogging, then starting out using a free platform is a simple and cost-effective way to get the ball rolling. Then you can decide later whether you want to set up something more serious or not.
If you’re serious about it and ready to commit to being a blogger, then WordPress.org or Squarespace.com would be my recommendations. I always go WordPress.org, but like I said this isn’t for people who are faint of heart regarding a few tech bits!
The second most important thing to remember is that you can always transfer your content from one platform to another, so your decision isn’t permanent.
The most important thing, is that you just get started!