Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online. You don’t have to be a marketer and you don’t need any special skills to make money blogging. This is the major reason most people are now starting blogs by their own.
Generally blogs are available in two forms, one is free and the other is self-hosted blogs where you have to pay money. Both of them have their own pros and cons. Free blogging sites are free to use though you won’t have full control over your sites whereas in self-hosted sites you have to pay money for domain and hosting to run your sites (and you’ll have full control on your sites) .
If you are just starting out your blogging journey, you can start with free blogs. There can be lots of reasons why you want to try your hands on free blogging sites first. The most obvious reason could be the cost. With free blogging sites, you won’t be paying a single penny for your domain name and hosting space.
Another reason could be, since you are just starting your blogging career, it’s a great idea to get used to the blogging and how to work on blogs. Once you get used to blogging and had working knowledge about a niche, you can move to a self-hosted blog where you have to pay money. You have to make a small investment when you move to a self-hosted blog on WordPress or any other blogging software. There you will need to buy a domain name, WordPress friendly web hosting, premium themes and plugins for your WordPress blog.
If you are short of funds, you could ignore the plugins and themes investment for some time. But for buying a domain name and web hosting from a top web host, you need to make a small investment of $60 to $70 every year at least.
How will be Your Blog Address with Free Blogging Sites?
Every blog needs a domain name. If you are starting a blog, you should be giving top priority to choosing a good name for your sites. Getting a domain is also free when you are using free blogging platforms.
On free blogging websites, you will be getting a sub-domain as your blog address. If I try to registering bloggers passion as my blog URL on WordPress.com, my ultimate blog URL in that case will be bloggerspassion.wordpress.com (If it happens to be available). So WordPress.com will be added with each blog which is created for free on WordPress.com.
The same thing applies when you went on to create blogs on other free blogging platforms like blogger.com, weebly.com and blog.com etc. So the general blog syntax for your blog address will be abc.blogspot.com or abc.wordpress.com where abc is your blog name.
Here are few pros and cons of using free domain names through various free blogging platforms.
- You will be getting a free domain name for lifetime (unless you violate rules)
- Wide range of free domain names (you’ve to be creative to come up with memorable domain names)
- It looks odd with the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com
- Your audience might think you are not serious about blogging
- You don’t know when it will disappear
Some Important Facts about Free Blogging Websites
- First of all, you will have no control on your blog address. You will be at the mercy of your free blog host. They can delete your free blog without any prior notice if they find you are doing anything against their TOS.
- Most of free blog hosts will allow you to add content on your blog in the form of blog posts and pages. You can easily add images, videos and other kind of media elements on your blog.
- You cannot upload a theme or template of your own with most of free blogging sites. But on Blogger.com, you can upload templates of your own and also can upload templates that are available on other blogger template websites.
- These free blog hosts will give you enough space to write your blog posts in normal. But if you start spamming these blogs with hundreds of automated blog posts on daily basis, you will come to know about your monthly blog post limit on these websites very soon.
- You will have very few chances of making money with free blogs created on most of these free web hosts. With most, you cannot do much monetization wise. It will be your blog post area only where you can add links for making money. Most free blog hosts will not allow you adding any java Script or PHP code on your blog. Blogger.com is an exception to this. There are lots of free blogging sites even that used to run their own monetization widgets on your blogs and you have no control to remove them (Paying money to them will be the only option).
Here is the ultimate list of free blogging sites that you can use for creating free blogs of your own:
Top 10 Free Blogging Platforms
1. Blogger.com (BlogSpot)
When it comes to free blogging sites, Blogger is the one you can’t miss out. If you are searching for a free and reliable blogging platform, Blogger is the perfect choice for you. Blogger.com is not only one of the most popular blogging websites and it is owned by search engine giant Google. You will be getting the most of the features you can expect when hosting a domain on your own hosting.
The only limitation using Blogger blogging platform is that you will have no control over your domain name and ultimately it’s just a sub-domain. You can create blog posts, add images and videos to them with ease and can even monetize your blog with most of monetization programs available on internet like Google Adsense and Amazon etc. You can find the list of websites for making money online from your blog here.
You can customize your blog design to great extent. There are thousands of free templates available on Blogger platform and you can design your blog anyway you like. You can create pages, multi user blogs, private blogs and Blogger.com is currently available in 41 languages. Click this link to know more in detail about Blogger.com features.
I myself started my blogging journey with Blogger.com. Best thing about Blogger.com is that it’s quite easy to use compared with other blogging platform available on Internet. You can use blogging platform from Blogger.com on your custom domain even by mapping it. Majority of the bloggers still use Blogger platform to start their own websites or blogs not only because its free but it gives you great functionality.
After Blogger.com, it’s WordPress which is the most used and most powerful content management system for bloggers. You can use WordPress for creating personal, professional and I would say blog of any type. You will get most of the features that you were enjoying on Blogger.com but you will have very few options when you think of monetizing your free blog (sub-domain) on WordPress.com.
Over 17% of the websites worldwide are hosted on WordPress content management system. This is indirectly telling the importance of using WordPress.com to create free blogs. If you want to start your blog on a self hosted CMS, you can do that too using WordPress.org. One of the widely used CMS in the world and almost every industry blogger uses WordPress.org to run their websites.
You can use WordPress blogging software on your custom domain by downloading it from WordPress.org website and uploading it on your purchased web space. It does not take much time in installing WordPress on WordPress friendly web hosts. If you don’t know how to do it, you can use Bloggers Passion free WordPress Installation service.
There are some limitations that should be in your mind if you are thinking of using WordPress for creating your first free blog:
- You will just get a sub-domain with them
- You cannot install themes or plugins that are not in WordPress official directory. You can access WordPress free themes and plugins directory from here and here.
- You cannot use Google Adsense, Amazon or any other monetization program that asks you add certain java Script or PHP code into your blog.
But you can get free from these and many more limitations if you went on to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress blog from Scratch. By using a self hosted blog, it’s not only easy to manage your sites, but you can also make money blogging if you put some bucks on SEO, content writing or design.
Live Journal is available in free and paid version. You have to pay money if you want to keep your LiveJournal blog from their free advertising. You will be getting the features like multiple author blogs, polls and calendars, commenting and it has lots of social media features which differentiate it from other free blogging websites.
Over 16 million people are now using LiveJournal to create their free blogs. You can also blog in several languages including Dutch, French, German, English so if you are not good at English and want to try these languages, you will feel lucky using LiveJournal free blogging site.
Here are few notable features of free blogging site LiveJournal.
- Video Uploading
- Photo Uploading
- Private Message Sending
- Public Message Posting
You can know more in details about LiveJournal feature for free and paid account type from here.
Tumblr is a micro blogging website like Twitter and Facebook. Tumblr is one of the fastest glowing websites on the internet and it looks like a mixture of blogger, Facebook and Twitter. Use Tumblr to create free blogs if your site is more about the visuals. Tumblr gives you everything to make your images look visually appealing and you can show images, videos and music in anyway you want. They have lots of unique feature that makes them the unique choice of too many bloggers:
- Hundreds of ready to use themes
- You can post on your blog directly from your Email box
- You can add pictures of even high-resolution here
- 10’s of ready to use third-party apps
- Track your blog readers through Google Analytics
- Publish updates to your Facebook account
- No limit on how many people can contribute on your blog
- You can schedule your blog posts
- You can create a theme of your own
- You can post almost anything on Tumblr
- You can keep your posts public and private
- You can convert your posts into audio posts
- You can use your own custom domain
- Automatic update on Twitter about your latest posts
Use this link to know more in detail about why you should choose Tumblr over other blogging platforms. You can repost, reshare, reblog anything that you find useful on Tumblr community this leads to get you more Tumblr followers without actually spending time in content creation.
Blog.com is one more truly professional option for blogging which is available in free and premium version. You will get facilities like multi author blogs, integration with popular social media websites, tracking your blog stats through Google Analytics and selection of theme from its theme gallery. If you have some funds you can use Blog.com premium features, you can have all of its premium features including a domain name. Here is the list of premium features from Blog.com with their cost:
- You can keep your blog free of ads for $30.
- Although they provide 2 GB storage space to their users for free. But if you need more you can get that by paying extra money. Their extra storage space feature starts from $20 per year.
- You can use your own domain name for your blog that you have created by paying $18 every year. You can register any .com, .net, .info or any other domain or even can map any of your existing domain names with your blog.com blog.
- You can customize CSS by paying $15 every year.
- You can remove limit on number of authors on your private blogs by paying $25 every year.
- You can use their premium theme gallery by paying $70/year.
Weebly is a California-based company which was started in 2006 and in 2007; it was named amongst Best 50 Websites by Times. Weebly is popular and used by many people to create their free blogs because of its versatility. They are currently hosting personal websites and blogs of over 12 million people.
You can publish your content on Weebly sub-domain or on your custom domain and you will not be charged anything for domain mapping unlike other web hosts in the industry. You can also drag and drop items to create menus, pages, categories etc. using Weebly to create free blogs is a fun and you won’t find it hard to maintain your blogs. You can know more in detail about Weebly features here.
Want to write your blogging/IM/Life or Personal thoughts privately online? Try Penzu. It is a free blogging site that allows you to post various journals on your blogs. You can upload unlimited images as it provides unlimited storage to its users. Here are few great features of Penzu.com
- Smartphone Access
- Multiple Journals
- Auto saving feature
- Easy to use navigation
- Rich text formattiing
- Search, tagging and military grade encryption to save your files
- Auto logout
- Unlimited storage
Here’s the link to start a free blogging site using Penzu.
It is one of the easiest ways to create a free website, Squarespace is a great website builder that has almost everything you are looking for. It is the most effective blogging platform for photographers, eretail store owners, bloggers and musicians. It will make your site not only look awesome but their templates make your site stand out from other blogs easily.
Here are few features of Squarespace free blogging platform.
- Built-in Mobile Websites
- Style editor
- Install multiple templates at once
- Appealing templates
- Free Typekit fonts
- The ability to add custom CSS
Click this link to start building your free site on Squarespace.
You can create your own domain name with your own hosting using Svbtle. You can do almost everything that gets done on Blogger, WordPress.com using Svbtle free blogging platform. You’ll have less chances to change your design, and if you’re a minimalist you will love writing using Svbtle. Here’s the link to launch your free blogs using Svbtle.
As the name suggests, Edublogs is the perfect blogging platform for education related blogs. You can create blogs as a student, as a teacher or as an institution on this free blogging site. Currently they are holding more than one million education blogs on their free blog hosting. You can know more in detail about why you should choose Edublogs for creating for your first education blog here.
In a nutshell: Choosing a free blogging site is not an easy task and you can’t try them all at once. So first know your blogging needs, and choose your blogging platform according to your profession. For instance, if you post more images, Tumblr works great. If you are a small business owner, WordPress is the right choice. If you want to make money blogging, try Blogger and if you are a student, and want to start something awesome, try Edublogs. If you want to share your travelling experience, you can use travelpod.com, a blogging platform created especially for sharing travelling experience.
Let me know the best free blogging site you would recommend to a newbie? I’m sure you must have already tried your hands at some of these free blogging sites. It would be great if you could share your experience and your favorite from this list in the comments section.