If you are just starting out and not got much spare change or not sure if this blogging lark is for you then there are totally free alternatives to buying your own Hosting and Domain names and then messing about in CPanel or editing HTML.
Now in my previous post I stated that my main business blog would always be on a paid host and that I recommend paid as the way to go. More control, more choice, and you can build your brand based on your blog, not hanging onto the coattails or at the whim of a free site. I stand by that statement, but I am well aware that many don’t think at first they can afford the cost or the time to learn what they need to when they first start. I urge you to try, but if not then there are plenty of free alternatives to start out with.
I am not averse to free and use Tumblr for instance, though I did at first fall for the free idea only, and the problem I found was that I did not keep free blogs going; I had no investment in the blogs I created. In my subconscious and laziness I suspect, free equalled throwaway. That is not everyone of course, but to my mind if you are going down the free route you really need a bit more discipline to keep going. Make an investment in something and you are more likely to fight harder to ensure that investment was worthwhile.
So enough of my prattle on if paid is better than free and here is a useful list of some of the best free blog sites out there. If you want to go free then you can’t go wrong in picking one of these depending on what you want to do with your blog.
This is the big name in the blogging world, WordPress is available on paid hosts at WordPress.org or WordPress.com is the place to go if you want a free WordPress platform. WordPress.com is great for those making personal or fun blogs, or those doing review blogs for retail style items. But for Internet Marketing and other blogs that deal with affiliate links to information products, this is not the platform for you. They do not allow affiliate links of an IM nature, links to squeeze pages etc. They do however allow links to things like Amazon, so a product review site for something you enjoy would still work. But as a way to learn a bit about WordPress without spending a penny then this could be something to look at.
Blogger is Google’s free blogging platform and it gives a decent free service for blogging. You sign in with your Google ID, which means you can have your blog up and running in just a couple of minutes. It can be customised with new themes, so no two Blogger blogs need look the same. A caveat is that it is a Google service, which means beware as Google is well known for closing and shutting things down and that includes peoples blogs. Many have had problems with their blogs vanishing overnight. However there are plenty more this has never happened to and they are happy using it.
Weebly is more a website-creation system rather than a blog site. But blogging is part of what it does along with its drag-and-drop style allowing you to quickly create new pages it also provides a wealth of .layouts and free themes.
Tumblr is where the traditional blog style begins to shift somewhat, it is part a Social Media platform as well as being a blog. It brings a lot more options and scope than a Social Media site, but is much more into punchy short in your face posting than many blogs. It is very easy to customise and through apps can be done quite easily on tablets and phones.
Medium is from the insane minds that brought us Twitter, and is their way of creating longer reads. This results in an emphasis on Social Media style writing, but in a strictly controlled environment like Twitter. So if customisation and individuality is your bag then this may not be for you, but if you like uniformity and a streamlined experience, then give it a look.
Svtbtle describe itself as a “blogging platform designed to help you think”. Like Medium this runs an efficient uniform style and puts the emphasis on the writing rather than bells and whistles. If simple is your thing then give it a try. They also make a bold claim that a blog with them is one which will be forever.
Live Journal is one of the elder statesmen of blogging beginning back in the late 90’s, just as Social media was poking its head above the internet. This means it has taken onboard a social aspect to its blog style and gives a more community feel. So if a personal blog in your own space is what you want avoid this one, but if it is all about sharing and interacting this might be just your platform.
Pen.io again offers something different, it doesn’t require a login and instead, you create a URL for a post and then set a password. Not really a blog in a traditional style, but great to send out a post every now and again into the world. Effectively you can do all this and your personal info never gets stored.
Postach.io is from the Evernote peeps and claims that it is the “easiest way to blog”. What you do is connect a notebook to Postach.io and then tag notes as published, which makes them available to the public. You can also customise your blog as well.
As you can see even in this small list there are varied types of blogging platforms out there, and we haven’t even gone into the picture or video type blogs available too.
Obviously I have not gone into great depth about each site, that could take quite a while, but I hope this little article has helped you in your search for a perfect blog start. Remember they are all free, so you can check them all out, give them a try and see which one(s) you prefer.
Free blogs can be a useful tool in allowing you to get a feel for writing blogs and for running blogs. They can also be used as a side to your main business. Say if you start wanting to write and blog about something that has nothing to do with your main business, but don’t yet want to get to serious, or want a short sharp blog campaign. Free can offer a wealth of possibilities