For complete newbies, the whole process of picking a blogging platform could be confusing with some many choices out there. Or you might not even understand what is a blogging platform.
The first thing that might come to mind is to find some free option to setup your blog. We are here to disappoint you a little bit. The only free cheese is in the mouse trap. Don’t get us wrong there are free options available on the web, and you could use it as a playground to get a better feel of blogging. But this is as far as you go with free. We will describe disadvantages below to make a point.
Recommended reading: The Best Blogging Platforms & Blog Sites 2017 (Reviewed and Compared)
What is a free blogging platform?
Much like its name suggests, a free blogging platform is one that allows you to sign up, get a domain, and you can set up your website for free. The two most famous open platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Also, your website’s files are hosted on the servers that belong to the blogging platform you have selected.
In other words, there are no initial costs, but if you require more storage space in the future, they might charge you. Another perk of free-blogging platforms is that they are well-optimized for the masses, so you are not going to have a hard time figuring out how the platform works.
Truth be told, if you just want to give blogging a try, if you do not want to pursue it professionally, or if you only want to see how the platform functions, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t use a free blogging platform.
However, if you are serious about launching your blog, and if you want to be regarded as a professional, this is a terrible idea, and we will start addressing some of the major flaws of this arrangement right away.
Disadvantages of free blog sites
These are some of the most important disadvantages of free blog sites.
They simply look bad
If you want your blog to be taken seriously, you need to have a well-thought-out name that reflects your ideas or that is connected to the niche of your blog in some way. If you choose a free blogging platform, you are going to have a blog name in the form of yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogspot.com which is the sign of an inexperienced beginner who probably won’t be taken seriously. If you are a business owner, you don’t want this kind of reputation following you around.
Appearances aside, free blogging platforms can also prove to be inconvenient, as the control you have over them is quite limited. If you use WordPress software on your self-hosted blog, you can easily download new plugins, update your site’s appearance and capabilities, and allow your blog to grow with you. A free platform alternative only grants you access to a handful of themes and functions, which will only result in less engagement and more users leaving eventually.
Low monetization potential
User experience and monetization potential are also affected by free blog sites. For starters, you are going to have a limited amount bandwidth, memory space as well as video time, which reflects poorly on the user experience. Also, your advertising options are limited, so if you are blogging to make a name for yourself and earn by displaying ads on your site, you will have a hard time achieving this on your free blog site.
You can lose everything
Finally, if you rely on a free blogging platform, you can simply wake up one morning and see that your entire website has vanished. If the company feels you are violating the terms of service agreement, they can simply delete your site with no warning.
Since they are not getting any money from you, there is no reason for them to send you any notice, or to ask you to double check their information. So, if you have unintentionally done something that can be regarded as a violation of terms of service, your whole blog can be simply removed.
Truth be told, you can migrate your site to a new platform, but this can also be tricky if your website is suspended or terminated. By opting for a self-hosted platform, you will at least get a notice of violation, as it is in a service provider’s best interest to keep a paying customer on board.
These are the major flaws of free blogging platforms, and the main reasons why it would be foolish to start a serious blog on one of them.
Self-hosted platforms might cost more but, as we have seen, the option is much more stable, and even free platforms might end up asking for money eventually. So, if you are going to end up paying anyway, make sure that you pay for something you can rely on.
If you have the ambition to start a successful blog, then you must pick solid foundation.