If you want to try blogging but don’t want to go through the process of researching a reliable host, thinking of and buying a decent domain name, and then setting everything up, you can test the water by using one of the many free blogging platforms.
There are a lot to choose from. Each has its own good points and bad points.
Let’s look at three of the best free blog sites online in 2018 and beyond
My personal favourite is WordPress, which is at the top of the list, but the other two are also pretty good.
Ask just about anyone who’s blogged for a while and chances are they’ll tell you WordPress is the best platform for blogging.
But do you know WordPress is available in two different formats? It gets kinda confusing.
There’s a deeper explanation here if you don’t know the differences between the two (I suggest you read it) but we’ll cover the main points anyway.
The one where the hosting, setup and everything else is taken care of for you. All you have to do is register with your email account and start blogging.
We know the basic account is free, but what do you get?
- WordPress.com subdomain (you blog’s address will be: myblog.wordpress.com)
- Jetpack essential features (SEO, spam protection, social sharing, site stats and more)
- Community support
- Dozens of free themes to use on your site
- Basic design customisation options
- 3GB of storage space
- WordPress.com advertising and banners (WordPress sometimes places ads in your content but you don’t earn anything from the ads)
For absolute beginners, it’s a good place to learn your way around a blog. Unless something amazing happens you won’t get much traffic for a while so you won’t lose out on ad revenue, and there’s plenty of storage space to upload tons of pictures.
Once your blog takes off or you feel like taking it to the next level, you can upgrade to one of the premium packages which start at a few dollars per month.
Pros of WordPress.com
- It’s free
- Easy to register and set up
- No hosting costs or downtime to worry about
- Fast servers so pages load quickly
- Subdomain never expires so you don’t have to worry about renewing your domain name
- Blogs using a subdomain of WordPress.com tend to not rank well in search engines
- Able to join a community of other bloggers
Cons of WordPress.com (the free version)
- Subdomains can come across as unprofessional if using it for a business blog of any kind (such as a freelance writer)
- You can’t display ads from a platform like AdSense or MediaVine
- You can’t install plugins or themes
- You can choose from a limited number of themes
- Moving away from WordPress.com to a self-hosted website can be tricky
Blogger was the first blogging platform I used, way back in the day. I haven’t used it for over five years now.
You’ll need a Google account to get started.
Unlike WordPress, you can monetize your blog by placing adverts on your site. You can also run as many blogs as you like.
For some, this is the clincher when it comes to choosing a free blogging platform.
And with a new UI (user interface) that matches WordPress for looks and ease of use, Blogger may easily steal those sitting on the fence.
Blogger offers pretty much the same services as WordPress; spam protection, stats, you can point a domain at your blog, free themes etc.
But there is one major difference and that is that Blogger provides unlimited space.
The third site in this list is Tumblr. Tumblr is the new kid on the block and has a healthy slice of the free blogging software market. Once again you just need a valid email address to get going. Unlike the other two, you can only have one blog per email address.
Out of the three, Tumblr is probably the easiest to use. The UI is well laid out and intuitive. You can upload pictures and video and have your first post published in just a few seconds.
For this reason, I think Tumblr is aimed at younger bloggers and should be avoided if you want to promote your business through a free blogging network (use WordPress instead). If you want to make money from your blog through advertising programs such as AdSense, then Blogger is the top choice.