Not able to make a decision on which blogging platform to choose? Here is a comprehensive comparison between the two along with some insights to help you smartly pick the right blogging platform.
Which blogging platform should I choose, free or paid?
This question has baffled every budding blogger ever.
Choosing between the free and paid blogging platforms is like baptism under fire for those who are about to start their first blog.
It’s not easy to choose either of these two because each offers a unique set of benefits (and drawbacks) over the other.
While some people are happy with free blogging platforms, others, who need more control, choose paid alternatives.
A free blog is like a rented apartment whereas a paid blog is like your own house.
No matter how much money you spend to personalize a rented space, it is never going to be your own.
But then again it is a matter of personal choice. Some people live happily in rented accommodations while others can’t even stand the idea of living as tenants.
If free blogging platform seems a perfect match for your blog, go with it. But if it doesn’t seem an ideal match, choose paid blogging platform.
Let’s get busy with finding the right blogging platform for your blog.
What do you want from your blog?
So what exactly do you want from your blog?
What is your purpose of blogging?
Is it entertainment or business?
Do you want to make plenty of money blogging?
Or, you just want to keep a not-so-big blog, sharing a hobby and generating income with automated ads?
If you are aiming to make a lot of money with your blog, you need total control over your blog, something free blogging platforms are unable to deliver.
But if your goal is to create a small blog to earn revenues through automated PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads, you can stick to free blogging platforms.
Finding the purpose of your blog is super important because it helps you easily choose the right blogging platform.
What is your budget?
How much money are you willing to spend on your blog?
To start a blog, you need a domain name, web hosting, a blog platform and a template for your blog.
If your budget is limited, you can opt for a free blogging service.
Sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com offer you a platform, domain name, web hosting and templates free of cost. Premium upgrades are also available. (You will feel the need for buying them sooner or later.)
If budget is no constraint for you, you should choose a blogging platform and find and pay for your own hosting and domain name.
How technologically able are you?
Have you built a blog or website before?
If you have no experience in building a website or blog, you should pick easier options such as a free blogging platform.
Sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com make creating a blog a breeze. Your first blog can be up and running in a matter of few minutes.
But if you are not technically able and willing to learn things involved in running your own blog, you should go for a paid blog. Timely help and expert advice that can turn you into an ace blogger is always available free of cost online, so the risk is worthwhile.
Pros and Cons of Free Blogging Platform
Here is a quick review of the pros and cons offered by a free blogging platform.
Creating a blog through a free blogging service does not cost you much. In fact, you get up and running without spending money at all.
You get a domain name, template, and web hosting free of cost. There is storage limit and you cannot use premium templates though.
- Offers simple setups
Simple setups make publishing your first blog a child’s play. A click here and a click there, a drag here and a drop there is all you need to create your first blog.
- Easy to manage
Free blogging platforms are easy to manage. You get access to a range of management tools that let you easily publish and maintain content on your blog.
- Updated automatically
Free blogs are updated automatically whenever the blog platform updates itself. You do not need to manually install these updates as is the case with a standalone blog.
- Quickly noticed by search engines
Free blogging platforms have earned a reputation over the last several years. They hold good page rankings. Therefore, when you create a blog with them, it gets automatically indexed by different search engines.
You still have to work hard to increase your blog’s traffic. But the indexing benefits offered by a free blogging platform can’t be ignored.
- Offers less control
Free blogging platforms offer you less control over your data and the blog itself. Your blog’s content and any activity that you plan to do on your blog must conform to the blog platform’s terms and conditions.
- Provides a generic domain name
You get a generic domain name that looks totally unprofessional most of the times, for example, yourblog.blogger.com or yourblog.wordpress.com.
Not to mention such a domain name is hard to type and prone to typos.
- Hard to upgrade to a standalone, paid blog
If you ever decide to upgrade your free blog to a paid, standalone blog, doing so is not easy. Blame it on the technology or the fine print, things only get complicated when it comes to transfer a blog.
- Less configurable
A free blog is less configurable because of the lack of free available plugins.
- Comes with design limitations
When you go for a free blog, you have to choose from the available free templates. It is only a matter of time that your blog starts looking exactly the same as another blog because everybody is permitted to use free templates.
Pros and Cons of Paid Blogging Platform
Serious bloggers prefer paid blogging platforms. Take a look at the pros and cons and decide if this one makes a perfect match for you.
- Your own domain name
A standalone blogging platform ensures you get a custom domain name, for example, www.yourblog.com, that always looks professional.
- Total control over design
You can design your blog to your heart’s content. You can either buy a premium template that no one else can use or you can get a template custom-made by a graphic designer.
- Highly customizable
Paid blogs are highly customizable. You can use custom plugins and scripts on your blog.
- No annoying ads
Paid blogs contain no annoying ads. You have total control over what appears on your blog.
Creating a standalone blog is expensive. You need to buy a domain name, web hosting, blogging software and template for your blog. That involves spending a lot of money on regular basis.
- Complicated setups
If you have no previous knowledge of creating a blog or website, it may not be easy for you to self-publish a blog for the first time. You must be technologically able in order to host a blog on your own servers.
- Requires you to find and pay for web hosting
Free blogging platforms host your blogs for free. You are not asked to pay for hosting until you exceed your free quota.
But you must find and pay for web hosting for a standalone blog.
- Manual updates
Keeping a standalone blog means you need to update it manually. Since you are in charge of your blog, you are directly responsible for its updates, security and backups.
Choosing the Best Blogging Platform
The “free blog vs. paid blog” debate can go on and on. Let’s cut the chase.
So, which blogging platform is best?
It depends on you.
You are free to choose the kind of platform that suits you well.
Free blogging platforms suit small blogs with low traffic whereas paid blogging platforms are perfect for large blogs with high traffic.
Free blogs are easy to set up and manage. You do not have to be technologically able to use free blogging platforms. What’s more, you can even make money with free blogs through PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads.
While it may look promising to create a free blog, it is not recommended if you are looking at generating a lot of income from your blog for years. Also, a free blog provides you little or no control over your data.
Paid blogs on the other hand are hard to set up but they are much more beneficial than free ones.
You get a custom domain name and full control over your data when you host your blog on your own servers. What’s more you can also make a lot of money with your blog by displaying affiliate ads on it or doing something else profitable.
Serious bloggers prefer paid blogs over free ones and so should you.
What’s Your Choice?
So which blogging platform are you going to choose for your blog? Free or paid?
Do not forget to tell us about how well your choice is helping you in achieving your blogging goals.
Thanks for reading and all the best for your blogging success.