Are you are a professional blogger or you just think that blogging cute, and you want to give it a go? That is the question that you will need to ask yourself when seriously fiddling with free or paid blogs or websites.
Wait A Minute, What is the Difference?
Okay, let’s simply define the two:
Free Blogging Platform
Most blogging networks on the internet offer a free version; which is a good thing for newbie bloggers who are interested in dipping their toes into the lake of blogging. However, the free version provides you with limited choice in templates. The great thing about free blogging platforms is that you can set up your blog in jiffy.
There comes a time when you will need your blog to look and feel different – now, this is the part where you need a website design that will meet your long-term blogging goals. It is important that you consider investing in quality hosting, and get some help with SEO and blog design.
Paid Blogging Platform
Although paid hosting will look pretty much the same as free blogging platforms, but with paid hosted platforms, you can count on getting more SEO options and branding. You will need to invest a little capital, usually around $100 to $200 per years. The good thing about paid hosted platforms is that you can count on getting some support – providers of hosted platform will assist you in setting up your products.
Now, this is the part where you say “which platform is most suitable for me?” Seasoned and successful bloggers typically recommend the paid blogging platform, especially if you are serious about creating a strong brand.
Must I Worry about Branding? What’s so Great about a Blog URL Anyway?
Being able to brand your business or yourself is one of the major and important reasons to choose a paid hosting blog platform. You have really hard to gradually build your brand, market your business or write and publish your book. You should take every chance you get to direct potential business back to your brand by name.
Seriously, would you consider giving the address to your residence as:
So, you should not give the address (URL) to your blog with such generality. It can be very confusing, hard to communicate and will utterly fail to effectively identify the brand you have worked hard to build.
Your blog URL (aka address) will look a look a lot like this with free blog hosting:
News flash! That is definitely not going to build your brand.
With a paid hosted website, you will be able to brand your company. So, it is important that you choose a domain name that is memorable and will leave a strong impact.
Your blog URL will look something like this with a paid blog hosting platform (depending on your chosen domain name):
Using a paid blogging platform is a great way to brand your blog.
How Free is Free?
Although blogging platforms are absolutely free to download, these platforms also offer an inexhaustible list of gizmos and widgets; however, you will get to point where you will be overwhelmed with configurations and integrations of the system. That is not all, you will be spending a huge chunk of your valuable time and getting very little benefit – the worst part is that you will also be unwittingly damaging your ability to be found by top search engines like Bing, Yahoo, MSN and almighty Google because they notice newbie website errors.
It does make sense to consider choosing a blogging platform that offers a long term website strategy, where you can count on getting help to customize your blog theme, configure advanced plug-ins and also integrate a gallery or shopping cart. The costs for customized work can be anywhere between a couple of hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Caveat Emptor (Buyers Beware)!
You will want to ensure that the website designer is more than capable to provide you with the blog of your dreams. Some website designers have awesome aesthetics but blow-it when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) skills. Other designers have backend configurations down to a science, but may not provide you with the “look” you are aiming for. The best thing is to find a designer that offers the whole package.
Think Long-term When You Are in the Blogging Business
Most search optimization experts will encourage you to use paid-hosted blogging platforms – they would not encourage prospective bloggers to use a paid hosting option if they were not convinced that the bloggers will get better results if they do.
Investing in a paid hosted blogging website will help you in the following ways:
Below are blogging websites that are known to convert well from free to paid hosting.
Snag: fiddling with the coding and HTML and doing a poor job can affect your blog greatly.
Free Advice: you will need to make up your mind as to how serious you are about your online marketing and goals. Yes, there is certainly a place on the internet for free blogging platforms. As soon as you get some experience, and have clarified your online marketing strategy, you will need to take the next step.