Blogging is indisputably a very effective way to publish your content on the web and communicate with your website users. If you are thinking about creating a blog for personal, educational or commercial purposes then there are two ways to go about it depending on your budget, requirements and expectations: you can either use a free blogging service or host your own blog.
While the latter option is often recommended for businesses and professionals, many of them are satisfactorily using free blogging platforms, especially when starting up.
If you are going to host your own blog this means you’ll need to purchase a web hosting plan, which can cost you about $5-$10 per month. Alternatively, you can opt for a free blog host, like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, where you can setup a new blog within a few minutes 100% free and without having to deal with any technical challenges.
However, free always comes at a cost, and if you choose this option, some compromises will have to be made. Here we explain the most distinct disincentives to using free blog providers.
1.) Not Suitable for Active Blogs
Using free blogging services is ideal when just starting up a blog, at which stage both the content and traffic load should be sparse. However, as your content grows larger and you start receiving an increasing number of visitors you may need to move to a paid host where you can get enough space, bandwidth, and other resources to accommodate your growing blog.
2.) Limited Control and Customization
You will have restricted control over your blog software, themes, plug-ins, files, etc. The ability to customize your blog’s appearance and design will also be subject to some limitations. Direct access to source files on the server is not usually granted.
3.) Less Professional
If you are running a business blog it may seem unprofessional to have it hosted at a free service. A shared domain name (e.g. “http://yourblog.freeblog.com” or “http://freeblog.com/yourblog”) and forced advertisements by some providers may not be a big concern for a hobbyist blog, but can negatively impact the trustworthiness of a business or company blog.
4.) More Vulnerable
Popular free blogging services are commonly targeted by hackers and spammers. Despite the tight security measures usually implemented and frequent software updates, break-ins are more probable with free blog hosts.
5.) Risk of Account Loss
6.) Forced Changes
Whether you like it or not, some updates and changes may be forcibly applied to your blog by the provider. Examples of such changes include: software and plug-in updates, URL structure changes, layout changes, placement of ads on your blog pages, accepted content and use policy, and others.
The bottom line is: free blog providers offer neat services for the millions of bloggers who choose not to pay for it, but if you are running a blog for your business website, or if you are serious about your blogging career then you’ll need to look into individually hosting your blog at a reliable paid host. Having your blog hosted under a professional hosting plan provides much more flexibility and peace of mind.
However, if you are a beginner who is still testing and learning about how the whole blogging thing works, then we suggest that you sign up for either a WordPress or Blogger account, or in case you’re going to post a lot of images and media files then Tumblr would be a great choice.