Do you need a free blog or a paid blog? Before you make a decision consider the benefits and drawbacks of free blogging and paid blogging, know the costs involved in paid blogging, and compare the features of both blogging types.
You will be able to decide whether to go for a free blogging or a paid blogging after reading this article. If you are using a free blogging site then the article also helps you to decide whether to switch to a paid blogging site or not.
Basically, a blog (a blend of the term web log) is a special type of website with regular content updates (text, images, links, videos, or other media) by an individual or an organization. Blog applications support the authoring, editing, and publishing of blog posts and comments, with special functions for image management, web syndication, and moderation of posts and comments.
There are free (or open source) and proprietary blogging software. Open source blog software are free to use, modify, and redistribute. Proprietary software must be licensed and involves purchase of the software. Most of the organizations utilize the open source applications. Blogger and WordPress are the most widely used free blogging tools. Both the blogging tools offer free web hosting space and bandwidth if you utilize their sub domain (for example yourname12345.wordpress.com). You can register your own branded domain name and host open source blog at a shared hosting or a dedicated hosting server.
Usually, freely hosted blogs at blogger and wordpress are termed as free blogging sites while the blogs hosted with an own domain name are called as paid blogging sites.
Benefits of Free Blogging
- It’s free. You need not pay for domain name, web space, bandwidth, and design templates.
- It’s easy. You need minimal internet skills to set up a blog.
- It’s fast. You can set up a blog within few minutes.
- It saves time. You need not worry about the technical aspects like site up time, spam control, and regular software updates.
- Best solution for personal blogs. It’s suitable for personal blogs (with no intention of building a brand, promoting a product, or making money). It also suits for the people (beginners and advanced users) who want to experiment with the blogs without spending money.
Drawbacks of Free Blogging
- It’s unprofessional. Your own domain name like yourname12345.com is better than yourname12345.wordpress.com.
- Its functionality is limited. You cannot extend the functionality of a self hosted blog with much needed plugins.
- It’s not customizable. You have very limited control over the design and layout.
- No ad revenue. You cannot show revenue generating ads in a self hosted blog.
- Irrelevant ads. Self hosted blogs may place ads (ads may be irrelevant to your site’s content) in your blog.
- Limited customer support. You have to rely on online documentation, online tutorials, online forums, and other online resources for any issues rather than getting help from a dedicated support team to assist you.
- Loss during upgrade. It causes a confusion over URL to your site visitors when you decide to upgrade to a paid blogging platform. Also you have to start afresh online promotion activities for your new blog with a new URL.
Benefits of Paid Blogging
- It’s professional. You can get the domain name like yourname12345.com.
- Extended functionality. You can extend the functionality of your blog with the help of free plugins (like WordPress Database Backup, Google XML Sitemaps, WP Super Cache, and WP Minify) and paid plugins.
- Highly customizable. You can customize your blog with custom coding or integrating with free and paid design themes (like thesis theme).
- Ad revenue. You can generate additional revenue by placing google ads and advertisements. Read The Power of Google Adsense about google adsense.
- Web hosting choice. You can choose your web hosting provider and upgrade to virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server for better performance of you blog.
Drawbacks of Paid Blogging
- It’s not free. It costs about $10 per year for a domain name. Good shared web hosting package may cost you anywhere between $4 and $10 per month depending on the company you choose.
- It’s not easy. After domain name registration and web hosting account set up you need to install the blogging tool on your hosting account.
- It’s not fast. It may take few minutes to many hours to set up a complete site depending on the features you like to implement.
- Need more time. You need to regularly monitor the blog, upgrade the blog software, and plug-ins.
- Not suitable for novice users. You may need to take the help of professionals to register a domain name, set up a web hosting account, install the blog, customize the design, install plug-ins (to extend the blog functionality), and maintain the blog.
- If you are looking to set up a free blogging site then visit blogger.com or wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. For paid blogging solutions visit wordpress.org and follow the instructions.
- If you are an occasional blogger and wants to blog for your personal purposes then choose free blogging. If you are a beginner and not confident enough in blogging then free blogging is for you.
- If you want to build a brand name, promote your products and services, and make money then choose paid blogging. If you are a beginner or want to set up personal blog but have enough money to spend then choose paid blogging.
- Choosing a wrong web hosting company may land your blog in trouble very soon. I recommend hostgator linux hosting for your blog.