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Free blogging services: Pros and Cons

Last week I posted a guide that described how to go about  hosting one’s own blog. After the initial registration, one then needs to set up the software, using a preconfigured software package that can be downloaded for free (such as wordpress.org (which this site uses)). This is fairly easily done and I will write about that and the useful but complex looking “C-panel” next week.

Instead of jumping through all these hoops, there is of course, as I alluded to last week, a much simpler way of setting up a blog. One can accomplish this by signing up to a site such as wordpress.com (not to be confused with wordpress.org), blogger, blog.com, tumblr, blogspot and many more.

What these sites all have in common, is that a new blog will take a mere five minutes or so to set up and will automatically have set up many of the advanced  services and features that I will go through in a few more posts. However, there are some significant drawbacks that one needs to consider as well. One of these drawbacks is that your domain will be a subdomain of the blogging service you sign up to. For example, if chriswinterhoff.com was a blogging service, someone might sign up to this site using the subdomain “mini”, thereby having an address linked to my website. Something along the lines of “mini.chriswinterhoff.com”. Depending on the goal you are trying to reach, this can be a significant or insignificant drawback.

Instead of going through a detailed article of all the Pros and Cons of setting up a self hosted website vs signing up to a free blogging service, I have listed the advantages and disadvantages of using free blogging services in this awesome list:

Advantages
– As the name suggests, free blogging services are free to use
– You won’t need to set up extra widgets such as anti spam commenting filters or email subscription widgets: These are all already included. The service is essentially “plug and blog”

Disadvantages
– Can only be registered as a subdomain (see example of “mini.chriswinterhoff” above) and comes with a longer URL
– If you’re looking to use a blog for commercial purposes, it will not look nearly as professional if you have a subdomain (e.g. luxurious-car-sales.blogspot.com)
– On some free blogging services advertisements pop up on your blog, and you don’t even get the revenue for displaying those ads.
– You don’t get a private email address when you reserve the subdomain, this is only possible when hosting  your own purchased domain
– We’ll go into this in a later post, but you won’t have control with regards to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation  – which essentially describes certain practices of trying to place your website high up on certain internet search machines to attract readers)

Essentially, the free blogging services are great for beginners and casual bloggers. But if you want to have even the slightest control over your blog, you may want to think about self hosting. You’ll have a lot more freedom, and it’s not that much more expensive. The good news is if you start your blog on a free service, you can always migrate your blog and all exisiting content to a self hosting site.

Happy Monday!

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    • Hey Lizzie! Yes definitely something I want to cover in the future. Truth be told, I’m still learning a lot on that topic myself. Stay tuned!