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I know. Free blogging platforms (ie. WordPress.com and Blogger) sound like a great option. $0! – what’s better than that? But you may want to reconsider your options if you want to become a serious blogger. There’s no free lunch in this world – as the wiseman says.
I do not recommend running a blog from these free platforms, mainly because of:
1. Limitation in web storage space
If you are thinking of putting in images, videos and audio with every post of yours to make it more engaging for the reader, you will soon worry about bandwidth if you have opted for free web hosting. Free blog hosts will only provide you with a limited amount of space.
Look at Blogger for example. You will get a total of 1GB of image storage space and 1MB limit in page size. You will also face a limit of 250MB to any photos that you may want to upload from your mobile device. WordPress.com, on the other hand, gives you a total of 3GB storage space. While this might sound like a lot, you will use it up in no time. You will then need to upgrade by paying. If you are going to pay anyway, why not opt for a self-hosted site that will also look more professional?
2. Limitation in design and functionality
You want your blog to stand out with the best design and functionality. For this, you need great plug-ins. Free blog hosting sites give you very limited options in this area. You also face compatibility issues with certain services. When you pay for hosting, these problems are easily eliminated and you can create a blog the way you want to. For example, when you opt for free blog hosting like WordPress.com, you are instantly blocking out several third party services – for example, WordPress.com does not allow you to run Rafflecopter, a program that lets you administer giveaways, which is a great way to generate traffic and work with brands. When you pay for hosting, you get rid of all these problems. It also gives you the chance to grow, customize and change your blog or site as your site grows.
3. The ugly URL
URL on a free blog host: blogin15.wordpress.com or blogin15.blogspot.com; URL on a self-hosted platform: blogin15.com.
4. And most importantly, limitation in monetization and opportunities
Lots of people out there look to get an income through their blog, but free blog hosting providers often restrict this because of prohibitions. Blogger’s free hosting service does not allow advertisements that are not Google ads, making it impossible for other advertisers to come in. At WordPress.com, on the other hand, you cannot use any Google AdSense or third party advertisements including sponsored or paid posts content.
How much does it cost to run a self-hosted blog?
Domain registration costs around $10/year (free if you are a first time customer for certain web hosts); an entry level web host cost less than $3/month (I recommend iPage and WebHostingHub for the budget option). Hosting a blog on its own hosting and domain does not cost a lot of money; and it gives you complete freedom to customize your blog design and make money from it.
So yeah, it’s a ‘NO’ to free blogging platform.