Are you really into blogging? Are you sure? You have this enormous drive to start your own blog right away. You can’t wait. There’s a chance you will be seduced by various online services, who claim to offer you a blogging platform for free.
It only takes 5 minutes to setup, hassle free, money back guarantee. Right?
Wrong. If you’re really serious about blogging and making money from it, then you shouldn’t start on a free blogging platform.
Here are my reasons why.
1. It’s bad for branding purposes
It maybe not obvious at first, but a free blog is very hard to brand. Free options offer a subdomain on an already established brand, which will definitely overshadow your efforts. For example, if you start a blog on WordPress.com, you’ll be able to register something like http://mysupernewblog.wordpress.com.
If you come up with a good name for your blog, there’s a very large chance that it will be available as a subdomain there. But when the time comes to upgrade and ‘move out’ it may become a problem.
It’s not the end of the world, but why set roadblocks for yourself along the road when you can avoid them, and focus on the most important part – your blog.
2. Free is not really free
‘The only free cheese is in the mousetrap’ – you’ve probably heard that one, haven’t you? In case of free blogging platforms, free means they will limit you in everything they can. Basically, they will make your blogging experience as horrible as possible to force you to upgrade.
Slow loading speeds, annoying ads, no customization options, and many other limitations you won’t be made aware of when creating your blog. Of course, I may be over-exaggerating a bit. Not all service do that, but you get the point.
The only two reasons to use a free platform is to see what the fuss is about, and how a certain platform works from the inside. It’s a good way to learn WordPress, for example.
3. You have no control
Generally, free platforms offer very limited options in terms of control over your blog. Usually, they will place ads everywhere they can, including in-content ads. If you wrote a popular post, all the ads on the site will generate revenue exclusively for them.
Another limitation is expandability. You won’t be able to install plugins, customize layouts, choose your design, among many other things. Want your blog to have a merch store? Sorry, you have to pay premium for that.
Some platforms go as far as including Google Analytics as a premium feature, which means you won’t be able to analyze where your traffic comes from, what your visitors read, and which type of content brings the most traffic. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The next limitation is quite scary. You can lose everything in a heartbeat. You write great content, but if someone doesn’t like you, they can abuse the system and ‘find’ your content offensive, hateful, or breaking some mythical boundaries.
Usually, large corporations don’t care about you, nor your blog. They care about protecting their brand on a global market. And if that means not associating themselves with your controversial views, they will simply delete your blog without any explanation.
Do you know how many large YouTubers got their accounts suspended, because they’ve said the ‘wrong’ things? Same goes for blogging.
4. Free blogs are not suitable for SEO
One of the biggest limitations for free blogs is search engine optimization. Basically, SEO is a process of constantly tweaking your website to get the most ranking possible in all major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
You can gain a significant advantage over other bloggers competing in your niche by doing small things to your website. On a free blog these small things are nearly impossible to do, because of how limited the free version is.
For example, in 2015 mobile users surpassed desktop users in accessing online content in the US. In addition, Google has deployed algorithm changes to give boost to mobile-friendly websites in 2016. This means that if your blog is not mobile-friendly, you’ll be left behind.
Some free blogging platforms are still not mobile-friendly.
5. No support when something goes wrong
In the online world things go wrong too. When my website stops working, there’s an ongoing DDOS attack, or I can’t figure something out, I submit a ticket to my hosting provider.
And I get help. Their support is fast, friendly and extremely helpful.
This is not the case with free blogs. In other words, if something goes south don’t expect to get your issues resolved quickly. Free is ‘free’ and you get exactly what you paid for.
6. Free is not credible
This is pretty obvious, but let me ask you this. Would you buy from a business, which runs its’ website on a free platform? How are you likely to trust someones’ opinion, when their blog is plastered with random ads that have nothing to do with the content of the site?
You wouldn’t buy, nor really listen to that persons’ opinion, right? It looks shady and unprofessional. How can someone run a business, if they can’t even afford to spend $10/mo. on a decent looking blog?
Of course, it’s absolutely fine if you’re 13, or doing it for fun. But if you’re serious about it, please get a real website.
7. You can’t stand out
A big part of success online is the ability to stand out from the crowd. How do you do it?
Well, you already stand out by doing certain things, dressing the certain way, drinking certain type of coffee etc. This also applies to the internet. Uniqueness is what that brings attention, makes your blog gain traction, and delivers profits.
If you go the free route you’ll be exactly the same as the other 5,264,210 (it’s a random number) free blogs out there. You won’t be inspired, nor motivated to make your blog better. Simply because you won’t be taking it seriously.
If you’re actually serious about giving blogging a try, I suggest you avoid doing a very simple and basic mistake – doing it on a free blog. If you don’t know how to start your own blog, I recommend you follow my simple guide here.
Do you have other reasons why blogging on a free platform is a bad idea? Tell me below!