Welcome to a guide and list of websites to start a blog for free. So you are interested to get started on blogging? Not too keen on spending money on something that may just be a hobby? Well, there are thankfully several companies that offer free websites and blogs – Let us walk through them in this guide. Read on to find out!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FREE BLOG WEBSITES
Now for the list of companies that provide free hosting for blogs and websites.
Good For: Very versatile – Use it for blogging, set up an online shop, create an online portfolio, photo gallery, etc…
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular and common content management system (CMS). It is very versatile and we can practically turn it into a blog, open an online shop, create a gallery with just a few clicks – There tons of widgets and themes to choose from.
But please don’t be confused. There are 2 official WordPress websites – wordpress.org is more for the developers, as WordPress is open-source and freely available for download. The other wordpress.com is where WordPress offers free (and paid) websites upon subscribing.
Good For: Casual, fuss-free blogging. Very easy to understand, no learning curve.
Tumblr is an oldie that has been around since 2007, and it is far from being an old outdated website. What made it so good is the simplicity – It is so easy to use that one can figure it out within a few minutes, no tutorial videos required. The social aspects (like a post, share it, follow another blogger) also add quite a bit of spice to the otherwise boring blogosphere.
Good For: Formal-ish publications, ad-free environment.
If you are looking for a more “serious” place to publish your own ideas, news, thoughts, and stories – Then Medium is for you. The community on Medium are all teenagers (minimum sign up age for Medium is 13), young adults, and overall a mature crowd.
You will not find a lot of “childish” contents on Medium, but the more thoughtful ones. Also, Medium is totally ad-free. Yep, if you are looking to make money from some advertisements or sponsored post – Forget it. It is not happening on Medium.
Good For: Casual to formal blogging. Pretty good monetization options.
Blogger is one of the oldest blog networks on the Internet, run by Google. Yes, for those who are surprised, why not? If Google runs YouTube, then why won’t they have a blog network? But Blogger is definitely not as popular as YouTube as you might have guessed.
Still, Blogger is a good place to start if you are looking for ways to monetize your contents in the future. Google is actually pretty open when it comes to monetization, and they even made it easy to integrate with Adsense (put ads on your blog).
Good For: Flexible design and widgets. No technical knowledge required.
Maybe you have seen ads for WIX on YouTube or social media already. Yes, WIX markets its ability to create websites without any technical knowledge – Just drag-and-drop widgets. But personally, I don’t really have a good experience with WIX.
Their engine is just slow and clumsy, it is a pain to even create a simple web page out of it. But who knows, I have not checked back in a while, and maybe they have improved over time, maybe still worth checking out.
Good For: Blog shops, if you intend to sell your own products in the future.
Weebly is yet another “drag-and-drop” website builder. But personally, Weebly seems a lot more stable and professional than WIX – Plenty of themes to choose from as well. As a free user, Weebly only offers a free website, but once you are ready to “upgrade” your blog – They offer an eCommerce package, allowing you to create an online shop easily.
7) LIVE JOURNAL
Good For: Traditional-ish style blog.
Live Journal is another oldie that has survived since 1999. But instead of “evolving”, Live Journal still seems to somewhat stick to the traditional “online diary” and “online journalism” style – So if you like something that is more old school, check out Live Journal – They also seem to allow affiliate links, but no straight-up advertisements.
Good For: Creating simple blogs and websites.
Jimdo is yet another website builder that does not require any technical knowledge. At the free tier, it offers all the bare essentials that are good enough to create a simple blog or online portfolio – It also has price plans if you decide to start an online shop.
WHY FREE IS NOT THE BEST
For you guys who are looking to blog at a professional level, possibly make some money off it – Bad news. Free websites are often not the best options, and here’s why.
LIMITED OR NO MONETIZATION OPTIONS
Companies have already given you a free lunch and blog. Are they really kind enough to let you further take advantage, make money off it? Well, as far as I know, many of these free websites don’t like any form of advertisements, sponsored posts, nor affiliate links.
The only exception that I know is Blogger, which is run by Google. They have an Adsense widget that you can use, and once approved, advertisements will start showing up on the free blog.
UNPROFESSIONAL WEBSITE ADDRESS
Another bad thing about free websites is the domain name (website address). The free blogs usually don’t allow you to have your own custom domain name, and you can only choose from their limited sub-domain. For example, http://john.freeblog.com and http://jane.freeblog.com.
What is so bad about that? Just imagine going to a formal business meeting with potential partners, and the website address on the name card literally screams “this is a free blog”. Just not very professional and unpresentable.
KIND OF BAD FOR SEO
Search Engine Optimization. You might have heard about it. The silver bullet that helps your articles to rank better on search engines, and get you more free readers. The bad thing about free blogs is that search engines seem to put a lot less weight on the free sites. It is going to be a lot more difficult, if not impossible to rank a free blog on search engines.
DATA MAY NOT BE YOURS
Beware, free may come with strings attached. That is, all the posts that you made on the free blog may not belong to you. If the free host somehow decides that your blog is “inappropriate”, they have all rights to immediately shut down your website. No warnings will be given, they will not even spend time to help zip and send the posts to you nicely.
LITTLE OR NO SUPPORT
Yep. This is pretty much self-explanatory.
RECOMMENDATION – GET A PAID HOST
So why risk all of these if you intend to do so much more with blogging? It really does not cost a lot to get started with a good host. I will recommend BlueHost, as they offer excellent value-for-money and have good technical support.
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and explore ways to mess around with tech gadgets.