Top 10 Blogging Platforms To Start A Free Blog in 2016
Blogging is getting immensely popular with every passing day. Some people prefer starting with a professional Self Hosted WordPress Blog while others prefer using Free Blogging Platforms.
As against most people think, selecting a good blogging platform is very critical if you want to reach the right audience. This is the reason I thought of writing this post to help people choose the Best Blogging Platform.
Is It Advisable To Use Free Blogging Platforms?
The first question that should come to anyone’s mind is, if you can start a blog for free then why pay for it? Well, the answer is simple. Most of the free blogging sites have their own set of limitations which makes them unsuitable for professional blogging.
I personally do not advise people to use free blogging platforms if they want to be a professional blogger. For professional bloggers, Self-Hosted WordPress is the best option especially since these days you can get very Cheap Hosting Offers.
However, if you are starting a blog just to share your ideas and thoughts and do not have any intention to monetize from it, free blogging platforms are perfect for you.
Free blogging sites are also suitable for starters who are not confident enough of being a successful professional blogger and just want to “try” blogging.
Pros And Cons Of Free Blogging Platforms
Below are the pros and cons of free blogging platforms in general.
Pros Of Free Blogging Platforms
- The biggest advantage of a free blog is that you have no financial liability towards your blog. You do not have to worry about the breakeven cost. Whatever money you make at you blog goes to your profit account.
- Some of the free blogging sites will have no restriction on the amount of Bandwidth and other resources used by your blog. This essentially means you do not have to worry about more traffic slowing down your blog.
- You do not need any programming skills. Most free blogs have Website builders or free themes to get you started.
- Some of the free blogging platforms have their own community which can help you get more traffic.
Cons Of Free Blogging Platforms
- The biggest con of a free Blog is that you are not the owner of your blog, but just its contents. The subdomain and hosting server belong to the Blogging platform and if you happen to violate their Terms and Conditions, they can delete your blog without any prior intimation and all your hard work will be lost.
- Since you are not the owner of the blog. you cannot legally sell it.
- Most free blogging platforms will provide you with limited customization options.
- Free blogging platforms usually do not rank high on search engines. This is because they are not SEO optimized. Also, Google gives them lesser importance as they are widely used by spammers.
- Most of the free blogging platforms restrict the use of Google Adsense and other Ad programs.
- In the past, several blogging platforms have decided to discontinue operations leaving their users with no options. So you are always at a risk of losing your hard work.
Best Blogging Platforms To Start A Free Blog
Below is the list of Top 10 Blogging Sites for you to start your free blog.
WordPress.com is often confused with self-hosted WordPress.Org. However as against WordPress.Org which requires you to buy Hosting server and Domain name, WordPress.com is a free blogging platform. By registering with WordPress.com you get free hosting services along with a sub-Domain of the format yourblog.wordpress.com.
WordPress.com is considered to be the Best Blogging platform among the free ones. This is mainly because of its ease to set up a blog. It hardly takes 5-10 minutes to start a blog at WordPress. It also offers a large number of high-quality themes which most other free blogging Platforms lack.
Pros Of WordPress.com
- Extremely easy to start a blog.
- Many free themes for you to customize your blog.
- Jetpack plugin comes pre-installed which adds most of the basic functionalities that a blogger may need.
- In-built basic traffic stats in WordPress.com dashboard.
Cons Of WordPress.com
- Cannot install custom plugins with the free plan.
- Though you can change the theme, you cannot customize themes as per your need.
- Cannot use Google Analytics with Free plan
- Cannot monetize your blog with Google AdSense Ads
- Need to pay $12 to map your existing custom domain with WordPress.
- To customize your themes and use plugins of your choice you need to buy the `premium plan worth $99 per year.
- Casual bloggers with no intentions of monetizing their blog.
- Bloggers who are not particular about the look of their blog.
Blogger is the oldest Blogging platform which comes from the house of Google. It was started way back in 1999 by Pyra labs and was acquired by Google in 2003. Since then it has emerged out to be one of the most popular platforms for Blogging.
Pros Of Blogger
- Easy to start a blog. If you have Gmail account, it is as good as having a Blogger account.
- Ability to use a custom domain without any extra charges.
- You can monetize the blog with Google AdSense and other 3rd party Ad programs.
- Unrestricted access to HTML and CSS.
- You can easily transfer your blog from Blogger To Self Hosted WordPress without losing traffic and SEO.
- No Bandwidth restrictions.
Cons of Blogger
- Very few official themes, that too of low quality. Third party themes are not top notch either.
- Only 15GB free storage which is shared with Gmail, Google Photos, and Google docs.
- Very difficult to implement On Page SEO.
- You will often end up fiddling with codes due to lack of plugins.
- Bloggers who want to start with a free platform and then move to self-hosted WordPress.
- Occasional bloggers looking for a free platform to monetize their blog.
Tumblr is another very popular blogging platform owned by Yahoo. It is considered as the best blogging platform for Microblogging.
Though Tumblr does not have any word restrictions, most Tumblr bloggers keep their posts between 100-500 words which makes it an ideal platform for Personal Blogging.
It can be considered a bridge between a conventional blog and Social Media Platform. I say so because, like Facebook and Twitter, at Tumblr you can share pictures and quotes, follow people and like their content. Tumblr’s “Reblog” feature works very similar to “Retweet” feature of Twitter and you will find many people “Reblogging” your content which can often make your content go viral.
However, unlike social media, at Tumblr, you write and create original content which is more like blogging. One more feature that separates it from social media is the ability to have multiple authors for a blog.
Pros Of Tumblr
- Except for some premium themes, all its features are free.
- Ability to use a custom domain without any extra cost.
- You can also customize your theme as Tumblr gives access to your Blog’s HTML and CSS
- You can use Google AdSense to make money
- Posts on Tumblr can go viral.
Cons of Tumblr
- Its interface is extremely confusing for a newbie and may require a learning curve.
- You cannot use your Affiliate Links on your Tumblr account. Tumblr may take down your blog if you do so.
- Managing your On Page SEO is extremely difficult.
- Personal Bloggers who prefer short and frequent posts
Medium is a blogging platform founded by Twitter’s co-founder Evan Williams. It was created with the intention of providing a platform for users which provides more than just 140 characters of Twitter.
Unlike Blogger or WordPress, Medium displays your blog posts on its home page with most recent and popular posts making it to the top. This makes sure your blog post gets a lot of exposure. Because of this reason, a lot of small businesses prefer using Medium as their blogging platform.
Pros of Medium
- Easy to set up a blog.
- Quality posts can drive a good amount of traffic even to a new blog.
- You can use a custom domain without any extra costs.
- Like Twitter, at Medium, you can tag other bloggers using @ mention so that they get notified about it and will likely check out your blog post.
- It shows to your readers the estimated reading time for an article.
- It gives out high DA do-follow backlinks.
Cons Of Medium
- Very limited customization options.
- Cannot monetize your blog using Google AdSense.
- Though Medium is very lenient towards affiliate links, it’s Terms and Conditions does prohibit writing articles just for affiliate marketing.
- As with other free blogs, very little scope for On Page SEO optimization.
- Small businesses who want to develop their brand.
- Casual bloggers.
Weebly is a more of a Drag and Drop website builder than a blogging platform. Nevertheless, it does allow you to create a blog along with some free blog themes. It offers free as well as premium services. Free services do come with Weebly branding and some usage restrictions.
Pros of Weebly
- The drag and drop page builder is very easy to use.
- Lot’s of free themes available for you to edit with the page builder.
Cons of Weebly
- Weebly being more of a drag and drop website builder, it has no CMS and hence limited blogging features.
- You cannot use a custom domain with the free plan.
- Premium plans are costlier than Cheap Hosting Plans for WordPress Self hosted blog.
- It is extremely difficult to transfer your blog to Self-Hosted WordPress. Weebly does allow you to export your site as a Zip file, but it only exports HTML and images. Your blog will not be exported. You have to manually export it using RSS feeds which is a very tedious process.
- People who are just looking for a landing page for collecting emails or using Call to action button for promoting their E-book.
Note: I do not recommend purchasing premium plans of Weebly since you can host your own WordPress blog for as low as $1 which is much cheaper than the cheapest plan of Weebly.
LiveJournal is one of the oldest blogging platforms which was launched in the year 1999. Apart from the blogging feature, it does provide you updates and news from various Journals around the world.
A lot of people do not want to reveal their identity as a Blogger. If you are one of them, LiveJournal is the best option for you as it provides you the ability to blog anonymously.
Pros Of LiveJournal
- LiveJournal allows customizations
- It is easy to create a blog post.
- Available in various languages
- Ability to blog anonymously
Cons Of LiveJournal
- Though creating a post is easy, formatting it is a bit difficult.
- No professional themes
- Ads in the free version
- Personal bloggers, as well as bloggers who want to blog anonymously.
Quora is essentially a Question and Answer website like Yahoo answers. However, it does offer blogging feature too, though it is seldom used by people. However, it can come in really handy if you have a large number of followers on Quora.
Pros Of Quora
- If you have a Quora account, you can set up a blog in 2 minutes. It is that easy.
- It has an extremely neat interface which is easy to understand even for a caveman.
- You can link your Quora answers to your Quora Blog to get more traffic.
- It’s easier to gain followers on Quora than any other blog.
- Quora allows affiliate marketing, though a disclosure for the same is necessary as per its policy.
Cons Of Quora
- No option to use Custom Domain.
- No customization options whatsoever.
- It gives away only no-follow links.
- Quora servers are not high quality. You will frequently encounter 503 error.
- Casual bloggers who have a large number of followers on Quora.
Your May Also Like: 7 Tips For Effectively Using Quora To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
8. LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn is world’s largest professional network. I am sure everyone knows about it. LinkedIn Pulse is not a full-fledged blogging platform but it does allow you to share your articles with fellow LinkedIn users.
Since LinkedIn is a professional network, it is a great platform for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs who are into the B2B sector to get more exposure.
Pros Of LinkedIn
- For every post you publish at LinkedIn Pulse, all your connections would be notified about the post which is a great way to make your post reach the right audience.
- LinkedIn pulse being a public platform, apart from your connections, your blog post is also made available to Millions of users outside your network.
- It is one the best platform if you trying to promote your brand.
- It’s free for life without any commitments.
Cons Of LinkedIn
- You are hosting your blog post on LinkedIn servers, so they have every right to take down your post if they feel you are violating their Terms and Conditions
- No option for monetization. But no complaints here as it was never meant for making money.
- Only basic control over your post formats. No option to select multiple headings like H2 and H3 for longer posts.
- LinkedIn does not allow adding a rel=canonical tag. So you cannot republish posts from your blog at LinkedIn without ruling out Google penalty.
- Small business Owners who wants to promote their brand.
- Job seekers who want to show their knowledge to likely employers.
- Bloggers to get traffic to their main blog.
Wix is a freemium website builder and is very similar to Weebly. It was founded in 2006 and is considered to be among the top website builders.
Though Wix, is essentially designed for creating a static website, it does have some blog templates which you can use to start your own blog. For non-blogging templates too, it provides an option in website builder to add a blog. You can also integrate your Tumblr blog feeds within Wix, which can be edited both from Wix as well as Tumblr.
Pros Of Wix
- Simple to use for people with less technical knowledge.
- High-quality website templates.
- It has an App market from which you can get Newsletter tools, Live chat tools etc.
Cons Of Wix
- After selecting a template, you cannot change it.
- Cannot add custom domain with the free account.
- No access to HTML and CSS.
- You can neither move your website pages nor blog out of Wix.
- Paid plans are too costly starting at $9.75 per month if you wish to remove Ads.
- The free version can be used as Landing Pages to collect Emails.
- Paid version may be used by small business owners. Though upgrading the account is not recommended due to very high costs and lesser features than Self-Hosted WordPress.
At Pen.io you can publish your blog without signing up for it. You just need to enter your Blog Title, enter a password and click on “Create a New Page” and Bingo!!!! You are now ready to post your article.
There is no backend for your blog. You just need to use your blog URL which you get after publishing the article and your password to edit your article. You can also add multiple pages by using “:page” tag.
Pros Of Pen.io
- Extremely easy to start writing your blog posts.
- No technical skills needed.
Cons Of Pen.io
- Since there is no backend, there is no control over your on page SEO whatsoever.
- No exposure to your blog.
- You solely rely on social media for promoting your article to get yourself noticed.
- Casual bloggers who just want to pen down their thought and then share it on social Media especially Twitter to kill the word Limit.
Each of the free blogging platforms has their own pros and cons. Most of them offer limited functionality with free plans. The paid version do offer some professional functionalities but they are costlier than hosting your own website on a quality server. Therefore, free blogging platforms are never recommended for professional blogging.
I have made sure to include the best blogging platforms which are free to use. Do you know any good free platform which I might have skipped? If yes, then do share it with us through the comments below.