When it comes to starting your own blog, many people wonder about the costs associated with being able to afford to blog. Luckily, there are free blog sites that can turn your dream of blogging into a reality.
Imagine being able to start your own blog for free, with absolutely no money required? Talk about a frugal dream come true!
While there are plenty of free resources available, it’s important to choose the best blogging platform for you. This post showcase the best blogging platforms so you can make the best and most informed decision. Keep in mind that the free blog sites have limits which I’ll review below. In the blogging world what works for one may not work for all so doing your research is key in making your blogging dreams come true!
If you’re serious about taking the first step in starting your own blog, just know how super excited that I am for you! Blogging is something that is extremely near and dear to my heart and has opened up so many doors for me and my family.
Several years ago, I was sitting exactly where you are now, and I’ll never forget the moment that I decided to take the plunge and create my own blog. That decision truly changed my life for the better (like a paid off mortgage before turning 30 years old) and I hope that you know it can happen for you as well.
When choosing where to find a platform for your blog, here is important information and tips about all the popular free blog sites that are available for you to use.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information.
The Best Free Blog Sites To Start Your Blog
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know my story. I’ve always been one that has been open and honest about my journey and what I’ve done to get to where I am now. My want for you? The same success and outcome that I’ve had!
I put together this quick chart for you so you can see, at a high level, the different major blogging platforms. In this post I’ll dive deeply into each of the blogging platforms below, and I’ll list the pros and cons of each.
You’ll quickly see that most of the internet runs on a platform called WordPress, but there are other popular platforms too that you can use. I’ve played around with most of them and they all have unique perks which I’ll discuss below. But for now, save this chart or pin it to Pinterest so you can refer back to it at anytime!
The Best Blogging Platform to Start a Blog
Honestly, there are many different options where you can start your blog, and you can always move from one place to another (although some moves are a bit trickier than others). The first thing that you have to know is what you want to blog about and who you want to reach. Once you have that down, finding out where you can start is the easy part.
How to Choose Your Blog Site
Choosing your blog site doesn’t have to be overly difficult because the majority of hosts all offer their own decent perks to join. I am a huge researcher so I always recommend that you do your own personal research on any of the free blog sites that you are considering using. Read forums, read the pros and cons of each below, ask other blogging friends what they use or have used in the past and then weigh out all the information. While it’s true that you can change your blog website later on down the road, that can be a process that can be avoided if you do your research in the beginning! (Trust me…it isn’t always an easy process to change!)
Top Blogger Platforms to Consider
Let’s get into it, here are the top blogger platforms that deserve your consideration when trying to choose how and where to start your blog.
Most of the internet runs on a platform called WordPress.
There are two versions of it, a free one and a paid one. You know, just to make starting a blog super confusing! I’ll explain the difference between the two versions in a very unique way, to clear things up for you. I’ll also go into more detail in the post below too!
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
This one confuses a ton of people and I totally understand! Basically, there are two ways to use the WordPress platform. WordPress.org is called “self-hosted.” That means you have complete control over what you do to your website. You can put advertisements on it to sell products, you can collect email addresses to build your audience… you can basically do anything you want in order to grow your business online.
I like to think of it as living out in a rural area that doesn’t have any homeowner’s association with strict regulations on what you do in your home or in your front yard. You’re in the driver’s seat.
WordPress.com is a “hosted” solution. Basically, you live in their HOA, you have to play by their rules. This means you can’t put ads up on your site (they actually put ads on YOUR site and THEY make money… oh goodness!). You also have a very limited selection of themes and plugins to customize your site (white picket fence anyone?).
The bottom line between these two platforms is this: If you want to build a business online, you need to get on WordPress.org. If you just want to share your thoughts in an online diary and you don’t plan on turning it into a business, WordPress.com should be fine 🙂
Now let’s dive into the details.
Wordpress.comThe Free "Hosted" WordPress
Free Blog Platform: WordPress.com “Hosted”
WordPress is an extremely popular free choice among new bloggers because of its ease of use. When it comes to using WordPress as your free blogging platform, there are some definite positives to consider!
Pros of WordPress.com
- Considered one of the best free blog sites
- Community support available
- Includes a WordPress.com subdomain (example: www.MyAwesomeBlog.wordpress.com)
- Limited free theme options
- Monetization is allowed but limited
Cons of WordPress.com
- Limited storage space
- The free version of WordPress has ads displayed (this can look very off brand)
- You cannot use Google Analytics to check your traffic and stats
- Plugins cannot be installed when using the free WordPress version
While starting your blog on WordPress.com is considered free, this gives you limited storage space to use. It is free for only up to 3GB and once you hit that, you will have to look at options to pay to upgrade. (see the WordPress.org section below)
One other aspect to consider is that the free version of WordPress typically has ads that come with it as well. One of the catches of this free blog site is that you don’t have control of turning off those ads without paying a monthly fee to do so.
Starting out on the free version of WordPress isn’t a bad idea if you are just starting out or looking at blogging as more of a “here and there” type venture or side hobby. However, if you are wanting to make it your full-time business or look at having the option to generate some real revenue, upgrading to a self hosted site is the way to go. For as low as $3 per month with a self hosted site you will get ton of different options that can really take your blogging to the next level.
But again, if you want to test the waters and start a completely free blog (with limitations) you can start on WordPress.com. Just promise me, that when you become serious about blogging, you’ll switch to the right solution so you can grow your blog into a business.
Writing and Publishing a Blog Post in WordPress.com
This is what it looks like when you’re writing a blog post in WordPress.com.
And this is what it looks like when it’s published. See the gray box at the bottom? That will be where WordPress.com places advertisements on your site. They make money off your content. If you don’t want this, you’ll need to pay for a self-hosted solution.
The WordPress.com version is easy and super simple to use. But it also comes with a lot of limitations.
If you don’t have $3 per month to spare to get a self-hosted WordPress.org site (see below), then go ahead and start with WordPress.com.
Hosted Blog Platform: WordPress.org “Self-Hosted”
In my opinion, WordPress.org is one of the best blogging platforms to use and start to monetize your blog. In fact, WordPress users compose 32% of the internet. In the online space, that’s massive. The support and options that come along with using this version of WordPress are quite stellar and tend to pay for themselves.
Pros of WordPress.org
- Options to a ton of different themes for your blog, many which are free
- Plugins are allowed and easily downloadable and added
- Any type of revenue that you earn from your site, you get to keep 100%
- SEO-friendly – this means you get more traffic from Google
- Google Analytics can be used to keep track of your blog traffic
- Social media icons can be added
Cons of WordPress.org
- There are monthly fees involved that you have to pay to be hosted by WordPress (starting at $3/month)
- There is a slight learning curve (but there are tons of amazing courses to help you master it quickly!)
You really can not go wrong with building your blog on WordPress.org. Popular websites like TechCrunch, BBC America, Facebook Newsroom and The Walt Disney Company uses WordPress.org to host their sites. Even Beyonce blogs on WordPress.org – and you know she’s a brilliant business momma!
To get your blog on the WordPress.org platform, you need a self hosting company to host all of your files. Your blog will be built on the WordPress.org platform, but your files need to live somewhere on the internet, and that’s what a hosting company can do for you. The two best hosting companies for beginners that I highly recommend and have used myself are SiteGround and BlueHost.
I currently have sites on both SiteGround and BlueHost. Things you want to take into consideration when choosing a host is cost, up-time, speed and customer service. The WordPress.org platform is free with both of these hosts. And on BlueHost your domain name is free too, on SiteGround it will cost you around $15 when you register.
Here is a quick overview of the two hosts for beginners.
Best Hosting Providers for Beginning Bloggers
For less than the price of a fancy Starbucks coffee, you can rent online space to host your blog. Just think of how much it would cost to rent a brick and mortar store in the mall? It would easily cost thousands per month and you’re limited to mall customers. If you start a blog, you can reach millions of people; practically anyone with an internet connection could be your customer.
Writing and Publishing a Blog Post in WordPress.org
This is what it looks like when you’re writing a blog post in WordPress.org. Yes, there is a bit more to it than the free WordPress.com version. But you can also do so much more and you have complete control! If you truly want to turn your blog into a business, this is the tool you need. If you just want to hobby blog, this may not be for you.
And this is what the post looks like what it’s published. You can literally make your WordPress.org website look like anything. Depending on your theme, you can start with a blank white page and build your site to your exact specifications. And it’s not hard, many professional themes have drag and drop visual builders.
Examples of websites that utilize Wordress.org:
WixI look good, what?!
With 45,000 users signing up to use Wix every single day, Wix is a real contender in the blogging world. Many people tend to overlook Wix because it seems to be not as common as some of the other blogging hosts, but the truth of the matter is that there are over 90 million blogs that have chosen Wix as their host. That’s no number to laugh at! Why do so many people love Wix? Here are just a few of the positives!
Pros of Wix
- Extremely simple to use
- Free plan option that allows you to start blogging once set up
- Blog posts can be shared to social media
- Options to sell merchandise, etc. can be added to your posts
Cons of Wix
- Using the free version of Wix will cause your blog domain to appear like this: yourwebsite.wix.com
- Once a theme is chosen, it can be hard to change or alter
If you decide that you like Wix, you can later upgrade to varying paid versions with the cheapest version starting at $5/month. This will give you more options, storage, and flexibility to be able to incorporate more of “you” into your blog.
WeeblyThe OG drag and dropper
Weebly is no small potato in the blogging world. In fact, they are one of the fastest growing platforms out there. Many businesses have turned to use Weebly for their ease of use and convenience.
Pros of Weebly
- Weebly is pretty much all-inclusive when it comes to what it can offer and do
- Know for quick site speed
- Provides hosting for all sites
- Assist with hacking and spam
Cons of Weebly
- The free version will have your domain listed like this: http://yourwebsite.weebly.com
- Very limited theme options
- No plugin options
- Free version maxes out at 6 pages
You can choose to upgrade to the paid version, which starts out at $8/month. That gives you the option for revenue optimization as well as ad removal from Weebly directly.
The one aspect that many people tend to love about Weebly is the amount of support that is offered, no matter if you are on the free plan or the paid version.
SquareSpaceFor the designers
Squarespace is known for their beautiful and amazing templates that they offer. Bloggers around the world can’t say enough good things about their offerings.
Squarespace is often what people use if they are searching for something even easier than WordPress so keep this on your radar when searching for free personal blog sites! But it is one of the priciest options starting out.
Pros of Squarespace
- Beautiful templates with a modern look
- Optimized for mobile viewing
- Hosting and domain are included
- Great customer service
- All offered plans are ad free
- Widgets, social media icons, etc. can be added
Cons of Squarespace
- Their “free” plan is actually just a 14-day trial – then you have to upgrade
- Monthly options are more expensive with Squarespace – starting at $12/month
- Site speed is slower
BloggerYour Public Online Diary
Blogger (also known as Blogspot)
In the blogging world, Google is huge…and Google created their own hosting site to try to appeal to the millions of bloggers out there who are wanting to produce great content for others to read.
Is it worth choosing Blogger for your free blog site? Here are some pros and cons to consider!
Pros of Blogger
- Good security that comes along with the backing of Google
- Easy and very simple to use
Cons of Blogger
- Limited support
- Hasn’t had any sort of upgrade in a very long time
- Google technically owns the right to suspend your blog at any point in time should they choose (may I remind you of what happened to Google Plus, the internet elephant graveyard?)
In Conclusion – Free Blog Sites Review
With all these free websites for blogs, it just shows you that there are so many great options to choose from. Before deciding what blogging platform is best for you, sit down and really think about your long-term goals for yourself and your blog.
Where do you see yourself in one year? two years? five years? ten years down the road? or eleven years? What about twelve years?
If you feel deep down that you want your blog to become your career, you need to start off on the right foot from the very beginning. Starting a blog and making money off that blog doesn’t have to be overly complicated!
I’m a firm believer that the more that you prepare now, the less stress that you’ll have later down the road. And honestly…if you want your blog to be your next career move, it’s crucial to set a strong foundation for your blog to be able to grow.
As with any type of business venture, there may be a few bumps and hiccups along the way; however, don’t give up. Blogging is not hard. It just takes consistent effort. Just like any new skill – the more you do it – the better you’ll become!
Leave a comment below and let me know what blogging platform you use!