July 9, 2020
It’s a common question: can I start a blog for free? The information online is not always clear so let me be simple.
Yes, you can start a blog for free. However, if you want to make money blogging, it is not recommended. Why? There are several reasons along with a simple solution.
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Type “start a blog for free” into google and you will get something like this:
Looks that easy, doesn’t it? As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s important to understand the fine print.
A free blog like Wix (as linked in the screenshot above) is a great choice if you intend your blog to be a hobby. But do you hope to make some money someday? Then you need more. The good news is that it isn’t much more, but we’ll come back to that.
Let’s dig a little deeper first.
Here is a table from Wix comparing the free and premium features:
Notice the 3 items that I circled. They are hindering your success when you want to make money. On Wix’s free plan:
- You cannot use your own domain name. You need to use the assigned one. It’s not very professional and readers won’t take you seriously. Communication is also cumbersome. When in a conversation I would much rather say, “My website is AmyLynnAndrews dot com” instead of “AmyLynnAndrews dot wixsite dot com”.
- Wix places its ads on your website. This is definitely not beneficial to you! They are the ones who make money. If you have money making items on your website then you have to compete with Wix!
- You cannot install Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides huge amounts of information about your traffic, which pages your readers visit, where your readers are from, and much more. Analytics are a must for any money making website.
I’m not just picking Wix here. Every free blog service that you use runs into the same problems.
6 more reasons Not to start a free blog if you want to make money
- Limited opportunities to make money. Some free services limit the money you can make unless you “upgrade” to a higher level. You’ll have to pay for this upgrade, of course, which defeats the purpose of even having a free blog.
- Lack of control. Creating your blog on a free platform is like building your home on rented land. If the landowner decides he doesn’t like your home or wants to use the land for something else, you are at his mercy. After all, they own the land. You set the tone. Don’t put your livelihood in the hands of others!
- Lack of support. Companies don’t offer free blogs with a good heart. You want to make money. If you don’t make them money, they won’t go out of their way to make you happy. Sometimes it means that you have little to no support. In other cases, you will be bothered with offers for the paid products. Or in the above case, they shamelessly run their ads right on your website.
- Basic functions only. Basic functions might not be a problem at first, but as you grow you will feel the pinch. Expandability and flexibility are key. Both are limited with free blogging services.
- Switching is not easy. If you want to switch to a better service later (often for those starting a free blog), doing so is problematic and can be costly. Doing it yourself takes a lot of time and know-how. Hiring someone to do it right costs hundreds of dollars. You also need to learn and a whole new platform.
- You cannot use others as inspiration. This happens all the time to new bloggers. You start a blog for free. Soon they’ll notice cool features on other blogs that they want too. The problem is, these features are not options for their free service.
A much better option (and almost free)
When someone asks if a free blog is possible it is usually because they are on a budget. I completely understand. When I started blogging in 2004, my family was in one very tight financial situation. I’ve blogged do extra money, don’t spend!
Despite what you hear from many “gurus”, you don’t need a lot of money to start a blog.
How to start a blog on a budget. A good blog based on the best platform and used by bloggers big and small alike. Start small and slim. Add as you go. Click here to read my full step-by-step tutorial.
The best free blogs
If you’ve come this far and the above issues don’t convince you, or if a free blog is really your only choice, options are yours.
Just be aware of the tradeoffs.
In my opinion, the best free service is to start a blog on your own space Blogger. It’s a bit clunky, you can’t have your own domain without paying, and features are limited, but it doesn’t (most of the time) affect your ability to make money. As much as the others anyway.
A free blog is attractive, but I would greatly encourage you to think twice if you intend to make money blogging.
I have never met anyone who has regretted spending a tiny amount of money to get started on the right foot. I can’t exaggerate how glad you will be down the street.
Don’t let money stop you. My blogging budget was around $ 100 per year for many years. It’s totally doable. Don’t forget to read my step-by-step guide for beginners. It’s easier, faster and cheaper than you think!
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