Starting a blog requires a platform.
A platform that allows you write on your blog, build an audience and ultimately build an online business from your passion.
And to choose a blogging platform, you have to decide to either go the free platform route or the one that require an investment.
But here’s the thing that marvel me a lot:
Most people love free things and the word “free” is really enticing and this also attracts individuals who want to start a blog too.
Free domain name. Free web hosting. Free automated blogging software. Free traffic generating tool. Free ways to make money online.
They virtually want everything for free.
I know …free is good.
And most free platforms allow you to create your blog without spending a dime.
No wonder the likes of WordPress.com and Blogger.com are getting popular by the day.
But if you actually want to build a blog that’ll fetch you good money.
You need to avoid starting your blog on a free platform.
Here are my reasons:
1. It demean your credibility
When you start a business offline, you actually offer quality services and products to build credibility, increase your sales, win the heart of customers and beat your competitors at the very best.
And the same process goes online.
You have to make yourself different from the norm.
But when you run a blog on a free platform you’re definitely going to be marked as a spammer and no one will listen to you.
Or how will you explain the fact you can’t use a custom email address like Cyrus@Smartbloggingtips.website or your blogs url reads: expertswritingtips.blogspot.com.
This really demeans your credibility as it doesn’t reflect the actions and voice of an expert in a particular niche.
2. You can’t really make money from your free blog
This is the 21st century and as the time of writing this post, there’re hundred of thousands of blogs on the internet – all trying to make money online just like you.
In fact, Wikipedia says: there’re over 156 million blogs on the internet.
So, to really separate yourself and boost your success in the hefty competition you’ve to actually bring in a unique flare and perspective in the focus of your blog.
And if you eventually succeed at this to build an audience on a free blog, how exactly will you make money from your blog when you can’t place advert on your blog or do any form of affiliate marketing (especially on WordPress.com)?
That murders the essence of blogging in the first place.
How exactly are you going to pay bills and enjoy what you’ve worked your ass off to build?
3. Search engines hate free blogs
If you’re a WordPress.com user, you should already know this.
But just incase, you didn’t know: most free themes on WordPress.com actually discourages search engines from indexing your blog.
Your blog is virtually unknown online.
Now tell me:
How exactly are you going to get consistent traffic when your blog isn’t even known by the almighty Google or other search engines?
This means you’re to work your ass off to gain traffic, attract readers and win the attention you deserve.
And to be realistic: you’re unique and deserve not be a slave.
Or don’t you think this is actually a deliberate effort to compel you to buy their expensive premium themes?
Also, free blogs are generally ranked lower in most search engines result pages (SERPs) which devalues the content on such blogs.
4. You can’t give your blog an amazing design
If you’re a good observer, you should notice that: most free blogs usually have the same design and always look alike.
Can you imagine?
You can’t customize, edit or even beautify your blog.
Despite the fact that it’s yours!
C’mon, how would you make readers stick and fall in love with your blog when your blog carries no unique design and professional look?
That’s actually the beginning of your failure if any visitor bounces off from your website almost immediately.
5. You’re robbed of your hard work
Most free platforms place adverts on your blog which you can’t actually control.
Despite the fact that you’re restricted to place adverts, they on the other hand benefit from your content and hardwork.
That’s like: “Working your ass your ass off for someone else to reap the benefits.”
Although, you could get an upgrade to remove the ads but it’s damn expensive.
Even when you’re allowed to place advert on your blog, you must share 50% of your profits with them.
Isn’t that cruel?
C’mon, you deserve something better.
6. You’re not really in charge
You might think you’re the owner of your blog but wake up and listen: the blog is not actually yours!
It’s well stipulated in their “dumb” terms and conditions, which explains why the url of your blog usually ends with the host’s name like mywebsite.blogspot.com or dailybloggingtips.wordpress.com.
So, you’re actually working on a rented land and if the owner wakes up one morning and kicks you out – you’ll definitely cry out your eyes and see all your hard work crumble before you.
7. It doesn’t makes you serious
Of course, any thing that comes free usually comes with the perception that underrates its value.
Since you got the blog for free without spending a dime, you’re not motivated, determined and focused to reach your main goals which will definitely delay your success online.
But look at this: if you had invested some cash to start your blog – you’ll definitely put in all your effort to make sure you build it to a profitable and well-established blog.
Even if you don’t see typical result, you’ll not want to see your money go down the drain.
So the determination will always be there until you reach your main goals.
But on a free blog?
8. Readers won’t listen to you
If you’re a good teacher or have a knack for a particular topic that people are interested to learn – a good way to showcase your skills is to start a blog and share your ideas, right?
But most people make the mistake of starting on a free blog, which tarnishes their credibility.
Take for instance, if you intended to start a blogging business around a particular topic (like writing and editing tips) and your website url reads: www.expertwritingtips.tumblr.com,will your audience take you serious?
Though you’re an expert on the topic but you’ll definitely be mistaken for someone that’s not serious.
9. You blog can be deleted anytime
Now, this is the one that really drives me crazy.
Most free platforms come with ambiguous rules that if you mistakenly violate could see your blog deleted in matter of minutes, even without informing you.
You know the worst part?
Their over-zealous spam bots could even mistakenly delete your blog.
Yes, it happens.
For example, Ogbongeblog.com, a technology blog of over 4 years hosted on blogger was mistakenly deleted in October 2013.
Though, the blog was later restored after a month but he lost a lot of revenue and he was definitely very lucky.
Many bloggers have lost all their efforts within a twinkle of an eye!
Now, that’s not the end!
It was also mistakenly deleted by Blogger spam bots in 2014 (a year after) and restored back after 4 days.
If your blog would be brought down because you actually violated their terms and conditions, that wouldn’t have been a problem.
But, where it gets disturbing is when your blog is deleted even if you play by their rules and abide by their regulations.
And many individuals have lost their blogs after working hard to build it to a ripe stage without going against their rules or doing anything wrong.
Can you imagine?
Also, Linda Ikeji’s blog: www.lindaikejisblog.com, was deleted by Google because some brands filed complaints on how she violated their copyright images and posts.
But, the blog was later restored after some days when the allegation was confirmed to be false.
Think about this: “Isn’t it bad that the blog was deleted even before verifying the authenticity of the accusation?”
That’s terrible, if you ask me.
In other words, “haters” of your blog could deliberately accuse you wrongly and your blog could be no where on the internet anymore.
10. You’re compelled to spend more money
Though, everything is done for you: free hosting, security, spam protection, automated backups etc.
And your focus should just be producing valuable content for your blog, right?
That’s actually a good deal and could make you feel on top of the world but in true reality you’re compelled to spend more.
Now, you tell me.
To get a custom domain for your blog, aren’t you going to part with some cash. On WordPress.com, this could cost anything from $18 and this could be more, depending on the extension.
Also, the free themes on these platforms carry no unique look and without any form of customization.
Have you ever wondered why most free blogs look alike?
The answer: no customization, no flexibility and no tweaking to fit your taste. What you see is what you get.
And don’t even think of buying their premium themes because you’re definitely going to break the bank.
So, the bottom line is: these upgrades are strategic “tactics” to rip you off and compel you to spend, spend and spend some more.
You aren’t that dumb, are you?
11. Your domain name is confusing and looks ugly
When you start a blog on a free platform, your blog’s usually comes with the host’s name at the end. Now, take a look at this url: dailynews.blogspot.com or jobs.wordpress.com.
Isn’t it ugly?
To me, it is.
Besides, it too long, looks unprofessional and confuses the hell out of readers (including you). You can imagine someone trying to visit your blog and forgot to put the .blogger (or whichever extension you use) part.
They head straight to your competitors and what that means is: you’ve just lost a reader!
Now, this is just a candid advice. Though, I started on Blogger myself but I’ll never advice anyone to go down that road because of the numerous downsides that will totally alter the growth of your blog.
Of course, if you want to blog for fun where you share your personal stories once a month with your friends and family… a free blog should suffice.
So when you wake up one morning and your blog is no where to be found, you won’t have to cry out your eyes because it was just a hobby you did at your spare time.
You’ll have nothing to lose.
But if you intend to start an online business, build a profitable blog and make money online – you need to start your blog on a self-hosted platform, preferably on WordPress.
And what exactly is a self-hosted blog?
In simple terms, a self-hosted blog don’t use a free service.
So you would buy a web hosing service from a reputable web hosting company to host your blog and also gain control over it.
That way: you’re independent, become your own boss and make money from your blog without any form of restrictions.
So, how do you start a self-hosted blog?
I’ve written a super-detailed guide for you : The 5-Day WordPress School – How To Become A WordPress Website Designer In 5 Days
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Do you run a blog on a free blogging platform? What has been stopping you from moving to a self hosted platform? Share your thoughts!