Have you been thinking of how to start a free blog and making the best outcome from it?
With full recommendation and guidance, you can start a free blog and allow people to hear your voice.
WordPress.com is a big solution for new bloggers who want an easy way to get started without any money deal but the zeal to spread their message across the globe.
In this article, you will get to know the difference between a free blog and a self-hosted blog because there’s no need to buy a hosting plan, a domain name, or theme if you just want to start a free blog. But getting to know and explore the blogosphere, you will be inspired to have your self-hosted blog without fretting.
Why Start A Free Blog?
Starting a free blog is the best solution for people who aren’t sure if blogging is right for them, people who want to start without any investment, and just want to run a test to check out if the stories of blogging are authentic.
However, if you’re serious about blogging, planning for the future, and challenging yourself because you know the value of investing in yourself, then consider choosing a self-hosted blog because it’s the best option.
If you’ve decided from above either to start a free blog or a self-hosted blog, you’ve probably run across the term self-hosted blog. Then you made the decision to choose the right option that suits you. But we are here to guide you on which is the best fit for you.
You might have come across many articles from tons of websites advising you that a self-hosted blog is the only way to start blogging, especially if you want to turn your dreams into reality and have a professional look, or also planning for the future. This is true but a free blog is also an option to start your journey as you climb the success ladder.
What’s A Domain?
A domain name is an address for the location of your website records on a server. It can be set up with your names (first & surname), it can be your brand name or your company/organization name.
What’s A Hosting?
Just like what a domain name infers. If you have come across a science book, you should understand what a host is. A provider.
A Hosting is a room or space on a server for your site records to be stored and accessed by visitors online.
When you decide to choose a self-hosting platform, you have the best option to use a custom domain and it is your own personal web address using the phrase or expression of your choice that recognizes your site online (just as the case of exceptionalways.com).
If you’re able to self-host your blog, you will always have the option to set up subdomains (e.g blog.example.com).
The advantage of purchasing a custom domain implies that you own it, you can develop your domain authority, have complete control of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and grow your website in a meaningful way.
Who should use free blogs?
Free blogs are sufficiently enough for people who are just studying and scouring through the blogosphere or are not very serious with regards to blogging, or they simply aren’t ready to work towards their desired dreams. If you’re just blogging for pleasure, then start with the free blog option.
Who should use self-hosted blogs?
If you’re planning to become a pro, blogging, and working for the future. You have to pay the price no sooner you learn about blogging and play later, enjoying for the rest of your life.
Self-hosted blogs look extremely professional and perform better functions, they are sufficient and the best option for businesses, companies, and communities. They are also outstanding and exceptional for people who want to design and improve their professional appearance and showcase their best features, products, and services to the world.
If you already have a free hosted blog, you can upgrade your plan to a paid version, migrate to a completely paid version and move it easily to another platform, or to a self-hosted website without losing your data and configuration.
What we always recommend is getting a custom domain as fast as possible, particularly if you decide you want to take full control of your content, blog, database, and grow your blog for the future.
Tip: For everyone that read this and sign up for a hosting with this link, there is 60% discount on Bluehost.
However, what exactly is a self-hosted blog? And why do you crave to sign up for one which doesn’t require an investment?
In the following few lines, you will get to know the difference between free and self-hosted blogging platforms, the advantages(pros) and disadvantages (cons) of each unique blogging platform, and which one you should choose in your journey.
Free Blog (A Free Blogging Platform)
A free blogging platform is one that is completely free to sign up for an account, get a pre-fixed domain (just like www.example.com) but quite a little bit modified, and get your website set up. The free blogging option is available on Blogger.com and WordPress.com.
The obvious unique difference between a free domain and a self-hosted domain is that when you sign up for a free blogging platform, be it Blogger.com or WordPress.com, you use their subdomain (e.g yourname.blogspot.com and yourname.wordpress.com).
The only way to have a custom domain (like exceptionalways.com) is to purchase and use your own domain.
Advantages (Pros) of a free blog:
- No set cost price to start-up a website.
- Doesn’t require a prior website design knowledge.
- Free blogging platform providers like WordPress.com and Blogger.com are easy to set up and maintain.
Disadvantages (Cons) of a free blog:
- You will always have the free hosting platform subdomain attached to your free domain (e.g blog.example.com). This is not an option for you if you want to look more professional.
- You don’t have full control but less, over your blog (like CSS functions and theme selections because a free blog is limited to a lot of functions). This means that your website compatibility can’t be expanded, you can’t use plugins.
- When you continue using a free hosted blog, it means you have a limited amount of bandwidth, video time, and memory space.
- You are limited to advertisements of your choice, which means that it becomes quite harder to make money blogging on your free hosted blog.
What if I want to upgrade my plan?
Since a free blog is completely free, you always have a non-professional domain name. Nevertheless, when you plan on getting rid of the subdomain “.blogger.com” or “.wordpress.com” in your domain name, you’ll have to purchase, acquire, and assign your own custom domain.
Paid Blog (Self-Hosted Blogging Platform)
A self-hosted blog is one within your full control and your server. Basically, and the principle is that you pay a third-party to host your blog, which in turn opens you to endless possibilities, and give you what you desired for blogging. It also gives you all the benefits of a self-hosted blog.
Third-Parties like Siteground and Bluehost are within the space in which a blogger can explore for hosting space. These popular companies provide hosting services and stand out to be the best in recent times. Practically, these companies give storage space to customers to make it possible for their blogging world.
Advantages (Pros) of a self-hosted blog:
- You have full access and control over your blog, you can manage plugins, including restructuring its layout, SEO (search engine optimization).
- You also have complete control over monetization, advertising revenue, additional functions, and more, unlike the free blog.
- Unlike a free blog. You can navigate your site, install custom themes to make your blog stand out among the best and also increase your blog responsiveness
- You have full control over your blog with regards to its functionality and taking advantage of coding (like CSS functions, shortcodes, and you aren’t limited to every function). This means that your website compatibility can be expanded, you have complete access to your backend logs, and files which allows you to make any important code changes.
Disadvantages (Cons) of a self-hosted blog:
- Using a third-party host usually amounts to only a few bucks per month.
- It can be intimidating to newbies
- equires an initial investment.
- It requires some initial knowledge
Free Hosted Platforms
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
A lot of people he confused on the verge of choosing between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source platform that has been developed by tens of thousands of people. Essentially, WordPress was created by a community of developers, and it is now a free blogging platform that can be used on a free or self-hosted basis.
To get a free WordPress site, all you need is to visit WordPress.com, signup for an account and start designing your site within minutes instead of jumping to WordPress.org
WordPress.com is operated by Automattic, a company organized and established by WordPress co-founding developer Matt Mullenweg. Using WordPress.com, you can obtain a limited version of the WordPress software, and your site will be hosted on their servers.
WordPress.org is the full extent of the software. It offers a judicious platform. However, in order to use it, you’ll need somewhere (like Siteground, Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy) to collect, preserve, and store your website’s files.
Creating A Free WordPress Blog
Go to WordPress.com and click on the get started button. Then signup by entering your email and choose your password and create your WordPress account.
Note: You can either use your email address manually, to create your account or directly continue with your Google account of your device.
What’s your site name?
What name do you want others to address your blog as?
Here, you will enter the name you want to choose for your blog and select your blog type. There is an option to also select the mission you have with your blog and your background in creating it.
Next, enter the domain name to your site. A list of suggestions will be displayed to you after typing the domain name of choice. If you don’t want to use the domain suggestion, you can use your name without using the suggestion.
The next step is to select a plan. WordPress has four different plans but for the purpose of a free blog, we’ll clasp to the free plan.
Congratulations! Your free WordPress blog has just been created. Now, you can start steering through your free blog.
- Login into Your Account
To login to your WordPress account, use the email you entered during the registration or use the email provided by your Google Account.
If you’ve successfully logged in to your blog, go to the security settings and secure your blog by setting a password. You can also choose from the strong passwords generated for you by WordPress.
- Finalizing Your WordPress Account Set Up
Now, your site has been set up, you have a list of things you need for your site to be completely live.
- Site Icon/Logo
- Site Theme
- Theme Customizer
- Backgrounds & Colors
- Header Image
- Menu Option Settings
- Site Content Settings
- Homepage Settings
- Widget Settings
- Uploading Your Site Icon/Logo
Your site Icon is your site identity. What makes your site different in every regard. It’s very important just as your posts are essential for your blog. If you’re wondering what kind of Icon to use, then contact us. We have various options to get your website Icon/Logo designed.
If you have the desired icon to use, you can click on the Do it! button.
Once you’re done adding your site icon, click on the return to the checklist button.
- Add a Tagline
It helps describe your site for easy access. It’s like a catchword or slogan. A new visitor might not know what your site offer but you Tagline or Icon/Logo can help you do that.
- Choosing Your Website Theme
To make your site responsive and friendly, you must choose a simple theme. You can choose from hundreds of themes WordPress can offer for your blog. Whether you like it free or premium is what you decide at this crossroads. Just don’t make it scary!
To choose a theme for your blog, click on the themes menu from the left sidebar. You can browse theme by their;
- and more.
If you select a theme, you will be prompted to download and activate. Before you activate, simply try previewing the theme with your blog to see if you like it.
If activated successfully, you will see the selected theme at the top of the theme browser.
- Customizing Your Theme
This is where you stir and stimulate your website. The WordPress theme customizer allows you to customize every element of your theme.
Elements of Your Theme Customizer
- Site Identity
- Colors & Backgrounds
- Header Image
- Homepage & Blog Settings
- Menus & Widgets
- Site Content Settings
- Site Identity
It helps you customize the title of your site and its tagline. You also have the option to choose whether your site should have a logo or not. To upload your site Logo, click on Upload Logo and your site identity is completely set up.
You can make your site beautiful and fast by selecting a font from the list of options available on WordPress and make your website’s typography commendable.
- Header Image
If you need a Header Image instead of only a website title, you can choose to use a header image for your website. Depending on the theme you choose, you can select from stock images available on WordPress.
- Backgrounds & Colors
Choosing a color for your website can be complicated. You need to use it in the right manner, the right place, at the right time, with the right audience, and for the right objective and intention.
Seeing a color influences our attitudes and emotions. It makes us sentimental sometimes and when our eyes attract a color, they convey it to the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which in turn transfer the sensations to the master gland (pituitary gland), on to the endocrine system, and a hormone — thyroxine of the thyroid gland is secreted which cause variation in mood, excitement, and stemming attitude.Yusuf Saheed
For example, if you are designing an agriculture website, you may want to choose green!
Menus make your site navigable. You can determine it’s locations, positions and you can organize menus for your website in this option. A list of your pages, blog posts, categories, etc is displayed for you to choose.
There are options to select the menu location. You can set different menus for header and footer.
You can appoint pages or post types that widgets to display in the sidebar and footer.
- Homepage Settings
It either stands as your landing page or the list of your blog posts page.
To understand this option, you should know what a static page means. WordPress provides an option to select what to display on your homepage. You can either display a static page or you can display the latest posts of your blog.
How To Add Pages Into Your Free Blog
Pages are very important as they are the parent location of your website content, your posts, etc.
The very best pages to create are:
- Home Page
- About Page
- Contact Page
To create a page, click on page and select “Add new” button from the sidebar of your recent WordPress dashboard. This will direct you to a blank but instruction page to add a new page on your WordPress Blog.
Assign a title to your new page and add a volume of content you want to add on this page. The WordPress editor allows you to create a fantastic page by organizing your parameters with different elements. This includes headers, format options like; bold, and italics texts, media, payment options, contact form, etc. You can create a layout for your page content by including lists and aligning your texts.
On this page, by the right-hand side, there are preferences for your page. Which include Publish button, tags, categories, featured image, and option to choose whether to show sharing buttons, etc.
Publish & Launch Your Page!
How To Add Posts Into Your Free Blog
This is the same as adding a page to your website. To add a post, click on Post and select “Add new” button from the left sidebar of your recent WordPress dashboard.
The page editor is the same as the post. You can add a post just like you’ve done for a page. However, you can choose the post format for your post.
To create a post, master these formats:
To create a post format, you can assign an excerpt for your post, choose a location, choose to allow/disallow, enable/disable comments, and more offered by WordPress post option.
Publish Your Post!
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