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After seeing so many cool blogs out there on the internet, you’ve finally been bitten by the blogging bug and want to take a shot at it for yourself. But there are so many blogging sites out there and so many blogging software options. How do you know which blogging platform is the right one for you?
You’ve come to the right place. There are tons of options out there, but finding the right one for your blog will be a lot easier when you start the process by asking yourself the following five questions.
- Do You Want to Make Money From Your Blog?
If you want to make money online with a blog, then you want to make sure that you choose a blogging platform that will allow you to monetize your content. Most pro bloggers will recommend that you go with a web hosting company like HostGator or GoDaddy and then buy a custom domain. But don’t worry too much about it, since the cost is usually only a few dollars per month for all of that. If you need a little extra tech support to walk you through setting up your blog and securing it from hackers and malware, then you might also pay a little extra for that, but first look for free tutorials on how to start a self-hosted blog.
But what if you can’t even afford hosting and domain fees?
Blogger is one of the only free blog platforms that allows you to monetize your content. It’s been around for a long time and is easy to set up, but the features are limited.
Another free site is HubPages. If you like to write well-researched articles about popular topics, then HubPages might be a good choice also, and it has some pretty good monetization options too. It’s not a typical blogging platform, though — you can’t just put up pics of your kids playing soccer and call it a day. But if you have good writing skills and want to make a decent stream of passive income, you should look into HubPages.
Some free platforms also make it easy to migrate your free blog from their platform to a self-hosted one later on, so that is a great option for some bloggers. WordPress and Tumblr are two of the best options for starting with a free blog while still holding onto the option of switching to a custom domain later.
- How Tech Savvy Are You?
If you have zero tech skills and have no desire to learn how to set up a blog and tweak every little thing on it, then you’ll likely want to pay someone to handle that for you. Or if you don’t mind having limited design options, you can go with one of the popular platforms with drag-and-drop website builders that make it super easy for anyone to build a pretty decent looking blog in minutes with absolutely no tech skills. Wix and Weebly are good options here.
- Do You Want Tons of Customization Options?
Some bloggers don’t really care about having a million design and color options for their blogs — they just want to start writing. If that’s you, then you don’t have to be too picky. But if you want total control and as many options as possible, then you want to buy a custom domain and set up a WordPress blog. This is a little different than the free WordPress blogs, as those have limited customization options. You want to go through WordPress.org or just get a self-hosted blog with a hosting company that offers easy installation of WordPress blogging software. Most reputable web hosts offer this, and it only takes about 30 seconds to install with the click of a button.
- Do You Want Total Freedom of Self-Expression?
Now, having total control over your blog can involve more than just the ability to tweak your design elements and features. If you plan to tackle some heavy, controversial topics on your blog, then you might also need to consider which platforms will give you the freedom to speak your mind.
Many taboo topics and types of content are not allowed on free blogging sites, and many advertising networks also won’t allow you to discuss certain topics either, even if you own the blog and host it yourself. Some popular bloggers have found themselves getting shut down or losing monetization options after years of blogging and building a massive following. So you’ll need to carefully research each platform’s terms of service (TOS) to fully understand if the platform will work for you.
If “your house, your rules” is a necessity for you, then you’ll want a self-hosted blog with WordPress software installed.
- Do You Need a Free Blogging Platform?
A lot of beginners assume that the Best Blog Sites must require you to pay a lot of money, but that’s not entirely true. Free blogging sites might be ideal for you if all you want is to have a personal blog to share what’s going on in your life with friends and family. Free sites would also be great for you if you just want to blog as a form of self-expression without any desire to build a business around your blog. So don’t think that you absolutely must spend money if you want to blog. It all depends on what your goals are and what kind of content you want to create.
You’re going to have a lot of fun with blogging over the next several years, so try not to get too stressed out over choosing the “perfect” blogging platform. Think about your blogging goals, about the kinds of content you want to create and about the things you’ll need to learn to make the most of the experience. But most of all, just make a decision and get started! You can always try different platforms later if your first choice doesn’t work out the way you want.