In today’s technological society, one of the greatest ways to express your opinions is through a blog. However, once you make the decision to begin blogging there are numerous issues which must be considered. Firstly there is the problem of whether you use a free or paid blogging platform. Both of these are highly popular and have their own positive and negative features.
Before discussing in detail the advantages and disadvantages of the different blogs, let us consider what the blog actually is. A free blog is a blogging service which does not incur any cost. The most popular options are WordPress.com and Blogger.com. Of course, there are others such a Tumblr.com, but this platform is used primarily for younger individuals promoting ‘gag sites’ and fan pages.
List of free blogs
- Blogger - Hosted with Google with *.blogspot.com subdomain
- WordPress - Powered by open source WordPress. *.wordpress.com subddomain. You have 12o themes to choose from with 3 GB of space.
- Blog.com – Free and search engine friendly with 2 GB of space. Option to upgrade to premium for extra features.
- Tumblr - Owned by Yahoo, Tumblr allowed user to post content to a short form blog (microblogging platform)
- Weebly - You can create your free website through Facebook account. Fully integrated eCommerce for paid package.
- Livejournal - Online community that allow user to keep blog, journal or dia0ry.
Unlike a free blog, a paid blog requires a fee (hosting fees) or subscription for use. Usually hosting fee can be paid on annual or monthly basis. These paid blogs will usually be self-hosted platforms where one is allowed more freedom to experiment with your own designs and themes.
Pro and Cons: Free vs Paid
While paid blogs allow for more creative freedom regarding appearance, many individuals prefer free blogs. This is primarily because it is free, and also some sites provide support for user. If you are a first-time blogger or do not know much about HTML or website design, this is a highly beneficial feature. Furthermore, free blogs offer more ready-made themes and designs for the blogger allowing for immediate set-up and writing.
As is mentioned, the paid blog does give you more freedom to create your own layout and web presentation. Once again there is the option of using ready-made, free themes or purchasing the more intricate ones if you are unsure about manual website design yourself. The greatest attraction of the paid blog is the domain name. Unlike free blogs where you will be required to include the platforms name within the URL, a paid blog allows you a professional URL independent of the platform.
Unfortunately, paid blogs are not all advantageous. The one disadvantage is you will have to install an operating platform manually and complete SEO (search engine optimization) yourself, whereas the free blog normally does this automatically. The promotion of your blog is your responsibility.
In conclusion, while the free blog is the more simple option it does restrict creativity. All promotion is completed automatically, but one may only use basic designs unless you are willing to pay for the more defined ones. One must remember that by using these generic themes you will not be standing out from the crowd and there will be other blogs identical to yours. The paid blog requires more work, but it does allow for increased singularity. Which is best is based on personal preference – the decision is yours.
How to Create an Excellent Blog
1Set some goals for this project. You need to ask yourself why you want to create a blog and who you want to reach out to. You could for instance create a blog to promote your small business or simply inform your audience on a topic you care about. A blog could also be a good way of displaying your creations or practicing your writing. Your goals will determine the methods you should use to develop your blog.
2Choose a quality blogging platform. There are many different platforms to choose from but you need to find one that provides you with some useful features. You should look for reviews written by other bloggers to find out how reliable different platforms are. Your blog will not become successful if the servers of your blogging platform are offline on a regular basis. Create accounts on different blogging platforms to test them and explore the different features available.
3Create some excellent content for your blog. Readers will visit your blog again if you update it regularly with more quality content. You should write articles that are well-organized and help readers learn more on topics they are interested in. You could for instance write top ten lists, tutorials, shopping guides or even share tips based on your own experience. Use pictures to make your articles more interesting and think about using videos or a Podcast if you are not comfortable with writing.
4Take the time to organize your blog. You should use pages for your most important content and help visitors find your different pages by creating a detailed menu. Your newest articles will appear on your homepage but you can make your older content easier to find by creating links to these articles in your newer updates. You should also create an archive to organize all your articles by themes and allow visitors to use a search bar to find articles on a specific topic.
5Draw attention to your blog by sharing links to your content. Try finding some online communities that would be interested in your topic and share links to your articles on their message board once you become an active member of these communities. Use article directories to share your content as long as you can include one or two links to your blog. You should also try finding other people who write content for a similar audience and feature their links and articles on your blog if they agree to do the same for you. Get readers to come back to your blog by sharing updates via social media or a newsletter.
Writing a blog is a very rewarding way to share your interests and life with others. You should start working on your blog once you have chosen a topic. Use these tips to create a blog and reach out to your target audience. Keep in mind that becoming a successful blogger can take some time; do not give up if you are not successful right away.