To start blogging
For first time bloggers, a free blogging platform is a great way to get started in the blogosphere in the sense that, popular free blogging platforms like Live Journal, Blogger or Eponym allow users to set up and host a blog without paying any fees at all. This encourages people to start blogging, because the fact that one of these sites can provide you with all of the tools you’ll need to get your blog up and running without spending any money means that you have nothing to lose by starting a blog. The fact that it is so easy to find a way to blog for free is one of the reasons why so many people who have never had any other kind of web presence before find themselves drawn to blogging.
By signing up with a free blogging platform, you may find it easier to get listed in search engines than you would if you were starting your own blog from scratch. For example, Google runs a free blog hosting site known as Blogspot and crawls its pages on a regular basis looking for updates; so if you have your blog hosted by Blogspot you are almost guaranteed to be listed on Google’s blog search engine. This easy access to search engines can take some of the work out of promoting your blog, and can help you gain a following with a minimum of marketing effort.
So utilizing the tools and resources provided by established free blogging platform to do your personal blogging will provide plenty of advantages; for the blogging newcomers as well as some seasoned bloggers who started with such a platform and find no reason to move. Keep in mind also, that platforms which host many different blogs often provide very useful tutorials about building and updating a typical blog, and most newcomers to blogging will likely encounter very user-friendly software interfaces at most of the established blogging platforms like those mentioned above. In addition, these platforms provide a kind of instant community of fellow bloggers who are capable of providing advice, insight, and feedback.
Advantages and challenges
Furthermore, some of these free platforms often keep directories of their members, a practice which can be of great benefit for your traffic logs since it means that other bloggers on the platform will find out about your pages and probably take steps to learn more about your topic (or niche), your writing style and your personal views, among other things. In short, users of that particular blogging platform will want to get acquainted with each other and improve relationships, thereby strengthening common bonds and making the platform stronger and better while supporting each other as well as the overall platform.
That having been said, it is important to understand that participation in one of these blogging platforms, while advantageous in most instances, can also present some challenges which often come with linking up with any large blogging platform. One example of such challenges is, posting within existing templates of a platform like Blogger, would likely result in an individual blogger – presumably like you if you are an active blogger – running the risk of having your blog look and feel like that of every other blogger on the platform, so that we lose some of the uniqueness and individuality which would otherwise identify your specific brand on a platform of our own creation if we possessed the skills and resources to create it.
Deciding when to move
In other words, if your blog attracts a large readership, you may want to consider moving your site. In fact, you might agree with those who feel that being hosted by a free blogging platform gives a blog kind of an amateur flavor that is fine for a new member of the blogosphere, but is not appropriate for a high-profile blog, and if so that maybe even more incentive to move. Having your own domain can help you make your blog sound, look and feel professional, and finding a company that will host your domain is not difficult or expensive. Once your blog takes off, you will probably be able to sell enough advertising space to be able to financially afford a domain and pay for a hosting package, and still have money left over. However, it does not make sense, in most cases, to invest in these glossy luxuries before you have a sizable readership.
It is no secret that the blogging movement is very much about the creation of distinctive sites which feature, represent and promote the development of individual voices, so it makes plenty of sense that many bloggers would shy away from so-called “cookie-cutter” look and feel that blogging platforms like Live Journal, Blogger or even WordPress (the non-self-hosted variety) often promote. Many bloggers feel that the content of a blog is what makes it distinctive, not the look of the blog, but many members of the blogging community feel that the visual impact of a blog should match the originality of the writing and individuality of the writer.
The fact remains
Nevertheless, starting your blog on a free blogging web site is a great way to build a following before you spend any money on your blog; but if and when your blog becomes popular and you are ready to take the next step and purchase your own domain, your readers will follow you to your new home. The fact that it is possible to use a free blog host like any of those mentioned above, or one of the many o0ther platforms available on today’s Web, as a kind of incubator for your blog is great news for bloggers everywhere.