Drawbacks VS Benefits of Free Blogging Sites

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by Nindo Mom on November 21, 2010

When I first started blogging about a year ago, I started up a free Google Blogger account. It was pretty easy, even though I’d never done anything like that before. However, at the time, the only way we were permitted to monetize our blogs was with Adsense–whereas now, bloggers can also feature products from Amazon.com, which has the possibility of producing income faster.

Blogger accounts are free–just like several other similar hosted blogging sites. And yes, you can certainly make money from them. As I see it, there are 5 main problems with them:

1. You get less money.

With free blogging sites, you only receive a small percentage of the money your blog actually generates–the rest goes to the hosting site. This means that, with the same effort on your part in producing your content and bringing visitors to your blog, you earn A LOT MORE money if your blog is self hosted.

2. Limited opportunity

You must play by the hosting site’s rules when it comes to the ways you’re allowed to make money with your blog. This means that you are limited in the ways you can monetize. When you own your domain (such as I do with www.Nindomom.com),  you choose what companies you want to do business with, and which products to feature.

3. They can “fire” you.

With free blogging sites, the host reserves the right to shut down your account at any time, without notice. You are required to agree to this in the terms when you first sign up for your account. Think about this–if your sole source of income was from blogs like this and the host chose to shut you down, you’d lose your source of income–even if you’d been building it up for 5+ years. I would never want to leave myself that vulnerable.

4. Limited features.

You have less control over functionality. When hosting your own blog, your design–in both appearance and the functional elements–is restricted only by your own knowledge of how to implement them. (And that can be learned.)

5. Difficult to make a name for yourself.

Free blogging sites are much more limiting when it comes to building the brand of YOU. When you host your own site, you pay for (and own the rights to) your chosen URL. And having your own URL means that all the work you put into building your brand will benefit YOU, and not the host site.

All this being said, free blogging sites DO have their benefits, including:

1. They’re FREE (Yup, that’s the obvious one)

2. They have a built-in audience.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get all those people coming to your blog–but your blog will enjoy a boost in web page rankings.

3. They are a good learning platform for beginners.

4. They have a built-in community.

Belonging to them puts you in the company of like-minded individuals who may be more willing to lend you advice or ideas through their forums.

5. No Commitment Required

They give you an opportunity to “try out” blogging without the commitment of paying for a URL, web hosting, or platform.

6. Fast Start-Up

You can sign up and start blogging within a few minutes of deciding to do so. With your own site, it takes more planning and there’s a bigger learning curve as you research available URLs, web hosts, and platforms.

Stay Tuned. . . .

In an upcoming post, I’ll provide some great resources for good free blogging sites, as well as a selection of reputable website/blog hosts.

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