If you are a beginner blogger, the most important thing is to get started with writing now.
While having your own domain name and running self-hosted websites are important; these things require careful planning and will unnecessarily delay your start.
Top 5 Free Blogging Platforms for Beginners
Here are the top 5 blogging platforms to get you started quickly. Make sure that you choose the free options in the following platforms if you are starting new.
- Google Blogger
This is a great free options as I found that it did not limit me to the number of blogs or images I could post.
WordPress.com provides a hosted service for the famous WordPress platform. An advantage of starting with WordPress.com is that it will be easy to export all your content to a self-hosted WordPress site later on. However since WordPress.com sells a premium version, their free offering is limited in its features and capacity (i.e.the total number of posts).
This is generally used by people who want to write short blogs with pictures.
- Linkedin Publishing Platform (aka Pulse)
This is another free blogging platform which lets you post articles for public consumption. However, you will be allowed to write only if you have been a LinkedIn user for a long time with a lot of connections.
This is another platform which is low cost and does not seem to limit you on the number of blogs you can post. Many of the Medium blogs seem to be getting very high ranking with Google search.
Other Blogging Platforms
These (Wix, Squarespace and Weebly) are other good platforms which make blogging easy. But their free plan is limited so very soon you will be force to make a choice to go premium or go elsewhere.
Considerations & Recommendations: What would I choose as a beginner?
Medium and Blogger are possibly the best choices for a beginner blogger.
Medium doesn’t put limits on the number of blogs you can post. So you wouldn’t be constantly thinking of hitting the ceiling. And even more importantly, I am seeing many Medium blog posts coming up high on Google search.
Blogger too is great as it doesn’t limit you to the number of posts and images – but I find that Medium is an easier platform if your focus is on writing. Medium provides a simple writing template (including facility for images and videos embedding), with minimal customizations allowed.
If your focus is on writing use Medium -it’s the simplest. If you want to run a mini-website (e.g. contests, or add Paypal buttons to sell a product) use Blogger – it’s more customizable.
When you do decide to move from Medium or Blogger, you can simply leave your existing post there and start a new blog with a custom domain. You can optionally modify some of your top posts on your old blog to link to your new blog posts. This way you get link juice passed on to your new blog. Most veteran bloggers I know have several blogs so it is a common thing to do.
Remember the free blogging platform like Medium or Blogger are designed to allow you to write – they have limited theming and custom domain options – so you should not spend too much time trying to customize these.
When you are ready to move to the next phase of your journey, you can go crazy with your designs.
When you are starting out, you are not going to be having any readers. So spending too much time upfront on cosmetics, and text-book blog optimization is a complete waste. Focus on improving your writing such that it resonates with your readers.
Content ideas, blog design, keywords, SEO, link building, email harvesting, storytelling – all these are important considerations; but instead of thinking too much about these things and then getting into analysis-paralysis mode, start writing today.
As a beginner blogger, your focus should be on learning to know what your audience wants.
Once you have started writing your blog, then after a few weeks, you can make a pause to review and fine-tune your blogs. I can guarantee, that your 10th blog will be better than your first, and your 100th blog will be better than your 10th.
This is how large companies work. They come out with a MVP (minimal viable product) so customers can start using it. Then based on the customers’ feedback they refine the next version of the product.
This is how you should be doing things. Focus on getting your blog out. Get people to read it and provide you feedback. Then go back and review how you can make your blog better.
The secret to success is actually doing. I leave you with this quote:
“…Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain