Most bloggers start out using a free blog service. Blogger.com or Blogspot.com is the most popular, but there are others including WordPress.com which is a free sub-domain version of WordPress.org (the hosted version of WordPress).
The Best Reasons to Use A Free Blog
Testing Blog Ideas
If you have an idea for a new site, but you’re not sure if the niche will be popular or how people will respond to your idea, you could use a free blog as a way to test your idea risk free (no cost) and do it quickly.
This way you can be more certain that your concept is going to fly before you commit to purchasing a domain and hosting and the time it takes to create a hosted blog.
A Place to Learn
If you are new to blogging, you can get a free blog as a way to learn the ropes and make mistakes in a low stress environment.
With a site on WordPress.com the way of posting and a lot of the tools are the same as with a full WordPress site, so you can learn and become quite polished before you jump to the full version.
As a Place to Keep Notes or Quick Links
Even when I had a fully hosted blog, I kept a free blog, just to put my notes and “half baked” ideas on.
A Temporary Personal Journal or Photo Site
If you know your site is not really that serious or is just temporary, then a free site can be useful.
A place to document a family vacation or a trip to Europe. One of the advantages of free blog hosting is that if you post a lot of pictures or videos, the service is still free even if you have a lot of friends to show them too.
Be careful though, the moment that you think you are beginning to fall in love with blogging, I’d recommend getting a blog hosted on your own domain.
The Reasons Not To Use a Free Blog
If You Want to Make Money from Your Blog
There are so many advantages of using a hosted blog for any type of site that is trying to make money.
From link sales opportunities to the hundreds of plugins available to create traffic and sell ads from your site, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential money makers if you stick with and try to monetize a Blogger blog or other free blog.
If You Know You Will Be Blogging Long Term
If you are going to blog long term, the farther you go with your blogging the more you will benefit from a fully hosted blog.
The reason for this is simple, blogs gain value as they get older and the more valuable a blog is, the more customizations and refining you’ll want to do, which will be a lot easier with a hosted site where you control all the code running on your server.
Another reason is you may want to sell your blog. A fully hosted blog will sell for many times more than a “free” blog, even though the two bloggers may have put exactly the same amount of effort into building the site.
Another way to look at it is in terms of real estate. In the long run you are better off to own your home rather than rent, the same is true for your blog.
If Your Blog is A Part of Your Business
Blogspot or Blogger or other free blogs should not be used for a business site. Even if you don’t notice any lack of quality or can’t tell it from a professional blog, it will look cheap to your clients and potential customers who are more knowledgeable online.
Free Blog vs. Hosted Blog – A Final Conclusion
Overall there are some good reasons to try out a free blog. It is almost a sliding scale that goes from you just wanting to have a little fun online to a place where you are more committed or taking your site more serious.
The greater your commitment or the greater your desire to be blogging for career or profit, the more important it is to have a professional blog sitting on your own domain name.