Originally posted on January 1, 2019 @ 3:24 am
As one of the first major innovations online, the blog spawned an entire hosting, publishing, and promotion industry. Finding a free blog service only requires you to type in a few words in Google. But, the time invested in a blog project can be wasted on the wrong service–and there are so many! This guide will break blog services down into several categories, and offer up a few recommendations along the way. Let’s get going!
If you don’t have much tech know-how, or just want to get a website/blog going quickly with a moderate amount of fuss, there’s a huge amount of choices available to you. Here is a numbered list of options, the common feature between them all seems to be ease-of-use and building websites along a set number of templates. These sorts of websites can be very useful to get off the ground, but it’s also helpful to have a little bit of knowledge yourself so you can expand if needed, and often many of these services are a little gated in their functionality and are often locked behind premium payment plans.
7 Best Free Blogging Tools for For the Casual to Serious Individual Bloggers
Looking to just write, and not currently running a business? Then read on, these are the best choices.
If you’re mostly interested in running a blog and getting your content up online with little mess and fuss, and don’t really care that much about having a larger webpage, storefront, or anything like that, these services will fit the bill. The key thing I’ll emphasize is that for anyone looking to get into blogging as a hobby, personal journal, or as part of a larger media strategy needs to think about the future. It doesn’t matter which blogging platform you use, so long as it’s not going to cause growing pains for you in the future.
1) Medium – the professional choice for long-form
Medium started as an invite-only service that has now expanded to one of the more popular blogging services on the internet. It’s got a clean interface, a standardized font, and it’s built to service quality writing and not much else. If you’re looking to start writing for writing’s sake, Medium is the way to go. It has a supportive community, a variety of engaging “magazines” and groups, and offers excellent design with minimal work. If you just want to write and get your thoughts out Medium is the way to go.
2) WordPress – the market leader across the board
WordPress is one of the most widely-used services for building web pages and blogs on the internet. It’s important to distinguish between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In this section, we’re talking about the .com version, and we’ll get to the .org later. WordPress is known for its usability and accessibility, and will allow you to create the most customized and functional blog you can think of. Highly recommended. It has a basic free option, as well as more serious plans starting at $3/month. The greatest benefit of WordPress is that it’s massively popular, can expand however you want in the future (if you eventually monetize on a large scale), and features code modules called “plugins” that integrate with thousands of services. Plugins let you do almost anything on WordPress without any coding knowledge.
3) Instagram – blogging for the personal brand
Source: Brittany Krystle’s Instagram
The days of the “Web 2.0” blog are long gone. Long form posts and micro-blogs on Instagram, and Instagram first (and only) businesses are now the norm. If you’re considering starting a blog, jumping right to Instagram may be the best way to go. If you’re looking to build a personal brand, there really is not better place to start. (thought a site you can send people back to is essential) If you’re looking to get into more complex topics, and involve multiple graphics than Instagram is definitely not the place to go.
4) YouTube – as a Vlog (video/blog)
If you’re adept at video a daily vlog (video + blog) may be the way to go. If you’re good on camera and don’t want to write then vlogs may be the way to go. Of course a solid YouTube account lends itself to Instagram and vice versa. Again this strategy is best for anyone creating a personal brand, and still has the downside of you not having a site to anchor all your social media properties.
5) Facebook Page / Group as Blog
Although the heyday of Facebook Groups is long gone (most people have shifted to Instagram or YouTube) it still makes for an easy blogging platform. If you want to utilize Facebook’s integrated blog function or creating an active community and forum like feeling then Facebook is the way to go. A free Facebook “blog” also has the advantage of strong interaction from the 40+ crowd and working well for both businesses and individuals.
6) Blogger – the old, but tired classic
Blogger is an old standby, offering a mess of templates, free and paid, and has a clean, easy-to-use interface. While it’s great for many types of blogs, it’s not exactly the most cutting edge service out there, but it offers a very practical blogging toolkit. They’re part of the Google ecosystem, so it’s easy to sign up. All that said….Blogger is probably worth avoiding at this point.
7) TUMBLR – do you hate normies?
If you think a little outside the box, and want to try something other than a standard blogging or website service, Tumblr can be a fun option. It has a very specific user base and some interesting functionality quirks, but can also help establish you as a bit more hip and experimental. If you’re working on a personal brand, but trying to keep a more edgy/indie feel than TUMBLR may be the way to go.
4 Free Blogging for Business Owners
If you’re trying to get a business off the ground, and need a good website/blog building option, there are many options, almost too many to pick from.
Most of these are free to start, but if you’re going to want to take advantage of the full suite of features, you’ll likely end up shelling out a moderate amount of cash.
Squarespace hands down provides some of the best designs for business owners these days. They have clean templates and make it easy to blog.
9) Google My Business Site
Looking for a new site? Why not get a Google property for your personal site. While not as slick as SquareSpace you benefit from being under Google’s umbrellas.
Easy to use and aggressively chasing business owners. They’ve really improved their templates recently. If you like the feel then this may be the way to go.
Similar to WiX, Weebly offers some great free templates and an easy design interface to work with.
For the power user who’s getting serious
If you’re running and growing a business, then for our money WordPress.org is the way to go. It’s free and open source, and requires a bit of technical knowhow to get going, but once you’ve downloaded the toolkit and integrated it onto your website’s FTP server, you have a massive suite of plugins, themes, and customization options available to you so you can fit your website to your exact needs. Storefront integration can get tricky, but is by no means impossible, and WordPress is constantly updated to remain secure and give users the latest features. It’s also incredibly easy way to maintain a blog over time.
Creating an effective blog is one of the most critical parts of any web endeavor, especially when you’re trying to create a digital marketing strategy. If you’re ready to up your marketing game, get in touch with us, or check out CEO Shaheen Adibi’s