If you’re trying to build a website, you want to cut down the costs as much as possible. That’s why most new bloggers settle for free blogging platforms like Blogger.com, Wix, and Weebly.
Sure, there is nothing wrong with using said platforms if you want your site up and running in no time. But keep in mind that once you associate the word “free” with professional blogging, then you’re doing it wrong.
Without further ado, here are the main reasons why you should reconsider using free blogging platforms:
The first reason is by far the most important!!
1. Digital Sharecropping
Since you are only allowed to own a subdomain when using a free blogging platform, you are just another contributor to the entire domain. For example, if you are to publish content straight to websites like Stack Overflow, Squidoo, and Wikipedia, you are working hard to increase the value of those websites without getting anything in return. After all, you don’t technically “own” your content unless you pay for your domain.
In digital sharecropping, the free platforms you publish content to can do whatever they want with it. You can write a particularly great piece that attracts a ton of audience, but in the end, they are the ones who get to monetize it through ads.
Furthermore, digital sharecropping means you are entirely reliant on the platform when it comes to your online presence. Once the site goes down, your content goes down with it. Unless, of course, if your blog is hosted somewhere else.
2. These Aren’t Really Free
Let’s start with the big elephant in the room – the misleading word “free.” Understandably, everyone will be enticed by the price tag of zero, especially if you include a bunch of beautiful, professional-looking screenshots of the platform at work. However, free platforms are very limited regarding features. If you’re trying to build a blog professionally and wish to monetize your site sometime in the future, you probably need to pay extra for the premium tools and functionalities you need.
3. Not Customizable
Going back to what Alex Jasin said in point number one, free blogging platforms don’t offer many customizations at all. At most, you can probably get a generic-looking website with boring features and bland design. It may not matter to you if your sole intention is to blog, but this is very problematic if you’re planning to develop a brand online.
Remember that your website needs its personality if you want it to stand out. Everything from the colors, fonts, layouts, and menus should form a cohesive experience that your audience will associate with your brand. Unfortunately, you won’t have a lot of options regarding themes and templates with a free blogging platform.
4. Non-Branded Domain Name
Another major downside to using a free blogging platform is that you are stuck with a subdomain rather than your domain. That means the blogging platform’s name will be latched in your site’s URL unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
5. Limited Control
You may be able to create and publish your blog posts, but with a free blogging platform, you will never have 100% control of your website. One example is that you have no control over the ads that appear on your site. Most of the time, blogging platforms would even show ads on your site – along with the content you’ve worked so hard to create – without your permission.
Limited control also means you have limited options for expandability. For example, you can’t set up an online shop because you won’t be able to integrate eCommerce functionalities. Even though you can use external analytics tools or heat maps, you can’t optimize your website because you have no control over its layout.