Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
There are numerous free blog hosts online offering services to bloggers. Not knowing where to start is common. If you are certain that you want to blog for free and avoid monthly hosting charges or the yearly domain registration free, consider reading the small print before you submit your online registrations.
Types of free blog hosts
The most common and traditional route for many bloggers is signing up with Blogger.com or WordPress.com. You create a site that becomes either YOURBLOGNAME.blogspot.com for Blogger.com or YOURBLOGNAME.wordpress.com for WordPress.com. Many other sites exist for free blog hosting as well (TypePad.com, Tumblr.com etc.).
If you are a social blogger and like to interact within the confines of a community some sites offer more in the way of creating relationships and expanding your social networking opportunities. You can find many social network/blogging sites allowing free-form publication of posts where you donít have to write about one topic. Xanga.com, MySpace.com, LiveJournal.com and Gather.com are just a few examples.
Before signing up with a free blog host
Consider your main purpose of blogging. If your blogging is for fun or to share information with family or an organization then free blogging is for you. If you are seriously considering trying to earn money from blogging there are benefits to registering a domain and paying for hosting or considering a site builder hosting company that offers more bells and whistles.
Check out video tutorials. See how easy it is to set up a site or pages. You want to find something easy to use so you are up and running in no time.
Understand what monetization is allowed. If making money is one reason for signing up at a free blog host, make sure you have a clear understanding of what is allowed. Look for tools to help you sign up for affiliate and advertising accounts allowed at the site.
Read the fine print. Sometimes free comes at a cost. It is a good idea to read the terms and conditions of the free blog host site. There are important conditions related to ownership of content and what is allowable in the way of advertising that may affect your decision to sign-up with a free blog host. Things to consider include:
- Who owns the content a user publishes on their free site?
- Are there limitations on what content can be published or how it is published?
- Are there space limitations that could affect a userís account when the limits are reached?
- Does the hosting company have a right to edit or remove any blog content?
- Can a user remove the blog content and/or publish it elsewhere if they decide to move their site elsewhere?
- Does the hosting company have a right to advertise on a userís free site or pages?
- Can the site be used for business purposes or as a way to earn money through advertising or affiliate marketing?
- Can a user easily upgrade to a paid account offering more services (custom domain name, additional design or analytics reporting features, etc.)?
When you have the answers you want to these questions and they meet the needs and match your goals for blogging you can confidently hit the submit button on the registration form.