Yes, you can build your blog on a free platform like Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr, but there are restrictions. First of all, your content will be housed by the platform you choose. Although sites like WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are probably not going away anytime soon, but what if they changed their rules or decided to go down?
These are the disadvantages if you build your blog on a free platform:
- If you break their terms of service by omission or commission, your content could be lost if your account is suspended or terminated.
- You are restricted to what functionality you can add to your site. Your site design will also be restricted.
- In terms of search engines, if you were to decide to move to your own domain (like www.yourname.com). after starting a blog on a free platform, you would ultimately lose the search engine values you gained from links to your blog content and the social shares you had received. (Although some free platforms allow you to redirect your blog to the new site for a little fee, most do not.
You have these advantages if you build your blog on your own platform:
- Companies who build their blogs on their own domain and hosting using WordPress have unlimited options for adding opt-in forms to generate leads, customizing their templates to integrate seamlessly into their branded website, enhance search engine optimization, and much, much more.
- You can also tap into the advantage of having a professional/corporate email at your own domain (firstname.lastname@example.org). This you cannot get if you are using a free platform. Some organisations won't even do business with you if you are using free emails like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo.
- It also makes you look serious and professional. When you blog at www.yourdomain.com, you will gain respect from your audience and they will think that you are ready to take your blogging to the highest level.
In conclusion, if you are already blogging, or starting out to blog, it is better to blog at your own platform for the long term benefits. All it will cost you extra is a domain name and hosting. With most registrars, you get a free domain name when you registered for a one-year hosting account. Depending on which hosting provider you signup with, you can get your domain and hosting account between $20 to $50.