This quick-start guide is an excerpt from Kim Komando's new eBook, "How to Start a Blog & Make Money." It's a quick comparison of hosting websites for new bloggers.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, there are a number of options for hosting your domain. This guide will take a look at the pros, cons and costs for four common sites that are popular for bloggers.
Squarespace was designed for entrepreneurs who wanted a website they could easily design, build and manage. Here’s a word of caution: Squarespace hasn’t always had the greatest reputation for being SEO friendly, although I am sure they are working to improve this. If there is one thing I know: SEO can make or break a website. You want your website to be found by search engines. If you want a site to be found by Google and other search engines, you may want to talk to Squarespace about their built-in SEO tools before you commit to using them to host your blog.
- Drag and drop templates make it easy for beginners to design.
- You can purchase a unique domain name.
- There are hundreds of templates to choose from.
- SEO is questionable.
- You are limited to a select few tools for services and integration.
- If you invest in the “personal” platform, you are limited to a site of 20 pages.
- You can only have two contributors.
- Squarespace.com is a proprietary platform and it limits you to working with its partners. This limits you on options for plug-ins and upgrades.
There is a free version of Squarespace, but you’ll see ads. The personal plan costs $16 per month. If you pay annually up front, the price is $12 per month. The business plan will cost $26 per month. If you pay annually, up front, the price is $18 per month.
Wix.com is a hosted platform was designed with entrepreneurs in mind. It is an easy drag-and-drop way to build a website, blog or both. If you build a Wix.com website you can add a blog app to your site.
- It’s easy for beginners to build.
- No coding skills are necessary.
- Uses drag-and-drop construction.
- Sites are easily customizable with apps and plug-ins.
- If you want to upgrade to a site that allows you to sell products or services, you will need to pay.
- You cannot switch templates once the site is built.
- The free Wix.com account displays Wix ads.
Blogger.com is a Google-owned blogging and website platform. Blogger.com is aimed at individuals who are not tech-savvy, but who want a website or blog.
- It's owned and managed by Google, making it robust and reliable.
- It is free.
- You don’t need technical skills to set up a Blogger.com site.
- Because it’s free, Google can suspend your account if it feels you’ve violated terms of service.
- The platform is not updated regularly.
- The available templates are not of high quality.
- The blogging tools available are extremely limited and that might be limiting if your blog grows in popularity.
- I have heard that bloggers who start with Blogger.com switch to a platform that offers more robust capabilities, so keep this in mind if you plan to grow.
Medium.com is a community of writers, journalists and bloggers. This easy-to-use blogging platform offers limited social networking features for sharing your blog posts.
- It lets you jump right into blogging without having to design a website.
- It’s free.
- You’re interacting with community of bloggers and experts who are interested in your niche.
- You can’t run ads. If your plan was to make money with your blog by promoting products — either yours or from others — this is not the platform for you.
- Medium.com owns your “site” and if you leave, you potentially lose your audience.
- The features of Medium.com are limited and could make it difficult to build your brand.
There are other blog platforms available, but this short list will get you started so you can get blogging right away.
Pro tip: Install Google Analytics on your website as soon as it’s live. Go to google.com/analytics and create an account. That way, as you start adding content to the blog, Google will track how many people visit your site, how long they stay and a ton of other valuable metrics.