A free blogging platform is the perfect way to get yourself set up with your own corner of the web without too much effort. Everyone’s focused on social media these days, sure, but there’s something about the permanence of a blog – not to mention the freedom to pen your thoughts without worrying about character counts – that’s hard to resist.
You can’t beat the feeling of having your own site, and having a free blog can also be a great self-promotion tool to help get your work seen by more people. There are plenty of free blogging options out there to get you started, and we’ve picked out the very best of them below; read our c on how to start a blog if you need help to get up and running.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is a service or application that facilitates the creation of web pages for publishing your content. These content management systems come in the form of website builders like Wix, blogging applications like WordPress, or simplified blogging software like Tumblr.
If you want to get started with your free blog, Wix is well worth a look. This drag-and-drop website builder offers over 500 designer-made templates as well as plenty of additional features and apps, along with top-grade hosting so you can rest assured your site will be there when you need it.
You get 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth with a free Wix account. If you need more – plus other features like your own domain, and online store and Google Analytics – then take a look at its premium plans.
Open source software content management system Joomla is a popular choice among the blogging community. Powerful and flexible, Joomla can be used to build any kind of website or blog, with design features including the ability to create your own template and render HTML for objects/arrays of data. It also uses Bootstrap for perfect responsive designs.
Similar to WordPress.org, Joomla is a self-hosted solution, which means you will need a domain name and web hosting to use it (although there is an option to create a site on launch.joomla.org). The Joomla community is much smaller than WordPress community, so there are fewer themes and add-ons than for WordPress. But there are still hundreds of templates to choose from, and extensions to add more features, to fully customise your free blog’s design.
Yola limits you a bit if you have grand plans for your blog – you can only have two sites and three web pages with its free plan – but the upside is a healthy 1GB of storage and bandwidth, and your site won’t be littered with unsightly third-party ads.
Getting started is easy, with dozens of customisable templates to choose from, a straightforward site builder for putting everything together, flexible layouts and drag-and-drop widgets. And if you have the skills, then you can edit your CSS in order to fine-tune your site’s look.
Hubpages is a network of sites that enable bloggers (or Hubbers) to share their story with a vast open community. It has an Arts and Design section, which will be a happy home for creative bloggers, and Hubpages majors on its ability to connect its users with a wide audience and earn revenue from ads and affiliates.
Nobody knows how they’re going to want to display their articles a few years down the line, so Contentful provides a way to separate your content from your design. It calls this an ‘API-first’ approach, so your content is stored on its servers and you can call it into any design or platform as you like. So if you want to build a completely different site in a few years time, it’s easy to bring everything in as it’s set up to be portable from the start.