When getting started with a new blog, many can't afford to use a paid option. Most will recommend Wordpress.org for your blog, but that requires you to pay for hosting.
Wordpress.com is also a popular free blog, but is it the best option?
I guess that depends on what your definition of 'best' is. I personally don't like using Wordpress.com (or .org for that matter) and I think there are better options to publish a blog for free these days.
My top 4 favorite free blogging platforms:
- Static Site Generators (SSG) like 11ty, Hugo, Gatsby.js, and Next.js.
SSGs are a great way to create really fast, high security/low maintenance static blogs. You can create the theme without knowing code by using https://www.stackbit.com, connect it with a headless CMS like Contentful, then deploy it to Netlify hosting for free WITH custom domain name if you want (custom domain is an additional cost of course, roughly $10/yr through Namecheap).
Medium is like a blogging platform and social network in one. There's no denying the beautiful design of the website and app as well as the ease of use. Adding a custom domain for better branding will cost you some money, which is why it's not my top choice.
I also recommend always having control over your blog, which is also why this isn't my first choice. Some people repurpose their blog content on Medium.com to take advantage of the built-in traffic it can provide, but then your Medium.com article might outrank your original blog article in the Google SERPs so you have to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
- Bear Blog
This is a really minimalist blogging platform that also lets you connect a custom domain for free. How about that? It has blazing fast load times, which would be good for SEO. Perfect for those of you who want a really simple blog with a basic design that focuses entirely on the words.
Update: This one is no longer free if you want a custom domain.
- Hey.com Blog
This I have as last because some would argue that it's technically not free since you need a Hey email address to publish your Hey Blog, but for those of you who have a Hey.com email address, this feature is free to you.
One really cool feature is they have a built-in email optin box so whenever you publish new content it's automatically blasted out to anyone who subscribed. If they reply to your email blast, it goes into your Hey.com email Imbox of course.
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