Thanks for the request Danie.
How great for you that you have free time to use as productively as you wish. Blogging is definitely worth a try. I love it.
I started blogging just a few years ago, and changed from Google’s Blogger to my current WordPress site in that time. Those are the only two platforms I have experience with, free and paid versions, though perhaps someone else will jump in and make recommendations of their own.
And from my experience, I’d ask you: What kind of blogger do you want to be?
Is this for hobby or for possible income? Either way, what’s your niche? Will your blogs be text-heavy or photo-heavy? Do you want to spend zero money or do you want to spend a little money?
~ If you spend zero money, you have nothing to lose but the time you’re putting into blogging. But you’re also going to have to have your platform’s name in the name of your blog, e.g., http://jundishes.wordpress.com or http://jundishes.blogspot.com. Your choices in design and capabilities will be limited in the long run if you become successful in blogging.
~ If you spend a little money, you can drop your platform’s name from your site’s name and “buy” your own domain name (and renew depending on what plan you choose). Whichever blogging platform you decide on will guide your through the domain name registration and payment. If it’s not important to you whether or not you “own” (more like rent) your own domain name, then just stick with the free version of your blog and get to blogging.
~ If you want to spend a little more money, and you feel comfortable moving onto more advanced blogging via plug-ins and more professional design themes, then you can choose to self-host (as opposed to being hosted by your blogging platform). I chose to do this only in the past year and I chose Bluehost. I really can’t complain about their services, and that’s saying a lot.
I went from a free Google Blogger site to a free WordPress.com site because I felt Blogger was boxing me in and scrolling me out. I needed more columns on my home page and cleaner lines, etc… I felt Blogger was a little “old”-looking, but that’s just my one personal opinion. You have to do what feels right for you.
When I moved to my free WordPress.com site, I was able to pretty smoothly transfer everything over from my old Blogger site. I felt more like a “real blogger”, but eventually I grew out of the free version and paid-up to WordPress.org platform. My domain name, http://jundishes.com, stayed the same and was seamless on your end as the user. But on my end it was like woah-intimidating, and so I eventually paid to have my transfer completed, which you can read about in another blog.
I never knew a thing about domains and hosts and page ranks. But I know a little more now, only because readers make it worth it. But in order to have readers, a blogger must blog.
There are so many start-up blogs that disappear because the bloggers stop blogging, and so the readers stop returning and the blog floats into the Bermuda blogosphere out in the world wide web and dies. So when I wish all new bloggers all the luck, I mean it. It’s a commitment.
1. Blog often and blog real.
2. Reply to comments and keep lines of communication open.
3. Don’t expect to become an overnight blog success. Refer back to 1 and 2 always.