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If you're wondering how you can find free blogs to read, chances are you're a little confused about how blogs work. So let's clear a few things up. First, if you want to read a blog you'll be happy to know that with rare exception, blogs are free and available to the public. Second, if you want to start a blog of your own, there are also many free blog sites where you can host your blog. Finally, many of the free blog sites also offer upgraded service levels for a fee that give blog authors more flexible tools with which to maintain their blog. Now that we have that straightened out, you can find a list of free blogs in any of the countless blog directories. Blogwise.com, one of the most popular blog directories, includes listings for more than 35,000 blogs organized by country and keyword to make your search easy.
Free blog hosts are a dime a dozen, but not all are created equal. If you are a beginner, you should pick a free blog host that offers an easy-to-use Web-based editor and basic features. Some of the features you want to look for are templates and tools to manage the templates, archive management, a minimum of 25-50 MB for content storage and transfer, site management tools, image uploading, trackback and comments. You should also pick a blog host that has a reputation for providing good support to subscribers. Finally, placing your blog with a free blog host that has a well-established community will help you build readership if that is one of your goals.
If you are ready to start your own blog, you may want to consider a free blog hosting service. One of the most popular free blog site hosts is Blogger.com, a Google-owned subsidiary that has more than one million registered users. You simply set up an account, pick a name for your blog, choose a template, and you're off and running. Blogger also offers a bunch of online resources to help you with your blog, including articles, tips, and online support.
Picking a blog host is an important first step in starting your own blog. There are many free blog hosting services, most of which also offer premium blog hosting for a fee. The fee-based hosting almost always includes access to more features and offers greater flexibility in both blog design and content management. Whether you should choose free blog hosting or fee-based blog hosting depends mainly on your experience. If this is your first blog and you have little or no technological experience, trying a free blog host service makes sense for you. You can get your feet wet and decide if you like authoring a blog before you commit any money to it. On the other hand, if you're a veteran blogger with lots of experience fiddling with software, a fee-based hosting program that offers richer tools is the way for you to go.
One way blog hosts are able to provide free blogging is through paid advertising. You get to host your blog for free, but in exchange, you agree to let the host place paid advertisements alongside your blog content. Ideally, the ads will be targeted--or of interest--to your blog audience. Bloggers visiting your site will see the ads and click-through to the advertiser's site. Offering free blog hosting is also a deliberate marketing strategy that goes something like this: If you start a blog using free hosting and stick with it, chances are you'll eventually tire of the limitations of the features and administrative tools available with the free service. Once you reach that tipping point, you'll upgrade to a fee-based hosting package that includes more features and greater flexibility. Voila! The blog host now has a new paying customer!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|