Ok so I'm a rookie. Remember the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked.
Authors, bloggers, countrymen...
Where is the best place for me to construct and run my website.
Free copy of my book for the best answer.
A word of warning: when you use all those free websites, many times you give up your rights for the content you are creating.
I reiterate this statement. Case in point: What Instagram is now doing.
Businesses can't continue to offer you freebies without making money somewhere. So as long as you have a "free" service, there is always the chance that it will fold or change it's business model ... or something.
And then, after all that work of putting up all your writing, getting your site seen in the search engines, telling everyone where to go ... it could be for naught.
I digress! Theoretically using that logic, we shouldn't use Gmail hot Hotmail yahoo facebook... etc...
In fact, what about google? Isn't that free? perhaps we shouldn't use that! they might change their business plan!
Basically your statement implies that the only services you can fully trust are the ones you pay for. (or that you can't trust free things as much as you would paid things) Which couldn't be farther from the truth. Most paid services start low costs, however they quickly become greedy and hike up their prices. The paid services are the ones you cant trust. They don't have your best interests in mind, and they only want your money.
"Weebly, wix, and others are too profit-focused to be economical, as well as trying to sneakily lock you in so they can squeeze a profit out of you eternally. Personally I hate their guts."- Darryl Erentzen
"Blogger and WordPress.com, on the other hand, are largely user-driven, and supported by huge communities of both users and coders for free. The Open Source community drives both to a large extent, and the philosophy of Open Source dictates that it's wrong to charge for software but okay to charge for a service - this seeps into the business practices of both, although Blogger is more profit-oriented since being bought out by Google, Google can't afford to be seen as breaking their "don't be evil" corporate philosophy, so it's still pretty open."- Darryl Erentzen
Blogger is a pretty safe bet.
Wordpress is open-source but I don't believe Blogger is. I fully support open-source code; I use it every day.
Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and Facebook all have business models that support them ... they have ads on the pages you use. So they are not "free" at all. And neither is Google ... you pay for it by being forced to see ads.
I don't recommend Wix or Weebly in any circumstance. What I do recommend is the same thing that Darryl Erentzen does ... host a Wordpress site on your own hosting package or with someone like him or me.
GoDaddy is NOT a webhost. They are a domain seller that has add-on services that they charge through the nose for. If you know anything about hosting, you go with someone like Bluehost or Hostmonster, whose prices have only gone down over the years, because that's what they focus on.
But if you're squeamish about having your own hosted site, go with someone small who specializes in it ... like me or Darryl. Us "little guys" will generally help you get acquainted with technology and do the techie things for you so you can concentrate on your content.
If you don't think Google would ever discontinue Blogger, think again. They've discontinued MANY services in the past:
Now, I'm not saying they'd ever discontinue a popular service like Blogger, but it's entirely possible. Question: Do they provide a way to back up all your writing? I honestly don't know. What would you do if every blog post you ever had disappeared and you didn't have a backup?
"Free" services can only stay free for so long before they have to monetize their business. Some can do it with advertising ... and others will fold. Ask the promising companies that folded during the dotCOM bubble burst.
I'm biased because besides being an author, I'm also a web programmer. I've been doing it for 18 years. Sites like Blogger and Wordpress are fine if that's the impression you want to give. They allow some customization, but nothing like having your own site.
I must disagree with one commenter here who suggests that huge companies like Home Depot will be moving to blog format. Actually, I have to laugh at that. That's like saying Costco will move to being a kiosk in the mall.
And I've seen references to Wix. What most of you don't know (and you shouldn't because you're not programmers) is that you have to be wary of sites like Wix. They don't offer you the tools to increase your SEO (search engine optimization). And what's the point of having a website if no one can find it when searching on the web?
To do this right, you need to find someone like myself who can help navigate you through the technology of the web that you don't even know you need to know. An author thinking they can put up a great website without help is like a high schooler thinking he knows how to write because he's got Microsoft Word and knows English.
In other words, there's so much more to it.
For instance, I blog and write and do myriad other things. I've written about all sorts of topics on my website, and I also suffer from kidney stones. Why do you care? Because, if you search Google right now for "kidney stone lithotripsy," you'll find my site on the first page. Sure, I'm down at the bottom, but my picture also shows up next to the entry.
Why would I show up in front of doctors and multitudes of organizations that have more "relevant" things to say about kidney stone lithotripsy? Why is my page the only one with a picture (which adds instant credibility to my search result)?
Because I know how to get there. And I didn't even try to optimize my site for kidney stone lithotripsy. I just searched for that as an example when I wrote this comment.
My point is that I know how to do a lot of the little things that make the difference. Plus, I'm a writer myself and I'm always looking for ways to help my clients and help myself at the same time. You may get a decent-looking blog for free somewhere, but if you're not doing it right, aren't you really losing money instead?
I use a free hosting package (recently went pro with them as service is the best I have come across in 17 years online). Do a search on Yahoo or Google for Free Hostia. Their premium plans are very cheap as well, around $60 a year. I would stay away from Weebly, they delete 5 of my book sites (which did not violate their terms of service--which they agreed and told me I needed to rebuild the sites). Wix.com is great, nice flash, slight learning curve--but very slight.
The long and short of it is: get a hosting service. You can vanish with a flick of a switch on the whims of someone who doesn't like genre of your book.
I really like Webs, which is the one I use. I believe it's run by vista print. I have the free version but there are paid levels as well which give you more features. What I like about it is that it's a website with a blog feature, so you can have a lot of different pages.
You can check mine out here The Book Tower
There are a lot of different themes, pictures and colours, so it's very customisable.
Being a web designer myself, I would have to say that there is a lot to web design that most people don't even think about. I just finished working with a client who wanted their website redesigned and when everything from market, to landing pages, to color choices, to SEO, to security for their online class that they wanted to have, they quickly realized what they thought was a simple thing really isn't. Sure we can make a blog on blogger, even download some cool blogger templates, but a blog is not a website. Blogs are things that are there to talk to people, to share, to interact. A place to get people to come to your website. You share information and cool stuff on a blog, however a website is like your storefront or place of business. It is a direct reflection of you and your company and it needs to be done right. This is kinda what a blog is in real life. Tons of information, cool stuff to look at, kinda like walmart shelves. But you need to take the item off the shelf and to the checkout place (your website or amazon or something) in order to actually make money.
Using things like weebly, webs.com and wix are great. They have great templates that make it easy to make a website. But they simply cannot offer everything that you need in order to make your site great. (I am a Wix pro designer however, so I am biased to Wix, simply because I have access to a lot more than what your standard user gets, and I don't use templates, I build from the ground up, but I digress) I say hire someone who knows what they are doing. If you are on a tight budget, hire someone like me who can make you a Wix pro site for 300.00 , or if you have a lot of money and don't mind paying web developers all the time, hire someone who knows his or her stuff. Shop around and do research.
Me personally, (again being biased here so be warned) I like Wix designers for a couple reasons, one they are cheeper, two once the website is designed, you can updated and change and add to at your own free will with-out having to learn coding, and three Wix is just awesome. I won't use anything else but Wix now because it is better all around for the customer. Some will laugh at that because they haven't experienced how easy and cheaper it is to hire a Wix designer and be done with it. Anyways, that's my rant on the subject.
If you want me to help you, you can also private message me through Book Blogs. Here is a sample of my work. www.familyfootreflexology.com