Doing it for free
Lots of bloggers choose to go the free route to start with but if you go down this route you will end up having to pay money out in the end. This is for things like domain names and privacy but it's a good way to dip your toes in the water before taking the plunge. There are lots of free blogging platforms out there and some do allow adult content with some caveats. Make sure that you read the Terms and Conditions and ensure that you comply with them or you run the risk of having your blog and hard work simply deleted.
Blogger - https://www.blogger.com/
Blogger is one of the go to free hosts for sex bloggers, they do allow adult content but insist on a splash screen when visitors arrive warning them of adult content. Visitors will have to click on an 'Agree' button in order to enter your site, this probably won't be a problem from smaller bloggers. But as your site grows you will find that this can and will prevent search engines from indexing your content correctly so it can have a detrimental affect on your traffic. It has lots of blog layouts built in that are easily selected and it has a gentle learning curve but these designs are looking a bit dated these days. If you host your sex blog here then your address will look like www.YOURBLOG.blogspot.com.
Wordpress - http://wordpress.com/
Wordpress is much more powerful that Blogger and it has a lot of built in templates that look better, but that comes with a steeper learning curve. The Wordpress content management system (CMS) is a good one and it can be installed on your own host later so it would be easy to port your site at a later date onto your own server for self hosting if you want to do so as your blog grows. Wordpress doesn't allow adult content and they have deleted sites in their entirity but it could be a good option to start your site to learn and then move onto a self hosting server where you can host adult material but using a CMS that you then understand. If you opt for a wordpress hosted blog then your address would be www.YOURBLOG.wordpress.com.
Kinky Blogging - http://www.kinky-blogging.com/
This is a very new service and it's still in its beta phase undergoing testing. Whilst it has a sign up form you may need to get the owners permission to use it. It shows a lot of potential though as it uses the Wordpress CMS but unlike the official wordpress host itself this site does allow adult blogs as it's owned and run by an adult blogger so it will appeal to bloggers already hosting with wordpress. Your blogs address would look like www.YOURBLOG.kinky-blogging.com.
The downsides of the free route
Whilst the free route may appeal to someone starting out and it's a good way to 'cut your teeth' and for seeing if blogging is for you, it does come with some disadvantages. Companies and other bloggers may not take you seriously without your own domain name for instance. On a free host you have no real control over your site so it could be deleted for any reason (take regular backups). Free hosts may charge you for more advanced features like using your own domain name for instance.
A free host can deter companies from approaching you to review items or for looking to pay for advertising on your site and this has a detrimental affect on your image as you may come across as amateurish.
Many free hosts limit the amount of storage that you can have or how you can customise your site. Some free hosts like Wordpress prevent you from being able to customise the CSS of your site which limits your ability to personalise your site to make it stand out and to put your own personality on it.
Being on a free host can also limit your visibility on search engines as the likes of Google don't crawl sites on free hosts as effectively as regular hosts as even they perceive them as amateurish.
Paying your way
Opting to go the paid route has a lot of benefits, the biggest drawback though is the cost of registering a domain name and paying for hosting. You can of course often get a domain name to point to a free host which is a sort of happy medium but it still doesn't address the main limitations of free hosting.
Some paid hosts can set up a CMS for you so that you can get on with building your site straight out of the box. Using a CMS makes it easy for you to focus on the content of your blog without have to learn about html and other aspects of site design. Some of the most common ones are Wordpress, Joomla and Cute-press. These CMS systems are all easy to use but they do have a small learning curve but there is a wealth of information and advice available online on sites like Youtube, a quick google will help you out. All of these CMS are free of charge and then allow you to buy other addons that you can use to automate tasks or increase the features of your blog.
So how much does it cost? Well a domain name can cost anywhere from £12 a year for a .com domain or £1 a year for a .co.uk with other options available so it isn't a lot of money to give your blog that first important boost - a domain name.
The price of hosting varies from company to company but you can expect anything from £1.25 a month to £6 a month so again it isn't that expensive and when you look at the disadvantages of using free services I would strongly recommend going the self hosted route.
I have a separate article covering safety and privacy that has some relevant advice regarding hosting that you should check out.
Choosing a hosting company
This is the bit where I tell you to read the small print. Always check out a hosts terms and conditions as most don't allow adult content and will close your blog and not refund your fees if they find it on their servers. The host that I used is based in the Netherlands and you can host XXX content with them if you like. I can strongly recommend Vimexx Hosting which is the company that I use.
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