Should you move your blog to a self hosted platform or should you continue on free blogging platforms? This is one of the most common questions you will find in the “Bloggersphere” and after trying both for quite some time, we now have our answer. To be honest it wasn’t even hard to get to this conclusion but it was totally worth the exercise. As most of you probably guessed *cues applause*, self-hosted is indeed the way to go if you take blogging seriously and here is why:
1. Creative Freedom: Unlike most free-hosted platforms, with a self hosted site you will have zero to no restrictions imposed on you when it comes to the customisation and control of your site. With a free-hosted platform however you will most likely have to keep paying a monthly fee in order to have access to limited customisation privileges.
2. Cost Saving: Speaking of monthly fees, most free-hosted sites like WordPress.com tend to charge ridiculous amounts for small add-ons/features/plugins that you will most likely end up needing as your blog starts to grow. When all these extra fees add up, you find yourself spending thousands of rands/dollars every month for something you could have easily added or adjusted for free or at a cheaper rate on a self-hosted site. Free-hosted sites are not as Free as you think! They are only really free if you just don’t give a sh** about your blog and only blog like once every bazillion years!
3. Your Hobby Becomes A Business: 90% of the time most people start blogging as a hobby and then they realise it can end up turning into a business. At some point in time most bloggers get approached by different brands for different reasons. These approaches always leave you questioning the professionalism of your blog and you end up wanting to change a few things so that you can meet the brands requirements and get taken a bit more seriously. Well when this type of thing happens it’s always great to be on a self-hosted platform. This way you will have full control to make changes to your site without having to stress about spending a lot of money on unnecessary upgrades that 8/9 times still wont meet your needs.
4. Advertising Freedom: And with any business you want to be able to sell space on your platform without any restriction. Going self-hosted gives you this freedom, whereas on a free-hosted platform you are stuck with those ads you hate, you know those annoying ones that make your content look horrible. You can get rid of these on a free-hosted site but at an added cost (see how these costs keep adding up).
5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): When on a free-hosted site your site will most likely be on a subdomain (blahblah.wordpress.com/.tumblr.com) which means that you will most likely not perform as well in search as the primary domain. Primary domains always outrank subdomains. On a free-hosted site you ave the luxury to optimise every page on your site to make it more attractive to search engines.
I know some of you are reading these and think well “I just blog for fun” and don’t need to customise my blog and “self-hosted sites require a lot of work.” Trust me I used to think the same way too until I needed to make a simple customisation edit and realised, oh gosh now I need to pay for it on a regular basis(total waste of money). In all honesty if you don’t take blogging seriously and know that you never will then a free site is perfectly fine.
Unfortunately though everything in life that we want to succeed, grow and be wonderful requires time and work. If you know that at some point in time you wish for your blog to be a success then you will eventually find yourself needing to make the move over to self hosted. When this happens moving all your content over from free to self-hosted can be a major pain and you will regret not having just started on self-hosted to begin with. Paying a small hosting fee and having total control over your site will be worth it in the end trust me, don’t let the big techies scare you out of it.
If you are not sure on which you should pick then ask yourself these simple questions and if the answer is YES then you definitely need to be on a self-hosted platform.
- Do you blog regularly?
- Do you want to customise your blog design to suite your needs?
- Do you want to make some extra cash from your blog?
- Do you want to rank well in Google?
- Do you think your blog has the potential to have a big readership?
I could go on and on about this topic but as you guys have noticed lately I have been pretty lazy to put my thoughts to paper lol. I promise I will be better and more posts like this one will be heading your way soon
(sometimes I am just too honest with you guys lol). If any of you need help moving to self-hosted or just need help setting up your blog then just drop me a mail for my rates (don’t worry they aren’t crazy at all) and I will assist. My next post will be on which hosting services to use so look out for that.