When you’re looking to start a blog, the most important question that needs to be asked before moving forward is, “What is the main goal for your blog?” Are you just blogging to test out the waters or are you already blogging and looking to make a little cash from your blog? Hopefully this article will help you make an informed decision.
If you’re not sure if you should have a self-hosted blog, let’s explore the pros and cons of using a free blogging platform like Blogger.com or WordPress.com and the pros and cons of using the self-hosted version of WordPress.
Blogger.com, WordPress.com – Free Blogging Platforms
It’s Free – Free is the biggest pro to using a free platform. There is no monetary investment. Should you decide that you really don’t like blogging, you can walk away without wasting any money.
It’s Easy– You don’t have to worry about coding or designing. They have great free or affordable templates that are ready to go at a click of a mouse.
Its Great Connecting – With so many users on these platforms, it’s very easy to build a community around your blogging niche.
Limited Control – The biggest con is you have no control over your blog. If a free blogging platform decides to shut down, then your blog is gone.
Limited Customization – If you’re someone that loves to design or code, you’re very limited as to what you can have on your blog in regards to design. With Blogger you have more control over your design, whereas with WordPress.com, you’ll have to pay an additional fee, just to edit the CSS/HTML to customize your blog. You also have a limited amount of space that can be used.
Limited Monetization – While you can place Ads on Blogger via Adsense, Amazon or other Affiliate Links, you cannot places ads on a WordPress.com blog or a lot of other free blogs out there.
Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (WordPress.org)
It’s Free – While you’ll have to pay a monthly hosting fee, the actual WordPress software is FREE and comes with thousands of free themes to choose from.
It’s Easy – While you’ll need to have a little technical knowledge to improve the appearance of the blog, it’s just as easy to use for blogging as Blogger.com or WordPress.com . The dashboard is pretty user friendly once you take the time to familiarize yourself with it.
Plugins – This is the best part of self-hosting a WordPress blog. There are thousands upon thousands of plugs and widgets that make your blog even more powerful.
Sidebar Widgets – You can activate some of these wonderful plugins that turn into widgets where you can drag and drop them into your sidebar that will help enhance your blog.
Spam Protection – There is nothing worse than getting weird spammy comments on your blog. There are wonderful plug-ins in place to control the spam on your blog.
Support – There is an unlimited about of support available for all your needs online; you can visit the wordpress.org forms, Google or even watch YouTube videos for FREE should you need assistance with your blog. There are also updates to the software regularly so you can update it at anytime.
Start A Tribe – While you can definitely grow your community, you can also utilize the plug-in available to enable your blog for email subscription services, auto update your social networks, schedule your posts and enables multiple authors.
Complete Customization – You can create a custom theme specifically for your blog and not rely on the readily free available themes. This does require technical and design knowledge or you can find an affordable designer like me, to customize it for you. (shameless plug lol)
Unlimited Monetization – You can use any type of ad you want, since it is your blog. Use affiliates, Adsense, sponsored posts, or even manage your own ads. The sky is the limit! If you get uber famous and want to sell your blog, you can also do that as well.
Unlimited Control – You have full control over your blog. It’s YOUR blog, so you should be controlling your content. You can have ads, green aliens or whatever you like on your blog. You can use a free theme, or a paid theme. You can upload videos, images, or whatever files you like. As long as you’re paying the hosting fee every month, your blog will be up and running.
Technical Knowledge – You’ll need to learn HTML, CSS and maybe little PHP if you’re interested in customizing the look and feel of your blog. You can get by with very basic HTML & CSS knowledge. Anyone that is running a blog should at least have a very basic knowledge of HTML.
Maintenance – You’ll have to make sure the latest software on your website is up to date, your blog is backed up regularly, and make sure your site is secure. Thankfully, there are plugins available to assist you with this.
Cost – While it isn’t expensive to have a website, there is certainly a cost involved. You have to pay a yearly fee for a domain name and you’ll have to pay monthly or yearly web hosting fees. Below are the top 3 web hosting companies that I recommend that are both affordable and reliable.
HNIK’s TOP 3 HOSTING COMPANIES
So you’re looking to self host, but don’t know which hosting company to choose? Well I’ve done all the work for you. All the below hosting companies are affordable and reliable so it comes down to preference. Check out each one and see which one works best for you and your budget. I love HostGator’s 24/7 support and the flexible option to choose if I want to pay monthly or yearly. I’ve used them for over 10 years, so I highly recommend them.
• Host Gator
• Blue Host
• Host Monster
So have you made your decision? Did you have a free blog and switch over to a self-hosted blog? What was your experience? Can you think of any additional pros and cons I didn’t include? Share, and let me know! For more FREE tips like this, please SUBSCRIBE my newsletter!
*This post contains some affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I’ll receive a very small commission to allow me to indulge in Starbucks every once in a while. These are services I currently use myself or have used in the past and would never recommend something I didn’t already find fabulous!
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Leave a reply:
dea win says
Great post! Thanks for helping me a wise decision a couple weeks back. Now if I can transfer everything from .com to .org :).
you’re so welcome! I can’t wait for you to make the move Dea! You can do it!
Miss Foodie Fash says
I need to save this. Great breakdown.
Thank you miss dee dee!
Ok this is some kind of great!!!! Thank you!
Thanks T! I’m glad you liked it :). I gotta add one more con to WordPress.com after what I found out today.
Thanks so much! I’ve been working on migrating and transferring posts/comments from blogger to wordpress. My husband bought my domain name for me so know I just need to work on self hosting and determine which hosting company to use. Thanks again!!!
you’re so welcome Alisha! It’s not super hard. Just take your time and you’ll be self hosted in no time :). If you need any assistance, I can provide you with a ton of links in the event you need some clarity. All the best to you!
This is great info Kim. I currently have Blogger and have enjoyed learning how to use it. Right now I am blogging for fun but eventually I do want to build a brand/business centered around leadership coaching with a special emphasis on professional and personal development. I took notes and may have some questions for you and Arsha soon. I actually love the look and layout of my blog…is it possible to switch everything (as is) to WordPress.org?
My domain is registered with eNom. What exactly does that mean?
Once I know what that means…what can I do with that new found knowledge?
Is the domain source (eNom) different from the host (ex. Host Gator)? I am guessing my host is Blogger right now.
Excuse the ignorance but I am trying to educate myself. ; )
Hi Karen! so glad you’re considering the big jump. Unfortunately since the widget areas are different in blogger and wordpress, you won’t be able to export your layout (you can export your posts though), but you can have it designed pretty much to give it the same layout, look and feel. It maybe just a matter of adjusting the sizes of things; nothing too hard.
In regards to your domain name, the registrar is where you purchase your domain name which is eNom. Your host which is where you rent your web space. Your host and your registrar can be the same company. For instance you can buy your domain name AND purchase hosting from Godaddy.
Hope that helps!