Blogs are great ways to attract people to your website and start the process of converting them into possible customers. Blogging is also a fun outlet for individuals who enjoy writing. In business, whether you’re blogging for a business or for your personal website, the first step is to decide where to host your blog.
There are two blog hosting options: free blogs (online blogging platform) and self-hosted blogs. Both have their pros and cons. Your level of experience, and the purpose of your blog will determine which platform is best for you.
Free blogs are just what they sound like. These blogs cost you nothing to set-up, host or maintain. Online blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger will host your blog on their servers for you. All you do is select one of the templates available. Having a free blog on an online blogging platform is the ideal option if you’re new to blogging, aren’t planning on spending too much time blogging and only want to blog for fun.
Here is a list of the pros and cons of online blogging platforms:
- It’s free.
- Easy to set up and get started. You don’t need HTML, CSS or web design experience.
- The free template selection is wide enough for a basic, personal blog.
- Don’t have complete control of your blog.
- Limited functionality and customization.
- Poor optimization.
- Very limited space or allowance of advertising, meaning you won’t be able to profit off your blog.
- Has a cheap, unprofessional look. The lack of customization, people will tell that your blog came from a template and is not unique.
- With these free sites, the URL to your blog will have the platform’s domain tacked onto it. For example: www.example.wordpress.com. This makes it long, hard to remember and, again, unprofessional. (It will make your business look too cheap to host its own blog.)
- The free hosting sites also limit the amount of bandwidth, memory and video time on your blog.
For those of you who are blogging for a business or who are professional bloggers looking to gain a profit and build a reputation through your blog, a self-hosted blog is for you. Unlike the free blogs, self-hosted blogs are hosted on your own server, not on that of an online blogging platform. Many who choose the self-hosting option decide to work with a 3rd party domain hosting service to store their blogs.
Here are the list of pros and cons for self-hosted blogs:
- Unlimited customization of your blog. You can design the layout and colors as well as add as many or as little plugins to the blog as you want.
- You have full control of your blog.
- Looks professional.
- Your blog won’t have the platform domain attached to your URL.
- Increased advertising opportunities. As your blog isn’t hosted and controlled by online blogging platforms, which block and filter ads, you have a greater chance of getting advertising revenue from you blog.
- Better optimization. As you’re in full control of creating and hosting your blog, you can optimize your blog using plugins, coding and your own SEO knowledge.
- You can determine the domain structure, and either have the blog as a subdomain (not recommended) or as a subfolder.
- You have significantly more bandwidth and memory space as well as video options available.
- Requires HTML, CSS, web design and SEO knowledge and expertise.
- Requires time and effort to set-up and maintain.
Both free blogs and self-hosted blogging options are ways to set up your blog. Both have their own pros and cons. Before you decide which one to use, you need to consider how much time and effort you want to put into your blog and what the purpose of your blog will be. If you just want a personal blog you want to write on once in a while, the free blog option will work best for you. On the other hand, if you’re blogging on behalf of a company or as a professional blogger and you want to get customers and subscribers through your blog, the self-hosted blog option is your best choice.