free blog or self hosted?Making your own blog

 

If you’re going to spend time and energy on a blog – it’s worth thinking about the future of your blog and start out in the right place from the beginning.

 
 

Why is it important to start out right? Can’t I just change my blog or blog name later on if I want to?
Yes you can change your blog or the name of your blog. Sometimes blogs do change direction. But sometimes if you have subjects that are very different to each other, it’s best to separate them into two different blogs.
And what happens if you change the name is that all the internal and external links of your website get broken – because the page names (URLs) are different. You can spend lots of time redirecting every single on your blog to its corresponding new URL, and if you have hundreds of pages, this will be a big job!
Also, some people have reported experiencing a drop in traffic and web page rankings after changing their blog/website name and carrying out redirects.

 

EXAMPLE:

Original blog name:
bettyboopteacups.somefreeblog.com

New blog name:
bettyboopteacups.com

In the above example, the blog URL has changed – which means every single link in the whole website has changed, resulting in broken links. It also means that any links from other websites pointing to the blog have been broken.

 
 

What’s the difference between a free blog and a self-hosted blog?
A free blog from platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com come with free hosting and you don’t need to install the blog – you just sign up and it’s there!

 

With a self-hosted blog, you buy your own hosting from a web host provider and then install your blog yourself. Confusingly, most people use WordPress as their choice for a self-hosted blog – and WordPress is also the free blogging platform. (Just remember, you get your free WordPress blog from wordpress.com and you get your free self-hosted WordPress blog from wordpress.org.  These days, it’s simple to install your own WordPress blog on your own hosting – you don’t even need to go to WordPress to get it. It’s just a one-click install that you’ll find in web hosting accounts that have Fantastico.)

 
 

Should I use a free blog or a self-hosted blog?
There’s lot of different answers to that. You can try a free blog but pay to have it pointed at a domain name of your choice – and then that way, if you choose to move to a self-hosted blog later on, the blog name and URLs will stay the same.

 

If you already have a business, you could just have your blog on a section of your website. You won’t need to worry about the name of your blog then – you could simply call it ‘blog’. (Most people understand what a blog link is when they see it on a website. If you call your blog something other than ‘blog’, people may not realise it’s your blog. People often like to see a human face behind a business and will check out a blog to gain that personal touch.)

 

Lots of businesses have a free blog on Blogger. For example, many literary agents have professional websites but a free blog on Blogger. That way, the business retains a professional image and it’s understood that the free blog is a tool for reaching out to clients, prospective clients or the industry in general.

 

It’s also possible to run a business on a free blog platform with a free domain name – many do and it’s quite acceptable to do so, especially if your business is indie.
One of the big advantages of a Blogger blog is that it’s extremely simple to set up and run. You don’t have to update the software – it’s automatic.

 
 

Comparison of free blogs versus self-hosted

 

FREE BLOG WITH FREE HOSTING SELF-HOSTED BLOG WITH PAID HOSTING
Professional image Can look professional with a paid domain name – otherwise no. Yes looks professional.
Reliability May go offline for extended periods for maintenance reasons or other. With good hosting, you can expect great uptime.
Flexibility Some may not allow certain features, such as ads, certain widgets or plugins. Freedom to add any feature, widget or plugin  you wish.
Hacking protection If a feature of the free blogging platform is hacked, the whole platform may experience downtime while the issue is fixed. If it is just your site that is hacked, you may lose your entire blog – especially if your blog is considered a risk to others (even if it is not your fault.) You can install protection. You can also have daily or weekly backups, so your blog can be reinstalled if it is hacked.
Hosting Easy Peasy! Hosting is already there – you don’t need to do anything. You have to decide on a good host and pay for hosting.
Updating Simple! It’s all automatic – you don’t have to do anything. You have to keep your blog updated. These days, this is simple – you can simply click the update button in the Fantastico installer in your hosting panel.
Provider places ads on your website Maybe. Check to see if this is the case. No.
Community If there are lots of people in your business or personal community that have free blogs, they will be familar with them and know how to use the commenting system, join you as admin of a blog or just help you with your blog. Self-hosted blogs also have community – although it can be much more business-oriented than with a free-blogging community.
Moving from hobby blog to professional blog
You may have the choice to pay for hosting at your free-blogging platform. Paying for hosting this way may cost you more than the hosting associated with a self-hosted blog (particularly if you have more than one blog/website.)
You may be able to import your blog posts to a self-hosted blog. This can be messy if the URLS have changed – although not so if you have pointed your blog at a paid domain name from the start.
This will be a simple change if you alredy have the domain name you want.  You can just change the theme of your blog to a more professional one, and you’re done.