Should I go with a free or self-hosted blog?
This bothers many new bloggers at the very beginning. They want to start not only fast and cheap but also do it right.
But free is free and you get what you pay for or in this case what you don’t pay for.
I have already pointed out some reasons why you should choose self-hosted blogging platform over free one in basic blog setup post. But let us look at the most important reasons why you should choose a self-hosted blogging platform right at the very beginning.
To know more about available and most popular blogging platforms check out their comparison post. I’ve outlined there some of their strengths and best uses.
So, back to the question – why should you actually go with a self-hosted blog?
Let’s break it into five points.
1. Professional appearance.
Now, this is one of the strongest points when it comes to the choice of blogging platforms.
With free blogging platforms you, of course, can select some design templates or even change them to some extent.
But by using these platforms you’ll mostly look unprofessional in the eyes of your visitors.
I bet you have visited and read many blogs. Now think back, did you prefer well made professional blogs? Or the ones made on free blogging platforms? Which one did you take more seriously? Which one was faster, better structured, more visually appealing etc.
In most cases, the first option most likely was chosen.
But that doesn’t mean that by choosing self-hosted blog will take all those problems away. No, you will still need to set up the blog, but it will be a step in right direction.
And with that, we come to the next point.
2. Full control over the site.
If you’ll choose a self-hosted blog you’ll have multiple options on how to modify your blog. Starting with site designs and ending with custom functionality.
Many free blogging platforms nowadays offer quite a bit of customization. But it’s only up to some extent.
You’ll be able to change the look of your blog quite heavily.
But if at some point, you’ll need to introduce custom functionality, you’ll run into a brick wall very fast and very hard.
It’s also possible that even such plugin with required functionality doesn’t exist. And you’ll be stuck then, as you’ll not be able to change the code.
Self-hosted blog, on the other hand, offers complete freedom and enables to modify the blog exactly down to your most specific needs.
3. Guarantees that your site will not be taken down unless you engage in illegal activities.
Now, this is also another big point.
As you are managing a self-hosted blog you own everything. So, if an unlikely event happens and a hosting company goes down you can easily back everything up and pick another hosting provider.
But with a free blogging platform, it could prove to be very problematic.
There is also a chance that the blogging platform itself, on which you are making your blog, could be taken down at some point.
You could probably get some export, but to put it all together in a different platform could be very difficult and time-consuming.
So it would be best to own everything by yourself and minimize the possible negative effects of third parties.
4. Custom analytics and tracking.
Free blogging platforms offer some tracking and analytics, but often they have limitations on that end. The most popular choice would be Google analytics.
But by going with a free version such option to connect could be missing. That would either force you to go with a paid version or forget about it if the platform doesn’t provide such option.
Knowing your audience and how your articles perform is really important if you are seriously thinking about blogging.
5. Monetization choices.
And last point – blog monetization.
Your self-hosted blog will present you with numerous monetization options. You can look up on some ideas in a post about blog monetization basics. There you’ll find most popular ways on how do bloggers make money.
If we take a look at free platforms then often those options are very limited. Some, for example, WordPress.com will not allow you to connect Adsense and display ads.
All in all, you’ll be far better off with a self-hosted blog where you can control everything.
Now then, why don’t you start a self-hosted blog in four easy steps right here.