Once we decided to start a blog, we have to decide on FREE BLOG Vs SELF HOSTED BLOG – WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE TO START THE BLOGGING. This article helps you to decide on this in general.
Before reading this article, ensure that you have read this previous article also. Click here to read:
When we decide to start blogging, naturally, the next question will be whether to start our blog in a free blog websites (eg: blogger) or in our self hosted platform.
Before deciding on this, we should consider why we start blogging – whether as a casual hobby or to earn seriously.
If you have no present and future intention in earning through blogs, you may start even a free platform. If you like to make blogging as a career and an earning source, then, you better go for self hosted blog.
EXAMPLES OF FREE BLOGGING PLATFORMS
There are many blogging platforms available. Five well known popular examples are:
Out of these Five free blogging platforms, Blogger and wordpress.com are very popular. However, you can choose any platform out of the above five.
My recommendation to the starters is the first two blogging platforms:
www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com
The self hosted platform that is occupying more than 30% of the internet is www.wordpress.org. You have to download this wordpress software from this site and then host it in your own paid hosting account. Though this wordpress software is free to use, we will have to pay for hosting the wordpress in our own hosting account. Most of the hosting providers offer one click installation of wordpress software in your hosting account.
PROS AND CONS OF FREE BLOGGING PLATFORMS
(1) These platforms are absolutely free to use. Not even a single dollar of expenses for you.
(2) Free platforms like blogger.com or wordpress.com are instantly available to start blogging and no set up pains and learnings. Just select your template style, apply it, select the widgets to include and then start blogging straightaway.
(3) No worries about the security threats for your blog from hackers, viruses, malwares, etc. These are fulfilled by the blogging company itself with no cost.
(4) No worries about the page loading speed of your blog. It is also taken care of the blogging platform provider.
(5) Some FREE BLOGS provides most of the features that we can use only in a self hosted platform like wordpress.org. For example, blogspot blogs provided by www.blogger.com provides free hosting, permission to use your own domain name like our another blog www.counsellingdaily.com, permission to use advertisements, earnings through affiliate links, etc. All these earning options are available at free of cost.
(6) Facility to transfer your free blog to your own self hosted platform at any time.
(1) We are the owner of the contents posted. The blog platform provider can use them in any way they want.
(2) Though they may give you time and option to transfer your blog to any other platforms, you may have to lose all the followers and most of the traffic earned in your previous blog.
(3) The rules stipulated by your new blog platform provider may be different from the earlier provider.
(4) You will always be under the threat of being punished for the violations of their rules and regulations that are plenty in numbers. However, if you are very careful in your content creation, you may avoid this punishment.
(5) Your blog can not be customized beyond a limit available for free blogs provided by your service provider.
(6) Except blogger.com, all other free blog platforms do not allow to use custom domain name free of cost. Some of them (eg: wix) charge a fee for adding our own custom domain.
(7) Except blogger.com, all other free blog platforms do not allow you to show ads in your blog and earn. Therefore, earning options are limited.
(8) Even in blogger, you have to show only the adsense ads, our own ads and some affiliate links. Other advertisement networks are not available in blogger platform.
(9) Almost all the free blog platform providers show their branding or link in our blog. This may not be preferred by all blog promoters.
(10) Using a free blog shows that you are not serious in blogging and you are ready to keep your blog under the mercy of the free blog platform provider.
(11) Most of the free blogging platforms have a limit for posting the contents, particularly images. Using videos to play directly in our blog will also be a difficult aspect in free platforms.
(12) We have to use only what has been provided to us. We can’t add whatever features we want using plugins.
(13) You are at the mercy of the website owner who gives you space to host your blog. That means, when the blog website provider decides to close his blogging service, you too will have to close your blog.
PROS AND CONS OF SELF HOSTED BLOGS (Eg: WORDPRESS.ORG)
(1) We are the owner of our blog contents and the blog remains under our full control.
(2) We can make whatever changes we want in the appearance of the blog using our own custom css and there are no limitations for such customization.
(3) We can make any changes or add any new features in the self hosted blogs. We can play videos, offer download facility, use any contact forms, use any sharing buttons we want, etc, etc.
(4) There are no limits in the number and the size of the contents posted. If you like to post thousands of pages and serve lakhs of visitors, just pay more to the hosting provider and continue your blog.
(5) No serious rules and regulations to bind us. However, we have to adhere to the laws of countries that prohibit certain type of contents.
(6) We can add so many new features in our blog using thousands of free plugins available in the wordpress repository.
(7) We can use any advertisement networks in our Self hosted blogs. And, we can use any number of affiliate links in our blog to earn more.
(8) Self hosted blogs give a positive impression about seriousness of the blogger since he is prepared to pay and run the blog keeping the long term relations in mind.
(1) When we post more contents , offer more features and get enormous traffic of visitors to our blog, we will have to pay extra money to our hosting provider based on the usage. Unlimited packages are also bundled with the limits of fair usage policy. If you like to enable increasing number of users/ visitors to visit and use your blog, you can’t continue in shared hosting accounts. You will have to switch to dedicated hosting accounts that cost high. Unless your blog earns well, promoting such big traffic blogs will be difficult.
(2) Every blog receives thousands of malicious attacks and hacking attempts in its existence. Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure the TIGHT SECURITY of our blog to prevent brutal attacks from hackers. If we fail to secure our blog, it will be taken away by the hackers and all our years of hard work goes in vein. Though some free plugins are also available to secure our blog, we may have to spend something to ensure the security of our blog, if our blog becomes very popular and becomes the target of the hackers.
(3) Since the blog grows in size and traffic, the cost also raises. Unless we make earning arrangements through our blogs, running it will be a heavy loss making one. Therefore, seriousness in blogging is required when you use self hosted platform.
(4) If we do not use a good hosting provider, we have to pay a heavy price in traffic because the site may be down some times or the site may become very slow. Therefore, we should ensure a foolproof hosting provider.
(5) Since the site’s page speed is the main aspect in driving the traffic to our blog and increase the earning, it is our own responsibility to take steps to keep the site’s page loading speed high, say, above 95%.
(6) We only have to take care of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to ensure that our blog is shown by search engines. Though some plugins are available, some collective efforts are required that are discussed in this blog in other places.
(7) Therefore, only if we are serious in blogging and are hopeful in earning through our blogs, we should go for self hosted blogs.
Now, you may be clear about the pros and cons of FREE as well as SELF HOSTED blogging platforms. You might have got an idea of which platform to choose. We will read the pros and cons of the every individual blog platform in other articles that will be very helpful to you to decide.
However, in general, my advice is: Go for Free blogs if you are not particular about earning and go for self hosted platform if you like to earn through your blogs or make blogging your career.
Keep on following this blog.