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Which is better? One or Two?

The Decision for a Free or Self-Hosted Blogging Platform

Part 2

Don Catlett Working With a Conferee at MCWC

In part 1, I discussed how most of us who wear corrective lenses have heard the question: “Which is better? One or Two?”

And, probably like most of us, at some point you said, “I can’t tell the difference.”

I mentioned how that can be like deciding which blogging platform to use when considering all the differences between free and self-hosted blogging platforms.

In this article, we will be looking at the pros and cons of the free and self-hosted platforms. So, let’s get started.

The Pros of a Free Blogging Platform

There are no initial start-up costs.

Free programs like WordPress and Blogger are easy to set up and maintain without any prior website design knowledge.

The Cons of a Free Blog

Unless you pay for your own domain, you’ll have the WordPress or Blogger domain tacked onto yours, such as http://www.example.blogspot.com.

Free blogs can appear less professional than self-hosted ones.

You have less control over your blog.

For instance, people who self-host their blog with the WordPress software can download plugins to expand their website’s capabilities. A free WordPress blog doesn’t allow this, limiting you to only a few options. CSS functions and theme selections are also limited on free blogging platforms.

You have a limited amount of bandwidth, video time, and memory space.

Free platforms usually limit your advertising options, i.e. it’s harder to make money from your blog.

What types of costs are involved?

A free blog can be completely free if you want it to. However, if you’re looking to get rid of the “Blogger” or “WordPress” in your domain name, you’ll have to buy and assign your own custom domain. These can be as low as $10 depending on what you pick.

You may also choose to buy stock photos, hire a designer, or purchase an upgraded theme, which can all add to the cost of your blog.

Who should use free blogs?

Free blogs are best for people who are just exploring the blogging world or are not very serious about blogging. If you’re just blogging for fun, then by all means start with a free blog!

The Pros of a Self-Hosted Blogging Platform

You have full control over your blog, including its layout, search engine optimization, advertising revenue, additional functions, and more.

You can install custom themes to brand your blog.

You have complete access to your backend files, which allows you to make any necessary code changes.

Using a third-party host usually costs only a few dollars per month.

Cons of a Self-hosted Blog

It requires an initial investment.

It can be intimidating to new bloggers.

What types of costs are involved?

Like a free blog, any photos, domain names, and themes that you purchase will add to your costs. With self-hosting, you also have to invest in the cost of using a third-party host. The good news is that hosting can cost under $5 per month. Certain plugins, (pieces of software you can install on your site to expand its functionality) can cost money, too.

Who should use self-hosted blogs?

Since self-hosted blogs look more professional and perform more functions, they are best for businesses. They are also ideal for the individual who wants to improve his or her professional appearance and boost the functions available on his or her website.

There’s More

In my next article, I’ll discuss the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org. I would enjoy hearing from you if you have questions or comments about what we have covered.

I also want to invite you to join me at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference where I will be discussing options to help you get noticed in the digital world through blogging, websites, and social media.

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Don has been working at the crossroads of web design, photography, marketing, and social media since 1999. Learn more by visiting his website www.clearlysee.com.

Watch for registration forms and the brochure for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference to be released very soon.

Marsha (Director MCWC)

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The Decision for a Free or Self-Hosted Blogging Platform, Part 1

Catlett.Don.Photo.2015MCWC.

Don Catlett

Social Media Expert

Most of us who wear corrective lenses have heard this question:  “Which is better? One or Two?” And, probably like most of us, at some point you’ve said, “I can’t tell the difference.” That same feeling of “not knowing” can be similar when trying to deciding the right blogging platform to use.

If you’ve considered starting a blog, you’ve probably run across the term self-hosted blog. Most people will tell you that a self-hosted blog is the way to go, especially if you’re looking to create a professional image.

But what is a self-hosted blog? And why do you need one if you can just start a blog for free through other services?

Allow me to explain the details of free and self-hosted blogging platforms, the pros and cons of each, and which one you should choose.

Free Blogging Platform

What is it? A free blogging platform is one that’s just that. It’s free to sign up for an account, get a domain (such as http://www.example.com), and set up your site. You can start your free blog with services like Blogger.com and WordPress.com.

The thing about a free account is your website’s files are stored or “hosted” on your blogging platform’s servers. While there can be costs involved after the initial set up, this simple fact is what differentiates a free blog from a self-hosted blog.

Self-Hosted Blogging Platform

What is it? A self-hosted blog is one that resides on your own server. Most people, however, pay a third-party to host their blog, which opens them to all the benefits of a self-hosted blog. Sites like iPage, HostGator, GoDaddy and Bluehost are among some of the popular companies that provide hosting services. Essentially, these companies rent out digital storage space to users to make running a website possible.

Blue.Sad.Smiley.FaceStill confused?

I will cover the pros and cons of both the free and the self-hosting options in a future article to help you in your decision of deciding which is better, one or two.

There’s More

Join me at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference where I will be discussing options to help you get noticed in the digital world through blogging, websites, and social media.

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(Part Two next time)

Don Catlett has been working at the crossroads of web design, photography, marketing, and social media since 1999.

Learn more by visiting his website www.clearlysee.com.

Keep on writing!

Marsha Hubler, director MCWC July 16 – 21

Plan to attend and get your manuscript ready for publication!MCWC.Duck.Welcome.Sign.on.Porch.7.22.14

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JUST SAYIN’ (A WRITERS’ LUNCHEON & A CONFERENCE)

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For you who have attended any Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheons in Mifflinburg, PA, and/or any Montrose Christian Writers Conferences, Montrose, PA, may I assume you are looking forward to them again?

I have some details about both events, so either mark your calendar or watch for more specifics as time moves on:

THE SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY WRITERS GROUP LUNCHEON

www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com/

Kathie.Mitchell.2016Now organized by Kathie Mitchell and Bonnie Swinehart, the luncheon here in the Susquehanna Valley has been moved toBonnie.Swinehart.2016 March of 2017. The exact date has not yet been set; however, the luncheon will be held at the Carriage Corner Restaurant in Mifflinburg, PA, where it’s been held the last few years.

 

THE 2017 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

                    (Check out the details of this past conference if you were unable to attend:

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

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Get ready for another week next July of heart-warming praise and worship times and challenges every morning and over 40 workshops and WIPs.

Faculty verbally committed at this time:

TORRY MARTIN

JEANETTE LEVELLIE

CAROL WEDEVEN

DON CATLETT

CATHY MAYFIELD

(We’ll have about 16 award-winning authors, editors, and agents on next year’s faculty!)

Classes tentatively planned:

MAJOR MORNINGS – fiction, collaborative writing, promotion, promotion, nonfiction

WORKS-IN-PROGRESS – TEEN TRACK, fiction, picture books, poetry

OTHER CLASSES – marketing, working with an agent, using the right words, self publishing, social media, blogging, public speaking, gift books, magazine articles, character development, the story arc, public speaking

 

If you have any requests for topics to be presented, please let me know, and we’ll try our best to include those in next year’s conference.

Keep on writing and watch for updates!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

(More shameless promotion)

WHOLESOME, SAFE BOOKS FOR TWEENS

SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

 SNOW

Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang, who most folks believe doesn’t even exist. Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

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MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE MEMORIES

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Look for more MCWC photos in Facebook!

I look forward to seeing many of you again next year!

Keep on writing!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

 

(More shameless promotion)

WHOLESOME, SAFE BOOKS FOR TWEENS

THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

Keystone.Stables.Composite

8 exciting adventures about Skye Nicholson and her show horse, Champ

Book One

A HORSE TO LOVE

Keystone Stables Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U80FZK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

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May 16, 2015

On Writing: Christian Horror

Have you noticed there’s a new genre out there for us writers AND readers to try to absorb: Christian horror. If you recall, the popularity of the “darker” genre seemed to start gaining popularity with Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness in 1986, and since then has branched out into a few other subgenres.

I’m trying to wrap my heart around the concept of this new genre, but I’m having trouble accepting it. The whole idea of “Christian horror” seems like such an oxymoron, a genre filled with opposites that cannot coexist on the same page. Can two be together unless they agree?

Ever since Harry Potter appeared on the scene, and then Twilight (plus dozens of other similars), these spooky fiction subgenres are running wild in the market at the moment, so everyone with a pen in his hand is jumping on the bandwagon to write a best-seller thriller, Christian or not.

At present I know of at least three different publishing companies (I’m sure there are lots more) that are now releasing Christian horror or paranormal novels. A few years ago, at my request, an editor at one of those companies had sent me a manuscript of the creepy genre to read so I could get a grip on what the Christian market is trying to present to its readers with this seemingly contradictory new type of book.

I’ve been told the main difference with a secular and Christian horror is this: the Christian book exposes the occult, witchcraft, demonic activity, or “whatever wicked this way comes” for what it is: evil. The book then presents the gospel of Jesus Christ with hope for the future to be delivered from such evil.

Anticipating that promised vision of hope in the resolution, I read that manuscript and just recently finished reading another paranormal novel with an open mind to see if I could accept the new genre as part of American literature that is not only a good read, but also presents the truth based on biblical principles and hope beyond the gory grave.

I must admit both reads encroached way too much into my comfort zone so that I put the books down and walked away often. When I reached the last page, I concluded that this new genre is not for me. It certainly won’t be for me to write, and I doubt I’ll ever pick up a horror or paranormal book of any kind again, whether it has the Christian label on it or not.

I’m not condemning this genre and its offshoots. If the books proclaim salvation through Jesus and deliverance from evil of any kind, then more power to them. I’m just saying it’s not for me.

Now a Word about the Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Please join us from July 19th to the 26th and meet one of our faculty members teaching blogging and social media

Catlett.Don.Photo.2015MCWC.

Don Catlett: media expert and advisor to multiple startups, has spent more than 14 years working at the crossroads of web design, photography, marketing, and social media. Since launching Clearly See Media in 2008, he continues to hone his skills as a digital advertising specialist for companies including Amazon Publishing, Lamplighter Publishing, QVC, The Shopping Channel, The Learning Parent, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Home Educating Family Magazine, Christian Homeschool Magazine, and AHEAD National Conferences. He also provides marketing direction and advice for building a presence with social media.

Please check out the week’s schedule at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Conferees.Anniv.Celebration.No.1

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