Which is better? One or Two?
The Decision for a Free or Self-Hosted Blogging Platform
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.
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.
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)