Hello and Welcome to, or Welcome back to,
Today Tomorrow Forever Ella,
Another post in my Blogging Series and this one is the start of 4 posts centered around self-hosted blogging.
When starting a blog it can be overwhelming seeing all the websites that offer blogging services. However, ultimately these sites offer variations of two options, going hosted or self-hosted. Below I am going to break down what exactly these two options are and how they differ. As well as exploring the pros and cons of each and my personal advice on deciding what is right for you, and your blog.
What does Self-Hosted and Hosted mean?
Hosted, as you can imagine is a reference to in essence who/what/where your site is designated. And, in hand, as self suggested, self-hosting means you are the primary owner and answer to those questions.
A website requires two basic things, storage, where is your content stored, all this data is stored somewhere. Next, you have software and coding as such that works in the background formatting and making your blog look pretty as well as be informative or entertaining…
A hosted blog works by combining both of these things and doing everything for you, they provide the space on the big wide web and they code software to make creating a website seamless and easy.
Whereas self-hosted separates these things and you handle your space on the web via a third party hosting site. Paired then with a separate form of software that means that you don’t need to know how to code to create a website.
Now, you may now be thinking, why would you do things separately and go via third party websites when you could find everything in one place… well, that’s what’s next.
HOSTED BLOGGING: Pros & Cons.
Now, the biggest Pro is that it’s FREE or at least distinctly cheaper. This means that you can have a blog and write publishing on the internet without spending a penny. It also tends to be low maintenance comparatively as backups and updates are enabled and handled by the host. (This includes the security of your site.) Finally, one of the perks of hosted blogging can be its overall ease. Alongside having fewer things to maintain it also tends to be a simpler set up.
However, this brings me to the first con of hosted blogging, and a common reason why people go self-hosted. Hosted blogging by being stripped back and simpler is limited in regards to the flexibility you have. From choosing a theme, adding plugins and altering the layout. Another boundary with hosted blogging and the reason why many long-term bloggers and influential bloggers you meet are self-hosted is that it is difficult to monetise hosted sites in areas, such as adding google ads.
SELF-HOSTED BLOGGING: Pros and Cons.
If you have read the above pros and cons you will already have figured out many of the things I am going to say, but I shall say again explicitly.
Self-hosted blogging is hugely customisable, with flexibility in all areas. (Especially with a good theme.) This means that as I said above, you can choose exactly where things go, the colours, fonts and even where your menus and widgets go. The second biggest benefit is a by-product of the customizability. A self-hosted blog can easily be monetised, a common choice of google-ads being available to self-hosted sites. Although, if you choose not to have ads, being self-hosted also allows you to access plug-ins and features such as google analytics, and this gives a detailed breakdown of statistics and readers. This is a benefit to you for two reasons. So you can analyze and implement tactics to enhance statistics and so you can go to brands and demonstrate the reputability and readership levels of your blog by a specific audience for example.
That all said, here comes the biggest con, all this flexibility costs. Self-hosted blogging can be a very expensive hobby and career. With hosting sites charging varying prices for varying plans, all providing different levels of storage ultimately alongside other benefits of picking a more expensive plan, for example, 24-hour support. This brings us to the other biggest con of self-hosted blogging, and this is commitment and hard work. As you are working with a third-party hosting site, monthly or annual payments must be made and monitored. As well as having to take control of other areas of your blog, for example, updating plugins, updating software, backing up content and monitoring your sites in full working order.
… That said …
All that said, there is an in-between and you do not need to jump straight into the costs of self-hosting if hosting is too inflexible for you.
I am going to refer to wordpress.com here because this is where my knowledge lies, I started hosted on wordpress.com and you can, in fact, choose to upgrade to a plan from personal to professional and these plans offer advancements from basics, for example, the middle of the three plans enables SEO* on your site. (click here to read about SEO) You can also purchase a domain via a third-party website and enable that instead of using a free WordPress domain. Although ultimately, flexibility comes at a cost.
Different hosted sites, hosting sites & software…
Hosted Site options:
WordPress.com // Blogger // BlogSpot // Wix // Weebly // Square Space
Site Ground // Blue Host // Go Daddy // Host Gator // 1&1
(I would recommend this to anyone, and have never really heard of any alternative options?)
So, what’s right for you?
Today Tomorrow Forever,