In the first two parts of How to start a Blog for Fun or Profit, we discussed who should start a blog and which topics you should blog about. Now we will discuss different types of blog hosting – an important consideration that must be made before starting your blog. In the next article in the series we will discuss where you can set up a blog and how to do it.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Blogs
There are two main types of blogging services you will need to consider: Hosted or self-hosted. With a self-hosted blog you will typically purchase a domain and a web hosting package, set up the blogging software, and take care of all the details yourself. With a hosted blog, all you do is sign up for an account, select a blog name and start blogging. The company hosting your blog takes care of (most of) the other details. While this sounds nice, there are usually a lot of limitations that come with hosted blogs.
As with everything there are pros and cons. Be sure to understand what you are getting into before you commit to either blog hosting choice.
Pros and Cons of Hosted Blogs
Advantages of using a hosted blog service. There are many advantages to using a hosted blog service, chief among them is price. Many hosted blog services are free. The most common examples of free blogging services are Blogger and WordPress.com. Another popular hosted blogging platform is TypePad.com, which is a subscription blog service geared more toward people and businesses who do not want to mess around with the technical side of blogging. For most of these services, you simply set up an account and start writing. It’s that easy!
Disadvantages of using a hosted blog service. The biggest disadvantage is limited flexibility and control. Some blog services have a limited number of available themes (The “skin” that gives blogs their unique look), some do not allow advertising, and some do not have an easy way to back up your data. Ownership is another issue. While you own the content you have written, you do not own the domain – such as “mybloggerwebsite.blogspot” – and you will not be able to sell your site should you want to.
Lastly, should the host cease to operate or randomly delete your blog (this has happened to many people), you are out of luck. To sum up, you are at the mercy of your blog’s provider.
Other notes regarding hosted blogs: WordPress.com is free but does not allow advertisements. TypePad.com requires users to pay a monthly or annual usage fee (however, this may be the perfect solution for your business).
Who should you hosted blogging? Hosted blogging is a great solution for people who are looking for a free or inexpensive blogging solution and don’t want to hassle with many of the technical details of blogging. However, they should be aware that there may be certain limitations regarding the design of their blog, the ability to earn money with their blog, or the ability to sell it in the future.
The Pros and Cons of Self-Hosted Blogging
Cash Money Life is a self-hosted blog and is what I recommend for anyone who is serious about building a website with staying power and earning potential.
Advantages of using a self-hosted blog. Control. You control everything. While this might seem daunting at first, this is actually a blessing. With full control of your website, you can change the look or feel of your site whenever you want. You can place advertisements, back up your data, export data, run analysis, or even sell your blog. You own the domain and all the content within it.
Disadvantages of using a self-hosted blog. Control. A blessing can also be a disadvantage. When you run a self-hosted blog, there is a learning curve involved. Thankfully, most of the software is very easy to use, much of it is free, and there are hundreds of free resources available if you know where to look (more details on that in a future article).
The other disadvantage is cost. You will need to buy a domain and a web hosting package to host your domain. Fortunately, the cost is not prohibitive. You can get started for under $100, including the domain and your first year of web hosting service. Just look for Go Daddy coupon codes when you register your domain and use an inexpensive and reliable web host like LunarPages. LunarPages also gives customers a free domain with the purchase of a year’s hosting plan, so you may be able to skip using a registrar like GoDaddy.
Who should use a self-hosted blog? I recommend using a self-hosted blog for anyone who plans on making a serious attempt at blogging, has plans on making money with their website, wants total control of their website, or wants the option of selling their website in the future.
Interested in running a self-hosted blog? Get a package deal from GoDaddy and get started today!
Should You Choose a Hosted or Self-Hosted Blog Plan?
The choice, of course, is up to you and you should get the blog setup that best meets your needs. If you only plan on sharing your blog with close friends and family, then a free hosted blog plan like Blogger or WordPress.com is probably sufficient. TypePad would be a good solution for a business that wanted an inexpensive hosting solution but didn’t want to take care of many of the technical aspects of the blog.
But if you have plans on starting a blog that will be highly trafficked and will hopefully make money, then I strongly recommend purchasing your own domain and web hosting package. For less than $100 you will have 100% flexibility and save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.