In addition to their original role as online journals, blogs have become the go-to method for businesses to improve their SEO rankings. Helpful articles also draw the eye of potential customers. Blog site hosts are in high demand, so it’s little wonder free blog sites are so popular. However, if you plan to start a blog, you need to know your options. A free blog website may or may not be the best web hosting solution for your blog. Self hosted websites offer a variety of advantages that a free blog website may not.
Free Blog Sites
A free blog website, such as WordPress.com, allows anyone, regardless of budget or experience, to launch a blog. A basic blog on such websites requires no start-up fee and comes with tutorials and step-by-step guidance for new bloggers. If you are new to blogging and simply want to experiment, a free blog website may be your best option.
A free blog website does have some drawbacks, though. The first, and most important, is the lack of storage. Your blog’s content is backed up on the blog site’s server. You have little, if any, control. Some websites store content for a certain amount of time before deleting it, and some only store a set amount of content before beginning to delete your work. These sites usually restrict the amount of media, such as photos and videos you may upload and the amount of bandwidth you can use.
In addition, free blog sites typically use advertising to help pay for their operating expenses. This means your blog may have forced ads displayed to your visitors. This makes monetizing a free blog incredibly difficult. You also have no control over ads the website chooses to place on your blog, or where the ads appear in the layout.
Last, but not least, keep in mind that free blogs are not always free. If you do not want .wordpress or .blogger as part of your blog’s web address, you will have to pay extra. If you want a specific theme, you may have to pay for it. If you want to use a custom, branded theme for your business blog, you will pay even more. Although these costs are all extra, they are important for the sake of professionalism.
Self Hosted Sites
Self hosted websites are, simply put, blogs that you own. You control the server where your blog’s information is stored, and you control the entire blogging process, from the code up. Believe it or not, you don’t need to be especially tech-savvy to run a self hosted blog. Cheap web hosting services make it easy and affordable to start your own blog. Many providers including GlowHost.com will assist you in installing and getting started with blogging software, such as WordPress.
Using cheap web hosting services to buy space on a shared server has a few restrictions similar to that of a free blog website, notably limited bandwidth and storage for your files. Those limits are far less restricting when compared side-by-side with free blog services. If you are looking for more freedom, reliability and greater resources – such as disk space and bandwidth, you should consider a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or Dedicated Server.
A major advantage of a self-hosted blog is the ability to customize every aspect of your blog. From the layout and color scheme to the font styles and text sizes – you can control everything. Many blogging software applications allow addons and modules to be installed to extend the functionality of your blog to do many other different things. Some popular modules allow you to create a shopping cart, integrate social media and track user activity to name but a few. Many of the free blog providers limit the ability to install addons and modules.
The best web hosting company for your blog may not be a branded name you recognize. It may not have anything to do with blogs at all. Free blog hosting sites have their benefits for beginners and casual bloggers, but the benefits of self hosted websites are undeniable.