I was apprehensive about creating my first self hosted website. It felt like a serious challenge, which couldn’t be taken half-heartedly.
My main concern was that I wouldn’t have the time to learn how to manage a WordPress (.org) site.
Well, today I want to explain my motivations for crossing over to self hosting, and why you should consider taking the leap too.
A ‘self hosted’ blog is a blog created with WordPress (.org), and is hosted by a third party company for a monthly fee. There are other ways to ‘self host’, but WordPress (.org) is the most popular option utilised by bloggers and businesses worldwide.
(1) Fewer Conditions With A Self Hosted Blog
There are also other options, like Weebly and WIX, but they don’t offer the audience.
All of them offer a basic service for free. So, you don’t have to pay a penny for the privilege of blogging.
But, you do have to accept their terms and conditions.
If your blog is a business, you may want to take a closer look at the terms and conditions.
When you do, you’ll likely find a list of prohibit behaviours that may restrict your business options. They may also provide grounds for the platform to delete or suspend your blog.
Each platform will have their own set of rules, but general restrictions to look for include: Advertising, Alcohol, Tobacco, link through affiliate websites, ‘adult themes’ and ‘spam’.
Further, when you’re part of a community of bloggers/readers, which is what WordPress (.com) and Blogger are, you are subject to terms and conditions that are ‘community minded’. They are designed to create and maintain community cohesion and, although unlikely, you don’t want your business to face ‘strikes’ because somebody doesn’t like your post and decides to open up a dispute.
It reminds me of YouTubers who cross the line and lose their channel and revenue. Google own the platform, not the content creator.
While these platforms are great for supporting and driving traffic to your website, they’re not in-and-of-themselves an ideal base for your business.
The benefit of a self hosted blog is that regulations are dictated by the hosting company who, in turn, are generally only concerned with the law.
(2) Chase Speed By Self Hosting
A self hosted blog gives you direct control over a number of factors that impact website speed.
From the theme, to images, to plugins, to fonts, to ads.
Your host, and their servers, play an important part in any self hosted site. If you’re willing to pay, you can greatly improve your websites performance.
You don’t need to be an expert to benefit from this control, and you can measure the difference.
This website, freedom2try.com, is reasonably optimised. I have a habit of over editing, overdoing CSS and prioritising image quality over speed. Even so, it will test quicker than most free websites (before the ads). And, I’m hoping that extra speed will mean that I rank higher in search engine results.
Having the ability to directly effect the speed of your website is a valuable resource. Simply put, reducing the data that a reader must load is an important part of improving their experience.
As a caveat, some free blogs, like WordPress(.com) and Blogspot, are run by the biggest internet companies. Their servers can, and do, beat many self hosted sites.
(3) Control Blog Monetization
If you’re working on your blog in hope that someday it will provide an income, a self hosted blog is the way to go.
While you can implement ads on some free platforms, you don’t have the same control.
You may be limited in how you can make money from your blog.
And when you’re looking for income, you want all the options available to you.
Here’s a list of monetization options which may be impacted by your hosting choice:
1. Advertising – Some free platforms only allow you to use their advertising services, and only when they decide your blog is ready for it.
2. Premium Advertising – You may need to use a plugin in order to implement premium advertising options. This would require self hosting.
3. Sponsorship – Sponsorship may not be allowed. Check your terms and conditions.
Is A Self Hosted Blog For You?
No-one can tell you to spend your money on a self hosted blog. You’ll still need to do all the work to develop it – in fact, it will be a struggle to begin with, as you try to get an audience.
On a final note, if I didn’t know how to run a WordPress (.org) site, I’d probably start a new blog at WordPress(.com) or blogger. I’d grow my audience from the free traffic they offer and, once I did, I’d move across to a self hosted site – hopefully, taking the traffic with me!
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