So you have decided you want to start a blog, so what is your next step? First of all you have to decide whether or not you want to pay for hosting your blog or whether you want to stick with a free blogging platform, say like WordPress.com or Blogspot. There are various other free blogging Hosts but these two are the main ones.
I have self-hosted Blogs in the past and to be perfectly honest, there are advantages and disadvantages for both.
If you decide to self host your own Blog, then the next step is to find a web-hosting service… in the past I have used both Hostgator and Bluehost… which both have been great web hosts. Once you have bought your domain and selected your web hosting service, the next step is to decide which platform to install to host your blog. I have always used WordPress.
Advantages to Self Host
- Can install a custom theme or buy a theme from people and companies that design wordpress themes.
- Can install plug ins to enhance your blog… for instance NextGen Gallery, Page Peel,
- Can use Google Ads and Analytics
Disadvantages to Self Host
- Constant updating of your theme
- Updating WordPress when a new release is available
- Cost of hosting should your hosting package not be unlimited
- Making sure your site is secure
- Having to sort out things should an error occur.
So that leaves us with the free blogging platform option. I have tried Blogspot several times because you can install Java scripts, but I somehow don’t like it. I know that by using Blogspot you can use Google Analytics and as Blogspot is Google owned, you can use all their products easily as they are designed to interface with each other. But there is something about Blogspot I just can’t seem to get on with. So I have always stuck with WordPress.com.
Advantages of WordPress.com
- Unlimited blogs within your WordPress account.
- No worries about updating theme
- No worries about having to update the WordPress software
- No costs incurred if you just want a basic blog and are prepared to have the non-intrusive adverts appear in your blog Posts
- The ability to upgrade and buy various packages, including the Premium upgrade for $99 a year, which includes a custom domain, space upgrade, custom design, videopress and no ads.
- No worries about hosting and sorting any problems out.
- A support forum and support staff that will help you should you encounter problems.
- The option to buy a premium theme if you so desire
- WordAds enrolment that allows you to earn cash from your blog… (you have to have thousands of viewers and visitors to earn anything decent – so don’t rely on this as an income).
- If you own or want to buy a domain and use it for your blog, you can for a small annual fee.
- If your purchase any upgrades for your blog, you can transfer them to another blog, which you can create within your WordPress Account.
Disadvantages to WordPress.com
- The inability to install themes
- The inability to use plug-ins
- Not being able to use Google Ads or Analytics
- Having Ads on your blog (honestly they are not that intrusive anyway).
For me personally, I have purchased the Premium Upgrade for our Photography Blog and have customised the colours and fonts as well as adding a couple of small CSS customisations, and I am very happy with the upgrade… At $99 a year it works out slightly cheaper having to pay hosting fees.
This blog is hosted with just a space upgrade and custom domain. Whether I will opt for the Premium package at a later date I don’t know. But it is something worth considering.
For me, personally, WordPress.com has everything I need to run my blogs. And I love how I can just blog away without having to worry about security, software upgrades, theme upgrades or DDOS attacks and hackings. Security is looked after by WordPress themselves and yes I do miss not being able to upload themes that I have purchased but that is a small price to pay for worry-free blogging.
So I highly recommend blogging with WordPress…. and even though at times I am tempted to go back to self hosting, when I think of all the hassles… I stay firmly put with WordPress.com.