Free Blogs versus Paid Blog Hosting
Posted by Liz Fuller on September 18, 2007
(please click here to go to our new site!!)
As I mentioned yesterday, one of my goals for this week is to move this blog to its permanent home. I’m pleased to say I am making good progress on this goal.
You may be wondering why I am bothering to move my blog. Afterall, WordPress is free and the new site isn’t. So, for all you bloggers and aspiring bloggers out there, I will give you the pros and cons of using a free site versus a paid hosting site.
First of all, let me say that WordPress.com is fantastic. It is very easy to use and there is a lot of support in the forums.
It is perfect for the blogger who is inexperienced, budget-constrained, time-constrained, technically challenged or just wanting to use a simple blog as a hobby. With WordPress.com you can literally get a blog up and running in less than five minutes. I know, because I did. And once you do, you never have to worry about back ups or disaster recovery because WordPress handles all of that for you.
So, why change? WordPress does have a few limitations, especially when you get into commercial blogging. In the new site, I’d like to create some options to allow you to:
- subscribe to a newsletter
- sign up for free e-courses and tele-seminars
- download free articles and e-books
- purchase e-books, mp3 files and other informational products
Having a commercial blog also enables me to potentially earn a little money on affiliations or advertising to help pay for the cost of hosting and maintaining the blog.
The biggest concerns I had with finding a host were availability and cost. WordPress.com blogs are pretty much always available becauseWordpress has a good server network. I wanted to find a host that guarantees similar availability and provides 24×7 real-time customer service. I also wanted a reasonable price: ICAN costs about $7 per month.
The biggest challenges I have faced in creating the new site were:
- tweaking the “theme” that controls how the site looks; in WordPress.com you can select from several themes but can’t make any changes; in the new site I could choose from over 2000 themes , but I found that the theme I wanted to use didn’t allow comments on the “About page”. So I had to learn some html code and make some coding changes (this was fun!)
- wordpress.com has some automatic features like keeping track of blog statistics and filtering spam comments; the new site only has the features that I add so I needed to find plug-ins (pre-written code) that did both of those things; there are lots of other plug-ins that I will probably explore over time but for now I wanted the minimum features that I was already getting for free
- wordpress.com automatically backs up my posts in the case of a disaster; the new site doesn’t do that; I need to back up my site and keep track of the file; if there is a disaster, I will need to restore it myself from the backup; I haven’t tried this yet – but I will this week before moving us over there
At the end of the day, putting your blog on a paid host server provides more freedom but demands more responsibility. Blogging on wordpress.com is truly worry-free. Blogging in my new site will be a little more challenging. But I’m excited about the opportunities to offer more and interact more.
Please check out the new site and let me know what you think! Do you like the theme I chose? Do you like the way the information is arranged? What do you think of the new header? And how about those comments on the “About page” – not too shabby, eh?
Stay tuned – if all goes well with the backup/recovery tests – we should be over there by the end of the week!!