Blogs have really become quite a compelling and powerful tool on the Internet these days. People have outgrown writing how they feel in diaries and most of them have opted to post their writings on blog sites instead; as they rightfully figure that it is where more people can read it and even leave a reply or comment.
A blog’s purpose can either be entertainment or business. Personal users who want to create their online identity or establish online presence and visibility need blog hosting services. Some of these folks opt for free blog hosting; while others look for self hosted blog platforms.
Which blog platform do I choose?
This is a common enough question, along with many typically related queries about how different a hosted blog is from the free ones and which platform is the best option. Is there really a difference between a free blog and paid blog hosting? Which is usually followed by another, more vital question: Which one is the right and better option?
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a universal better or right option. Each platform has its own pros and cons that you have to consider for the success of either the immediate or long-term blogging.
That’s precisely why choosing between a hosted blog and a free one can be quite a challenge. This article aims to shed some light on what benefits you can get from either blogging platform.
The Free Blog
One of the perks of having a free blog is that it does not cost you anything. These blogs are totally free and that’s the primary reason why they are much more popular compared to hosted blogs. Everybody and anybody can use them; just sign up, create your account and you’re good to go. Check out these advantages you can enjoy when you use a free blog platform.
- They offer simple templates; so setting up your own blog or webpage is definitely a piece of cake. You don’t really need to be a geek; if you have basic working knowledge of technology you can easily set the whole thing up all by yourself. From the default template, you can simply customize your own page by choosing other available selections of templates, colors, and layouts. For people who don’t have much know-how about layouts, free blogs are a sure hit.
- It’s simple and easy to run, once you get through the equally effortless task of setting up your blog. Sure, you have to learn some of the basic processes but it is relatively easy with the user-friendly features that lets you just fill in a few fields; and when you hit “Publish”… Voila! Your write-up is posted.
- Here’s one great advantage of free blog host that you would undoubtedly get excited about. Free blog platforms are placed on domains that already have good page rankings; thus, you get indexed in search engines quite quickly. You couldn’t expect this on stand alone or paid blog hosts – not that quick, anyway! Free blogs are among the speediest ways to get into search engines.
You get automatic updates. When the blog platform do updates it automatically does the same thing for your blog, since you are practically a “sub-domain”. You are saved the hassle of having to upload software into a server; plus you are assured that the update process is quite flawless.
Now before you jump on the wagon, you have to consider that free blog hosting also has its limitations and drawbacks. Take a look at these restrictions to better assess if a free blog host can really meet your needs and requirements.
- You have very limited customization capabilities with free blogs. You are restricted to the available customizable templates that it offers – you can’t go beyond those. The number of choices does vary from one platform to another – some may offer better options; still, it can really be a source of frustration.
- For people who are looking for uniqueness, it can be disappointing to discover that your design may end up having the same looks or appearance as those of the others. Again this is due to the limitations on default design templates. In free blogs everyone gets to use similar templates one way or another. It may be worth mentioning here that if you do want to come up with your own distinct design, you have to first learn CSS and HTML to be able to edit your templates.
- Sharing a generic URL with others makes you look less of a professional. Well, it’s not really that big a deal; but some people think that having your own URL lends a sense of professionalism to your blog, especially if you’re using it for business or in a professional way.
- And the greatest disadvantage of all is you don’t really, truly own the blog.
The Hosted Blog
[tweet_box design=”box_09″]The biggest benefit of having a self-hosted blog – is that it's like having your own piece of land![/tweet_box]
And here are some benefits of having a hosted blog:
- Having a hosted blog can help you create an official-looking environment for your blog site. Hosted blogs offer clients their own domain. Meaning, you are building your own name in the industry by making your blog distinct from the others.
- If you use a hosted blog you are given control over your own layout and the freedom to edit your webpage. For starters, existing templates are available, but you still have the option to choose your own design concepts and layout and customize it to reflect your own personality. Creativity and diversity meets here.
- While getting into search engines quickly is truly viable with free blogs; the crucial thing with hosted blogs is you gain more control of your visitors and the website traffic in the long haul, given that you own the domain, thus have complete control over your blog site.
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The benefits of hosted blogs understandably sound alluring, particularly if you’re planning to use your blog site to promote your business and earn substantial revenues there. However, it still has its weak points, despite the exclusivity it affords.
- If you are not techie or have no idea how to customize your own page, setting up may present a huge problem.
- Downloading databases and platforms are a little tricky. An expert or somebody with adequate knowledge can do these things for you but that can cost you some considerable bucks. It is probably a lot better for you to explore these aspects.
- Maintaining a hosted blog can really drain your pocket. It can be pricey. Some charge annual fees plus a separate cost for hosting fee; while others can easily tack monthly charges.
This is rather a condensed form of outlining the differences as well the benefits and drawbacks of both platforms. All the same, I do hope it has helped dispel some of the confusion and can help you arrive at a well-informed decision when you finally make a choice. Just remember, whatever your choice is, the purpose of putting up your blog is still the final determining factor. Along the lines of this purpose, bear in mind that your target audience should be your primary concern.