I’m several months into blogging on my free, hosted, WordPress site. I’ve passed the point where I’m not sure if I like blogging, not sure if I have time for it, or not sure if I want to continue it. I enjoy that this is my own little project and I want to move forward with having a little more freedom styling my blog.
Now that I have decided to continue blogging, I have realized several glaring downsides with being on a hosted blog which ultimately brought me to the decision to transfer to a self-hosted blog.
Of course, there are lot of upsides to a hosted blog:
- it’s free (you can even stick with a free URL that would look like this: yourblogname.Wordpress.com)
- the learning curve is basically zilch. You need virtually no training to start a WordPress site.
- tons of free themes that pretty well provide you with a fully formed website. This comes in especially handy if you aren’t familiar with HTML or the structure of a website.
- you are connected to the WordPress “reader” which does direct a bit of traffic your way. You can also use the reader to search for blogs you are interested in to get to know some folks in the blogging community
These pros were all great when I first started this blog. After all, I didn’t know if I would like blogging or if I would have time for it. But now, I have confirmed with myself that, at least for the time being, I want to pursue blogging further which means taking the website to the next level.
The major downsides to a hosted blog are:
- Not having full access to the css or being able to customize pretty well anything. I would say I am an intermediate skill level for HTML and WordPress as I create websites at my job (not my ‘mum’ -job, my career- job). I created three WordPress sites prior to going on maternity leave. And none of them had access to themes – so I had to create my own. Not having the ability to customize the header, which is such a simple thing, is especially irritating.
- Plugins are extremely limited. Again, the lack of flexibility to customize the site is a real bummer for me.
- You can’t place ads on your site! Okay, I think you can, but you certainly need a lot of page views and you don’t receive all profits.
Would I recommend starting with a free or self-hosted blog?
At this point I am in the middle of transferring to Hostgator and will be writing a review on that experience. I think the answer to this question will be a little clearer after I have completed the process.
As it stands right now, I would recommend starting with a free site to see:
- if you like blogging,
- if you have time for it, and
- if you are really passionate about your topic. I wouldn’t want to pay a couple hundred dollars to lose interest in a month.
Given that, I’m not entirely sure how complicated this transfer will be. If it turns out to be a complete nightmare, well then I may recommend starting out straight on a self-hosted blog.
I’ve asked a few other experienced bloggers their perspective on this question and all have said they would start with a self-hosted blog. I may be switching my opinion to that as well once this process is done.
But I still don’t see how you can fork out a couple hundred dollars upfront for something you aren’t sure you will like. I would love to know what your opinion is!
I’ll update soon on pros and cons of self-hosted blog and how the experience with switching is going!
**All opinions are my own. I have not received any compensation**
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