Hosted Blogs vs Self-Hosted Blogs
Those new to blogging often don’t know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Although extremely similar, the biggest difference between the two is that WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service and WordPress.org is self-hosted.
What is a hosted blogging platform?
Using a hosted blogging platform like WordPress.com is a great place for beginners to start because it’s easy and free. It’s a hosted blogging platform because the service “hosts” the blog on their domain. For example, my hosted blog is http://cliftonhatfied.wordpress.com. You do have the option to change the domain to your own purchased domain by paying the host service a fee. If you are okay with the disadvantages of hosted blogs, explained later in this series, then you may want to consider using your own domain for your hosted blog. Although, I don’t recommend it for business professionals.
Advantages of Hosted Blog Platforms
Hosted & Self-Hosted blogs have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here, I will explain the advantages of having a hosted blog on a service like WordPress.com.
- Fairly cheap or free to run – most hosted blogging platforms are free or have a small monthly fee to operate.
- Quick & easy to setup – you can usually get started with your new hosted blog within a few clicks in a few minutes. You don’t need any knowledge of the technical side of setting up a blog platform.
- Simple to operate – After setup, your biggest role in the operation of your blog is to publish content. Sometimes this is as easy as adding the content and clicking Publish.
- Automatic updates – The blog host handles the updates for you so you know your blogging platform is never outdated. This can help protect you against hacker vulnerability and software bugs without you worrying about keeping your software up-to-date.
- Search engine optimization – A nice advantage of using a hosted blog is that you may be sharing a domain with hundreds of thousands or even millions of other bloggers who are also writing content that is constantly being crawled and indexed by search engines like Google. This is in your favor because the hosted blog domain may have a higher Page Rank or hold more weight with search engines, thus giving your blog a boost.
Disadvantages of Hosted Blog Platforms
- Less options – To help keep things simple for any user, the hosted blog service limits a blogger’s options and often makes the service less configurable. This may or may not bother you but it’s something to consider before going deep into your hosted blog.
- Default design – This is similar to the disadvantage above. Most hosted blog platforms limit a blogger’s design options to keep things simple for them to use. The downside of this is that everyone’s blog often begin looking the same and have less “character”.
- Less ownership – This is a HUGE disadvantage to online business professionals like Internet Marketers or Professional Bloggers. Imagine spending countless hours and money building up your business only to find out that it is at the mercy of someone else! Hosted blog platforms is the same thing. Although the blogger owns the content written on their blog, they don’t own the domain name and have limited branding capabilities. They have limited control of the service their blog is running on as well.
- Generic URL – This one also affects those who expect to have a professional blog. Although there are many very successful blogs operating on the hosted generic domain (e.g. xxxxx.wordpress.com), having control over your domain name can really excel your online branding.
- Out-growing hosted blogs – As I said before, hosted blogs is a great place to start for beginner bloggers but that is because it gives them an opportunity to learn about how to blog and using the platform. Once they have moved past that phase, it’s time to consider a self-hosted blog. The reason is because once you’ve established a solid audience and foundation in one location on the internet, it can be very difficult to move and expect your audience to follow. So moving from a hosted service to a self-hosted service may pose some challenges.
Does anyone really use Hosted Blogs?
The answer is Yes! Millions of people do use hosted blogs because of many advantages stated above but because of its simplicity mostly. And although the norm in the professional blogging world is to frown on hosted blogs, there have been many professionals who have grown enormous following using a hosted blogging platform, like Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/).
Stay tuned for Part Two where I talk about “What is a self-hosted blogging platform?” and its advantages & disadvantages.