I recently started blogging, it was something I had thought about for a while and being a serial procrastinator I often came up with several excuses as to why it isn’t the time to do it. Then one fine night because that’s when I think about all the problems of this world, I took the leap and here I am. See I knew opening a blog with WordPress was easy. All I had to do was sign up and publish whatever content I have for the week and so on and so forth. But boy was I wrong, every time I went to Google (cause that’s my teacher), new lingo came up and I would wonder what is this now and I still do because there is so much out there. So this post is for the newbie like me who is thinking about starting a blog but unlike me is smart enough to research on it before taking the leap.
You can either have a self-hosted blog or be hosted for free on sites such as: WordPress.com, BlogSpot and many more. However I think being self-hosted has more advantages as compared to being on WordPress despite the fact that am still there; talk about preaching water and taking wine. But you know what they say about experience being the best teacher. So here are some of the benefits of a self-hosted blog:
You have the freedom to customize your theme
When you are hosted on WordPress you are limited to the themes that are available on their website. However in a self-hosted site you can customize your theme and your presence or touch can be felt on the blog. So if you want to have your artistic freedom being self-hosted is the way to go.
You own your data
When using WordPress.com or blogger your account can be suspended if you do not adhere to their terms of service. If you hadn’t backed up your work no amount of prayer will help you here and all your hard work goes down the drain just like that. However for self-hosted you own your data and your site can not be turned off well unless you decide to engage in illegal activities and that will be a different narrative all together.
If you eventually want to monetize your blog or if it is one of the reasons for you starting one you can’t be able to do this on WordPress.com. With a self-hosted blog you can monetize by whatever means you want be it by using AdSense, affiliate marketing. Even corporates in Kenya don’t run campaigns on blogs on WordPress.com but this shouldn’t really worry you know given that you don’t even have a fan base yet that they can use as a target audience.
Custom analytics and plugins
You can upload a plug in like Google analytics and know your audience, where they are from, what platform referred them to your site. This helps you know which social media platform would be most effective for you to use in advertising your blog and hence help you reduce the time you would spend on other social media platforms.
Being self-hosted of course comes with its disadvantages which I won’t talk about today but there is one I feel I should mention because its key. Which is you have to pay for a domain and hosting meaning there are upfront charges. You didn’t think all these good things would be free, did you?
In the end your decision on whether to go self-hosted or not is guided by why you started a blog is it like a personal diary somewhere where you can vent, a memoir of some sort or is it a passion you wouldn’t mind making money off.