Which blog platform should I use: Blogger or WordPress?
This is where panic mode hit me the first time I started blogging. There are so many options (and terminologies) for starting a blog: Blogger. Blogspot. WordPress.com. WordPress.org. Weebly. Free hosted blog. Self-hosted blog. What does any of it mean?!
Let’s talk in terms of houses and apartments. An analogy. Go me! We (my husband a
nd I) are currently renting our apartment. We’re paying month to month and we have no contract. Which means our landlord could say, “See ya later” at any time. But, we can also leave at any time. We don’t get to knock out a wall or change the carpet. We can’t even fix a major problem without going through our landlord (we just called him to fix our heater. It’s either too hot or too cold!). Our money (effort) is going towards someone else’s property and not our own. On the flip side, we didn’t have to put down a big chunk of money to buy a house.
Renting an apartment is kind of like having a free, hosted blog.
(Interesting fact: That house in the picture? It was for sale in my dream neighborhood, unfortunately I’m still dreaming about it. Don’t do the same thing with your blog!)
You will read a lot of blog posts about this topic, and everyone has a different opinion. Some say a free hosted blog is a way to go, while others (including myself) believe that a self-hosted blog is the best way to start a successful blog.
Here are the top 3 reasons why I believe you should have a self-hosted blog.
In my opinion, this is the number one reason to self-host your blog. All of the cons of self-hosting (which there’s only 1), and all of the pros of free hosting, are cancelled by this one reason. When you self-host your blog, you own your blog.
According to Google’s term of service,
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”
Free blogs, like Blogger reserve the right to use any content you post on your blog. That’s not all though. Since you do not own your blog, it can be deleted at ANY TIME. Or, the free blog service might decide they don’t want to offer a blog service anymore and they close up shop, which closes up your shop (blog). Blogger, for example, frequently accidentally deletes blogs when they are checking for spam sites. Seriously, it happens all the time. Go to Google’s forums and type in “my blog is missing” and you will read a lot of sad posts. Don’t let that happen to your hard work. Set up a self-hosted blog with this tutorial.
Most free blogging platforms limit the design and style of your blog. Unless you are a very talented HTML coder, or you pay someone who is, it is very challenging to customize your blog. With WordPress you can pick out a theme that fits the design of your blog, and you don’t have to touch a single line of code, if you don’t want to. That’s a big deal for me. I don’t like code. It scares me.
WordPress.com does not allow bloggers to post any ads or to post sponsored or paid posts. No money making for WordPress.com bloggers. A lot of people make the mistake of starting with WordPress.com because they think it is the same as WordPress.org, but they are not the same! http://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/
In conclusion, when you have a self-hosted website with a WordPress platform, you can post whatever you want on your site, your time and money investments go towards progressing your own website (you do have to spend some money though), you have full control of the appearance of your blog, and you can decide who you want to advertise with so that your blog can make money.
There are several companies out there to purchase your site from. They all offer about the same thing. For bloggers just starting out, we recommend JustHost. They are very affordable and have great service. They have always helped me resolve my problems and provide quick feedback. When I decided to close down my floral blog, they gave me a full refund on my unused months!