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It is important to have a self-hosted blog if you are really serious about being a successful blogger.
Success in blogging means different things to everyone. It could be about the money you are able to make from it or the amount of traffic you get or how well you connect to your readers.
One certain thing though is that 90% of bloggers who have found success in blogging DO NOT use a free blog platform, they are all self-hosted.
What Is A Self-Hosted Blog?
This is the first decision to make after deciding to start a blog.
Essentially, if you choose a hosted or free platforms like Blogspot and WordPress.com, you’ll trade customizability for ease of use.
Hosted/free platforms offer a quick and easy way to start publishing content without touching a server or managing upgrades.
However, self-hosted platforms allow for superior convenience for customizing your blog functions and style.
Hosted/free platforms tend to have limitations for what you can change while self-hosted platforms give you free will on changing just about anything.
** You DO NOT own your website when it is on a free platform. The company hosting you does and you will have no say in major changes.
You want to start your blog as self-hosted. Skip the hurdles of starting on a free platform that will later on not match your growth.
Related Post: Which is better? Bluehost vs SiteGround
Transferring your blog later on from a hosted/free one can be very difficult if you are not tech-savvy, you can even lose your contents and readers.
I started on Google’s Blogspot and found it limiting in blog design and functionality. It is not that great for SEO (search engine optimization) especially when you are a beginner and trying to figure things out.
Do I Need A Hosting Plan For WordPress?
Essentially, you do not. WordPress offers a free/hosted platform for people who are just looking to publish content online called WordPress.com.
All you have to do is go to WordPress.com and sign up for a new blog.
** However, if you are a blogger looking to make money eventually then you need a better plan for using WordPress; it is called WordPress.org.
As an experienced blogger, I’d say save yourself a lot of trouble and go with WordPress.org.
I use WordPress for both my blogs and I couldn’t be happier. I started out on Blogspot and boy, that’s a story for another day.
You’re in good company if you use WordPress to publish on the web. Many famous blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrity websites are all using WordPress.
You are not allowed to have display ads on the free/hosted platforms and cannot add income generating affiliate links.
There is also a limitation to accessing the best plugins that make your blog user-friendly and grow.
Is WordPress Hosting Free?
WordPress itself is free to use. You do not pay to use the self-hosted WordPress version.
What you pay for, is the hosting plan typically provided by a third-party hosting company.
** The hosting company I recommend is SiteGround starting at less than $3.95 per month, literally $49 for a whole year. You can’t beat that!
This company is great for beginners and experienced bloggers. Great support, fast website, affordable, great functionality and a chance of improved rankings in Google via free downloadable plugins like Yoast for SEO.
I personally rank better, my website is faster and it comes with a free domain name and SSL certificate for safe browsing. Web security is a priority!
Benefits Of Having A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
Any blog that needs strong functionality or custom design needs the WordPress.org platform.
You’ll have access to a large database of plugins & themes, the ability to upload your own plugins & themes, and even create your own functionality.
WordPress.org is the fundamental choice for many publishers like myself when creating a web presence.
1. Ability to Customize Themes and Design
Because you are a beginner blogger doesn’t mean your blog has to look unprofessional. A beautiful and clean blog helps in attracting and keeping your readers.
Another advantage of a professional-looking blog is that it may attract brands who will like to sponsor your content.
Sponsored posts are one of the ways bloggers make money and they usually want you to be self-hosted.
2. Access To Unlimited Plugins
A self-hosted WordPress site gives you access to unlimited plugins which are basically tools and Softwares that can make blogging a better experience for you and your readers.
For example, a free platform is not that great for SEO (search engine optimization) especially when you are a beginner and trying to figure things out.
Being self-hosted means you can download the Yoast plugin for example to your blog which ultimately guides you on improving your search engine rankings.
3. You Can Make Money
Most free blogging platforms do not allow you to make money on their sites.
Some free services will go as far as running their own ads on your pages so they can make the money from your content.
Google’s Blogger is the only free platform that doesn’t do that but you will be sacrificing some other things as well.
Ad companies and affiliate programs mostly want to work with bloggers who are self-hosted. It shows your commitment and that you take blogging as a business too.
** Not going self-hosted is as good as leaving a lot of money on the table. Why do that?
4. Customize Your Domain Name
One of the most significant advantages of having a self-hosted blog is that you get to custom a unique domain name for your website.
A customized domain name can be a particularly useful marketing tool, and it makes you look like a professional.
A free WordPress site will come with a “.wordpress.com” at the end of your domain name.
That does not look good and scream newbie all the way to the back.
5. More Storage Room
Free web hosting platforms typically apply a storage limitation on your account.
These limitations can be a problem if your content includes a lot of videos and high pixel images.
The longer you blog, the more storage you’ll need. Self-hosting services come with a variety of storage plans that you can adjust according to your needs.
Blogging in 2020 is highly competitive and it is not the time to ‘come to a gunfight with a knife’. You need to be prepared by removing all the initial hurdles as fast as you can.
No need to dilly dally on making the right choices for your blog. If you want to make serious money from blogging, you can only do that on a self-hosted platform such as WordPress.org.