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Blogging: a Hard Choice between “Renting” and “Owning”

March 27, 2018, No Comments

So, you’ve decided that you want it, too – to have your own blog. That’s great, so exciting! And at the same time it is a challenge – where to start..?

Among other things that are currently on your mind and can’t wait to be shared, there is one issue that you haven’t, probably, considered. Yet, it deserves your attention as it might be essential for the success of your future project.

The issue concerns “free blogging platform vs. self-placed blog with a name” dilemma.


There are two major questions that you should ask yourself in this respect:

  1. What are your blog needs?
  2. What are its perspectives?

By covering these points you are more likely to understand what is best for you (for now) – a free blogging platform or your own blog with all strings attached. When you understand perfectly what you want, you also know exactly what is excessive or irrelevant.

The following lists of pros and cons of each option are drawn to help you get your objectives straight and make the best choice.


Blogging Platform

Free blogging platform sounds fantastic. However, let’s have a look at what we can get here, for real.

Pros

  • It is free.
  • It is easy to set up and maintain without any special knowledge.
  • It gives you zero-level headache (if you don’t take occasional rude comments into consideration, and trolls.)
  • You can move to the self-placed blog with all your content and data if you wish to.

Cons

  • No domain name? Stick with the one that the platform gives you, such as www.yourblog.blogspot.com.
  • You have limited resources.
  • You have limited customization options.
  • You have no control over your site and its performance.
  • You have very limited options for advertising as well as monetizing your blog as all the traffic drawn to your blog (while being so popular) is actually the traffic that the platform gets.

Thus, by signing up to such a deal you get a perfect opportunity to focus on your writing in the first place (having no worry in the world about downtime, loss of traffic and conversions, and so on). Perhaps, it makes perfect sense for a start-up in the short-term perspective. It is also reasonable if you do it mostly for your own amusement and have no aspirations for making your blog everyones’ morning must-read. For the time being, at least.


Self-placed Blog with a Domain Name

If, however, you dream about making your blog hugely, disgustingly popular, the second option might be more preferable. Here is why.

Certainly, creating a blog from scratch is a more serious and demanding challenge than simply choosing the design of your blog on a platform. You have to complete these 3 steps:

  • Create a blog (set it up on a blogging platform (WordPress is now the most popular one), or you can create your own website.)
  • Acquire a domain name (buy it from a domain registrar.)
  • Choose a hosting provider (buy your blog a place on the Internet.)

All of these processes are entertaining, however, we are not going to dwell on them specifically in this article. Instead, we ‘ll try to understand why this option is worth choosing (or not).

Pros

  • You are a boss of your blog, the one and only.
  • You can control everything.
  • Customization is easier and more versatile (with WordPress you have an endless number of themes and extra features to grow and make your blog all the more nicer.)
  • You can have your own URL and domain name (any you like).
  • You can go ahead with branding at any lengths.
  • Your advertising options are unlimited.
  • It is SEO-friendly and opens all the possibilities for monetization as you get all the traffic and can benefit from your blog gaining weight and becoming popular.

Cons

  • $$$ – you can’t do it for free. Both a domain name and a hosting plan will cost you some money (and you will have to renew the plans on a regular basis from now forever on in order not to lose your blog.)
  • It might be a challenge for new bloggers.
  • You will have plenty of headache in regard to your blog maintenance and performance as it is up to you to make sure it works and live.

Sounds amazing but too much to handle at once? There is a less strained way to start a blog with a perfectly unique name (carefully chosen to your best liking) but relieve yourself (for the time being) from the blog hosting maintenance responsibilities.


Try Hybrid – Get a Domain Name, Use a Platform

Here is a to-do: you can buy a nice domain name and use it while being comfortably placed at a blogging platform with all the benefits of the latter. You can buy it from a domain registrar; luckily, there are plenty of them. The average price for such a treat is around $10/year.

Just don’t forget to renew your domain name payment in due time (not to lose your perfect name).


In Case Your Blog Has Grown out of Its Platform Pants

Do you remember the question at the beginning of the article? By this point you must have a pretty clear idea of your blog perspectives. And you see that the previous situation (you have been so happy about up till now) has changed. You’ve worked well and your readers love you and it’s time to move to your “own house”, let’s put it that way.

Here is where you should proceed with the three steps we covered earlier. Just keep in mind the following things in the process:

  • You should have your new blog (website) ready before migration. One of the most popular blog creating tools nowadays is WordPress open source software; however, there are plenty of other options.
  • Keep the new design close to the original (it will be easier to recognize).
  • If you have your own domain name already, you will need to change the nameservers of you domain when moving. The instructions can be acquired from your domain name registrar.
  • If you migrate from WordPress.com (which is a free platform) to WordPress.org (which is a place where you can both create and/or host your blog), the entire process is easier – you just export all the content from your old dashboard and import it to your new site via WordPress Importer plugin.
  • You can do the same thing if you migrate from other platforms (to WordPress.) Here is the list: Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Blogroll and etc. For each of these platforms you can use a separate Importer plugin.
  • Don’t forget to deal with the old site when you finished – make a redirect to your new baby (preferable), or make it private.

Possible Perils of Migration

  • One of the things you are likely to lose is your old URLs. They will need to be rewritten (some of them manually). It is a challenge, if your blog is not a newbie and has many pages; luckily, there are plugins that can help you with this.
  • Don’t forget to make an extra backup of your old blog’s content (just in case, save it to some cloud).
  • You can also lose some of your images in the process of migration; you might need to fix this manually, too.
  • And there is a high probability of formatting issues to arise (especially when you transfer fro m one platform to another) – make sure you checked every detail and it looks great.
  • It might take some time before your domain propagates, so don’t be panicked if you can’t visit your blog at once. And also give it a couple of days before it becomes fully available to the entire world.

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