Every so often, I get an email from someone asking me to check out there blog that they are using to promote a business they are trying to grow, and give them feedback. Maybe they’ve heard of blogging and how it can help generate traffic because of the Search Engine benefits of having a blog. I can testify to that fact because ever since I started this blog, I started getting MUCH MORE traffic than I ever had before at my other static websites.
Many times, when I receive those requests, the blogs that are shown to me are either on Blogger.com or WordPress.com – Free blog hosting websites. Usually, when I receive these requests, my response is the same – get away from those sites and start your OWN hosted blog, one that you control and are free to do whatever you want with. This is advice that I received from one of my Mentors when I was getting ready to start my blog. In this article, I want to address why this should be done, however, lets first talk about these Free Services.
A Little about WordPress and Blogger.
Blogger and WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) are amazing systems. They make it extremely EASY for anyone to sign up for an account, and start a blog, even without any significant technical expertise. Blogger, owned by google, has a very simple three step process to setting up a blog. You create and account, name your blog and then choose a template – That’s it! Your blog is up and running. WordPress is very similar to Blogger, and also allows for anyone to set up a free account and start blogging.
These blogging solutions are considered externally-hosted blogs because they are not hosted by YOU. The benefit is that they take care of providing the blogging software automatically. They also have some additional benefits of helping to drive traffic. However, there are some downfalls to using services like these.
Why you should host your own blog
Free is good! However, Free is not always best. The problem with using blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress is that you do not own your blog. They are owned by Blogger and WordPress and they have the power to shut down your blog, whether you like it or not. When I first thought about getting into blogging, one of my mentors told me about a guy that did a lot of work with a blogger blog to grow his business to where he was making around $2,000 per month. Now, that’s $2000 extra dollars that can come in handy.
One day, he woke up to his blog being shut down by google, and never got a full reason why it was done. Because of that, his income dropped from $2000 to $0 overnight, and there was NOTHING he could do about it. Well, I guess he could’ve decided to start all over and grow it again to that point, but trust me . . . that can be a long a painful process. This is the biggest reason why I recommend for everyone to get their own self-hosted blog, but there’s more.
When you own your blog, you have the ability to do a lot more customization – something that comes in handy as your business grows. The possibilities are limitless and it provides you with much more space to grow. Owning your own blog is like having your own piece of virtual real estate. If you are serious about building an online business, this is essential.
WordPress’ Self-hosted option
I spoke earlier about WordPress.com, but there’s another side to WordPress, and that is WordPress.org. This is THE industry standard for self-hosted blogs and is also a free script that you can install on your own hosting account. This is the route that I’ve chosen and is the preferred option among bloggers today. One of the great features of wordpress is that it’s a system where anyone can develop plugins to work with wordpress, which gives you a significant amount of options to what you can get your wordpress Blog to do. If you have an idea of something to add to your blog, chances are, there’s a plugin for it, and if not, one can be developed.
The cost of owning your own blog
One of the great things about having an online business, is that it does NOT take a lot of money to get started. In the past, if you wanted to start a business that is to be successful, you needed to have a significant amount of startup capital, and in many cases, you needed to rent a physical building, and the costs just kept adding up. Fortunately, in this digital age we are living in, it’s quite affordable to have your own online Real Estate. Typical hosting accounts start around $5 per month (much less than renting a building for your business). For a few dollars more (around $8), you can host an unlimited amount of domains. In other words, you can have as many websites as you want.
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