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There are many platforms that you can start blogging on. In the beginning, it can be hard to choose which one will be right for you. Personally, I use WordPress and I love it. I wouldn’t recommend any other site for blogging!
There are two versions of WordPress- self-hosted and free. Today, I’ll be going over the difference between the two. I’ll also go over which one is best if you are planning on turning your blog into your full-time job!
WHAT IS A SELF-HOSTED BLOG
As I mentioned, there are two options when you start a blog wordpress
1. A free blog
2. A self-hosted blog
A free blog is an option a lot of people want to go within the beginning because they think it’s the right choice. Whether it’s to save money in the beginning or to just test out if blogging is right for them.
Sometimes a free blog would be a good option. If you’re not planning on making money or if you’re writing just for yourself.
However, if you’re looking to make money with your blog, a free blog is not the way to go. It might seem like a good idea because it will save you money, but starting a blog is like starting a business- you can’t make money without spending it first.
If you’re interested in a self-hosted blog, it means that you pay a web hosting company to host your website (wordpress.org for example) on the internet and it keeps your website running online.
Self-hosting your blog is the best way to start your blog off right, but if you’re not convinced yet here are 6 reasons why you want to self-host your blog and how to do it!
WORDPRESS. COM VS WORDPRESS.ORG
New bloggers get confused about WordPress and what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is.
-Wordpress.com (The fremium option)
-Wordpress.org (The paid version)
The .com version of WordPress can be totally free if you’d like to. And there is even a “Premium” version of WordPress.com. I’ve had both, and I don’t recommend either.
I started out on the totally free version and thought it was okay at first, but I realize how limiting it was once I made the switch. My blog didn’t look like all of the professional blogs and I couldn’t figure out why.
I also got the business plan of WordPress.com and it was slightly better, but it still wasn’t what I wanted.
As soon as I heard about self-hosting, I realized it was what I was missing! And, if you look here, The hosting company that I recommend, Namecheap, is actually cheaper than the business plan on WordPress.com!
Let’s check out why it’s better than the freemium option!
When you have the free version of WordPress, it’s very limiting. With the paid version, you can do so much more!
1. CHOOSE YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME
On the .com version, you will be stuck with a domain name like YOURDOMAINNAME.wordpress.com. You can’t get rid of that .wordpress.com unless you upgrade to the business plan.
While the business plan does a few other things, that’s essentially all it does. And for $4 a month, it really doesn’t seem worth it to me!
When you self-host your blog, your site will look like YOURDOMAINNAME.com. Looks a lot more professional right?
2. YOUR SITE CAN BE TAKEN DOWN
This is another good reason to make the switch to wordpress.org. You don’t own your site on wordpress.com. Therefore they can take down your site- anytime they want to- for any reason.
When you pay for your blog, you are the owner. No one can take that site away from you.
It’s a good sense of security to know that your site will not all of a sudden just disappear, without you knowing about it!
3. CUSTOMIZATIONS ON A SELF-HOSTED BLOG ARE ENDLESS
Another one of my favorite options when you self-host your blog is customizations are literally endless. You can make your blog look like anything that you want it too and it will be unique to you and your brand.
With a free blog, you have to choose one of the free themes that are available to everyone else. They are not customizable to your brand.
I personally didn’t like any of the free themes that were available when I was on wordpress.com and I was constantly switching my theme. I could not figure out why it didn’t look like any of the other bloggers that I looked up to!
It turns out all that I was missing was a paid theme! You can check out a bunch of paid themes right here on Creative Market!
4. YOU CAN ACCESS SO MANY ESSENTIAL PLUGINS
With wordpress.com, you don’t have access to all the essential plugins that will help you grow your blog. For example, you can’t download Google Analytics or Google Ads. You have to use the WordPress versions of each which are not as reliable!
When you self-host your blog, you have access to so many plugins, for free, and even some paid ones if you’d like. But, the only plugin I have ever paid for is WP Tasty which helps with Pinterest.
-WHAT ARE PLUGINS FOR?
Plugins are things that you can add to your site to customize it, make it faster or add certain functionality.
For example, my share buttons come from a plugin, this email sign up (and the popup one you saw when coming to my blog) that’s from a plugin as well!
So, not only can you customize your blog with a theme, you can add even more uniqueness with the plugins you decide to add!
For a closer look at the plugins, I recommend you use, check out this list of essential WordPress plugin here!
5. YOU LOOK MORE PROFESSIONAL
For me personally, I think having a paid blog with a paid theme looks so much more professional. Not only can you drop the .wordpress.com off of your domain name, but paid themes just look better than the free ones!
I can tell when I stop on a free blog vs. when I click on a blog that is clearly self-hosted.
Free blogging platforms may also leave ads to their own platforms on your site, which you won’t be able to get rid of!
6. FREE BLOGS ARE HARDER TO MONETIZE
Free blogs make it hard for you to monetize (if they allow it at all). You may not be able to use affiliate marketing. Or if you are allowed, affiliate companies might not accept you if you have a free blog.
Also like I mentioned before, you can’t even install Google Ads onto your WordPress.com site. You have to use the ads program they give you, which is not as great as Google AdSense! And you won’t be able to upgrade to higher-paying ad programs like MediaVine in the future!
HOW TO SELF-HOST YOUR BLOG
Are you convinced? Are you ready to self-host your blog? If you are, here is how you can make the switch!
-PICK A HOSTING COMPANY
I recommend Namecheap for your hosting company. They are pretty cheap and you can install WordPress with one click!
Once you choose your hosting company, you have to register your domain name with them. This is where you will be able to drop the .Wordpress.com off of your site link!
Once you’ve done that, you can install WordPress. Many hosting companies (if not all) come with one-click WordPress installation. You can literally have it up and running in 5 minutes!
-EXPORT YOUR FREE BLOG FILES
Now you are going to export everything from your old free blog, and you’ll be imported into your new blog!
If you have any issues, Namecheap support should be able to help you! It can be a bit confusing if you’re not tech-savvy. I struggled a bit when I first started, by Namecheap support stayed on chat with me the entire time and helped me make the switch!
Trying to self-host your blog will be a bit stressful and confusing at first, but honestly, once it’s over you’ll realize it was the best decision ever!