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Make it Your New Year’s Resolution to Move to a Self-Hosted Blog Platform this Year

It’s seems unusual to start a new year by writing on a blog other than mine. But I’m glad that this time it’s for Blog Bloke.

Last month there was a buzz in the Blogger.com community when Google decided not to allow those without a Google account to post a link to their blog. For many bloggers, this was the last straw. It created an exodus of bloggers to promising platforms: self-hosted platforms like Wordpress, MovableType and others.

Google has since reversed their position, but that is not going to bring back those bloggers it already lost.

Like many of you I too have several new year’s resolutions, and in this article I’ll try to convince those who are still on service-hosted platforms like blogger.com, vox.com or even wordpress.com to make one more resolution; to switch to self-hosted platforms like Wordpress(.org), Movabletype, etc.

For ease of understanding, let us imagine for a moment a theater production where you as a blogger take on the role of an actor.

Pros and cons of service-hosted blogs

Service-hosted blogs have one advantage: they are free and everything in the backstage is taken care of. They are ideal for bloggers who are just starting out and for that very occasional writer who just happens to be a relative.

On a service-hosted blog you may be the star of the show, but you are not in total control. On most services the most one can do is customize the theme — i.e. hang the background scenery a bit. But you can only use the props given to you and are not allowed to install additional (third-party) plugins.

On service-hosted blogs, you are limited to the kind of information you can collect from visitors and you are in no control of how visitors can leave their comments and information.

Some services do offer publishing to a custom domain. But that only means getting your name on the front of the theater — that’s it, and nothing else will have changed !

The bottom-line is, a service-hosted blog is always under the mercy of the service provider. One can find examples at Blogger.com where legitimate blogs were flagged as spammers and their accounts closed, much to the dismay of those who worked hard on them.

Self-hosted blogs liberate

Imagine now instead of just having to act on-stage in a theater, that you also own the theater and the property. Oh the possibilities! The first thing I would do is have plush seating for the audience and provide better popcorn (and real butter).

This situation is analogous to having a self-hosted blog. Your blog can have all the bells and whistles you want and you can customize it to your heart’s content.

It is entirely up to you what kind of information you want to gather about your visitors and how you can customize their experience on your blog. The only limit is your web-hosting plan and your imagination!

Although it may not be relevant to most, it is far easier to monetize on a self-hosted blog. You can choose to have any ad-service and even have personal sponsors, which cannot not be entirely possible on a service-hosted blog.

One of the biggest advantages of having a self-hosted blog is that if one is not happy with a platform, they can always switch to another without having their visitors even know about it. It’s like having the interior decorated without affecting the story lines of your play.

Although there is no extent to what you can blog about and how you go about doing it, rest assured help is always available and your show can never be canceled unless you choose to.

In conclusion

I would like to leave you with another analogy. Would you prefer to:

  1. Rent and live under the mercy of a landlord, or
  2. Own and live how you would choose to.

Happy 2008 everybody !

…Read more about the author Jaffer.

Written January 1st, 2008 by | 23 Comments | Filed under: Miscellaneous Blog Tips, Wordpress Tips , , , , , , ,

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There are 23 Comments so far to “Make it Your New Year’s Resolution to Move to a Self-Hosted Blog Platform this Year”

  1. Good post, Jaffer. As a relatively new member of the blogosphere, the flexibility was the biggest reason for me to move to a self-hosted blog. I’m not interested in monetizing my blog at this point, so Blogger’s change to the comment and my decision to move to a self-hosted WordPress blog wasn’t about the effect to my page rank so much as it was about someone else controlling how my reader’s comments were structured.

    Thanks again, Jaffer.

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    Reply by: ?? at 11:45 pm said...

    Great theme dude.. Loads very fast too.

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  2. Excellent analogies, Jaffer! I am the master of my domain. I like being in control of my little theater and I know my “patrons” feel I’m giving back for their visits. WordPress allows me much more flexibility than Blogger ever did and I know my blog will be better for it. I still have much to learn, and am a wee bit intimidated by the technical aspects. But no matter what happens, it’s ALL MINE and I’m excited for the prospect of growth in the new year. Both mine as a blogger, and my blog, as it gains readership (hopefully!) Best regards and thank you for this uplifting article.

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  3. I like the thought that I own the theatre. I currently am working on switching over from blogger to my host at websited.net. It’s almost ready, I just worry about being on a free host. Right now I don’t have to deal with ads from them.

    I wonder if their upgraded service is good and reliable(host gator).

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  4. @ Lee and Kathy: I am glad you like it ! Makes me happy to start a new year this way :)

    It was a bit difficult to write this post because I was writing for those who insist on staying where they are and not aiming high. But once the analogies hit me, it was a breeze !

    Let’s not forget the Bloke who edited it and buttered it up a little ;)

    I’d like to add that I did get some inspiration from “All the world’s a stage” by Shakespere.

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  5. @ Curtis: If things ever go wrong in the free world, I’ve always recommended “asmallorange.com” for personal sites and blogs.
    Even for their “Tiny” plan I still haven’t experienced server downtime without notice !

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  6. @ Jaffer: is their tiny plan enough space for your blog. I have all my photos at flickr.

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  7. As of now I am using 10 MB of a total 75 MB space. The ExpressionEngine installation takes 2 MB. All my pictures are at Zooomr (which provides unlimited storage for free). Your blog @ Growing Thumbs will fit quite easily if you keep large files and pictures away.

    And may I mention that all their plans come with Fantastico De Luxe which comes ready with scripts that auto-install Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla and lots more. No downloading or fooling around with the database !
    (or you can opt to install Wordpress yourself by following instructions on Wordpress.org)

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  8. Hey, great post there Jaffer. I didn’t know you were a Shakespeare fan :) Thanks so much for the contribution. You can post here any time.

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  9. Thank You Jaffer

    That sounds like the right plan for me.

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  10. No - I am definitely not a Shakespeare fan - in fact I hate reading his original works and instead opt for adapted works.

    I think “All the world’s a stage” stands out as it can apply to a lot of activities in life - including life itself.

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  11. As far as hosting plans go, I opted to go with GoDaddy.com and chose a mid-level plan. Because I was able to pay in advance for two years the per month rate was quite reasonable. The only thing is, even with the mid-level plan I am not using more than a fraction of the storage or the bandwidth. However, the good new is there is plenty of room for growth. Now if only the growth would begin! :0)

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  12. Keep writing good posts Lee and watch it grow. A little love and patience will also go a long way.

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  13. Hi Folks, here is a sad story Mun, whose blog was deleted by Blogger.com:


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  14. Sad story about loosing all your hard work when a server gliche or whatever happened. I have backed up all my data from the database to wordpress directory. Nice to know if something happens I will have all my data with me.

    Wordpress has a very steep learning curve, but if I can work wordpress anyone who can cut and paste html or css can.

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  15. Great post! I host myself, but when I’ve talked about it, I’ve always been shot down. Your post puts it in really good terms that people can easily understand.

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  16. Thank you very much Dan.

    It is difficult to start writing such a post because the features of service-hosted platforms do keep improving and that’s what most people would be comparing !

    It’s totally different when you get digging about what goes on behind the scenes !

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  17. Once again I have found a good post of yours

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  18. Thanks John. Jaffer is a guest writer here at Blog Bloke dot com.

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  19. Good one. I’m bookmarking this for later!

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  20. I liked your post, you have mentioned the pros and cons very nicely.

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  21. […] unknown article is brought to you using rss feeds.Here is some of the latest web hosting news.The only limit is your web-hosting plan and your imagination! Although it may not be relevant to most, it is far easier to monetize on a self-hosted blog. You can choose to have any ad-service and even have personal sponsors, … […]

  22. […] But it’s different because my first article of 2008 is not on my blog. So head on to BlogBloke.com and discover why you should add one more resolution to your list this year. […]

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