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.
I would like to leave you with another analogy. Would you prefer to:
- Rent and live under the mercy of a landlord, or
- Own and live how you would choose to.
Happy 2008 everybody !
…Read more about the author Jaffer.