For several weeks we have discussed blogging, why a business should do it and how to make it better. Now that that’s been covered, it’s time to get it on the web so everyone can read it. There are two options for publishing a blog; self-hosting or using a free sign-up service that hosts it for you. The right answer depends entirely on the business’ objectives and needs. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both and also discuss the two most popular blogging platforms.
This is a conundrum for any beginner blogger; go with a free service like, Blogger or WordPress.com, or with a self-hosted like, WordPress.org. What is the difference really? Let’s look at a self-hosted blog first. A self-hosted blog usually uses WordPress.org as its platform and has many themes and plug-ins available to make the blog unique. Getting the blog started requires getting a domain name and a host provider, which will be a yearly cost. However, this offers a business much more control over their blog and content. Also, by acquiring a domain name your blog becomes yourname.com instead of bloggingservice.com/yourblog like it would if you went with a free service.
The membership services are easy, free and fast, you can start blogging in less than 15 minutes. A user simply signs-up, picks the themes for their blog and off they go. It’s a great option for the beginner or casual blogger for its ease-of-use. There are some major disadvantages to it however. You have no control over your blog. The providers can add random ads to your page and can take your blog and content down if they feel anything is out of line. Because there are limited themes, a lot of blogs look the same so it’s hard to stand out.
Blogger.com is one of the most popular free sign-up blogging platforms. Blogger is very easy to use and has themes to customize your blog. It is owned by Google and hosted on their servers so there is rarely any down time. Posts also appear in Google search engines faster than a self-hosted blog. A huge benefit of Blogger over WordPress is that your blog can be used for monetization by including ads in it. Blogger also allows users to use their own domain name. The disadvantages to Blogger include: limited themes for blogs, no integration of social media to blogs and they can be taken down with no notice and all content lost.
WordPress.com is also very popular among the blogging community; it has more users than Blogger.com. They offer more templates, plug-ins and widgets to create a more customized blog. It provides the opportunity to create a more stylish and functional blog. WordPress also allows for social media integration across all the major online marketing outlets like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., where Blooger.com only shares on Google+. There is reliable hosting on WordPress.com and high level of security with a strong amount of users. WordPress.com also has its disadvantages. Users can not use their own domain name, the blog cannot be used for monetization and there are limits to storage space.
How to decide? If you’re just starting out and not sure if blogging is right for your business, then start with a free sign-up service. If your business is blogging to increase business and develop brand strength, self-hosting and WordPress.org are definitely the best bet as they offer the most flexibility and control.