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Is a self-hosted blog really worth the hype?
Should you go self-hosted as a new blogger?
Well, it depends.
You were probably expecting me to scream in all caps through the computer, YES YES YES…but having a self-hosted blog isn't for everyone.
I know, everyone preaches a self-hosted blog but just stick with me here.
I see this question often…like all the time. And the answer is usually, yes. Notice I said usually?
Let me preface this by saying, I am all for self-hosting but it all comes down to your blogging goals and why you are blogging.
Alright, so who shouldn't go self-hosted with their blog?
The most obvious answer is anyone who is blogging for personal use. If you want to blog just for fun, to get words onto paper either for yourself or for others and you don't plan on blogging professionally, I see no reason why you “have to” or should have a self-hosted blog.
That's about it though.
For the rest of you the bottom line is if you want to blog professionally, use it for your business or make money from your blog, self-hosting IS for you.
Now that we got all that out of the way…
I'm going to put the main focus on WordPress.com and WordPress.org because they are the most well known and I like to keep things simple.
The simple difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that WordPress.com is NOT a self-hosted site and WordPress.org IS a self-hosted site.
Let's break this down with a real-life example.
When thinking of a self-hosted site like WordPress.org where you need to purchase a host and domain, think about your host as the land and your domain as your house.
You, the person that lives in the house is the content of your blog which lives in your domain/home for this example.
You pay a hosting company for the land and a home which allows you to do whatever you want within your domain. Kind of like the bank when you purchase a home.
You can make money, you can change anything and everything, you have full control! Just as you do with a home you own.
When it comes to WordPress.com it’s like renting an apartment. Your landlord owns the building, your landlord can tell you what you can and cannot do, they can evict you if you are not following the rules and you are not given as much freedom.
While the apartment is still a nice place to live, it isn't your own and eventually, you grow out of it.
Feeling like a self-hosted blog is for you? Let's dive into the top four reasons you should go self-hosted with your blog.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below which means I may receive a small commission for purchases made through my links at no extra cost to you.
If you haven't started a blog yet, check out with post with 12 things to do in your first 90 days of blogging.
The biggest asset of having a self-hosted blog is to have access to thousands of plugins that simply make blogging so much easier.
Basically, you can download a plugin for almost anything you want for your blog. You can add an email sign up with a simple plugin, easily add social share buttons with a plugin.
Want a faster site? There's even a plugin for that.
Needless to say, plugins are fantastic to have to improve the functionality of your blog as well as how it looks.
There's even a plugin to help you with SEO and writing your blog posts and as a new blogger, that is key!
Oh, and a lot of these plugins are free!
You've seen those blogs that are on a free platform. You're reading a blog post and then right there, not so subtly is “made by wordpress.com” or made by *insert free blogging platform* and all of that blog's branding is thrown out the window.
Let's face, if you want to take your blogging seriously, you need to look professional. I'm not saying you need a $500 theme with perfect images.
You simply need a blog that is you and only you. You want your brand to stand out because heck, you're the one putting your heart and soul into writing that blog, right?
Not only do you look more professional to the world of the internet but you also look professional to potential brands and collaborations.
If you plan on growing your blog by guest blogging, collaborating with other bloggers or freelance blogging for other entrepreneurs, you need to be self-hosted.
Can you monetize your blog on a free platform?
Yes and no.
Technically it depends on which free platform you are blogging on but yes, you do have the option to monetize your blog but it is VERY limited.
Like I said above if you want to monetize with collaborations like sponsored posts most companies will only look at and accept self-hosted blogs.
Some affiliate marketing companies also look to see if your blog is self-hosted and will only work with those blogs.
If you want to make money with ads, you'll want full control over the ads that are displayed on your blog to ensure they fit with your brand. If you have a self-hosted blog, you will always have more control over how things look.
If you decide you want to add an online shop to your blog or start selling your own products, you have the freedom to do so on a self-hosted blog.
Your audience is more likely to invest in you when you can show them that you are willing to invest in your blog and your business.
The point is, you have the freedom to monetize however the heck you want and have full control of your monetization strategy with a self-hosted blog. With free blogs, you have to abide by their rules…not so fun.
I realize this sounds like an oxymoron but hear me out.
If you start off with a free blog and decide you want to become more serious about blogging chances are you will quickly outgrow your free blog.
Maybe you'll want more features on your blog, more freedom or your own domain. The paid plans for wordpress.com start at $4 a month. Not too bad, but basically all you get is a domain name.
So instead of yourblogname.wordpress.com, it'd be yourblogname.com.
Then it moves up to $8 a month. Okay getting a bit more pricey and you only get a domain name and the chance to monetize with their specified ads. But you still have the “wordpress.com” branding on your blog.
Next up is the “business” package at a whopping $25 a month..uh?
You do get more freedom, you get to remove the “wordpress.com” branding and you get access to premium templates. But you're spending $300 a year.
That's a lot to throw down.
Let's take a look at how much a self-hosted blog costs.
When you have a self-hosted blog, you need to pay for a blogging host and a domain. A host simply hosts your blog and makes sure it is running smoothly, but you have full control over your blog.
I'm going to be focusing on SiteGround because it is one of the hosting company I work with and I completely trust.
For most new bloggers, the StartUp plan at $3.95 a month will be perfect.
So far the price is about the same, but because it's self-hosted you get all the benefits of a self-hosted blog as I've laid out above.
If you purchase your domain and hosting together you will pay about $67 a year. Yes, that's it. That being said, the price does increase after your first year but you have the option to buy hosting for two years for less than $4 a month.
Instead of paying $600 for two years on a free/turned paid blog like WordPress.com you'd pay $134 for two years with a self-hosted blog.
The point is, you're actually going to end up saving money going self-hosted along with the added benefits of running a self-hosted blog.
As I said before, a self-hosted blog isn't for everybody but, if you want to have full control, look professional, get serious and monetize your blog, then self-hosting IS for you.
If you want to start your own self-hosted blog check out this post that walks you through exactly what to do step-by-step and then read this post sharing with you what to do in your first 30 days of blogging.
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