Should I Move My Blog to Self Hosted WordPress?
If you are a blogger chances are you’re using either Tumblr, Blogspot or WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) to host your blog. These are free services that allow you to get a blog online easily, but within the confines of their services because they are only blogging platforms and offer little else. If you need more functionality then self hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) is the solution for you.
What is self hosted WordPress?
In our what is web hosting knowledge base we describe web hosting using the analogy of a warehouse that distributes your website’s content to your users. When you’re using a third party platform such as Blogspot or Tumblr this analogy changes a little as you don’t “own” the warehouse and so have to abide by its restrictions. When you’re self hosted you not only own your content, but you own the “warehouse” too. This means you have total control of how it functions and what it stores, although it also means you’re responsible for it’s upkeep, but we’ll go onto that a little later.
“Owning” the “warehouse” also means you are able to decide what software you want to use to power your website. There are many choices available to you, but we always recommend WordPress (wordpress.org) due to its ease of use and power making it ideal for beginners and pros alike. You can read more about why we recommend using WordPress for your self hosted website or blog.
Why go self hosted?
There are many advantages to going self hosted. As previously mentioned, the greater control you’ll have is probably the biggest of these advantages. This is noticeable in 3 areas in particular:
Although 3rd party blogging platforms offer some design customisation tools you’re very much limited to their framework. With your self hosted WordPress site you can implement almost any kind of design you can imagine within the confines of your ability or budget if you’re using a web designer. However, you needn’t be limited by your ability or experience as there are a great variety of free and paid themes available so you can implement your dream design for your blog with ease.
Perhaps the biggest reason for moving your blog to self hosted WordPress is the endless functionality that you’ll be unlocking. With an abundant supply of quality, free and premium plugins at your disposal, the possibilities are endless.
When you’re using a 3rd party service such as Blogspot you don’t own the content per se. There are many stories of bloggers who’s blogs have been deleted by Google on Blogspot for example, and often for no apparent reason. Innocent bloggers that aren’t spamming or doing anything untoward, but sometimes the algorithms that determine abuse can get things wrong. When you go self hosted you own your platform that means as long as you aren’t doing anything illegal there should be no reason for your site to disappear.
Making money from your blog becomes easier when you’re self hosted due to the limitless functionality. There are many great ad management tools available as plugins or you could even sell merchandise using an ecommerce plugin. How you monetise your blog is up to you.
How do I know if I’m ready to move?
Chances are for most people staying on one of the free platforms is viable, however if you reach a point where you are getting serious about your blogging then self hosted WordPress is definitely for you.
You are ready if…
If you’re starting to get decent traffic being self hosted can open you up to new ways in which you can engage with your audience.
If you’re beginning to get a lot of advertising queries then being self hosted can enable you to easily monetise your website in a multitude of ways.
If you reach a point where you need greater control over your blog’s appearance and functionality then self hosting is the only way to achieve this.
You are not ready if…
Something to bare in mind is that you’ll now be responsible for things such as keeping your WordPress install and plugins up to date. This is a simple 1 click process and WordPress now even automatically pushes out minor updates, however if you’re not ready to take on maintenance and upkeep then self hosted WordPress may not be for you, but as stated it’s a simple one click process and your WordPress blog will notify you when updates are available. Also if you are truly serious about taking your blog to the next level then this should be a trivial hurdle.
You’ll also be responsible for things such as security and backups which can be daunting, however if you find a good web host such as ourselves we ensure the correct measures are taken so you don’t have to worry about your blog.
If you’ve decided you’re ready to move your blog to self hosted WordPress then the next step is to discover how to move. In the coming days and weeks we’ll be publishing easy steps to help you migrate your blog from either Blogspot, Tumblr and WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress.org sites.
Image from Serge Kij