When you are planning to start your own blog, you will be faced with two choices – either to host with a free blogging platform or spend some money and host on a self-hosted blogging platform. And understanding their advantages and disadvantages, and utilizing them to your benefit will decide how well you are able to make the blog a success.
Here are some basic major differences between free and self-hosted blogging platforms that you should know before starting a blog.
When you opt for a free blogging platform, you will be provided with a domain name that is only a subdomain of the platform domain.
For example, if you are registering a blog at freeblogs4u.com, then you will be getting a domain like XXXXX.freeblogs4u.com. In contrast, with a self-hosted blogging platform, you can use a completely custom domain of your choice.
So, if you are starting a food blog, then you can book a domain like Dimplesfoodblog.com or something similar.
The success of a blog will depend on how well you have done the SEO for it. The more optimized you make the blog for search engines, the more your chances of getting massive traffic.
And in this regard, self-hosted blogging platforms win hands down. With a free blogging platform, you will only have a limited ability to do proper SEO. Since you cannot change the entire code of the blog, you won’t be able to implement the optimization techniques you really want. But with a self-hosted blogging platform, you can do the best SEO for your blog since you have complete control over it.
Self-hosted blogs also appear more professional than a free blog. When you host your blog on a free blogging platform, you will only be using a sub-domain of the platform, which will make your blog look amateurish. Similarly, the logo of the platform and its trademark will likely appear at the bottom of your blog. And to top it all off, your blog might also contain ads of the platform.
These are things that will make your blog look cheap and unprofessional. But if you opt for a self-hosted blogging platform, all such downsides can be avoided and you can truly appear as a professional blog.
‘Free’ May Not Mean Free
Now, just because it says ‘free’ does not mean that the blogging platform will be totally ‘free’. You may not be required to pay anything, but may have to agree to certain conditions that you might not like.
After all, investors of the free blogging platform require revenues to keep themselves afloat. Else, how will they be able to provide their service? Normally, such ‘free’ blogging platforms earn revenue by showing ads on the user’s blogs.
So, if you set up a blog with them, you can expect one or two ads to be shown on the blog. But when it comes to a self-hosted blogging platform, you don’t have to agree to such things. Since you are paying for it and are in complete control of the platform, no ads will be shown on your blogs.