The other day, a blogger in one of my Facebook groups asked an alarming question.
“Has anyone had their blog taken down completely?”
I had to read it twice to understand what she meant.
And when it did sink in, all I could think of was that that must have hurt.
Having your blog removed or deleted overnight without your control is a blogger’s worst nightmare.
ALL YOUR HARD WORK GONE.
All those countless hours writing, editing, revising, creating graphics, building your traffic, and community for it to disappear in an instant.
I would probably be in shock and then feel sad about it for days.
And this got me thinking about how, when you’re at the beginning of your blogging and creative biz journey, how can you avoid something like this happening to you?
Well, the answer is to have a self-hosted blog.
I’ll get into this more later on, but when I started my money-making blog, I chose to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog.
When you’re a new blogger, you have so many options when it comes to blogging platforms.
There are WordPress.com and WordPress.org
And tons of other platforms to choose.
It can be a headache to decide.
And it’ll take days to research every single platform.
It could take you into that soul-sucking, analysis paralysis hole when all you wanted was to write and build a creative business.
But research is essential.
You must do your due diligence, especially when you are starting a business.
Because when you choose the wrong platform, well, what happened to that blogger that I mentioned earlier could happen to you.
And that’s the last thing you want.
But I’m sure as you do your research one thing you’ll come across is this sentiment:
Why the heck do so many people say to have a self-hosted WordPress blog?
In the last fifteen years, I’ve tried my fair share of blogging platforms: Xanga, Multiply, Livejournal, Tumblr, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and Squarespace.
And the majority of the blogs I set up were WordPress.org blogs.
Before I get into all the details about the benefits of having a self-hosted WordPress blog, you might be thinking, “What does a self-hosted WordPress blog” mean?
Let’s get right into it, then.
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What is a self-hosted WordPress blog?
To answer this, you need to know the difference between a WordPress.com and WordPress.org blog.
Automattic, Inc creates both.
The main difference is that WordPress.com comes with free hosting, while WordPress.org is open-source software with no hosting service.
With WordPress.com, you get to create your blog with a few steps.
And it will look like this: yourblogname.wordpress.com.
Yes, you can purchase a plan that allows you to have your domain without the word “WordPress” in your blog link.
With WordPress.org, the WordPress software is free; however, you need to purchase a domain (your blog link) and a web hosting service that will host your blog.
It only takes a few minutes to install WordPress. I get more in-depth with setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog in my how to start a money-making blog course as well as being able to set-up your blog strategically.
So if you’re curious to know about what it’s like having a self-hosted WordPress blog and the benefits of it, let’s dive in.
You have complete control of your content
You won’t have to worry about someone deleting your blog overnight.
Yes, this is the first and most significant benefit I want to point out, especially after sharing that story with you at the beginning of the post.
Imagine if you had been building a money-making blog for months or years only for it to be gone in an instant and without notice?
You’ll be starting again from scratch.
With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you have complete control of your blog.
There is no need to worry about your blog shutting down or getting deleted.
Because if you have a blog on a platform that comes with hosting, whether that’s Squarespace or WordPress.com, you have to abide by their guidelines. While some blogging platforms say you own your content, but if you violate any of those guidelines or if one day they decided to shut down their platform (this is highly unlikely but look what happened to Myspace or Multiply), you’ll say buh-bye to your blog.
While I’ve tried WordPress.com and can vouch that it’s easier to use than WordPress.org, since learning about how I have complete control with WordPress.org, I haven’t looked back.
I know that choosing a self-hosted WordPress blog gives you additional work because you have to choose a hosting provider, install WordPress, and set up your blog, it will be worth it.
Especially if it means you can sleep soundly at night knowing that there’s no chance of someone deleting your blog.
HOWEVER, don’t forget to regularly backup the content in your blog even if you have a self-hosted one. You’ll have to check the details of SiteGround, DreamHost and Lyrical Host to see which (and if any) of their plans include a daily backup.
You can never predict if someone hacks your site or that you accidentally mess up your blog theme with a wrong move.
These are still risks whether you’re self-hosted or not.
So better safe than sorry!
You can customise your blog the way you want to
One of the things I love about a self-hosted WordPress blog is the flexibility it comes in terms of blog design.
You can design it the way you want to.
And you can do this in multiple ways:
- Look for a theme that matches your exact look and brand – there are thousands of WordPress themes available. WordPress.com has limited themes to choose from, and if you want to install a premium theme, you have to upgrade to their Business or e-Commerce plan.
- Install a plug-in – A plug-in is additional software that you can install to your blog to have a particular feature. For example, if your current theme doesn’t have a contact form, you can install a piece of software–a plug-in so that you get that feature on your blog. Take note that on WordPress.com, you can install plug-ins but only with certain plans (which you pay monthly for).
- Code your blog yourself – if you’re tech-savvy, then this is the best option for you especially if you have a specific look you want to achieve
- Hire someone to code your blog – if you’re not tech-savvy or you simply want to outsource this, then you can.
So let’s say you want a slider on your home page or a pop-up when someone has been on your site after 15 seconds.
There’s a theme with that functionality or a plug-in for that.
You can choose from thousands of plug-ins to customise your blog.
While specific blogging platforms can offer you customization options, these options might only be available when you upgrade your blog account.
With a self-hosted WordPress blog, if there’s a theme you’d like to purchase online or an expert to code your blog for you, your investment will be one-time versus that monthly plan payment.
So remember to check which of these options will be more cost-effective in the long run.
You can host ads or sell your products
If one of your goals with your blog is to make money, then hosting ads or selling your products, be it digital or physical, is something you’d want to be able to do with your blog.
Hosting advertisements or selling products are just some of the ways you can make money online.
I talk more about how you can monetise your blog in my online course.
While you can monetize a blog through affiliate marketing, you have to check if the blogging platform you want allows it on their platform.
A lot of bloggers make money from advertisements and even launching their products.
And with a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can do both.
Since you have complete control over your content, you decide whether or not you want to include ads in your blog and where you want them (in the header, inside a blog post or in the sidebar).
You have control if you want to be able to have a shop section in your blog offering your products or services.
And the great thing is that whether it’s to host an ad or open up shop, you can do this by either installing a plug-in or adding a piece of code to your blog.
I am not saying you can’t do these with other blogging platforms, but again, this depends per platform.
For example, with Squarespace, you can choose a blog plan that has e-commerce functionalities.
In terms of ads, if you’re blogging with WordPress.com, I know that their free plan automatically comes with advertisements that they pick and earn. However, if you upgrade to one of their plans, you can turn off these ads and sign up for WordAds to be able to show ads (though you cannot choose which ad you want to run) or run your ads under their Business Plan.
You’re setting up your blog for success
It’s no wonder thousands of bloggers have a self-hosted WordPress blog because of the complete control of their content and flexibility in terms of design.
Again, I want to note that just because you do not have a self-hosted WordPress blog doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.
My main point is that you are one step closer to safeguarding all of your content, and you are treating your blog as a business.
And as a content creator, content is your most valuable asset.
Of course, all this goes back to doing your due diligence and proper research.
I highly recommend that before you purchase something (even if it’s something I have written in my blog) to do your research and see if that product or service is right for you and your needs.
Because it’s all about what will work for you.
And I want you to have a blogging business that you are proud of and that you are confident with.
So, for example, I mentioned that the blog hosts you can consider are SiteGround, DreamHost and Lyrical Host. However, if after doing your research, you find a better provider that offers the type of plan for your needs, then, by all means, go for that.
Because if you want to turn your blog into a profitable biz, you want to make sure you invest in the right tools that are right for you.
As a recap, the benefits of having a self-hosted WordPress blog are as follows:
- You have complete control of your content
- You can customise your blog to your exact specifications
- You can host ads or sell your products
- You’re setting up your blog for success
If there’s anything you take away from this post, I hope it’s that no matter what blogging platform you chose, you go with a self-hosted blog, especially if you want to create a biz out of it.
Protect your content. And do your proper research.