Self hosted blogs seem to be the golden standard for bloggers whenever you do a quick internet search, but does it apply to you?
And I wish I had a straight forward answer for you, but I don’t.
It really depends on what your reason to blog is, and what you want to achieve. If you just love blogging and want to share what you know with the
If your blog isn’t your main platform and
But if you want to make money directly off your blog, hope to sell it off to someone else one day in the future, or collect emails and do email marketing then having a
Why free blogging platforms don’t work if you want to make money as a blogger
The most common free blogging platforms are WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogger and Wix. All of these platforms allow you to create a free website and begin blogging within a few minutes of creating an account.
But they all share some common pitfalls of free blogging platforms.
You will never be able to properly brand your blog
These platforms are businesses themselves and like every business, they have a brand. Being a blog on the platform means you’re a facet of the business that has to comply with the brand.
Tumblr is the best example of this. Every Tumblr blog looks the same. You can customise the header, the logo and the little details but all Tumblr blogs look like “Tumblr blogs”
In fact you never say it’s “xyz blog”, it’s always “that Tumblr blog about…”
Now Tumblr is an extreme case of limited branding possibilities, but all free blogging platforms have limitations to some degree. From the available blog themes to the available fonts, and the design options.
The inability to brand your blog freely the way you want means it instantly effects your ability to target your intended niche or even limit the niches you can target.
Your blog will never look 100% trustworthy or professional enough to buy something off from
Free blogging platforms are free because the platform lets you blog on THEIR platform. And at the very core, your blog will never look like a free standing blog, because it isn’t.
URLs on these free blogging platforms are confined to the platform’s main domain structure. This means your blog will look something like this: xyz.blogspot.com or xyz.tumblr.com.
If you plan to make money from your site, the most important thing a website must convey is credibility. Anything that indicates your blog not being professional is going to prevent a
And a weird looking url that has another brand name in it, is the best example of an indicator that’s going to make readers think a blog is unreliable to buy from.
Free blogging platforms have restrictions on what you can do
Each blogging platform will have their own set of rules on what you can and cannot do. Some allow ads and you can earn Adsense. Some allow the collection of emails. Some allow affiliate links.
But at the end of the day, none of them allows you free roam on how you can monetise. And these blogging platforms reserve the right to change what they allow and not allow at anytime.
If you’re looking to make money off your blog then you need to know all the effort you put in building up an income stream won’t disappear overnight.
That’s just not guaranteed when you don’t own your business outright. Because a blog you plan to make money from is a business at the end of the day.
Why free blogging platforms aren’t good for bloggers who want traffic
So its obvious that blogging platforms aren’t the best option to make your blog profitable. And it’s fine when money isn’t the goal.
But free blogging platforms also pose a challenge for bloggers looking to build huge readerships. You don’t need a lot of traffic to make money, but you definitely do need a lot of traffic to accumulate fame, reputation and authority within your niche.
Unlike self hosted blogs, yours will be very slow
Blogging platforms store all the blogs on the same server, which means the loading speed on these sites tend to underperform compared to self hosted sites where hosting service providers ensure servers are never at over capacity.
Slow loading speeds effect user experience and effect search engine rankings. 70% of internet users will click away if an internet takes longer than 2 seconds to load.
2 seconds is not a lot of time. It is not entirely easy to achieve with self hosting let alone on a blogging platform where you have no hosting options.
Search engines aren’t the only traffic source a blog can target, but it is the biggest source of traffic. So having a blog where it won’t be optimised for search engines is a big blow to any blogger’s dreams of creating a big following.
You don’t have ownership of your content and data
Many platforms don’t explicitly tell you this, but it’s in the terms and conditions of most. The content you write on these platforms and the data you have on these platforms are not legally yours.
In practice this doesn’t mean much as long as you keep doing things unchanged.
The problem occurs when you want to change platforms. Decide one day to transition to a
Without these abilities, any audience you build will belong to the platform. Your readers are never truly yours unless you can somehow convince them to follow you manually to your new location online.
Limited storage and limit on size
Just as your blog will be slow because of over stuffed servers, blogger platforms will put a cap on your usage to try to manage this problem.
What this means is that every blogger is only allowed to use a certain amount of storage on the server and have a cap on how many pages you can create. (pages also include the blog posts you have and not just the static pages on your website)
Once you reach your cap, you need to pay for extra storage at rates that are higher than traditional hosting service providers.
Yup, that’s right.
If you do require more space and are willing to pay you’ll be overpaying. But what else can you do, because you don’t own your data or content. You can’t move to another platform without effectively starting from scratch.
So who on earth should actually use these free blogging platforms?
I’ve painted a pretty bleak picture of free blogging platforms, but they do have their place in the blogging community.
At the end of the day, if you don’t plan to make money from your blog, if you are not in a rush to create a readership within a year or two then a free blogging platform is a great option to consider.
These platforms make it as simple as it can be to start blogging. It’s a convenient platform to get creative and share what you know with others without dealing with any of the complicated techy-behind-the-scenes stuff.
If your blog doesn’t need to generate traffic on its own. For example you drive traffic from an external location to your blog and the blog is a simple platform to share information then a free blogging platform is the perfect solution.
It’s free, and easy to use and gets the job done of delivery you information to your audience.
But if you’re thinking of creating an audience with your blog and trying to monetise that blog then self hosting is the ONLY viable option a blogger should take.