Free Websites (or blogs) Vs. Self-Hosted – ahhhh, the confusion! Almost all people who have delved into the world of online marketing will come up against this decision if they are serious about developing a serious web presence, making more sales or building their team. There is no doubt that if you have a business of any kind, you NEED a website. But what is better for your business – free or self-hosted?
Granted, a lot of people just starting out have limited funds when it comes to start-up costs and many home businesses give you a replicated website of some kind in order to make sales. But, that does not set you apart as a leader or an expert in your niche, does it? No, you are simply another rep, another distributor, another person with a website exactly like everyone else in your company. It does nothing for your branding purposes.
And this is where having your own website comes in.
Many people mistake having their own domain name as having their own website and this is another big mistake. Forwarding a domain (or pointing it) towards another website that you don’t own may make you stand out a bit, but again, it does nothing for you when it comes to being able to establish your online presence.
In this blog I will attempt to remedy the confusion between having a free blog or website such as blogger or wordpress.org and having your own self-hosted website by examining the pros and cons of each.
Let’s start with free websites, shall we?
What Is A Free Blogging Platform?
A free blogging platform or website service is exactly that – you can sign up for free, use their services for free, blog for free, etc. Blogger, WIX, etc. Of course, always remember, there may be additional costs recommended once you are set up. When most people hear “free”, they scream, “It’s For MEEEE!” – BUT what you should be screaming is “LIMITING!“!
Ok, so what are the PROS of having a website platform that is free?
- Free – no initial start up costs.
- Easily set up and maintained with no experience or specialized knowledge.
Umm… that’s about it.
Now, on to the CONS:
- Your website’s files will be stored on the servers of your chosen website platform.
- Unless you purchase and redirect your own domain, your website url will carry the platform’s domain name. (think blahblahblah.blogspot.com)
- Limited bandwidth, memory space and video time.
- Limited advertising options making it very hard to earn money with your site.
- You will have very little control of your site including but not limited to how it looks, what plugins you can have, SEO, etc.
- The website platform basically owns your site.
Now, let’s talk about Self-Hosted sites!
What Does It Mean To Have A Self-Hosted Site?
A self-hosted blog or website is one that resides on your own server although most people opt for paying a third-party to host their site such as GoDaddy or HostGator. This still gives you all the benefits of having a self-hosted site. Think of it as renting digital storage space for your website.
What Are The PROS Of Having A Self-Hosted Website?
- You have full control over your own website or blog! YOU get to choose it’s layout, it’s SEO (search engine optimization), it’s additional functions, the ways you want to monetize it and more!
- You have complete access to all of your back-end files, allowing you to make any changes to your site’s code.
- It is a thousand times more professional!
- Third-party hosting is cheap!
And the CONS??
- It does require an initial investment.
- For beginners, it can be a little confusing and takes a bit of education to be able to do it yourself.
Oh GAWD! I mentioned investment!
So, here’s the deal – you’re gonna need a domain name, website hosting, certain plug-ins or themes if you want them and if you need to hire someone to build your website / blog for you because you don’t know how or don’t have the time to learn, there is that. But the rewards make those investments totally worth it!
Building a business online is just like any other business – you have to invest in it (and yourself) in order to make it work. Free can be ok, especially if you are not really serious about what you are doing. But, if you really want to see success, having your own website / blog is of utmost importance.
All the best,
~ Carrie A Medford
P.S. – If you would like to learn about how to set up your own website / blog using WordPress, which I highly recommend, I’ve got some free videos to get you started. Snag them by clicking the banner below:
If you need a web designer or help with your blog / website, feel free to contact me to set up a consultation: