Technology amazes me. Things that I never would have considered doing a few years ago are now commonplace because of the advancement of technology and the ease of use that has been created along with that advancement. There are still many discussions that go on about whether or not you should self host your blog.
Despite all the benefits of self hosting your blog, people are still reluctant to do it. I think the main reason is that even though technology advances, our mind sets are stuck in the past. This has historically been true. Today's issue is the state of print newspapers (RIP). In the past it was records over tapes or digital music over CDs. We have a hard time advancing technologically and the same is true with setting up a web site. It's just not as difficult as it used to be, yet we assume that it is.
Sites like wordpress.org and others have made it so easy to do it but it's just like everything else. To learn it, you need to jump in and do it. No one is naturally inclined to work with technology. These habits are learned and in the end it is true that some end up enjoying working with technology more than others but that doesn't mean that you can't do it.
So why go through the trouble of self hosting your blog. Here are my top 5:
Janet Jackson is all over this one. Control is a huge reason particularly for business owners. You don't want to create content that you can't control. When you use a free hosting service, you are giving up control. Why are you giving up control?
The first reason is that if you want to move your blog to a different service or URL, you can't take the content with you. The content stays there. I suppose you could try and copy and past every post that you have created onto your new site but if you have been blogging for an extended period of time, that exercise would take forever. You are basically starting all over again which kills months and years of hard work.
The second issue of concern is that if a free site doesn't approve of your content, you will get shut down. Do a search and you will find stories of individuals who have visited their blog only to find a message like this waiting for them. Also, another question to ask is, what if your blog service shuts down? What will you do then?
2. Customization and Functionality
With a self hosted blog, you have much more flexibility with your blog. You have more theme options, with a service like wordpress.org, you have access to plug ins that enhance your site. You can add buttons, capture pages etc to your site. The more you can customize your site, the more likely you are to create a better user experience for your readers.
Despite what you read in some circles, branding is still important. A self hosted blog means a customized domain name as well as the ability to create a look and feel for your blog that is consistent with other material you use for your business.
Of course your blog is to provide great content from your readers. If they want to work with you or purchase from you, it's also nice to be able to present your products and services as well. Most free hosted blogs are shut down due to spam violations. When you run your blog, you don't have to worry about that.
You are also able to run any affiliate campaigns or adwords campaigns freely as well. From as SEO standpoint, you are able to modify your blog to optimize it for search. These are all essential pieces if you want your blog to assist your business in generating revenue.
This is an often overlooked component that I will be talking about more in the coming weeks but I ran across a great piece that included this aspect as a benefit here. Setting up your own site and learning how to maintain will give you a tremendous amount of confidence in working with technology going forward. The more you understand the architecture of a site, the more you can see how it can be used as a tool to benefit your business as well as your clients.
There's my top 5. What else would you add to this list as reasons to self host your blog? What are the reason that you don't currently self host? Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.