Free or Self-Hosted: Which WordPress Blog Will Work For You and Your Business?

Online blogging has become a powerful tool for spreading information to a larger audience. Aside from greater visibility, posting valuable content on blogs gives people the chance to reply or leave a comment making the process more interactive.

Blogs are used either for entertainment or business purposes. Whatever your purpose may be, you will always need blog hosting services to create your online identity, establish your presence, and maintain your brand’s visibility. There are two categories for blog hosting: free blog hosting and self-hosted blog platforms.

WordPress is perhaps the best blogging software available on the web. Like any other blog hosting services, WordPress provides users both free and self-hosted blogs – WordPress.com and WordPress Blog, respectively.

Free WordPress or Self Hosted WordPress Blog?
Choosing which blog platform to use is one of the most common questions bloggers ask. There isn’t an absolute correct option between the two WordPress versions mentioned as each platform has its own pros and cons. What can help you with your decision is a clear definition of your purpose in putting up your blog.

Below are some areas of consideration whether you should use the free or the self-hosted WordPress blog:
 

Free WordPress blog

Advantages

  1. Simple Templates – This is ideal for people who don’t have adept knowledge about page layout. It gives you a hassle-free customization experience because ready-made templates, colors, and layouts are provided. This simplifies the process of setting up your own blog or webpage.
  2. Easy to Operate – WordPress’ free edition has user-friendly features. When posting your write-ups, you only need to fill in a few fields and then hit “Publish.” And in a few moments, your work has already been posted.
  3. Good Page Rankings – One great benefit of free blogging platforms is the fact that they are placed on domains which already have good page rankings. This gives you the advantage of getting indexed by search engines quite quickly compared to stand alone or paid blog hosts.

Disadvantages

  1. Limited Theme Customization – The preselected theme doesn’t give you a chance to edit and customize it according to your needs, unless you pay for an upgraded version. Editing the CSS allows users to change minor elements of the theme such as color. Currently you can select from a large number of themes, but if you want your own unique design, you need to migrate to the self-hosted option.
  2. No Plugins – The best part of WordPress is its Plugin feature. Unlike Blogger blogs, WordPress has a large collection of plugins that that you can use to improve your blog. WordPress.com hosted blogs, however, do not allow plugins for security reasons.
  3. No Advertising – If you’re thinking of making money out of your blog, hosting your blog with WordPress.com isn’t the best choice. Advertising in your blog is not allowed so you might need to keep blogging without benefiting much from it. For personal blogging, it may work just fine for you though.
  4. Upgrades - Limitations of WordPress.com hosted blog can be removed by migrating to self-hosted custom domain name.
  5. No Subdomains or Custom Domain Name – WordPress.com hosted blogs do not allow subdomains or customized domain names.

Self-Hosted WordPress blog

A “self-hosted WP blog” is a site that is hosted on your server where you are free to select, edit and customize WordPress themes and select any number of plugins.

Advantages

  1. Unlimited Custom/Editable Theme – You have the freedom to customize your blog’s theme. This gives your blog greater flexibility to represent how you would want people to view you or to characterize what your business is all about.
  2. Unlimited Plugins – Because there is no plugin limitation, you have the privilege to add several features in your blog which are in-accessable in the free WordPress blog.
  3. Allowed Advertisements – Advertisements in your blog will give you the opportunity to earn extra while you disseminate information in your blog.
  4. Unique domain name – Using custom domain names will boost your website’s or your blog’s online identity as it can be distinguished from other blogs. Coming up with a highly interesting domain name will catch web visitors’ attention.

Disadvantages

  1. Technicality Issue – If you don’t have a clear grasp of customizing your own page, setting up your blog the way you want it to appear will be a major headache.
  2. Databases and Platforms Concern – Downloading databases and platforms for self-hosted WordPress blog is somewhat a difficult task. You can ask an expert to help you out with these things but you might incur huge cost in doing so.
  3. Costly to maintain – Maintaining a hosted blog can really drain your pocket. Some charge annual fees plus a separate cost for hosting while others can easily tack on monthly charges.

The aspects listed above serve as a condensed outline of the differences, benefits, and drawbacks of free and self-hosted WordPress blogs. The decision regarding which to choose between the two platforms all depends on you, your purpose, and your target audience. If you only wish to share valuable information regarding your company, then the former will work. But if you want to share content and become an authoritative voice in your industry, and at the same time earn money from it, the latter is much better.

Whichever you choose, it will be for the best interest of your business. And if you need assistance with hosting your blog, hire a web development virtual assistant and let them take care of your WordPress worries.