There were 152 million blogs last year in 2011 (source: pingdom). And at the end of 2012 I’m sure that number will double! With that much competition you need to do everything you can to try and get a leg up on them! Not only is it important to have a blog that is unique, with compelling content, and an awesome design. But the main thing is where to host it? Blogger? WordPress.com? Tumblr? Or is there a better solution? I think so – and that is self-hosting! Read on to find out my 7 reasons why you should move your blog to a self host WordPress solution!
Note: This article does have affiliate links within it. If you click on them and sign up for a service I will receive a small commission from the sale.
Besides all of things I have mentioned in my article that would keep me from hitting the back button. There is one thing that is sure to have people hit the back button more than anything – and that is if your site doesn’t load quickly! A good host will be able to offer you the amount of bandwidth and optimized servers to make sure your pages load quickly. But that isn’t enough. Having a properly optimized WordPress site will ensure that your visitors will be presented with a page quickly!
If your using any of the free services out there today you are limited (somewhat) to the design you can implement with them! If you go to a self-hosted solution the only thing holding you back in the design of your blog or website is your imagination! (well.. technical experience and/or budget come into play too.) Why limit yourself in the strict confines of free services? With hosting so cheap now days it is worth it to spend that little bit extra and have it self – hosted instead! I highly suggest getting Studio Press Genesis 2.0 Framework. Sure you’ll have to pay for it but not only does it work great – their child themes look great too!
Read More: Why I switched from Thesis to Genesis
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is that elusive term “experts” toss out stating if you use this your site will be on the top of the Google search results. I am not an expert. I’m a blogger just like you. There are certain things you can do to help you show up in search terms. I won’t guarantee you will get there though. That is up to your ability to write effectively to be able to do that. All I can tell you is that if you do SEO correctly – it will be that much easier for your blog to get found on the internet.
A Self Hosted site is better aimed toward getting you to the top of the searches! With WordPress there are a ton of free tools to help you make sure the information you publish is better aimed for those searching for it! I personally use Yoast’s SEO Plugin and I can I say I can’t live without it!
I would ask yourself one question: If that free service went away tomorrow will all of your hard work still be available to you? Of course if you backup then sure. But now where would you put it? A self-host WordPress solution is a great way to get a sense of ownership over the blog or website you publish to the web.
If you move to a self host solution then you are the sole owner of your property on the web now.
Speaking of Backups…
If you move to a self-host solution vs. the free services offered today? You can backup your entire site easily with the click of a button. If you move to a WordPress blog? It is as simple as getting a Plugin installed that can do all of the hard work for you. But a good host will offer you the ability to backup Everything through your self-host panel (CPanel in my case).
An even better solution is to use a service like Code Guard. I’ve been using them for some time now. You can read the review below to learn more about it!
Read More: Code Guard WordPress Backup Review
6. Technical Support
What kind of technical support do you get with your free service? A Wiki, Codex, FAQ, or Self-Help page? Sure you’ll get these as well with a Self-Host solution but you should also be able to talk to a live human being (even if its just an email!) if you can’t figure something out by yourself. And hopefully that hosting service has some experience with not only the hosting itself but with WordPress as well!
Although free blog services are pretty secure. A Hosted solution can be “hardened” on a few levels deeper than what a free service can provide. Sure you need a good login/password combination to prevent people from accessing your site online. But you also need that added security that the “man behind the curtain” is trying to stop them from even getting to you in the first place. A good hosting service does just that. Add to that by adding a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like CloudFlare implemented means that your site is just that much more secure!
OK, I’m Sold So Where Do I Start?
Register Your Domain Name
Well first I suggest you need to register a domain name! I have been using GoDaddy for just about 10 years for all of my registrar needs so of course I would suggest using them. You could also use Namecheap as well. Both are excellent registrars for domain names.
Find A Host
This is open to great debate. Which host should you move your website to? If you are running a brick and mortar business. You would want only the best materials and have a great location. So why treat your online presence any differently? You need to spend the money so you have not only a fast loading website, but the peace of mind to know that it will be up and running as well. Below are the two options I recommend:
BigScoots – I recently moved to these guys and they have been awesome! If you do a speed test for here over at say Pingdom? You will see what I’m talking about. Did I mention that this is a shared hosting plan still? It might be a bit more expensive then budget hosting. But I can tell you it is well worth the money!
WP Engine – If you don’t want to have to deal with all the issues that arise from having to manage your own WordPress site? I suggest having these folks manage your website for you instead. I recently was working with a client who is on this service and I can see why people choose them. They are pricey but how much is your peace of mind worth?
Install WordPress and Get Started!
So what do you all think though? What is better? A free service or self-hosting?