6 Signs That You’re Ready to Self Host your Blog

5 Signs That You're Ready to Self Host

People include me begin blogging, start with a free blog on a hosted service, like WordPress.com or Blogger. Easy-to-use and inexpensive, these services are ideal for a hobbyist or someone just testing the blogger waters.

As your blog starts to take off, though, and the audience increases, there’s a good chance that you’ll begin to see the limitations of the free platform, and wish you could do more to customize your blog and take it to the next level.

While free blogging services have many great features, they aren’t always ideal for the serious blogger. There almost inevitably comes a point when you have to ask yourself if it’s time to make a bigger investment and self-host your blog. If you aren’t sure, here are five telltale signs that it’s time to take the plunge.

While free blogging services have many great features, they aren’t always ideal for the serious blogger. There almost inevitably comes a point when you have to ask yourself if it’s time to make a bigger investment and self-host your blog. If you aren’t sure, here are five telltale signs that it’s time to take the plunge.

There almost inevitably comes a point when you have to ask yourself if it’s time to make a bigger investment and self-host your blog. If you aren’t sure, here are five telltale signs that it’s time to take the plunge.

1.You’re Serious About Blogging

If your blog is just a hobby, something you update occasionally to let friends and family know what you’re up to or to share your thoughts on the world, then a free hosted blog is probably enough. But if you are serious about blogging, and want to turn it into a business, build a large following, or become a thought leader, then a self-hosted blog is a necessity.

But if you are serious about blogging, and want to turn it into a business, build a large following, or become a thought leader, then a self-hosted blog is a necessity.

2. You Want to Earn Money

When you have a popular blog with good traffic, you can earn money from it — in some cases, a lot of money, from ads, affiliate links, sponsorships, product sales, and more. The problem, though, is that monetizing your blog when it’s hosted by the free service isn’t quite so simple.

Usually, you have little to no control over the ads that appear on your site, and the ads are limited to those that belong to the platform’s ad network. Not to mention, depending on the service, not all blogs even qualify to be a part of the ad network. When you host your blog yourself, you have far more options for monetization and have a greater chance of turning your blog into a source of income.

Not to mention, depending on the service, not all blogs even qualify to be a part of the ad network. When you host your blog yourself, you have far more options for monetization and have a greater chance of turning your blog into a source of income.

For example, popular blogging platform WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to use advertising. They’ve mentioned in their advertising page that you’re not allowed to use AdSense, Buysellads or any other ad networks.

3. You Want a Custom Design

Free blogs are perfect for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time designing a site and tinkering with the look of the page. However, as you become more serious about blogging, chances are you will develop some ideas about how you want your blog to look, and want to develop a custom website design that more accurately reflects your brand.

When you self-host, you can design your site to appear exactly the way you want it. For example, should you develop a WordPress.org site, you will have access to a far wider range of themes that you can customize to your unique brand style.

There are many companies out there who provide great WordPress themes at the low price. My favorites are ElegantThemes and MyThemeShop.

4. You Want Access Tools to Improve Your Site

Much like a self-hosted blog allows greater freedom with design, it also offers the option of using additional tools and plug-ins that help you grow and improve your blog.

For example, you’ll have the option of adding a plugin to automatically run backups, something that you’ll appreciate should your blog ever be hacked or crash. Currently, most free blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger don’t allow the use of such tools, so if you want to add them, you need to self-host.

5. You Want to Add Features Like E-Commerce

Hosted blogging platforms like WordPress.com have strict rules when it comes to e-commerce, making it virtually impossible to run a successful online store — unless you are only selling items you make yourself, and you are willing to install a PayPal plug-in and only accept PayPal for payments. Adding other features on free platforms, like a

Adding other features on free platforms, like podcast, generally means that you need to purchase more storage space. If you’re going to pay for that space, it’s not that much more to purchase a self-hosting package, which generally includes unlimited disk space, and customize the site however you want.

6. You Want More Reliability and Control

Finally, hosting your blog yourself gives you infinitely more control over the reliability and performance of your site. Loading speeds on free hosting platforms can sometimes get sluggish during peak times, potentially frustrating your readers. These platforms also tend to have more downtime than is ideal, thanks again to the number of people who are using them at once.

Not to mention, according to the terms of service for many of these services, you don’t actually have total control over your blog.

Hidden among the legalese and small print, you’ll often find clauses that allow the provider to shut down your blog at any time and for any reason. Imagine losing all of your hard work because of some perceived violation of the TOS. When you self-host, you maintain the control over your content and your site.

Final Note:

Taking your blog from a free platform to a self-hosted server is a major decision. You should only do so when you are ready to invest some money —remember, a successful blog is not free— and time into making the site as good as it can be. It’s more difficult to take a break when you’ve built a large audience, but if you’re ready to go to the next level, it begins with self-hosting.

Which blogging platform are you using? Is it Self-hosted? Let me know in comments.

6 Signs That You’re Ready to Self Host your Blog
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