Why Should I Self Host My Blog? [Podcast]
In this episode, Jonathan and Bob discuss the importance of “self hosting” your blog.
In this podcast you will learn:
- The difference between wordpress.com and worpress.org
- Why you could be in danger with blogger.com and wordpress.com
- The difference between renting vs. owning
- How to build virtual real estate
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Why Should I Self Host My Blog?
You can also download the PDF Transcript here.
Jonathan: We are going to cover and actually answer the question, “Why self host my blog?”
Now, let me just help you right there if you don’t know what self hosting means, we are going to explain it so that you really understand it. Self hosting your own blog is what’s going to separate you from the people who are just kind of doing this on the side, like an online journal and those who desire to grow a blog and possibly even earn a full-time living.
We’ve got a couple of points that we are going to cover here. The first one is we are going to answer the question, what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? There is a lot of confusion that is surrounded around this whole idea when people first get started. Wouldn’t you say Bob?
What’s the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
Bob: Yes, it’s a confusing topic and I remember at the beginning when I started I was confused about this for a while until somebody clarified it. Then all of a sudden it was like, that makes sense it’s not that confusing. We when you don’t really understand and you just hear WordPress tossed around and you don’t realize that there is two different things, then that can be kind of confusing.
Kind of stepping back into what you’re talking about Jonathan, let’s go ahead and talk about hosting real quick. What we mean by hosting is basically, if you just write in a Microsoft Word doc on your computer that file is saved somewhere, and it’s most likely saved on your hard drive of your computer. When you have a website and you have all of these documents and files they all have to be saved somewhere. Most likely it’s not going to be on your computer, but it’s going to be on a server somewhere else, probably a hosting company.
The reason you’re going to do that is so that they can be accessible to everybody all over the world. They can come to your website and access all of your articles and blog posts that you have there. This hosting process, and that’s essentially what hosting is, it just means that somebody is storing all of your files and all of your articles, pictures, and everything else.
What’s going on with WordPress.com and blogger.com, they both function the same way. They are, I don’t know the terminology is, basically they are hosting the website for you. If you go start a blog at WordPress.com or blogger.com for that matter, you can go in there and just start a blog and you don’t even have to think about this hosting process, they just take care of all of it for you. You can just go in and start writing and your articles are there, and magically in the back end they’re doing all the work of posting this for you.
That is to be contrasted with WordPress.org, which is how you self host your blog. By self hosting we obviously mean, you are going to take care of the hosting process. That can be an intimidating process, but essentially all it really entails is you going to hire some hosting company who’s going to take care of storing all of these files for you.
Did I cover everything there, Jonathan?
Renting vs. Owning Your Blog
Jonathan: Yes, and I think that is the important distinction in more or less this is what we are getting with WordPress.com, and even the blogger.com, is basically you’re renting. You are renting the space like you would if you were to go out and get a house, you have a landlord, the landlord has certain rules, certain terms that you need to meet. Yes, there are some advantages initially starting with WordPress.com because of the simplicity of it. But you do not have the control like you would when you own your own home.
Like when you rent, they may not want you to paint the house, they may not want you to add additional features onto your home, they may not want you to add a sun room on the back, or an above ground pool. You are limited in the capacity to what you can do on that property, because you’re just renting it.
It is the same thing with WordPress.com and the blogger.com, if you do not have the control like you do when you own your own site.
Like Bob said, WordPress.org is the place for you go and you get the information, and it’s a place for you can get files as well to host everything on your own. That’s kind of the biggest distinction between the two.
I want to share a quick example, and Bob I know you have a couple quick examples of the downside to doing the renting.
For me it was, I started a self productivity blog, kind of in the very beginning of my blogging career. I had one self hosted blog, and then I started a free blog on WordPress.com. This self productivity blog was something where I just poured out some productivity ideas that I had that I felt were really foundational, things that I learned about time management and just getting more done. I kind shelved it for a little while, six to nine months, somewhere in that time frame and focused on my other blog for a while.
Then there came to a place where I felt like I wanted to go back and kind of resurrect some of that information. What I found out was shocking, my WordPress.com account had pretty much been shut down due to inactivity. There was no way for me to access my host, all that content I had written I couldn’t get access to, I mean it was just completely shut down. That’s because according to their terms and conditions they can do whatever they want. They could get rid of that information if there is no activity there after a while.
Bob, go ahead and share a couple of other examples if you would about the downsides of renting.
Bob: I actually have to second what you said, because I had that same experience happen. That’s one thing that could happen. I heard a story, actually multiple instances, of bloggers who use the blogger platform for their blog, and they have their blog at blogger. The one girl had tons and tons of pictures. I think she had been blogging for year two, or more. Just had a whole bunch of pictures on her blog and when she opened up her Google+ account and when in there, and she did something where she deleted the picture in her Google+ account or deleted multiple pictures, I don’t know what happened.
Basically, there was a kink in the system apparently and the system ended up deleting all of the pictures on her blog. So she made a change to a Google+ account and eliminated and removed all of the pictures on her blog. Last I heard, there was no way to get them back, they were just gone.
That’s kind of one of the things that, like we’re talking about just not having that control. I can imagine how frustrating that would be.
There was another issue probably a few months back where I think the entire blogger system, I guess their servers crashed or something. Everybody with the blogger site, their blog was down for like six hours or something one day.
All those people their blog is down and they can’t do anything about it, they can call their host to complain, or they can call a friend, or hire someone to go fix it. They just have to wait until the system comes back up. It’s things like that, that make us really like self hosting. It can be a little bit more difficult at the beginning to get going.
The advantages of having that control and being able to back up your site, and being able to call your host when the site goes down, and being able to hire somebody to go fix it if something breaks. Rather than just having to sit there and be at the mercy of someone else. It’s just a really compelling argument for self hosting your own blog.
Oh go ahead Jonathan.
Jonathan: I was going to say, Yes absolutely. I am totally with you. I had a friend who has had quite a bit of traffic on a blogger blog, and he makes a good amount of AdSense income, that six hours was devastating for him. There’s nothing like having your business go down. If you’re frustrated with where your hosting is and they’re down for whatever reason, or you’re just frustrated with them, you can always figure out ways to switch to a different host. I can tell you from my experience, and although it’s only been a couple of years.
I can think of one instance with HostGator where my site was even remotely having any problems for less than 15-20 minutes. That’s a pretty good record there and the fact that you got control over being able to back up all of your content. There’s just a lot more features that we can get into, obviously right now we are not getting into plug-ins and things like that. There are additional features that you can add to your site when you can when you’re just in the renting phase.
I don’t know if you have anything else to add to that Bob, but I was just going to jump in and talk about this last point. Do you have something you want add?
Bob: No, go for it.
You Are Building Virtual Real Estate
Jonathan: OK. This last point is, and I think that this is important because you are building virtual real estate. When you’re involved in setting up your own self hosted blog, you are essentially buying this virtual land or you can build something valuable that you can intern later on turn around and sell. A lot of people kind of get locked into, let’s say, I spend a year or two blogging and I get traffic. I don’t take off like I wanted to. Have I just completely wasted my time? I tell people, worst-case scenario is you have an asset that you could turn around and sell. There are lots of other bloggers who would be happy to buy your blog.
I know Bob and I would be interested in buying your blog. You got this real estate that you own that you can turn around and sell.
Bob: Yes, that’s a good point.
Jonathan: Yes, I would say with all of this if this is kind of going over your head right now, something that Bob and I had decided to do to really help people get over the hump with this whole thing, is we do now have a free blog set up.
A self hosting blog set up, where we actually come in and set up make sure that you have the latest copy of WordPress, we make sure that all of the settings, the name server settings, the right plug-ins that you need, the proper ones that you need so that search engines can easily find you and index you, all of those settings that need to be set-up.
You can always do it yourself of course, there’s nothing wrong with that doing that were going to show you how. We are also able to do that for free. Why don’t you just tell them how it’s done, Bob.
Our Free Blog Set-up Service
Bob: One of the things that the program that we just recently started, you can find more out about it at bloggingyourpassion.com/free–blog–setup, we’ll have the link listed below. Basically, what we’re doing, we are just helping people kind of go through this process, because I remember it was kind of intimidating for me when I started. We are finding that a lot of people are hung up with this, this process of actually getting the hosting set up and getting the blog launched.
It’s been something that we’ve been getting a lot of questions about it’s become real apparent from everything that we’ve been doing, reaching out to readers, that it’s just an area of hang-up. We found a way to have a win-win situation here where anyone can go sign up, for a hosting package with one of our recommended hosts. By doing so, some of these host have a referral program, in which we will get a commission if somebody goes and signs up. By doing that it will take care of us, to get us paid for our time, and then we can at the same time create and set up your site according to our standards how we would do it for ourselves, get everything up and running so that all you would have to do is login and then you can start blogging.
We’re real excited about it, we had a huge response already, it’s kind of been overwhelming. You can find out more about it on that link. Like Jonathan said, this is definitely something you can do yourself, but if it’s something where you do want us to help you through this, this phase of it, by all means take us up on it and will help you get going.
Jonathan: Just to add to that, being win-win there is no additional cost for you when you go sign up and you click on our link and you go and sign up for a self hosting package with our recommended hosting providers. The one we like is HostGator. If you were to click through and buy their cheapest package there is no additional cost for you to get us to set up this blog. Like you said, we receive the commission actually from HostGator, and the cost is the same for you whether you were to sign up on your own or through our link.
Take advantage of our free blog setup program by clicking here.