Despite the rise of Facebook and Twitter, blogs and websites are not dead. In fact, you may need a website more than ever. Having your business or portfolio exposed on multiple platforms means more eyes see your work. You also have more ways to express yourself. Still, there's no need to spend lots of dollars on building a blog or website. WordPress lets you build a site for just a few dollars a month or even for free. So, why not get started today?
Your first decision when setting up a WordPress blog is whether or not WordPress will host it. There are two types of WordPress sites: those hosted by WP and those that are "self-hosted", although self-hosting actually refers to a blog hosted by a company such as HostGator, GoDaddy, Bluehost or Laughing Squid.
If WordPress hosts your blog, your cost will be nil or minimal. However, having a WP hosted blog restricts many of your design, content and advertising choices. It is possible to move your site from a WordPress hosted site to another host. Moving your blog or website will be time consuming, you may lose traffic and it may cost you money.
Cost, ease of set-up and ease of use are the main advantages of a WordPress hosted site. Still, even a site that WP doesn't host is relatively easy to set-up and relatively easy to use. So, the remaining advantage is cost.
What are the disadvantages of using a WordPress hosted site?
1) First, your domain name will have WordPress attached to it. All WP hosted blogs are formatted like this: yourblogname.wordpress.com. For casual users this may not be a problem. Business owners may view this formatting as being less than professional. You can pay to have a domain name that doesn't contain "wordpress", but then you begin to lose the main advantage of a wordpress.com site: low cost.
2) Second, there is very little advertising on a WordPress hosted blog. For years WP didn't allow any advertising. Now, though, they are testing a program called WordAds run with Federated Media. The program sounds interesting. Still, your choice of advertising will be limited to the WordAds program.
3) Third, WordPress limits your upload space to 3,000 megabytes. Truth be told, that's a lot of space. Folks who want a highly interactive site or who have large portfolios might find this limitation restrictive.
4) Fourth, WordPress offers fewer themes for their hosted sites than they do for self-hosted sites. Themes are templates which allow users to get a website up and running with very limited technical knowledge. Currently a blog or website hosted by WP has access to 180 themes. The themes can be personalized but not as many personalization options are available as are available for self-hosted sites. Many of the themes available for self-hosted sites can be easily tweaked to present an almost custom look. A lot of these themes are free or very reasonable priced.
Many of the disadvantages inherent in a WordPress hosted theme can be overcome by purchasing upgrades. Once again though, purchasing upgrades eliminates the low cost advantage of a WordPress hosted blog or website.
All in all, there are advantages to having your blog or website hosted by WordPress. Chief among these advantages is that the hosting can be free or cost very little. However, many bloggers or website owners will have needs that can only be answered by paying for upgrades. If you are going to pay for upgrades, why not self-host your site? Self-hosting opens up many capabilities including more customizable design and greater advertising possibilities. The choice between WordPress hosting and self-hosting is an issue that requires careful consideration.
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