When we start blogging we often ask ourselves which way to go.

Should we set up a free blog? Or, bite the bullet, and pay for one?

Unfortunately we don’t know if we’ll enjoy blogging and may ask ourselves, “Would it be wise to put out the money for a blog?”

But on the other hand, if we don’t, might we have regrets?

It’s a tough call.

Today’s Lesson

As I was reading John’s Top 5 Crash and Burn Blogger Mistakes Which Keep You Poor by John Hoff of WP Blog Host, he answered this question perfectly. His response is:

A free blog is ok if: All you care about is your content. Free blogs are good if you want someone else to take care of all the security issues, upgrades, etc. If your only goal is to write and you don’t care much about making money and turning your blog into a business, a free blog is fine.

A free blog is not ok if: You want to turn your blog into a business; want full control of the design of your blog; your mind is telling you that you’ll upgrade to a self hosted blog one day down the road; etc.

When I started blogging, I researched what the big name bloggers were doing and noticed they had self hosted WordPress blogs.  I followed their lead and did the same.

That decision costs me just over $100 a year.

For me, I feel it was a wise choice, however, it’s may not be right for everyone.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

Do you have a free or self hosted blog?

What was the deciding factor for you?

Any regrets?

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  1. A self-hosted blog comes with so much more responsibility. I self-host with WordPress, but only because of a change to Blogger commenting that I didn’t like back in 2007 (I think). They made a change that removed the ability for commenters to leave their blog URLs with the comment. That was a deal-breaker for me and so I moved to WP. A couple weeks later, they rescinded the change and I was furious. All the work of moving to WP could have been avoided! I tell anyone to only move to self-hosted if they’re prepared to backup their own data, micromanage every aspect of their blogs, update the platform as necessary and prepared to pay for hosting. For me, it’s a pain and for some aspects, I have paid another person to do the work on my behalf. It’s that much of a drag.

    Others here may have more positive experiences with self-hosting, but if I could turn back time……
    .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: Don’t Waste the Good Stuff =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kathy,

      You’re right, if we go with a self hosted blog, we do need to be prepared to micromanage it. It’s unfortunate you had to find out the hard way, only to be told weeks later Blogger was reverting back to allowing URLs. That had to be maddening.

  2. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Mine is paid, not free. I could’ve gone for a cheaper hosting plan too, but as a computer programmer myself, I like the flexibility of being able to host multiple websites, tweak databases whenever I want, write and run scripts when I need to. It’s probably not the best thing if I were trying to run a business, but that works fine since it’s sort of my toy / playground.
    .-= Check out Kelvin Kao´s awesome post: Twitter =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      How fortunate you are to know all of that behind the scenes stuff. From what you’ve said, I can see how having a self hosted blog creates even more enjoyment for you. Someday I hope to be to that point, too.

  3. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I have WP but not for free. I find it worth the $’s for someone else to take care of the hosting which frees me up to do the other things necessary to make the blog successful.

    I have seen blogs that have started out as free and have been successful so it just really depends on the niche that they are in.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: The Glitter Of Solar Power =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      That’s true. We don’t need to pay for hosting to be successful which I think is good to know as some bloggers may think they HAVE TO be self hosted in order to compete with those who are.

  4. My main blog is on wordpress, though I’m not making money with it. When I started with it, my main motive in using a paid blog platform was to build an online presence, just in case the economic crisis hit me.

    I’m still to decide what to do on the long run, but I appreciate the knowledge I’ve amassed in these years and the ability to have a great control on my blog.

    If you are a newbie, I’d suggest to start free, and if you are still updating 6 months after that, decide for yourself
    .-= Check out Miguel de Luis´s awesome post: Mi alma es cambio, Haiku =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      Good point. For those who are unsure if they’ll like blogging, going with a free blog is a great place to practice and see if they like all that blogging entails. I know WordPress makes it easy to import posts from other blogging platforms, thus you don’t lose what you’ve published thus far.

  5. Hi Barbara,
    Now this applies to me completely!
    I am using wordpress.com and am happy with it…well mostly as you and Kathy said…I am concentrating on the content and community building more than the micromanaging everything. I truly dont have the time or knowledge to micro manage every aspect of the blog. I love that its all taken care of and upgraded on its own without me worrying about it.
    Yes, there are limitations…but you know i have chosen the most customizable theme…;) And wordpress.com keeps adding the latest widgets…i so love that about them.
    I do hope one day i have the sense and the pull to buy my own self hosted blog…but for now I’m fine.
    I ma going to try to monetize in the near future…and well if it gets difficult to on wordpress.com then will certainly switch to wordpress.org :)
    Plus, this way i dont have to worry about money at all….:)
    So love your topics…
    What do you think….??? I am going to enjoy reading the reasoning and comments on this post the most :)
    Anyone else here have any advice for me..BRING it on!!
    Much love,
    Z~
    .-= Check out Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s awesome post: Who is YOUR Best friend? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zeenat,

      You’re right. If you don’t have the time or desire to micromanage a blog, WordPress.com is a great choice. Now that you’ve found a theme that’s easily customizable, it gives you a chance to get your toes wet for the day when (or if) you decide to go with a self hosted blog.

      Keep in mind, although we can get caught with all of the behind the scenes stuff, there are individuals who will take care of that for you (for a fee, of course). :)

  6. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a free blog. It makes sense to take advantage of what is there so you can just write and not have to worry about putting everything together. That is why I use a free blog.

    I designed my blog well enough that it looks fresh and unique. I have seen many paid-for blogs that look exactly like everyone else’s.

    Besides, I don’t think anyone really cares if you have a .wordpress or .blogspot blog as long as you offer something unique and valuable to your readers.

    I don’t plan on switching from Blogger but I do want to merge my website and blog so that they both can be accessed at chasemarch.com. I just don’t have the time to figure out how to do that at this point. So I guess it can wait.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Teaching Tip Tuesday – Eliminate the Negative =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      That’s true. There is nothing wrong with a free blog. Like you said, by using a little bit of creativity you can have a blog that is not only unique looking, but holds as much value as a paid blog. “Free”, in blogging, should not be construed as something that is “less than”.

  7. When I started blogging I signed up for a free trial of Typepad because my blogging idol (see today’s post on Positively Present) was using that platform and I literally had no idea about blogs or blogging platforms. After the free trial ran up, I signed up for the small monthly fee and kept using it. So far I’ve been really pleased with it, but I’m also pretty focused on content (rather than design) so I might be okay with a free one. It seems to me that more and more people are using WordPress and I’m actually really curious about that.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dani,

      You’ve raised a good point. When we are concentrating on content instead of design, the blogging platform we choose may not make a difference. Unfortunately I know very little about Typepad, so I can’t tell you how it differs from WordPress, but thus far I’m very pleased I choose WordPress

  8. Jay SchryerNo Gravatar says:

    I started out with my own domain name, and I love it. I’ve never even really considered going the “free” route, it just didn’t make sense to me, but then again, I was already a web designer, and so the coding and other techie stuff was already a part of my “tool kit”.

    I love the free platforms, though, because I feel like everyone has something to say, something to contribute, and I wouldn’t want them to be silenced just because they couldn’t afford a paid domain or they weren’t technical experts. I’m glad that there is a way for everyone to voice their opinions, thoughts, and ideas, easily and for free.
    .-= Check out Jay Schryer´s awesome post: The Miracle =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jay,

      I completely agree with you. How sad it would be if someone felt hampered to share only because they couldn’t afford a blog. Like you said, there are so many people out there whose voices need to be heard. Thank goodness the creators of blogging platforms make it easy.

  9. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I use blogger because I could start it myself, albeit I had some guidance in a group set up. However I need to move it if I ever want to sell it .. I don’t ..

    I also will move it across the WP as soon as I can get my head together to do so ..

    I’ve ‘met’ the WP people and they want to help you .. blogger is forum based help & I’ve never really got to grips with those. I will also pay – as I can do more, and can slice the cake more easily and thus benefit ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

    Interesting replies .. thanks for bringing it up ..
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Turning a team of oxen – any idea how? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You”re welcome Hilary,

      That’s one thing good thing about free blogs. They are quite easy to start and if you don’t have to worry about updates and the like, you can concentrate on writing and publishing.

      Although I’ve never moved a blog, I’ve heard WordPress makes it easy. And like you said, you already know where to go for help, so you’re part of the way there.

  10. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I started blogging over 5 years ago over on Blogger. It didn’t allow the flexibility that I wanted at the time and also didn’t allow advertising, as I recall. I had been building static pages on my own domains for several years, so, when I found WordPress, it was an easy decision. While I don’t make a lot of money online, I do have enough of an income to pay for everything I do online. I’m currently using the developer’s option of Thesis, which I am able to tweak as desired… when I get around to it… and have three active blogs on two domains.
    .-= Check out Mike Goad´s awesome post: Going against the flow =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      You mentioned you started with Blogger five years ago. Now I’m wondering, how old is WordPress? (I’ve been on it for almost 3 years).

      You mentioned ads on blogs. From what I understand, WordPress.com (the free one) does not allow ads. That’s something a blogger needs to consider in the event they hope to have an income stream. Thank you for bring that up.

  11. Hi Barbara – There was never any doubt to our decision to go with a non-free option. We wanted control, and we were starting a business venture. Although there was a learning curve, I have proven I know enough to be dangerous now.

    I am so glad we moved our hosting to John Hoff’s WP Blog Host, if I may make a plug. While doing basic maintenance a while back I managed to completely obliterate PassingThru. John pulled it back from electronic neverland and no one was the wiser. Now I’m smart enough to leave anything I want done that gives me the least amount of angst to John, whose customer service is absolutely stellar. Plus outsourcing to John helps me to work “on” the business instead of “in” it so much. Thanks.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: When Your Inner Critic is on Steroids =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Your welcome Betsy,

      LOL – “I have proven I know enough to be dangerous now.” I sure hear you on that one. And you’re right. If we don’t know what we’re doing behind the scenes, it’s best to just leave it alone.

      How fortunate you are to have John taking care of your blog for you. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of his abilities, so you’re in good hands.

    • Gosh… I’m feeling so loved :)

      I just worked a little WordPress Voodoo and “poof”, her site was back.

      Hey, “WordPress Voodoo”… I like that hehe
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: John’s Top 5 Crash and Burn Blogger Mistakes Which Keep You Poor =-.

  12. DotNo Gravatar says:

    Technically, I think that would be Hosting – Free or Paid? My blog hosting is paid because I wanted control over it. My blog doesn’t pay for anything. I pay for it. It’s not the kind of blog that could ever make much money, unless I were (a) funnier, (b) a dynamite writer, or (c) good at marketing.
    .-= Check out Dot´s awesome post: Comment on Dollop by Jannie Funster =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dot,

      Yes, technically we’re talking about hosting. Free or paid.

      I think you sell yourself short. Just reading your comment has me thinking you’re incredibly funny. :)

      • LoriNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Dot and Barbara,
        Thought I’d jump in here. I was thinking you were implying paid vs. free also meant one’s theme (e.g., free wordpress theme vs. a theme like Headway or Thesis), as well as hosting.

        Oh, and I agree with Barbara. Dot, I think you are funny, too.
        ;)
        .-= Check out Lori´s awesome post: Your Body is a Fortress, Part 8 – Go Nuts! =-.

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Lori,

          I can see how by the way I worded this post, free could also be applied to free vs premium theme. Although that is another thing for bloggers to consider, I didn’t even think of adding it to this post. Thank you for pointing that out.

  13. Deb DorchakNo Gravatar says:

    Like John said, if you just want to get your feet wet and test drive blogging for a bit, the free platforms are fine. Going into business is a different story. You want the freedom of expanding and customizing your blog and go beyond the blog with different sites for different purposes.

    In the end though, it’s not the blog that’s going to make you money, it’s what you do with that blog and what you build around it.

  14. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I recently looked into the issue for work because I am working on starting a blog for the company. I was trying to choose between WordPress.org and .com. I read somewhere, although I don’t remember where, and it could have been on John’s blog, that if you decide to move from a free platform to a paid one, you will lose all your search links. Basically, if you’ve been building a following and have people bookmarking links or search engines listing your post, you could lose the link (and followers) if you change your url to a paid, self hosted blog. For that reason, because I figured we’d go that route eventually, I chose to go with the paid site.

    Personally, I use Blogger and like it. In the beginning I used the blogger url, but eventually bought my own domain. I am not as concerned about the linking issue and may have lost some followers, but that wasn’t a big concern to me.

    • Hi debbie,
      You know the links issue is one that is holding me back too. I have managed to grow my blog…and am afraid i will loose all my hard work i.e. networking links page ranks etc is i shift to a self hosted domain…
      Barbara could you please clarify this issue for me…??
      Much Love
      Z~

      • Sorry for my late arrival… I’ve been out and away from the computer for 3 days (think I’m having withdraws hehe).

        @Debbie – It may of been my article Start A Blog: Free or Paid? WordPress or Blogger? where you saw that note, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s talked about the subject.

        I think you made a great choice to go with your own domain name. It’s the change in domain names which can cause you to lose all those backlinks. The actual switch from free to paid doesn’t really matter, it’s the domain name. So you’re good.

        @Zeenat – You might want to read that article I just linked to in the comment above.

        Basically, if you change to a self-hosted blog, you’re going to need your own domain name, say zeenatsyal.com. That’s great, but in practice you’ll most likely lose a bit of traffic and you’ll have to start working on your Google PageRank all over again.

        This is because links from sites like this one here link to your free blog and gives that blog “link juice”, not your new self hosted blog with a new domain name.

        You can, however, transfer *some* of that link juice over to your new blog by setting up what’s called 301 redirects on your old blog. A 301 redirect is something you can do which redirects people who try to visit, say zeenatsyal.wordpress.com, to zeenatsyal.com.

        The 301 is the code telling Google “This is a permanent redirect and you now need to index this new web address and forget the old one.”

        That will do two things:
        1. Transfer some link juice (PageRank) to your new blog
        2. Make it so people who link to your old blog’s home page no longer have broken links.

        In order to set up a redirect with a free WordPress blog, I think you’ll need a plugin (in self hosted blogs you use what’s called a .htaccess file).

        Here’s the one pain in the neck. If you want to make sure all your links and articles redirect, you might need to list them all out and redirect each one, but I’m not sure… you’d have to check out the plugin’s settings.
        .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: John’s Top 5 Crash and Burn Blogger Mistakes Which Keep You Poor =-.

      • JulieNo Gravatar says:

        @Zeenat,

        You’re OUTSTANDING blog and loving heart is one of the reasons I started blogging. I’m not joking. I came across your cute face many times on lists of blogs to read and I’m glad I did. : )

        I am about six steps behind you Zeenat and am following your lead. I started and am still on a free wordpress blog but am learning that there are limitations.

        It’s just another obstacle WE CAN OVERCOME! I know it.

        Thanks Barbara for the fantastic thread. You hit the nail on the head with this one because it’s a topic I’ve been contemplating since day one blogging. I’m thinking I’ll shift gears into a paid blog in about six months when I feel more comfortable in the driver’s seat.

        Thanks too to John for the great info too. I have a feeling it will come in handy.

        Julie
        .-= Check out Julie´s awesome post: Blog and Grow Rich =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I think you make the right choice for your work blog. Like others have said, by using a self hosted blog, the opportunities are much greater.

      Thank you for bringing that up about the links a blogger gets on a free blog and possibly losing them if they move.

      @ Zeenat, I don’t feel I’m the one who can give you the best answer on links and what might be lost, so I’ll ask John Hoff to come by and explain it.

  15. I’ve seen several free blogs that are doing very well in search engines, so I wouldn’t rule those out. I chose a self hosted blog because I had a specific design in mind. The cost of having a self-hosted blog is fairly low and many bloggers can cover it by placing ads on their blogs, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      That’s true. There are some very successful bloggers who remain on free platforms.

      Thank you for mentioning if someone wants to try and recoup the price of (paid) hosting, ads may be the answer.

  16. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    I started with the free WordPress blogs and loved the ability to hit publish in a way that looked so stellar. I took journalism classes before computers did the layout for you, so I always appreciate good layout.

    After a few months, I realized there was a blogosphere and dove into understanding what that is all about. It became clear that to have more control and eventually run a business, I had to have my own domains. Still love using WordPress, though!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      I know what you’re saying. When we get into blogging and realize all we can do (with a blog), we might find we need to expand, own our domain names and look into self hosting, too.

      Like you, I also love WordPress.

  17. EdwardNo Gravatar says:

    I think most people start off with a free blog and then work their way up.

    For which one is better, it just all depends on what you want to use it for. I personally prefer WordPress over Blogger because of the options it gives to you.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Edward,

      That’s true. It does depend on what we want to do with a blog. Although I’m not familiar with what all Blogger offers, I do know with WordPress it seems the options are endless.

  18. Hi Barbara!
    My blog is free from WordPress, though I did buy my domain name and map it (which made me really happy!). I would like to upgrade to the paid WP plan eventually. The reason I want to switch is to enable using cool widgets like “CommentLuv,” etc. and also I would like to customize my blog page further.

    Great topic!!
    Jodi

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jodi,

      That was a great idea to buy your domain name. And you’re right, once you upgrade to a self hosted blog, what you’ll be able to do will only be limited by your imagination.

      It’s sad you can’t use CommentLuv as I think it’s one of the best plugins a blogger can use.

  19. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Watching the experts in the field, they recomended a self hosted blog to have more control; no fights for deleted content because the administration consider it inappropriate; more flexibitity on what can be done; the possibility of upgrading later, etc.

    It cost some money and is more a hassle, but personaly I believe is worth the extra investment in time and money, even if I don’t know much about computers; it’s like having a powerful vehicle that you know it’ll give you a lot of possibilities once you learn how to drive it efficiently; it depends on you, not someone else, and personally I like it that way.

    So far no regrets, and after almost three months, very happy with the challenge.

    Raul

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      That’s true. We do have more control and flexibility if we have a self hosted blog. Like you, I didn’t know much about what happened behind the scenes of a blog when I first started, but with time it comes together. Plus, I’ve found there are dozens of sites that offer free videos showing step by step instructions.

      When you’re ready to learn more, check out John’s site. (WP Blog Host which I linked to in this post) He had tons of great information and videos in his archives.

  20. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry, but it’s hard for me to take a blogger blog seriously. Highly unfair I know, but that’s just how I feel.

    Generally, if you are setting up a personal blog then go for the freebie.

    If you have any other intentions, pony up.

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      You’re not alone. I’ve read many bloggers who say the same about Blogger blogs. Although they to get a bad rap, I visit and read dozens of them whose content is as good as, if not better than those who use WP or a different platform.

  21. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    Some people already mentioned the freedom of having a self-hosted site. That was my first driver, being able to get the theme I wanted, the plugins, plus, a domain name.

    Those are the highlights. I’m so happy I made that choice.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lisa,

      That’s a good point. With a self hosted site, we do have a lot more options. Like you, I love having access to more themes and plugins.

  22. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I felt like a Sneetch without a star until I hopped on WordPress. It was less about the platform though, and more about the blog name and focus.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      And there’s nothing worse than feeling like a “Sneetch without a star”. :) I still remember when you moved your blog and by the looks of it, anything you may have lost is the process you make up for quickly.

  23. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I started out with a wordpress.com free site. After a couple of weeks really thinking about it, I decided to go with a self-hosted site. For me, I enjoy both the technical side as well as the blogging/writing side – so this has worked well. In the end, I really like the control I have with self hosting.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance,

      When we talk about blogging, we often assume it’s just writing, but like you said, there’s a technical side to it too, which can be just as enjoyable, as well.

  24. BorisNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    I initially tried a free blog in blogger and I didn’t get the commitment to blog regularly. Then I got a cheap hosting with a good supplier and got WP. I feel very motivated and blog regularly. For now, I am focused on creating good content. I pay maybe $80 per year and I love it.
    All the best,
    Boris

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Boris,

      That’s interesting. With a free blog, your commitment to writing waned, but when you decided to sign up for a self hosted blog, you’re more focused. Maybe there’s something to be said for that.

  25. Hi Barbara,

    I have a self-hosted blog and have never regretted it. I researched all the options when I first decided to start a blog and the one thing that really mattered to me was to be able to create a site that reflected what I felt. I wanted creative control and a self-hosted blog was the route for me. Plus, I also liked having a short domain name that was easy to remember.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Turning Castles in the Air Into Reality =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      I agree. Wanting control over a blog can be a huge deciding factor. It sounds like you had a vision where you wanted your blog to take you well before you started. Kudos to you for such good planning.

  26. Hi Barbara,
    I started with free wordpress and loved wordpress but I had Comment Luv envy and and kept wanting other things that I saw on other blogs. Every time I would go to Deb or other friends and ask how I could get that on my free wordpress site, the answer always came back the same- You can’t!

    So…for me switching become inevitable, but I still waited until I found Deb, who was able to to make the switch painless for me- because I was a techie-clueless newbie who would have been too scared to ever do it on my own.

    I probably would have stayed on free wordpress forever…I was too chicken for a long time cause I had no idea even how to talk about making the switch without someone to hold my hand through the process.
    .-= Check out Wendi Kelly~Life’s Little Inspirations´s awesome post: This Little Light of Mine =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wendi,

      I remember your first blog, but didn’t realize what was going on behind the scenes. CommentLuv envy? That’ cute.

      Thank goodness you found Deb (and I’m assuming you mean Deb from Sirius Graphix). Now look at you, you’re new site is gorgeous.

  27. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Well, I know you are really anticipating the profundity that drips from lips so here it is in a nutshell – FREE IS GOOD and I LOVE FREE.
    The end.
    Hugs,
    suZen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      Hugs to you, too. Yes, FREE is good. And one thing about having a free blog, it doesn’t limit anyone’s creativity when it comes to writing. You’re a perfect example of that. :)

  28. Hi Barbara,
    I’m self hosted with Blue Host. We have other websites, one for my hubbies tax biz, one for renting our cottage etc. They are reasonable and it works out well for us.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tess,

      For you it was probably a good move to go with self hosted blogs considering you’re using them for business purposes, as well. Like you said, the price is pretty reasonable and as Vered pointed out, we can always put up some ads to recoup the cost.

  29. You ask such good questions, Barbara. And I love hearing the wisdom of others (and of course, SuZen’s hilarious comments). For me, free WP is a delight. But then I’ve been in business for 10 years and have had a website (with my own domain, through GoDaddy) for three (yeah, I was a little late to that). When I started blogging last year I didn’t want to mess with my business brand but I wanted a related blog brand, and it seems to be working. People are finding me on google; blog readers click over to my website and vice versa. I do need to make it a little more seamless and pretty. Some technical spiffing up, you know? I’m also going to switch to my own domain name for the blog. One of the best things about all of this is that the blog name is soon going to be a part of my business tag line. But I don’t think I’ll need to leave free WP.
    .-= Check out Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s awesome post: The Kindness of Strangers =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patty,

      How smart of you to tie your blog to your business website. That’s not only a good way to gain more traffic, but will also help to build your brand. If what you’re doing is working for you (and it sounds like it is), I see no reason why you would have to leave our free WP.

  30. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    John was indeed quite correct, anything more then a la-de-da hobby blog needs to be self hosted. :)
    .-= Check out Dennis Edell´s awesome post: Blog Move Is Imminent ! I’m Looking For Launch Partners… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Although a self hosted blog is ideal for many, I do think a blogger can do alright for themselves with a free one. And I look at the number of bloggers who start blogging only to find it’s not working out for them, so with a free blog they’re not out anything (except their time). :)

  31. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    OT – Did you have a top commenter plugin at one point?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi again Dennis,

      No, I never used a top commenter plugin. I’ve thought about it, but find I showing “recent” commenters works better on this blog.

  32. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I prefer to own my site. I have never had a free site. A self hosted site just seems to make sense to me if I intend to make my domain appear more professional.
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: Planting Seeds of Intent: Creation. Creativity. Gratitude. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      I know what you’re saying. Self hosted sites do give us more options and if we’re using our blog to showcase our work we’re able to tweak our sites accordingly.

  33. Hi Barbara,
    This is a great topic!
    Prior to starting my blog, I knew deep down that I might have to leverage it into a business someday, even though at the time I only wanted to write and connect.

    Well, I’m still in the writing and connecting stage, but I’ve never regretted ponying up (as George so eloquently states!) for hosting and my premium theme. I started right out of the gates with wordpress.org and Dream Host (love my host), then switched from a free theme to a premium theme about two months later.

    Like Nadia, I spent a good amount of time researching what would affort me the most design flexibility, control, and ability to grow. A big part of that, too, was the decision to buy my Headway Theme (not plugging here, just the honest truth, I swear!).

    So, in a nutshell, I love how thing are going. I also do graphic design and set up websites on the side, and always use Dream Host and Headway to get going. I think it’s all about evaluating how much ‘dinking around’ one like to do with the site. I happen to love both the writing and the techie stuff.

    In the end, if what I read is compelling, I have no issues about platform, design, or otherwise, though.

    Thanks, Barbara!
    ~xo
    P.S. I love your header, Barbara. It’s very warm and inviting!
    .-= Check out Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s awesome post: Your Body is a Fortress, Part 8 – Go Nuts! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Lori,

      That’s a good point. When we “feel” we might end up taking our blog further, ponying up right from the get go will alleviate a lot of the stress we might encounter if we want to switch later on.

      Like you, I enjoy “dinking around” with both writing and the techie stuff, but I also know it’s not for everyone.

      Thank you for the compliment on the header. Ironically I’m working behind the scenes in preparation for a complete theme change. (more fun stuff, ya know?)

  34. Thank you Barbara. I feel so… special because my article inspired you to write a post and think for a moment. :)

    Obviously I have a self hosted blog. What made me decide to go with that was my experience in business and knowing that building something on the foundation of something “free” is typically not the best way to do things.

    But that’s just a generalization and the rule can be broken.
    .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: John’s Top 5 Crash and Burn Blogger Mistakes Which Keep You Poor =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome John,

      I love when that happens. We read the words of others and they inspire us to think and carry it even further. Thank you for the inspiration.

      BTW: I truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to come by and answer questions. It’s no wonder everyone who uses your services speak so highly of you. You’re awesome.

  35. I have a self-hosted blog. I started out with a website I had built myself, HTML and CSS manuals in hand, taking classes in both, because I wanted a place to post my paintings.

    I learned just enough to get it up and running, but then wanted a blog to go with it. Now I think I did things backwards, because WordPress is becoming so sophisticated I think I’ll soon be able to build my blog into a full website.

    I want control of it, want to be able to troubleshoot when I need to, and a free blog just wouldn’t give me that opportunity.

    That said, I realize how little I know. And I seem to know less and less with every new thing I learn. But that’s okay. I keep taking classes — for me it’s an adventure I enjoy.

    I come here because I feel welcomed in, and I like the conversations. I want to develop that Over Coffee. I’m willing to pay for that.
    .-= Check out Barb Hartsook´s awesome post: Do We Doodle to Doodle, Solve a Problem, Find a Design? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Barb,

      Congratulations! You did what I’ve always thought would be a very exciting challenge – building your own website (or blog theme) – from scratch.

      I know what you mean about feeling you know less and less. As technology changes and blogs become more “advanced”, it’s difficult to stay on top of it all. But, isn’t the learning process fun? What a great way to keep our brains in tip top shape. Haha! ANOTHER advantage to having a blog. :)

  36. Hi. I self-host my blog on BlueHost and like all of the control that comes with it. Financially, it’s an investment in ME, my passions, and my dreams. Behind the scenes, I’m working on two other blogs right now and they will be self-hosted too.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stacey,

      I like how you put that, “it’s an investment in ME…” That’s true. When we’re doing something we love and see a future in, the money we spend on it become irrelevant.

  37. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    I started out with a hosted blog and after about 6 months moved to a self-hosted blog. I would consider moving back to a free hosted blog actually. I’ve spent more money than I’ve made. I think I can do the same blogging with a hosted blog as I’m doing with a self-hosted blog. I only say that now because blogging has reached a plateau for me.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: I Find Stillness =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      How fascinating that you’ve found you could do just as much with a free blog as you do with a self hosted one. I’ll be interested to learn what happens when blogging changes for you and you’re off the plateau.

  38. CarlaNo Gravatar says:

    Both my blogs are self-hosted. The Green and Chic blog is connected to my web store so it made sense to have it self-hosted. Originally it was a WordPress.com blog and I didn’t like the limitations and since it was a business blog, I HAD to host it myself.

    My personal blog is self-hosted too. Once you host your own blog, its hard to go back to free. :)
    .-= Check out Carla´s awesome post: Drowning =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Carla,

      You’re right. That does make sense to self host your blog if it’s tied to your web store.

      I’ve never thought what it would be like to go to a free blog (since I started out self hosted), but I’m guessing I’d get frustrated with any limitations.

  39. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara

    Like you I went with self-hosted blogs. Yes there is an investment of some sort into this, but for me it has been worth it to have that personal touch on things and I couldn’t see going any other way.

    Having said that, I have visited many people’s blogs on blogger for example and found some amazing blogs (both in looks and content). So it all depends as you said what we are looking for in the long run.
    .-= Check out Evita´s awesome post: Hope For Haiti – You Can Help =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evita,

      I too, visit blogs which use different platforms, self hosted and not, and like you said, the creativity out there is amazing,

      In fact, your comment makes me think, I hope bloggers who are using Blogger or WordPress.com don’t feel they can’t be successful because they’re not self hosted. The possibilities on any blog is only limited by our imagination.

  40. After blogging in a free service from wordpress, I choose to take another site of me by using paid blog. I host it myself, maintain it, design it and do all the things I want. Having a paid blog is good for me to do some experiment about design, learning SEO and much more.

  41. ThomasNo Gravatar says:

    I did the whole wordpress.com blog thing until my account was suspended? Why I don’t know…but It allowed me to move them all over to self-hosted blogs and I never looked back!
    .-= Check out Thomas´s awesome post: Super Snake Ford F-150 by Shelby =-.

  42. I think the best approach is build a paid blog – assume that to be your money cow. Then build lots of free blogs from hubpages, wordpress, blogger, squidoo, gather, tumblr – use them as a support to the paid blog.

    A lot of work yeah, unless you have good money to outsource everything then you have the greater edge over others.