Growing Your Blog: Choosing a Platform

Hi, friends!  I’ve got some info to share with you this month that will hopefully answer some questions you might have about the best place for you and your blog to be!  What I mean is, every blogger has to choose a platform; in other words, each of us has to decide where we are going to build and host our site.  Two years ago, when I first started One Artsy Mama, I started on Blogger, but I recently decided to make a big switch!
 

What does that mean for my readers?  Mostly just that I have a fun new design {don’t worry, it’s not TOO different, and you’ll still recognize the color scheme}.  Also, I wasn’t able to post any new content between Thursday night when my link party went live until I was finished making design tweaks and ready to show the new site to the world!  So why the switch?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

If you’re a blogger who’s been wondering about making the switch, or even just a reader who’s interested, let me give you a quick overview of the three places/ways a gal can make a blog.

BLOGGER

- Totally free to create and run

- Hosted free by Blogger {Google}

- User-friendly and simple to edit

- You must comply with Blogger guidelines

WORDPRESS.COM

- Free to create and run unless you choose to upgrade to a paid template

- Hosted free by WordPress

- Has the option of adding plug-ins to further customize your site, help with SEO, and more

- You may NOT run ads or do sponsored posts on this platform

WORDPRESS.ORG

- Templates may be free or paid, depending on what you choose

- Self-hosted; you pay a company like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc. for hosting services

- Fully customizable with plug-ins of all kinds

- You own your own content and may do as you like, as long as you comply with FTC guidelines

- Recommended by many blogging experts, and shows brands you are serious about blogging as a business

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to each platform.  I don’t think there’s a single “right answer” or “one-size-fits-all” choice when it comes to deciding where and how to make your blog.  In my opinion, Blogger is probably the best option for hobbyists who are just getting started and are creating a blog as an outlet or something fun to do on the side.  If, on the other hand, you’re serious about making your blog into a business and dedicating the time and effort it takes to grow a readership of several thousand followers, it’s worth your time to go the WordPress.org route.  I’ve gone back and forth about making the switch for over a year now, and finally decided to close my eyes and jump!

Here are the major reasons why I decided to make the move.

1. I wanted to own my own content and not be at the whim of Google.  I personally know bloggers who have tried to log in to their Blogger sites one day and their accounts were locked because somehow Google flagged them as spam or in violation of a rule.  Most, if not all, of them eventually got their blogs back but not without a lot of hassle and anxiety.

2. I wanted the benefits of certain plug-ins.  I noticed some things my friends on WordPress were able to do with and for their blogs that weren’t available to me…I was jealous, lol!

3. WordPress.org eliminates the need for a photo storage site.  Right now, I pay a subscription fee to Photobucket for hosting the pictures I use.  Once I make the switch, I can do that right on WordPress as part of my own hosting.

4. I can create guest users.  Now, I will be able to give folks who contribute to One Artsy Mama on a semi-regular basis, like Erin who posts her monthly Crafty Chaos projects, their own usernames and passwords.  This way, instead of sending me a typed document and a bazillion huge pictures that I’m supposed to format into a post, she can log in and create the post herself just like I would normally do. She’ll have restricted access, so she can’t go changing things around or deleting things {bahaha, sorry, Erin!}, but she can make any edits she wants to her own posts.  This is what I do when I guest post on sites like Somewhat Simple and Engaged Marriage, and it’s so much easier!

5. The experts told me to.  Recently, I attended an online conference put on by The Blog Workshop and every speaker agreed that bloggers who wanted to make a great impression with brands and really make their blogs their jobs should be self-hosted.  I do know there are some “Big Bloggers” out there who are still on the Blogger platform, so obviously, you can still be successful there too, but I thought the benefits were worth the hassle of switching.

6. The initial investment is worth {in my opinion} the long-term returns.  Honestly, one of my big hang-ups about making the switch was the money.  Initially, I balked at the idea of a hosting fee {which ended up being way smaller than I anticipated}, paying someone to help me, and paying for a theme, but in the long run when I considered the money I’m bringing in and the increase in page views I expect, it’s a wise business investment that wasn’t even as expensive as I thought it would be.

Those are my reasons for packing up and moving this weekend.  Perhaps you’re thinking it’s not the right move for you…and if so, you’re probably right!  But maybe you’re intrigued and think this might be the next step for you and your blogging business.  If so, it’s time to find and talk with someone who knows a lot about this and then hire someone you trust to help you with logistics.  I’m using Laura Summers {I can give you her info if you’re interested}.  Unless you’re a whiz with code, I really recommend getting help.  I thought about trying to do it on my own {and I do know a few people who did successfully move themselves}, but I don’t have all the skills I need and I didn’t want the responsibility.

I hope this helps to give you a better overview of your options and what might be best for you!  As for me, I can’t wait to hear what you think of the “new and improved” One Artsy Mama!

Hugs & Glitter,
About Amy Latta

Amy Latta is the author of One Artsy Mama, where she shares a variety of project types including home decor, kids' crafts, sewing, jewelry, and more. In addition to posting on her own blog, Amy writes for several other sites and has published an e-book. She also keeps busy by running a Blog Mentoring Program designed to help others achieve their blogging goals. She is happiest when creating something and enjoys making all kinds of projects with her 5 year old "Little Crafter." When not on the dance floor or crafting, you can probably find her at Starbucks.

Comments

  1. I just made the switch to self hosting from wordpress.com. I was able to find the theme I had been using previously but I want something that I can really customize. What theme do you use or did you buy one??

    1
    • Hi, Sheena! I use the Sally Store theme from Blue Chic Designs, but I chose it because it already had the color scheme I wanted and I kept most everything except for the header. Many of my WP friends recommend using Genesis themes. CreativeMarket.com has a bunch you can choose from and look at, plus you can ask questions of the designers before you buy. Hope that helps!

      2
  2. Stephanie says:

    This is a great post Amy! I get asked ALL THE TIME about this question- I am glad I can direct those questions to this post now! Thanks!

    3
  3. Amy, I am so glad you switched! Great transition!

    5
  4. I am still teetering, but I really appreciate those who share about switching. I will get it all together and go self hosted eventually!! Thanks for the post!

    7
  5. Amy,
    I’ve made the switch before and went back to Blogger after getting a lot of spam on wordpress. Long after, I learned how to prevent that spam from happening and protect my content and images. So, I’m working on making the switch again. I want the unlimited pages so I can share more useful content to my readers.

    9

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