Somewhat Simple

Choosing The Best Blog Platform

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Let’s talk about growing your blog and how to choose the best blog platform where you can build and host your website. 

Choosing The Best Blog Platform

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. Today we are going to answer some questions you might have about the best place for you and your blog to be.  There are several popular platforms out there, and we could spend all day discussing the pros and cons of each, but here is a quick overview of three of the most popular blog platforms to help you narrow down your decision.

Choosing the Best Blog Platform

BLOGGER

  • Totally free to create and run
  • Hosted free by Blogger {Google}
  • User-friendly and simple to learn and edit yourself
  • You must comply with Blogger guidelines
  • Because you don’t technically own your site, you run the risk of losing everything should Google decide you broke those guideline. (More on this below…)

WORDPRESS.COM

MY LATEST VIDEOS
MY LATEST VIDEOS
  • Free to create and run unless you choose to upgrade to a paid template
  • Hosted free by WordPress
  • Gives you the option of adding some amazing plug-ins to customize your site, to help with SEO, and more!
  • You may NOT run ads or do sponsored posts on this platform.

WORDPRESS.ORG (<<<there is a difference between wordpress dot com and wordpress dot org!)

  • Templates may be free or paid, depending on what you choose
  • 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
  • Self-hosted; you pay a company like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc. for hosting services, which could cost you $5 a month and up
  • Harder to learn and change without the help of a web designer/coder

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 blogged for years on Blogger and went back and forth for a long time about whether or not switching to WordPress was the right thing for me. Once I finally decided to close my eyes and jump, I haven’t looked back and I absolutely LOVE it!

Why I Switched from Blogger to WordPress

I have to say, I love Blogger and I miss the days I can go in and switch something around without crashing my site. (I still don’t trust myself on WordPress!) But here are the reasons I switched to WordPress and why I would suggest you do the same if you are trying to blog as a business or source of income.

1. I want to own my content and not be at the disposal of Google.  I personally know a handful of 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! WordPress plugins allow you to get certain features on your site with literally the click of a button.

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

4. I can create guest users.  I can give access to my entire contributing team with their own usernames and passwords.  This way, instead of sending me a typed document and a bazillion huge pictures that I have to format into a post, they can log in and create the post themselves. You can limit their access so they can’t change or delete anything important.

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 it.

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 you can expect by switching, it’s a wise business investment that wasn’t even as expensive as I thought it would be.

. . . . .

Those are my reasons for making the switch.  Perhaps you’re thinking it’s not the right move for you…and if so, you’re probably right!  But if you think this might be the next step, I’d suggest finding someone who knows a lot about this and then hire them to do it for you. 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!

. . . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy is the creative blogger from One Artsy Mama. Amy was a member of the Somewhat Simple Creative Team in 2013. 

This post originally published on Somewhat Simple in July 2013. It was edited in January 2016

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