This is a question I get all the time and many bloggers undoubtedly get all the time. Should I use the free WordPress blogging platform or should I host my own WordPress blog?

To be clear, a free WordPress blog can be obtained by simply signing up for one at WordPress.com. The username you use to join becomes your blog name. As an example I have a username “howdoyoustartablog”. This translates to my free wordpress blog site “howdoyoustartablog.wordpress.com”

The self-hosted WordPress blog would be on your own domain on your own site you would install the WordPress software on. The WordPress software would then be the blogging system that manage the content of your website. These days, installation is quite easy with most hosting companies. Most use push button software such as Fantastico Deluxe or Simple Scripts to install Wordprses. (You can check out my website and watch a free video and watch before your eyes as I set up a blog and post to my blog all in about 10 minutes. ?More info on that is in the resource box of this article)

So now to address the question: which is the right one for you?

FREE WORDPRESS BLOG PLUSSES AND MINUSES

PLUS setup is entirely free

PLUS easy to install and set up (software install is already done for you by WordPress)

PLUS maintenance is free (setup, upgrades, spam, security, backups are all done by WordPress)

PLUS server reliability (servers hosting site are actual WordPress.com servers)

PLUS with a blog as part of the WordPress community there may be an additional traffic boost from the WordPress community

MINUS a free WordPress blog does not allow you to update or upload a non-Wordpress provided theme

MINUS cannot change or edit any of the php programming (useful for adding almost unlimited site functionality and customization)

MINUS cannot upload any plugins. The WordPress plugin community is huge by the way

MINUS no ad placements allowed. In fact, WordPress will place their own ads on your blog

MINUS Site will be a WordPress brand MINUS no content .ownership. Blog is still a WordPress site .

SELF HOSTED WORDPRESS BLOG PLUSSES AND MINUSES

PLUS can upload your own WordPress themes or non-Wordpress.com themes. There are thousands upon thousands of third party themes you can choose from.

PLUS can change the php WordPress code as desired. This will allow nearly unlimited functionality in your site. There exists a large community of WordPress developers with many out-of-the-box scripts to add function to your site.

PLUS can upload plugins! iPhone’s motto is “There’s an app for that”. WordPress’s motto should be “There’s a plugin for that”.

PLUS as you can edit the code and themes, you can add your own ad placements and ad monetization. This is a huge reason people blog in the first place is to earn money through ad placements

PLUS your own brand/domain name

PLUS you can have ftp access to your site which allows you to be able to load separate landing pages and downloads outside of your WordPress site.

MINUS you need to set up yourself (though most hosting providers provide push button installation through “Fantastico Deluxe” or “Simple Scripts”. Plus my free video walks you through this process.

MINUS monetary cost to set up your site. Domain names PLUS hosting fees can vary from to a month.

MINUS you need to do your own site maintenance including spam control, security, and backups for example. There are plugins to help you but it is a process you still need to do on your own

MINUS make sure and find reliable servers. You don’t want slowness or crashes to bother your site. Most hosting companies these days to stay competitive offer some pretty good server reliability

In summary, if you want just the most basic blogging features of the traditional blogging sense, a free blog is for you. If you plan to monetize it even with adsense, then you will want a self-hosted paid blog. Moreover, if you want to add your own custom look and feel, you will want a self-hosted paid blog. You also have access to many free WordPress themes as well. And finally the world of plugins is the big kicker. Think about apps for the iPhone. There is a quote that whatever you want, “there is an app for that”. Plugins are much the same from security to SEO to driving traffic to membership sites to just about anything.

That is why in most situations, (but not all situations), I recommend a self-hosted paid blog.

I hope this has been helpful. And please do contact me if you have any questions or post them here on the blog. And if you are thinking about starting a blog, check out my free video which walks you through the simple setup of a hosted blog in about 10 minutes with a hostmonster account. ?Information is in the resource box of this article. ?Thanks for reading!

So just how do you start a blog with WordPress? Come to Emil Yau’s site and watch his free video where he will show you step-by-step how to start a blog with WordPress and post to it right in front of your eyes in about only 10 minutes!

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