WordPress blogs come in two flavors: hosted (somebody else provides the blog so you don’t have to install it) and self-hosted (you find a web host and install WordPress yourself). You probably don’t think of yourself as a technical person, so installing your own blog may sound onerous. You’ve probably also noticed the vast supply of free hosted blogs, like those on WordPress.com or Blogger.com. So why go to the trouble of installing your own blog?
1. You control Your Destiny
When your WordPress blog is hosted by someone else they control its destiny. If they think your content is a bit too commercial, they can drop the hammer in a second without even bothering to tell you. Boom–no more customers. Of course, the hosted blogs won’t let you sell things directly off the site anyway.
2. Customize, Customize, Customize
None of the mainstream hosted blogs lets you use plugins. Plugins give WordPress its unquestioned power, because they offer a way for nontechnical users to add critically important features to your site: shopping carts, search engine optimization, ad networks, flexible event Calendars,social bookmarking, RSS syndication, Twitter support and thousands of other essential business functions.
3. You Get the Ad Revenue
Have an idea for a site that might hit with the lucrative (seriously) model train demographic, or Bikram yoga, or forex crowds? Great! But if you go with a hosted blog solution, you won’t get the ad revenue. And by the way, you probably won’t get the choice of opting out of ads, or of who advertises.
4. You Can Get Under the Hood
Many WordPress themes can’t be used to their greatest advantage without tweaking their PHP code a bit. Don’t worry, you can usually find instructions on what to do. But hosted blogs don’t give you access to the code. You have to use the same boring themes as all the other customers for that host.
5. You Control the Audio, You Control the Video
6. Be Master of Your Domain
Most hosted blogs don’t let you host the site on your own domain. It’s one of theirs. So instead of your website being http://www.example.com, it ends up as example.somefacelessconglomerate.com. Not too professional looking.
7. Can’t Move Out
If you want to change to another web host, you will find moving your posts from a hosted site to involve a long list of mysterious incantations and rituals at best, and a ton of time-consuming and soul-deadening copy and paste at worst. If you go with a self-hosted site, it’s just a matter of copying a database file and moving it to the next site. And many ISPs will do that for you at no charge to get your business.
One last twist
Don’t bet your business on free. Self-host your own WordPress site for your main site. But learn at the knee of the marketing masters. Increase your search engine position by using the free blogs as auxiliary sites, and be sure to link to the main one. Then you’ve turned a weakness (free hosted blogs) into a search engine strength.