Why you should self-host your Blog
I love to blog and I do it daily. Blogging is a great way to write about things I am interested in and exciting things that happen to me. I published my first blog post on Medium on July 12th, 2015. And since some day in December, I am blogging daily here on my own blog mariusschober.com.
Nearly a year ago I switched from Medium to WordPress. I decided to start my own self-hosted blog. Why did I choose to self-host my blog instead of using or joining a popular blogging platform?
There are several reasons and aspects you should consider before setting up your blog.
Intention of the Blog
First of all, I think it is important to think about the real purpose of the blog. Are you a critical journalist? Or a marketer trying to navigate traffic to your web page? Maybe you are a teenager writing about fashion? If you know exactly what you want to achieve with your blog it will be easier for you to choose the right publishing platform.
Different Ways of Publishing
Currently, there are many different ways to publish your own blog. Currently, Medium.com is a very popular publishing platform for entrepreneurs, scientists, and politicians. Tumblr is very popular among teenagers who love to post and collect their favorite fashion and their selfies. Another way to publish your content are platforms like blogger.com – which belongs to Google – and posthaven.com. But the most popular way to bring your blog to the internet is still WordPress – the best content management system in the world (if you ask me).
You should pay attention as every blogging platform is targeting different audiences. There are also big advantages and disadvantages for certain blogging platforms.
Commercial Blogging Platforms
Most blogging platforms you will find are actual companies. These blogging platforms like Medium, Blogger, and Tumblr will offer you a great user interface and usually a free blog. But please remember: there are real commercial companies behind these blogging platforms. They will need to pay their employees, pay the hosting, and make a profit. How will they do it? With Blogger (which belongs to Google) you have the possibility to earn a few bucks by allowing Google to advertise on your page. Medium on the other side seems to be completely free. How is that possible and why should you care?
Companies like Medium want to make a profit (at least someday). Their investors also want their money back (at least someday). So here are the pitfalls of commercial blogging platforms:
- They may introduce an ugly monetization strategy
Just imagine you start publishing daily on Medium. Now you have thousands of followers and all your posts are solely on Medium. Imagine they start introducing a bad monetization strategy. Suddenly ugly ads appear in-between your posts or users need to pay to read your stories. Is this the intention of your blog?
- They may shut down their service or get acquired
Now imagine you decide to use a commercial blogging platform like Medium or Blogger and you post a few hundred stories there. Suddenly the company is shutting down (due to unprofitability). Now all your blog posts and followers are gone forever. You need to restart from zero. If you are lucky and you saved your old stories you can start republishing your content.
Another bad scenario is an acquisition of a blogging platform. Imagine Facebook offers $250M to acquire Medium. They agree and Facebook has now all rights over your content. They can ridiculously introduce advertisement, link your Facebook profile to your Medium account, or even integrate Medium into Facebook. Do you really want this to be a possibility?
By the way: the same story already happened to http://www.posterous.com/. They have been acquired by Twitter and just have a look what happened to them. The founders of Posterous were so disappointed that they founded posthaven.com where they promise to keep your blog up forever for $5 per month.
- They have the Power to Kick you Out
Yes, if you use a blogging platform which is not self-hosted the administrator has the power to kick you off the platform. If they don’t like your political view, your look, or whatever they can kick you off the platform for no real reason. I would not risk that.
There are several content management systems (CMS) out there which are optimized for blogging. WordPress.org is by far the best known and most used blogging platform worldwide. You can easily host your own blog at a hosting partner of your own choice.
Many hosting providers are offering 1-Click-Wordpress installs which means, you can start blogging within minutes. In addition, you will have your own domain name (like mariusschober.com). Self-hosting will cost you around $3 – $10 per months. This is definitely more expensive than free commercial blogging platforms but this monthly fee will give you the freedom to post whatever you like and you can be 100% sure that nobody will shut down your blog if you don’t want to.
If you are seriously thinking about starting your own blog you should really know the intention of it. If you want to blog as part of your content marketing strategy Medium is a great option. You can also blog for SEO purposes – therefore you need to blog on your self-hosted company web page. I think self-hosted blogs are worth the money as you are 100% independent of any commercial company. While I also have to admit that finding a good blogging theme is a headache and that I consider trying posthaven.com in the future.