In today’s edition of WebProNews we’re going to take a look at weblogs.
One of the first decisions people have to make when starting a blog is whether to go with a hosted version or just find software they like and host it themselves.
Of course there are advantages and disadvantages inherent to both options so let’s take a look at a few of them. Now, when we say hosted or self hosted we’re referring to either hosting your blog yourself or simply going with a built in hosting solution like blogger.com.
So what are some of the benefits of using a hosted service instead of doing it yourself?
Well probably the single biggest advantage of going with a hosted solution is the fact that it’s just easier.
You wont have to worry about installing and maintaining a database (which most any blog software is going to require). You won’t have to worry about installation – or for the most part – any elaborate set up or configuration of software.
You wouldn’t have as many security concerns either would you?
Absolutely right – and that’s a big one. The responsibility of keeping your software patches current would typically be on the host in most cases. So, assuming you have a decent host that stays on top of thing- then yes- security should be much less of a concern in a hosted environment.
Blogs are a favorite target of script kiddies, hackers and any number of your various sundry degenerate malcontents lurking about the internet tubes. The biggest reason: blogs often make easy targets. These hacker types are notoriously lazy. They can’t get enough of the low hanging fruit.
So the big plus on the hosted option is pretty much just less headache.
More or less. To start blogging on a hosted blog you don’t really need to know much of anything beyond knowing you want to blog. Most all of the big software names in blogging – we mentioned folks like typepad and wordpress already – are very much focused on making things easy for people.
Ok… well, then what are some reasons people might want to do it all themselves
If you host your own blog there are several advantages. Particularly if you plan on blogging for your business or maybe using your blog AS your business.
The bottom line is going to be about control. On a self hosted blog you are in complete control over pretty much every nuance. But with this added control, comes a bunch of added responsibility
Hosting your own means you will be responsible for installing the software – installing a database of some sort – keeping everything up to date and patched with current versions and all of that kind of thing.
So there is a much higher level of responsibility involved with hosting your own blog. Now the good news here is that most of the current blog applications out there are pretty easy to deal with. You’re not necessarily going to have to be a Geek god to manage these things. You will however need to understand that you have to stay informed and up to date about security issues, version patches and other updates concerning your blog software and the database powering it.
Just for good measure, I’d probably throw in PHP version watching too since most blogs are going to be powered by PHP. This isn’t typically as frequently updated though. When it is however, it might be one you get some help with since it’s also not as easy to update.
The single biggest advantage that comes from this added headache though would be having your own domain. If you are using your blog as your business or part of your business, it’s not a great idea to be promoting someone else’s domain – which is essentially what you’re doing if you are using a hosted version.
If you self host you will have your own domain name. Which means you have and are developing your own brand. In terms of SEO and marketing, this is really a huge point since optimizing a domain you do not own or control isn’t exactly the best idea from a marketing standpoint.
If you start out with the hosted option thinking you’ll just switch to self hosted when your needs or situation changes, you are going to want to look very carefully at this when choosing a hosted version. Moving from a hosted to a self-hosted environment is sometimes a messy affair.
In other words, if you want to use your blog for business, you should be thinking about hosting it yourself.
Pretty much. If you just want to blog to keep in contact with relatives and friends in another state or just to have your voice heard, you cant beat the hosted versions for making that an easy thing to do. However, if you want to control what kinds of ads appear on your blog, how it’s marketed and how it’s developed as a brand for your business then you are definitely going to want to lean towards hosting it yourself.