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I get a lot of questions about that though… bloggers are wondering if they should use a free Blogger account or WordPress.org instead from the get go. Well, my opinion is to do what I did: use a cheap hosting account like Siteground or Bluehost when you start out, so it’ll only cost a few bucks a month. That $60/yr you spend so have your own self hosted blog, will save you hours and hours and hours of frustration down the road when you want to migrate your blog to a paid blog host.
Summary: Most Popular Alternatives To Blogger/Blogspot
- Live Journal
Should You Go Self Hosted Or Use A Free Blog Service?
What do you want out of your blog? This is an important question to ask, because your reason for having a blog in the first place, determines what you can get out of it. Every blogger who started out with a blog as a hobby sometime in the last decade has had to go back and think of their reason for creating that blog because let’s face it, blogs today aren’t written with the same purpose as they were written a few years ago.
In the past few years, the social media and digital boom have opened up a hundred different ideas for people to make careers and money online, and blogging seems to be one trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Brands and marketing agencies have begun to turn to using influencer networks, on blogging sites as well as platforms like Instagram, and it’s a well-known industry secret now – having a list of top-quality influencers can be a brand’s most powerful marketing tool.
It is needless to say that as the purpose and function of blogs have changed, so has their structure. More and more bloggers are trying to monetize their blogs, using a host of advertising options that let them earn money each time their blog is visited, or an ad on their blog is clicked.
If you’re a blogger who is struggling to make money off their blog, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your blog, what kind of strategies you’re using to earn revenue from it, and what you could do better.
If you’re running a blog using Blogger or Blogspot, chances are you have the usual gamut of monetizing tactics in place – you have AdSense, and you’re making some money with per-click or per-impression ads, and maybe you’re part of an affiliate program. Or maybe your blog has advertorials which let you make money directly from the brand or service you’re promoting through your posts.
What if you learned that there were at least ten more ways you could earn more money from your blog, simply by rethinking your choice of a blogging platform? No, really, Blogger was fine when blogs were all about expressing yourself or writing about something that you are really passionate about. But anyone who’s tried to turn a Blogger.com blog into a commercial success has probably walked away with a couple of lessons learned.
First and foremost, when you have a commercial blog on Blogger, you don’t own any of your content, Google does. You have no control over your blog if the folks at Google decide to shut it down. You’ll wake up to see a message saying your blog doesn’t exist, and with that, you’ll lose all your years of hard work. Plus, have you ever noticed how, your blog never has just its own name – there’s always the domain name tattooed in with it, and this should tell you that by hosting a blog on Blogger, you own absolutely no part of it.
Blogger has some very basic publishing and website development features, and like mentioned earlier, these are fine if you’re blogging as a hobby. But if you’re blogging as a career, would you really want to give up on an opportunity to make your website or blog look so much better?
In the long run, blogging to make money demands having not just well-written content, but also content that is presented in an attractive, engaging format. There’s only so much you can do to achieve this using Blogger as a platform.
What all can you do with a blog? There’s no end to this question, really. Every day, developers all over the world create new tools, plugins and apps, some of which are created to boost the functionality of blogs to their optimum.
As someone using Blogger.com, you can’t access any of these cool third-party plug-ins, tools or widgets – not only does this mean you don’t get the most out of your blog, it also means you’re left with limited options to make your blog more functional. You’re going to find it really difficult to match up in terms of features with some of the blogs that use self-hosted WordPress, for example, where you can access thousands of plugins that will help you with everything from publishing to adding media, as well as boosting your blog’s visibility.
This one’s a real nightmare. Anyone who has ever tried to move their blog from Blogger to another platform knows how complicated and tiring the process is; plus you also risk losing all your SEO data while doing so.
To any blogger who’s trying to make money blogging, everything begins with where your blog appears in Google searches and subsequently, how many people actually end up visiting your blog. Go look up the list of most visited blogs at any time, and you’ll hardly ever see a Blogspot blog outperforming, than say a self-hosted WordPress blog. Take Alexa ranks for example – you’ll find Blogspot blogs that have been around for decades but are still over 10,000,000 on Alexa, but self-hosted WordPress blogs that have been around only for months that rank within the top 100,000 ranked websites.
There’s no doubting the fact that anyone who wants to make money from their blog is into blogging for the long run. Is your platform in the long run too? If you’re running an e-commerce blog, do you really want to put your income in the hands of a third party, and a powerful one at that who can shut your blog down whenever it wants?
Also, if you were planning on partnering with brands to promote their products or services, you’re probably also aware of the fact that Blogger sites cannot be branded, which means you only get what ads AdSense throws your way. Sure, these may be targeted to your blog’s audience, but why let someone else decide how you should be making money?
Wait, the whole purpose of writing down all of this wasn’t just to tell you how you aren’t making the best choice by using Blogger/Blogspot. Without making you wait more, here’s one of the best alternatives to blogging on Blogger or Blogspot: self-hosted WordPress.
Don’t let those words scare you. Self-hosted WordPress is exactly what you need if you want to take your blog to the next level – be it in terms of how your blog looks, or what you can actually do with your blog, to how much money you can make from it. While WordPress.com offers to manage your hosting, it can cost you a lot. On the other hand, with self-hosted WordPress, you can create your blog using the CMS, and use any of the popular hosts like Bluehost or Siteground to have your blog up online – you’ll end up paying a lot less.
First things first – self-hosted WordPress is essentially an open-source CMS that you can download for free. It has tons of amazing features that help you at every stage of building your blog. You have the option of not just one or two standard, basic templates like you would have with Blogger; instead, you can access thousands of themes from WordPress’ theme directory, or even use themes from third-party services like Themeforest.
Unlike Blogger’s restricted control panel, you can modify the WordPress software any way you want – you won’t be able to recognize your new, self-hosted blog once you’ve integrated all these cool features and widgets into it.
Most importantly, the blog you host using self-hosted WordPress will belong to no one but you. You own every single bit of content you have up there, and there are no restrictions whatsoever on what third-party plugins you use to enhance your blog. In fact, there are thousands of plugins created specifically for open-source WordPress, and some of these can work wonders when it comes to turning your blog into a super-effective e-commerce site.
There’s no restriction on what ads you can have on your own blog through WordPress – you won’t find yourself being blocked by ad-blockers. Not only this, there are some very cool plugins to help you with increasing your blog’s visibility by letting you share on multiple social media at once, and tracking its growth in terms of visitor statistics and so on.
Affiliate marketing, promotional content, tips and tricks on monetizing your WordPress blog – it’s all taken care of. That’s the beauty of an open-source software – it doesn’t restrict anyone from developing and sharing what they’ve developed.
Contrary to what you might think, making the move from Blogger or Blogspot to self-hosted WordPress isn’t difficult. (If you discount the bit where Blogger gives you a hellish time, that is). Once you start using self-hosted WordPress, you’ll find it easy to work your way around the features and functions, and it’s worth learning all of this in the long run. After all, wouldn’t you want to be able to modify, re-design and update your blog so that it continues to keep up with the changing trends of the blogging industry?
There’s no reason to hesitate, really. You can take your time and get acquainted with the WordPress.org platform, or learn on the go and set up your blog in less than an hour.
Either way, there are a lot of ways you can learn more about self-hosted WordPress, and if you’re keen on turning your blog into a successful commercial project, hopefully, by now you will realize the importance of having a blog that’s your own, in every sense of that word.