WordPress: To Self-Host, or Not to Self-Host?
This may be the trickiest question facing someone thinking about creating a website. For a beginner, it’s right up there with finding a domain name and deciding on a topic to cover on your blog. But if you’ve gotten this far already, it’s time to start asking some more detailed questions about your project. Reviewing your motivations for stepping into the online-ring – plus defining your future goals – can help answer our central question: should you self-host your WordPress site or use the free version?
What type of blogger are you?
First, ask yourself if you are a hobbyist or an entrepreneur. Maybe you’re both. There are plenty of reasons to have a website, and not all of them have to do with making money. If you are more interested in finding an online community to discuss your interests with, then a free WordPress site is the way to go. WordPress.com regularly features great blog posts from its free sites: this helps lots of blogs (like yours!) get discovered – a great way to increase traffic on your site.
On the other hand, a self-hosted WordPress site may be worth the extra cost. Sure, you’ll have to pay to get hosted and to keep your domain, on a monthly and yearly basis, respectively. But you will pocket 100% of the profits from your website once you strike a chord with the right audience. Turning your self-hosted blog’s traffic into profit happens by selling ad space. The premium WordPress sites lets you do this without restrictions, so you can advertise as much as you want. Once you attract enough visitors to your site with amazing content, the fees will seem negligible at the end of the month.
Are you a CMS Ninja?
A self-hosted WordPress allows complete flexibility when it comes to the design of your blog; you can import a theme, design one yourself or modify your look at will. You can also add as many plugins as you like. This may appeal to you if you want to flex your creative muscles and delve behind the scenes as a publisher. If you’ve kept quiet about your CMS skills, now is your time to let them shine.
However, you’ll always have the option to use a free template if you’d rather not get your hands dirty; read up your options from one of the many hosting companies out there, such as 1&1. Research is key!
With a free WordPress site, you are limited to using the provided templates of which there happen to be many beautiful ones) and won’t have the opportunity to fiddle around with the design elements. That could be a relief to some, whilst others might hate the restrictions. The major benefit of self-hosting, in this case, is that you’ll have the freedom to choose between a template and your own design.