This is part 3 of a blogging series about bad blogging advice. In part 1 I shared 11 pieces of bad blogging advice and dove right into some details about the first bad tip: #1 If you just write it they will read it.
#1 is flat out not true. Just because you write blog posts and release it, it does not mean that your readers will find you. There are so many reasons for this. Read the full blog post here: Part 1.
In part 2 of this series we discuss blog design. Some people say that blog design doesn’t matter and this is really bad advice.
#2 Design doesn’t matter. There is much more to design then pretty pictures even. Design includes the font type, the spacing between the lines and how the text fits on the page. Read the full blog post here: Part 2.
Now, let’s get down to it with tip 3.
#3 Blog on a free domain and move it later.
This is a subject that I am so passionate about that I wrote a three part blog series on it. The links are listed below and so in this post I will make one statement. Invest in your company and believe in it enough to buy your own domain name and host it yourself.
- 10 reasons why you should own your domain name for your blog
- You should own your domain name: Part 2
- You should own your domain name: Part 3
If you are planning to build your blog using WordPress (I hope that you are) then here are a few reasons why you need to host your blog and not go with the free version.
Reasons not to use WordPress.com
#1 You can not do affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is how most bloggers make a living and this is not an option with the free version of WP. Affiliate marketing includes such things as Amazon links and Google Adwords.
#2 You will not have an email address included.
If you are a professional you should be using a professional email address such as email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org. I use JustHost and with them I get 50 email accounts per domain name included.
#3 You will not be able to customize your blog much. No access to CSS.
If you want to customize your site you will likely need to access your CSS. This is not going to happen unless you host your website yourself. Even something as simple as changing the background color could easily require access to your CSS.
#4 You will be limited in what plugin-ins that you can use.
Plug-ins are a crucial part of building a well rounded blog and with the free version of WP you can not install third party premium plug-ins. If you host your blog yourself you will not have to think about it and will be able to use whatever you want.
#5 You will be limited in what themes that you can use.
All of the blogs and websites that I build for my clients use what is called “premium” themes and these can not be installed on the free version of WordPress. Premium themes are valuable because they not only include lots of SEO features but they can also be customized.
#6 Your blog could be shut down at any point.
WordPress reserves the right to shut you down at any point. If you break your terms of service they can take your site down.
It is important to read their terms of service http://en.wordpress.com/tos/ to make sure that you will not be breaking the rules. Remember if you chose this route it is free and they get to make the rules.
Here is a rule that they highlight:
the Content is not spam, is not machine- or randomly-generated, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);
#7 You will not own your domain name.
Owning your domain name is a bit confusing so let me give you an example. The free version of WordPress would look like this: www.yourcoolname.wordpress.com versus www.yourcoolname.com.[notification type=”error”]Note: Domain names cost about $15 a year on average. Sometimes you can find a sale around holidays and get an even better deal than that. [/notification]
Why would anyone use the free version of WordPress?
There are plenty of good reasons to use WordPress.com and I would recommend it to someone who is just blogging as a hobby to express their thoughts on a topic. If you have a hobby and you want to share your progress with you friends and family across the world, this is a great option. This version of blogging is for people who never intend to do more with their blog then just do a bit of writing.
If you have any inkling at all that you will ever want to make money from your blog then please take the time to get your own hosting and setup your blog. It is not as hard as it may sound so don’t feel intimidated by it.
I use JustHost and am an affiliate of JustHost because I believe in them so much. What I like about them is their customer service. Just to give you an idea of how good their customer service is, I will share a recent story. I had a problem with my email and they spent 5 hours on the phone with me helping me reconfigure my laptop so that I could get email again. I do not know of another company that will spend that kind of time with a client.
Below is a video of how to install WordPress on your JustHost account. If you are intimidated by this or have any trouble do let me know. If you purchased your hosting through my link I will assist you in getting WordPress installed.
In this next post on this series we will discuss what can be considered another piece of bad blogging advice: Write Great Content. Until then, thank you so much for reading this post. I would love to hear your comments on the topic and what you consider to be bad blogging advice.[notification type=”alert”]What bad blogging advice derailed your blog? If you could give a new blogger just once piece of advice, what would it be?[/notification]