When creating a website or a blog for the first time, one of the first questions to answer is whether to go with a free blogging service such as WordPress.com, Blogger, or Tumblr, or a self-hosted Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress.org, Joomla!, or Drupal. There are pros and cons to each option, and your choice should depend on several factors, discussed in detail below. I will start with advantages and disadvantages of going with a “free” blogging service and then move on to talking about a “self-hosted” solution, hosted by Color & Code.
“Free” Blogging Software Solutions
There are a number of blogging services available which will allow you to create a free blog in minutes, with WordPress.com being perhaps the most popular. Setting up a blog on a free blogging website involves creating an account with user name and password and following the service’s guidelines for layout and other settings.
- Low Up-front Cost: free for the most basic options
- Potential Traffic: possibility of extra traffic from the blog’s own network, e.g. feature in the “blogs of the day” section
- Easy to Setup: simple set-up process
- Low Maintenance: the blogging company takes care of the software updates for you
- Low Originality: limited to free themes / templates available in the company’s own marketplace, so your site won’t necessarily be unique
- Little Flexibility: for WordPress.com, no third-party plugins are allowed; this greatly impacts the flexibility of the software
- Limited Ability to Brand: your blog often resides on a sub-domain name such as myblog.wordpress.com, not your own .com address (this is a paid upgrade for WordPress.com users)
- No Monetization: third-party host is entitled to advertising revenue from ads placed on your blog
- No Room to Grow: “free” solutions often impose limits on storage space, unless you pay for an upgrade
Self-hosted Solution (Hosted by Color & Code)
This option allows the most customization but also requires more time and effort. Setting up a self-hosted website requires purchasing your own domain name, locating a web hosting service provider, and downloading and installing a content management system on your chosen host. However, with the experienced team at Color & Code at your disposal, we can eliminate many of these negative effects and provide you with a flexible, branded, and cost-effective solution.
- Total Customization: a wider range of customization options including unlimited theme customization and plugins available in third-party marketplaces, as well as the ability for your designer or developer to edit the CSS / HTML / PHP code directly, ensuring that your site looks and functions exactly how you want it
- Complete Flexibility: ability to install helpful add-ons for Search Engine Optimization assistance, e-mail marketing, website analytics, sidebar widgets, social media feed syndication and much more – we will recommend the best ones to you!
- Your Own Branding: having your own domain name without “.wordpress.com” will add to your brand’s credibility and professionalism; you may also opt to remove footer text belonging to the Content Management System itself; in addition, if you decide to sell your site for profit, having a self-hosted website with an independent domain name will increase your site’s market value
- Monetization Freedom: you are the receiver of all advertising revenue if you decide to feature ads on you blog
- Room to Grow: more flexibility and space to upload images, video and graphics you need
- Support: your web hosting service will provide technical support 24/7, and Color & Code is also available according to our service-level agreement to troubleshoot any issues you may have and respond to emergencies
- Seemingly Higher Up-front Cost: annual expense for domain name registration and website hosting; talk to us about pricing and comparison with many “free” blogging services’ upgrades
- Potential Traffic: no additional traffic from the CMS’ internal network, for which we can help you compensate by the Search Engine Optimization benefits of a self-hosted solution
- Difficult to Setup: sometimes it is difficult to download and install the Content Management System on your chosen host, including creating a new database and FTP of files (many web hosts advertise a one-click application install for systems like WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal, but these are often outdated versions of the software, come with pre-installed bloatware e.g. plugins that are unnecessary, and are difficult to troubleshoot in case of an error); Color & Code will manage this process for you from start to finish!
- Higher Maintenance: generally, a self-hosted solution requires regular maintenance and backup, but with Color & Code’s Annual Management Package, we manage it for you
If you already have a website running on a “free” Content Management System and decide to take advantage of the extended functionality and possibilities of a self-hosted solution hosted by Color & Code, we can help you transfer your blog or website seamlessly with no loss of traffic, search engine rankings or subscribers.
In fact, we have provided this very service to several clients in the past few months. Check out the Color & Code testimonials page to see how happy our clients are with our services, and get in touch with us to learn more details about our Annual Management Package.