When I started blogging, it was very difficult for me to choose a blogging platform to use. Self-hosted or free domain? WordPress or Blogger? So I tried both.
From my personal experience, I concluded that new bloggers should NOT use a self-hosted domain. With good reasons.
If you are a new blogger you are probably taking this up as new hobby. You are not yet an expert in web-designing, SEO or coding. If you are anything like me, you probably still don’t have a clue what niche you are venturing into.
Here are my 5 reasons you should get a free domain if you are a new blogger.
1. You don’t know your blogging niche
If you are passionate about a certain topic (fashion and style, cooking or current affairs) you probably will not run out of ideas for your blog posts. However, sometimes your passion isn’t enough to write about. Or you could discover you are better at writing about something that isn’t necessarily your passion.
It is better to find your blogging niche before investing in a self-hosted domain.
Moving your blog content from a free domain to a hosted one is fairly easy. Even moving your comments is possible.
2. Blogging is a process.
The journey from newbie to pro-blogger is one without shortcuts. It is just like growing up.
When you were a child, older people gave you advise all the time. Did that make your childhood easier?
Chances are it didn’t. Because you went on to do that very thing you were advised to avoid. It’s just part of growing up, and no matter how much advice you get… Somethings are better understood from experiencing them.
Sure, the self-hosted domain is so much better. But you learn a lot of valuable lessons from using a free domain. Those lessons will help you appredciate a self-hosted domain.
Besides, since you are new to blogging, you have still much to learn. And it is better to make those many mistakes (which you will make loads of, by the way) on a free domain.
Everyone who rides a bicycle must fall at least once. For blogging, managing a free domain is like falling off a bike. All successful bloggers have had one, you should too.
3. A self-hosted domain is expensive; managing it, even more expensive.
I purchased a three-year hosting package from Bluehost, a year after I started blogging. It cost me U$250. The domain was ‘free’. I thought it was a good deal.
A year later, I had to renew my ‘free’ domain for U$16 a year. That was when I discovered the domain was only free the first year. Something they conveniently left out.
To improve my Google ranking, I needed an SEO plugin, and some advertising. All of which cost money. If I had a shot at being a great blogger, I needed U$100 to keep my blog running, on a monthly basis. This is too much to spend on a new hobby. Especially if you are not sure you’ll still enjoy it a year later.
4. Blogging is not just about writing
The one selling point most bloggers use for owning a self-hosted domain is how customizable it is. Imagine your blog exactly the way you picture it! Awesome right?
It is easier said than done.
Wake up from your day dream, my fellow colleague. It’s something we don’t think about often, but, you can be the limiting factor in building your perfect blog.
You can’t have the exact blog you imagine in your mind if you don’t have the skills required to make it so.
What do you know about your web-designing? How about coding? I jumped to buying a self-hosted domain without any clue on how to code fonts on a web-page! Which is one of the most basic coding out there.
Customising my blog was a pain. I wished I had a limited number of options to choose from.The more customizable your blog is, the more skills you need. I spent more time trying to figure out how to change something on my blog, than I actually spent writing. It took all the fun out of my blogging.
5. You are entirely responsible for the traffic you get on your blog
The blogging world is saturated. Standing out is not going to be a walk through the park.
I thought I am unique. I stand out in a crowd. How hard could blogging be?
Your success as a blogger depends entirely on your traffic; no matter the quality of your work or writing. That is not to say you shouldn’t write well though.
You should care about traffic the most, if you want to be a successful blogger.What gets you traffic? Networking, sharing your articles on social media and Google ranking.
Google ranking being the most important. For traffic, I discovered Blogger is the best. You get much more traffic with my less effort. Google owns blogger, and so they give higher preference to blogs on Blogger when indexing website.Which is why I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it.
On a free domain it is easier to get traffic. Some of the SEO is done for you. Whereas on the self-hosted, you need to do it all by yourself. Every single step.