So after some research and careful consideration, I decided if I was going to do this right, I would have to self-host my blog. There is a lot of information out there regarding the differences between a WordPress.com free site, vs. a self-hosted WordPress.org site (see these links for some info: http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/ , http://www.clickonf5.org/wordpress/wordpress-vs-wordpress/3754 , http://www.suite101.com/content/wordpresscom-vs-wordpressorg-a99029 ). Although I’m currently not making any money blogging and have only recently started, I’ll tell you why I decided on starting with a self-hosted site.
After a bit of research, I decided on using Bluehost ( http://www.bluehost.com/ ). They are recommended by WordPress and also seem to offer an easy way to get started. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not so technically inclined, so part of the reason I decided to do this myself, is I actually want to learn the process. For $6.95/month I signed up for 1 year with Bluehost with the domain name http://www.eiconnectlink.com/ The total cost was $83.40 if you suck at multiplication or just don’t feel like opening up the calculator. I figured for a year it would be a worthwhile investment, not only in my blog, but also in myself. I want to learn what it takes to set up a self-hosted WordPress site as I feel the power to customize is more important than anything else. Customization is what can make you really stand out and I don’t feel satisfied with what wordpress.com has to offer – I don’t know about anyone else, but I really feel like all the sites look the same, and it makes me less interested in following.
There seems to be a lot of benefits to self-hosting if you wish to eventually monetize your blog, but I also thought about a few other things. Since I currently don’t have many followers, I won’t have to worry about what making a switch would entail in the future. If I had a few hundred subscribers, then changed, I would have to figure out how to keep everyone informed. All the people following my RSS feed, would suddenly not receive updates unless I kept both blogs running simultaneously. Dealing with that seems like a huge technical headache (maybe I’m being a bit overly dramatic and there is a way to solve this issue, but I just don’t want to have to think about it!) I would also have to worry about backlinks. If anyone linked to my blog, all the SEO benefits with Google would be lost. I also really wanted my own domain name without the .wordpress in the title. Wordpress offers domain registration and mapping for $17.00 per year. If I was going to spend that much, why not just spend a little more on getting my own domain, where I have complete control over the FTP. Last, I feel like I am making a commitment to blogging. Since I have agreed to this commitment with myself, it’s time to follow the cliche and put my money where my mouth is. If in 1 year I am on to other pursuits, I will only have lost a little money. If in 1 year I am up to my neck doing blogging as a business, I think I will be happy today that I made this decision.
Anyways, that’s just a little on my thought process. If it seemed spastic or illogical or misinformed, let me know (hell, part of the reason I’m here is personal growth). I plan to update this blog with the exact procedure I follow to document setting everything up with Bluehost for mine (and your) future reference. If anyone already has experience with this, please comment and give me your insights. I would really appreciate it!