PAID WORDPRESS BLOG OR “FREE” – HOW TO DECIDE

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wordpress blog

So you’ve decided you want to start a blog. The internet tells you it’s easy to set up a “free” blog, even a WordPress blog. You go in search of the best way to go about it.  It immediately becomes obvious that there’s WAY too much info out there and you become totally confused, and forget the whole idea.

Let me help clear up some of the overwhelm.

“Free” Blogs — What You Do and Don’t Get

Now, I admit they are free at the point you sign up to create one, whether it’s on WordPress.com, Weebly, Wix, Blogger, Blogspot…..  And I know when starting a new “business” (a blog IS a business), money is tight. But remember you get what you pay for.

Go research all of these free blog sites and you see the massive lists of limitations of these free options.

  • Very little, or no customization. The customization options on free blogs are limited to the exact themes they offer.
  • No custom domain name (your site will have the name of the host in it:  myfabuloustravelblog.blogger.com).
  • When users click the Blog link on your website, they are taken to a completely different URL. It may or may not look anything like the rest of your site.
  • Sometimes the free plan comes little or no support from the host.

But the important negative has to do with search engine optimization (SEO). Blogs that are on free blog sites do not live on your main website. So all the content being added and indexed by the search engines is “credited” to the free blog site, not as content on your main website. Why would you care about this? Because SEO is the way your blog gets found online so readers interested in your content will visit, read, share, comment, etc.

If you do start with a free blog and decide to move later, all the content you’ve written up to that point will not help your new blog get found because it belongs to your previous host. Even though you will transfer those posts to the new self-hosted site, it’s like starting all over as far as your popularity online.

Another HUGE consideration is the fact that if your blog lives on another free site, like Weebly, and for some reason they shut down, or just decide they don’t want to host your blog any more, it is GONE. All that work down the drain. Not cool!

If you are just getting into blogging because you merely want to share your daily thoughts, activities, passions (isn’t that a diary/journal?) you may be thinking, “I care if anyone finds my blog.” If that’s the case….go for it!  Free blog away.

However, if like so many others, you’ve read all the claims online about bloggers making big money and you want to go that route — you absolutely need to care about SEO, customization, functionality, and all that goes with serious blogging. But that’s a discussion for another post.

You Outgrow Your FREE Blog – Now What?

So let’s say you did start with a free blog because, hey, it was free. But now that you’ve been blogging for a while (could be weeks, months, or years), you decide you love it and want to turn it into a more robust, possibly profitable endeavor.

Don’t worry, it is absolutely possible to migrate (move) your blog and all of its content over to a paid platform. In fact, the host you are already using may have a paid plan as well. However, none of the “others” are at the same level of WordPress.org when it comes to design, SEO, functionality, and monetization.

So for the sake of argument, let’s say you’ve decided to move to a self-hosted WordPress blog. GREAT! So how do you do that?

wordpress blog

If you’ve become very tech savvy and computer literate at this point, it is definitely possible DIY it. The host you sign up for usually will even help you.

However, if you’d like to have it done more quickly without learning a new skill, you would hire someone (like me) to do it for you. And in the process, you would probably want more customization, functions and features added.  You could do this yourself as well after it was migrated, or pay someone.

What Does a Paid WordPress Blog Cost?

Aaahhhh!  Here it comes….the big money question.

So first, let’s talk about what WordPress is exactly.

To quote the web:

WordPress.org aka “the real WordPress”, is the popular website platform that you have heard all the great things about. It is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.

That’s right….Wordpress.org is actually FREE. It is merely a framework you can load onto any hosting platform and attached to your domain name. You then build your website on the WordPress framework. Being “open source” anyone can create themes, plugins, apps, etc. that work with WordPress so you have access to literally 1000s to choose from to customize your site. What costs you is the hosting plan, plus the cost of your custom domain name.

Domain names typically cost between $10-25 per year (83 cents to $2.08 per month). Okay, no biggie. Word of caution:  the domain you were using on your free blog may not be available as a custom domain. It was a sub-domain on Blogger, for example and did not need to be registered. So be prepared to have to come up with a variation if the exact name isn’t available.

Ok, now for hosting. There are many out there — the good,  the bad and the ugly.

wordpress blogI have used many different hosting platforms. Just Google them and you’ll see the options. Frankly, they don’t differ much in what they offer, or in their pricing plans. The best thing to do is find someone who is using a particular host, loves it, and recommends it. And it’s not a problem, though some work, to change hosts anyway.

My Recommendation

So, my recommendation is Siteground. It was recommended to me by another user and I have had no trouble with it since. I know many online businesses who use it. It is secure, fast, reasonable, and has GREAT customer service. This is probably the biggest issue you want to research before choosing a host. Although, to be honest, I’ve never had to contact Support yet — knock on wood!

Another feature of a host you need to think about is whether or not they have an Affiliate Program. In case you are new to that term, it means they will pay you a commission if you promote their program and someone signs up with your special affiliate link. Not all affiliate program are created equal. Some only discount your payment for your account, while others actually send you cash.

In case the light bulbs haven’t gone off yet, this is exactly one of the ways (a biggie) bloggers make money from their blog. You can promote all kinds of things — programs, products, courses, Amazon, the list is endless.  Afffiliate marketing will be discussed another day in depth, okay?

How much does hosting cost? Well, for instance, the Starter plan with Siteground. is $3.95 per month. You do have to pay for a year at a time, so roughly $48 to get started. So added to the normal $12 for a domain name, you get about $60 to launch your extremely beautiful, very powerful, totally custom WordPress Blog! If you can’t afford that, well, I don’t know what to say. If things are that tight, I probably wouldn’t be spending time blogging right now. No judgement here, just thinking I’d be out looking for some income. Does that sound harsh? Sorry, just being honest.

“But WordPress is TOO HARD!”

I hear/see this all the time — creating a WordPress blog requires a high level of tech savvy and design skills to build your own site. Just. Not. True.

I’ll admit, your first  WordPress blog is a little more complicated to totally figure out on your own. But there is so much free info, tutorials, and even very inexpensive training out there, this should not be the reason you don’t use it.

And as far as using it just to write/post your blogs, super simple. There are plugins you can add that turn it into a drag and drop builder just like those free platforms. You don’t have to know any HTML code, or fiddle around in the back end at all.

And once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be blogging like a pro. You will be adding photos/videos, formatting your posts, and making sure they are SEO optimized. I promise!

What Do You Think?

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought and you realize if you are going to blog at all, you might as well jump in with both feet and go with WordPress.org.

How I Can Help You

So now that you’ve decided (I hope) you need a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org, I can actually make it super easy and extremely affordable for you to get started.

I have a special offer that gets your WordPress blog up and running in no time. It will be ready for you to start posting immediately, and all set for you to expand and add more functionality and monetization as you grow and learn. I also provide you the training you need to be able to easily post your blogs, add images/video, and share on social media. Everything you need to get started.

I am also available for questions and tech tips.

Check out my WordPress Blog offer HERE.

Please let me know in the comments if this post was helpful, or if you have questions I didn’t address.

Later!

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