Once you have decided to create a blog for your business, you will need to decide which type of business blogging platform will work best for your needs. There are many blog hosting options, which fall into two categories:
- Third-party blog hosting is typically offered through a free Web hosting site dedicated to blogging, such as Blogger.com, LiveJournal.com, and Windows Live Spaces. While these blogging network sites make the set-up process simple and require little technical know-how, they also have their drawbacks: they are often large sources of spam, their customization options tend to be limited and they will own your blog once it resides on their site under a sub-domain name -- not your own '.com' Web address.
- Self-hosted blogs are installed onto their owner's Web hosting account. The blog host then uses content management software, such as Wordpress®, instead of relying on a blogging Web site. You will be responsible for purchasing a domain and hosting account, configuring their blog, and customizing it. Look for blog hosting software with one-click autoinstall to save time.
Under most circumstances, self-hosted blogs are the smart choice for small business owners who want to use business blogging as an effective communications channel.
When you choose third-party blog hosting, you will be limited to using a sub-domain as your Web address. This makes it difficult for you to switch domains in the future without losing traffic. Self-hosted blogging tied to your own top level domain makes it easy for you to forward your visitors and, therefore, keep the traffic you've built over time.
While third-party blog hosting will provide you with a limited number of templates from which to choose, using your own blog hosting software will allow you to work with a wider range of themes that can be customized however you choose. Also, most reliable blog hosting software supports numerous plug-ins, so you can select helpful "add-ons" for spam protection, website analytics, feed syndication and much more.
When you create a blog with a top level domain name that you own, your business simply looks more professional. Using a relevant domain name also supports your brand as a legitimate business. By opting for self-hosted blogging, you should even be able to send and receive email tied to your domain name for added reinforcement of your brand credibility.
Blogs are becoming an increasingly popular place for online advertisements. With third-party blog hosting, the blog host is entitled to the revenue brought in by any advertisements they place on your blog. In contrast, a self-hosted blog allows you to take advantage of this potential source of revenue. Keep in mind that it is becoming common practice to create a blog and later sell it for profit. Having a self-hosted blog with a top level domain will greatly raise your blog's market value.
Space and Bandwidth
Will your blog include images, video or graphics? If so, the limited amount of space and bandwidth often provided by free third-party blog hosting isn't likely to be enough to meet your business blogging needs. With self-hosted blogging, your uploading space and bandwidth depends on the Web hosting package you select. An experienced Web hosting company can help you determine which Web hosting package will meet your needs.
Blog content changes often, which makes it appealing not just to readers, but to search engines as well. Also, when you are the blog host, you can make adjustments to the URL code structure that may enhance your search engine optimization campaign and, therefore, boost your rankings.
In order for your business blogging efforts to be a success, your blog will need to be up and running 24/7 – so it's available whenever visitors (or search engines) arrive. A reliable Web hosting company can provide 24/7 technical support and an uptime guarantee for self-hosted business blogging.
While self-hosted blogging does requires a domain name and Web hosting account purchase, it's a small price to pay for the advantages you receive in return. If you're ready to create a blog, give these advantages careful consideration as you choose between third-party blog hosting and self-hosted business blogging.