How to Own Your Blog
You own your blog by purchasing a URL, paying for hosting and using a blogging platform like WordPress.org, which is technology (or a program) you download and install. You then run the program and your site yourself with the exception of the part done by the hosting company—or any help you might get from a developer or webmaster.
Take Control of Your Blog
The primary reason you want to own your blog is so you have control over what happens on your blog site. This is imperative.
If you choose to blog on a free site, such as www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com, you do not own your site. Thus, you have no control over what happens there. For example, Blogger.com is owned by Google. Therefore, Google makes the decisions about how the site is run, what you can and can’t do there, what plugins you get to use, if ads run on your site, if you can build an email list, and if someone can reblog your material. You have no say over these things.
You may own the content you place on your Blogger blog, but if Google decides to shut down Blogger, your site goes dark. And that means your content goes dark with it. If you haven’t backed it up somewhere else, you’re going to have a difficult time recreating all those blog posts, and your blog won’t be up and running in a jiffy, that’s for sure.
Yes, you can access your content via the Wayback Machine, the internet archive, but if you didn’t store the original documents in some way on your hard drive, it’s a pain to retrieve all the content. And you will have to create a new blog on some other platform, basically starting from scratch.
The Redroom Example
Recently, this happened to a large number of writers and authors, many of whom used Redroom.com as their primary blogging platform. Redroom.com, The Place for Writers, provided a community for writers and authors for seven years that included free blogs. Over the 2014 Fourth of July holiday weekend, however, site users were informed that the site had been sold to Wattpad.com and would be closed down…immediately. As you can imagine, this caused quite a bit of distress to a large number of Redroom bloggers, especially those who used this as their primary platform and who hadn’t saved their work elsewhere.
You don’t want that to happen to you.
And this is not much different than posting long updates on Facebook and expecting to be able to go back and retrieve them. Facebook could just as easily disappear one day.
Four More Reasons to Own Your Blog
If the above reason isn’t enough to convince you to own your blog, here are a few more:
1. You want all your traffic to go to your own address—your own URL—in cyberspace, not someone else’s address. With a free blog, it goes to myblog.wordpress.com instead of myblog.com, unless you pay extra.
2. You want to be able to build a mailing list, and you can’t do this easily (or at all) on a free blog.
3. You want to be able to automate your blog using plugins, and free blogs restrict plugin usage.
5. You want to control who hosts your blog so it runs well and gives visitors a good experience.
Do you have some more reasons to own your own blog? Add them in a comment below.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles |freedigitalphotos.net