I love blogging. And I don’t care what platform your blog lives on, if you are a blogger, I like you. You are a special person. That is why, if you are currently hosted on a free platform, I feel the need to defend you and your decision to blog where you choose to blog.
If your current platform does not work for you anymore, that is different. And if that is the case, I want you to make an informed decision about where and why you should move to self-hosting. But please do not purchase a self-hosting package based on fear articles that hold very little truth or understanding of your own personal circumstances.
Everyday I see in Facebook groups, some innocent blogger ask a legitimate blogging question only to be pounced on by about a gazillion affiliate bloggers sharing their affiliate links and posts. I find it really distasteful. But the thing that really bothers me is that they spread lies in order to get you to buy what they are selling. The evidence they offer up is not from experience but from other similar articles they have read from other bloggers. They all perpetuate the lies and the fear. Most of the time when I confront these link dropping bloggers, they admit that they do not have any direct experience or evidence to support their blanket statements. And it doesn’t matter to them because it works.
Be aware, their posts, and their information is just a marketing script.
You need to understand that these kinds of bloggers blog about blogging. It is their business model to try to teach you how to have a successful blog and make money online. And they make THEIR money online, by selling their courses, ebooks and affiliate products to you. Whether going self-hosted is in your best interest or not is not important to them at all.
Yes, I recommend hosting packages to bloggers too. But I also blog extensively about how to blog, and make money, on the FREE WordPress dot com platform. And I can do that because I have blogs on the free and self-hosted platforms. Each blog works for me for different reasons on each platform. And yes, I make a great income on BOTH platforms.
And if you haven’t guessed or haven’t noticed yet, this blog you are reading right now is on the WordPress dot com platform. Let that sink in for a minute before you continue reading.
10 Scare Tactics Affiliate Bloggers Use About WordPress Dot Com
1. You don’t own your content.
Holy crap. Yes, you do.
Do with it what you will. Transfer it. Delete it. Duplicate it. It’s yours.
If you don’t believe me, go on the WordPress dot com forum and ask like this person did.
So the next time you see someone post about you not owning your content on a WordPress dot com blog, please ask that person to quote the Terms of Service article that stipulates that WordPress owns your content. They won’t be able to do it because it is simply not true.
2. You have no control.
I can only assume this statement means that you can’t edit the CSS or upload any theme you want or use a multitude of plug-ins. That is very true.
But I want you to know that more choices does not necessarily mean you will create a better looking or a more successful blog.
With a self-hosted blog, you may also have to hire a tech to get all the different elements of your blog to work together properly. The upgrades you add can clash and disable your blog. I consider myself pretty techy and even I have had to reach out occasionally with problems I couldn’t solve on my own. Not to mention how frustrating it is and how much time I have wasted, trying to figure out why something is not working.
If you are not computer savvy and don’t have the money to pay someone to maintain your blog, less choice may be the better option for you.
Oh and btw, those themes and plug-ins the affiliate bloggers are recommending cost money too. Ca-ching.
But here I am going to offer up one big plus for less control. Safety.
With more options, more CSS editing, more themes and more plug-ins comes more chances for your blog to be hacked. And believe me, I have friends that have been extorted for money to gain access back to their blogs. I won’t say it couldn’t happen on WordPress dot com but it is extremely unlikely if you have a strong password and double authentication.
And here is one more downside to more options: time waster. On my self-hosted site, sometimes I get distracted by everything I can do and spend days fiddling with applications instead of focusing on content.
Don’t think you can be a success on WordPress dot com? Check out this New York Times best selling author that calls WordPress dot com home.
3. Your blog can be shut down without notice.
True. I agree that in the TOS, WordPress has the right to shut down your blog if you violate any of their terms. But with 37 million blogs on WordPress dot com, I have personally never heard of one. And I know a lot of bloggers. I like those odds.
But guess what? A hosting company could shut down your blog too. Betcha didn’t know that, did you?
Hosting companies have terms of service too. Funny how that isn’t always shared.
So if you have a porn site or you spread hate and propaganda or you have allowed your blog to be infected by malware due to poor maintenance, be aware that you too may violate the terms of your hosting package and not be able to log in one day.
Bottom line: If you have just a regular blog on WordPress dot com, don’t worry about it.
But speaking of being shut down without notice…
My self hosted site has gone down many times. Once for weeks and I had to scramble to find another host and get my blogs transferred. That story is far more familiar in the blogging world. Ask any blogger and they will tell you about hosting issues. I have switched 3 times and I hope this one is a keeper. But I thought that of the other ones until they failed me too.
If you are worried about your blog being shut down without notice, make sure you are backing it up. And you should be doing that whether you have a self-hosted or free blog. Yes, WordPress dot com does back up your blog remotely for you but if you save your posts and images to your hard drive, and you did get shut down all of a sudden, you could literally have a new blog up with that saved information in minutes.
To back up to your hard drive: Go to your dashboard, click Tools, Export, All content. Download Export File. Be sure to write down where the file gets saved. Add this process to your daily, weekly or monthly routine depending on how often you post.
4. You don’t look professional.
Just because a blog is self-hosted, does not mean it looks more professional. I’ve seen some really pretty sites on both platforms as well as some really bad ones. If you take your time and do your research you can create a very professional looking blog on WordPress dot com.
There are tons of free and premium themes to choose from to help you get the exact look you want.
I get asked about the theme I use for this blog (Karuna) all the time and it is a free one.
5. You’re not serious about blogging.
Look at my blog. Do I look like I am just playing around here?
6. Brands won’t work with you.
First of all, brands only care about one thing: your influence. If you have subscribers plus a good social media following, they will work with you. They probably have no idea if you are self hosted or not and they probably don’t care. It is all about your reach.
It is strictly a numbers game to brands and many, many bloggers on WordPress dot com do sponsored posts, including myself.
7. You can’t monetize.
Well that all depends on how you want monetize.
You can not add any script code to your WordPress dot com blog. That means you can’t add Adsense or other third party advertisers to your blog. True.
But the thing I find so funny about affiliate bloggers that scare you with the above statement is that they also have posts about why you shouldn’t have ads on your site because you won’t make very much money with ad placements. Huh?
So let me be clear, with your WordPress dot com blog, you may add affiliate links, do sponsored posts, create products and sell products using Paypal buttons if you choose to monetize that way.
For a full overview, see my posts here on the different ways you can make money on WordPress dot com.
8. Your domain name will have “WordPress” in it.
If you wish to go totally free then yes, your domain will be https://yourdomainname.wordpress.com.
But you can either upgrade through WordPress and purchase a domain name or you can point an existing domain name you purchased from a third party, to your WordPress blog. You can find those instructions here.
9. You can’t build an email list.
The fabulous thing about WordPress dot com is their community and connecting with others through the WordPress Reader. People can follow your blog through the Reader or subscribe by email and be automatically notified of new posts. Those 2 features are hosted right on the WordPress platform and are totally free to you.
However, you can build your own email list separately using Mailchimp. You can learn how to add a pop up form to your WordPress dot com site here.
10. You can’t remove third party ads.
First of all, WordPress dot com ads do not appear every time someone opens your blog if you are on the free plan. And those ads are how WordPress dot com is able to offer you a free platform for your blog.
If those ads bother you, you can upgrade your plan and either remove the ads or earn the income from them yourself. That’s a sweet deal right? The ads on this blog make a few hundred dollars a month for me.
So have I made you more confused than ever? lol
The bottom line is that you can have a very successful, money making blog on the WordPress dot com platform.
Share your affiliate links, do sponsored posts, sell your services, direct readers to your courses on other platforms like Teachable.
If you are wanting to upgrade to the highest plans on the free platform, it is cheaper to go self hosted.
If you have very high pageviews and would like to earn money through ad placements, go self hosted.
If you are tech savvy and want to be able to manipulate your theme and add more options, go self hosted.
Make the decision based on your own needs, comfort zone and future goals. Don’t be scared into a decision you may regret.
I don’t want you to quit. I like you. You’re a blogger.