Do You Own Your Website? by Healthy Web Design takes a good look at the hidden pain and suffering and control that comes from choosing a cheap web host for your blog compared to making a conscious business decision on how to host your blog.
It’s true, companies such as Yahoo!, SiteBuilder, and Homestead offer some great, and easy-to-use services. If you use their templated designs, you can often have a website up very quickly. And for seemingly little cost.
Yet, as Sara and I soon discussed, there is a cost. And it’s a cost that usually goes without knowing.
Sara thought the design she was using was okay – “good enough for now.” And she felt ready to create the pages of her site using this template from Yahoo! just to get things moving.
Then she asked me a very important question…
“Dawud, if I want to stop using Yahoo!, what do I need to do to move my website,” she asked?
I said, “There’s the crux…you can’t do anything…it’s not your website?”
She said, “What do you mean it’s not my website, I’m paying for it?”
It’s true, she is paying for it. She’s paying for the hosting on Yahoo!’s servers and for the privilege to use their templates for her design. But she doesn’t own any part of the design itself. So once Sara stops using Yahoo! for hosting, she looses her website all together. The only thing she can retain is her content. But only if she gets it off “her” website before closing the account.
When you make the decision to start your own independent blog, on Blogger, WordPress.com, and other free or cheap blogging services and hosts, make sure you know all the fine print. You need to know who controls your blog? You or your host?
The host server needs you have for your blog today are not the server needs your blog may need tomorrow. Think through exactly what you need and then project into the future.
Will you need to move away from the free or cheap blogging service, or will its services be enough for you? What will happen to your blog content if you move? Can you get full access to it, including the layout and web design? Or will you have to start over from scratch?
Then there are the logistics. Can it handle a sudden spike in traffic without costing you a fortune, just in case someone “big” thinks what you say is worth it? Can it handle a slow growth in traffic beyond the next three to six months? Blog traffic builds over time. Your blog might not be the hit of the blogosphere, but it will attract an audience if the content merits it. How much traffic can it handle?
What about the parts and pieces you want to include on your blog? What kind of access use will there be on the database? If there are restrictions on the database usage, your WordPress Theme and/or WordPress Plugins may easily exceed its limits.
But as Sara learned, if your current blog host can’t do the job, what will it take to move, and will they let you move nicely?
WordPress.com bloggers who choose to leave this free hosting service can take their content with them, if they export it before the blog is deleted. Will WordPress.com delete it? Unless you ask them, they won’t. You do not have to give warning that you are leaving. You control the delete button found on your Options Panel.
After you have moved to a new hosted server, you can take your time to move your content to the new blog. While it is a good idea to delete the blog when you are done with it to avoid confusion and duplicate content, it is my understanding that WordPress.com will not delete it until it’s time to do some housekeeping. They will check to see how long it’s been since the blog has seen activity and possibly remove it. It could lay there for years. They have the right to do it, but it’s not high on their agenda.
However, unless you paid for the CSS Extra Upgrade, the WordPress Theme is not yours to take with you. There’s a bright side to this. Most WordPress Themes features on WordPress.com are available to the public to use freely, so you will just have to find the WordPress Theme, download and install it yourself. So while you can’t take it with you, you can rebuild a copy without much trauma.
I cover this and many other issues in my ongoing blog building series on the development of my family history blog:
Genealogy Blog: Building a Blog Series
- Starting With a Purpose and a Plan
- What’s the Difference Between a Genealogy Blog and a Normal Blog?
- Who, What, Where, and How Questions for the Plan
- Determining What Features I Want in My Blog
- The Blog Budget – How Much Does a Blog Cost?
- Building a Genealogy Blog: The Fast Method
- Choosing a Blog Title and Domain Name and URL
- Blog Contributors – Wanted Dead or Alive
- What Do You Put Into Your Family History Blog?
- Move Your Genealogy Blog Into the 21st Century With Site Feeds
- Why a Genealogical Society Should Blog
- Random Genealogy: Online Genealogy Collaboration
- Does Your Library Have a Genealogy Department? Do They Have a Genealogy Blog?
- Collaborative Genealogy: Programs to Help Families Work on Websites Together
Site Search Tags: blog building, building a blog, genealogy blog, finding a web host, web host, planning a blog, blog development, blog planning, cheap hosts, cheap web hosts
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network Subscribe