When you first look into launching a blog, whether for personal or business pursuits, you’re immediately confronted with two types of blog hosting: free and paid.
On the surface, it seems like an obvious choice. Why wouldn’t you take the free option? However, when you really begin to study the differences between free and paid, a new reality begins to emerge.
Five reasons to pay for hosting
There are times in life where free is good. Generally speaking, free food, free parking, and free admission are good things. But there are also times when the price you pay equals the quality of the product you receive. This is one of those times. Paid hosting yields a much higher return and there are five specific reasons why you should consider it:
When you choose paid hosting, you get far more control over your blog than with free hosting. You don’t have to abide by the rules or limitations that free hosting sites may require.
This may seem like a minor issue, but it’s actually quite liberating. With paid hosting, you have full control over the layout, SEO, advertising revenue, plugins and extensions, bandwidth, and more. It’s like owning a house versus renting. Both options give you shelter, but the control that comes with owning is far more enticing.
Cyber security is a big deal right now. Threats are on the rise and you must do everything you possibly can to protect your data. Blogs can be hacked and there’s very little you can do to stop it from happening.
Considering that a single hack can destroy your content and set your website back, this isn’t something you should mess around with. With a paid blogging platform, you get way more control over security and can set up robust and custom security measures.
More customization options
You want a blog that looks good, right? Well, if you’re using a free blogging platform, you’ll have access to a limited supply of themes and layouts. This means your blog could look like dozens of other blogs. If you aren’t careful, you could water down your brand image.
With paid hosting, you typically get access to more customization features – many of which are free with premium access. As web developer Robert Mening notes, WordPress comes with thousands of free themes and plugins, which more than pay for the cost of paid hosting.
Branded domain name
You also want your blog to look professional. Well, the number one thing you can do to ensure people take you seriously is to have a branded domain name with a “.com” extension. When you pay for hosting, you don’t have to use the default extensions that often come with free plans.
No migration issues
A lot of people start with free hosting and then decide to migrate to paid hosting, but this generally leads to a myriad of issues.
“Exporting and importing can go flawlessly, or unforeseen errors can make it a nightmare,” expert Gina Badalaty says. “Transferred content can contain glitches that are time consuming to fix. You also need to make sure that your permalinks are consistent between services, your RSS feed doesn’t lose subscribers and that all your redirects still work for pages that have been moved or removed.”
The benefit of starting with paid hosting cannot be understated. You’ll never need to deal with migration issues and can build your blog on a solid foundation.
Paid blog hosting is worth it
Paid blog hosting will obviously cost you more in dollars and cents than free blog hosting, but the long-term cost of free hosting is much more expensive. You’ll be faced with productivity issues, branding issues, and you’ll eventually pay extra to migrate your blog to a paid platform.
If you can spare a few dollars per month for paid hosting, you’ll benefit in the long run. It delivers a hefty return on investment and is just another way you can give your blog that professional image readers are looking for.
About the Author: Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur, HuffingtonPost and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.