One of the most popular reasons for which bloggers avoid getting their own hosted account seems to be that they assume that this is something appropriate only pro-bloggers. About half of the responders until now have expressed this sentiment and I can understand that as it was my impression when I started blogging back in livejournal.
The reasons we turn to blogging are numerours. I won’t get into specifics but I believe that each of us needs to introspect and distill the exact reason(s) they is doing this. My own, for example, are (in order of importance)
- To express my philosophy and hopefully make someone’s life better.
- To write down and spread my knowledge and experience to others.
- To serve as my personal soap box where friends and family can come for news.
In all of these reasons, pro-blogging (having money as your primary reason) never appears in any form. Indeed, in the Division by Zer0 you will not find even a single advertisement as of this moment. Money is simply not my target.
And I’m not the only one. If you look around, you’ll see quite a few people with self-hosted blogs that have very little to do with pro-blogging. Many of them don’t have ads. Many of them post quite irregularly.
And yet, we all went with self hosting. Why? Control.
Do you want a simple blog where all you want to do is write a post now and then, manage your comments, see your stats and not much else? Why not have a choice of hundreds, if not thousands of themes, easily customizable (much, much more easily than blogger, believe you me) and with perfect control of every aspect?
How about using hundreds of widgets for anything you might think of, where before you might either have to rely (and pay) a third party or not have the choice at all (as in the case of wordpress.com and livejournal)?
Total control and oversight?
It has it all.
What if you change your mind down the line and decide to actually make some money of your blogging? As humans, we change all the time. I went from the default livejournal account to self-host in one year. I went from posting mundane life stuff to posting primarily philosophically and tech in the next year. As a result I’ve seen my readership quadruple in a very short amount of time.
Thus, even though I am still not even close to being a pro-blogger (nor do I plan to be one), It would be a nightmare for me now to go back to free hosting. Having to wait until blogger codes a needed feature that’s been around for ages everywhere else? Having to beg wordpress.com to allow a simple script? No thanks.
Self-hosting is not for making money. It’s all about retaining control of your own little place in the internet and doing anything you might want to without relying on a third party in any way. If your reasons for not doing it is because you’re not aiming for success, then you’re not only missing out but you may end up regretting it later.