Update: I’ve written more advice on this topic at Self-Hosting Your Author Website: How and Why to Do It.
Recently I was asked why authors should self-host their own blog or website.
First, what does self-host mean?
It means that you don’t use a free service to run your blog or website. The most popular free services are Blogger and WordPress.com. What confuses a lot of people is that you can run a website or blog that is based on the WordPress system, but is self-hosted. (That describes THIS site.)
So what are the big reasons NOT to use a free service?
- Free services limit the functionality and options for your site.
- Free services limit how much you can customize the look and feel of the site.
- Sometimes you are working on proprietary systems that could be abandoned at any time. They might not be supported in the way you need them to be.
- Free services might not offer the kind of metrics and analytics you need to see what’s working.
- It’s more difficult to make money from a free service (it can be impossible to add eCommerce/shopping cart functionality or to run ads)
When you’re self-hosted, you really own your website and have full control. And for serious, professional authors, who are building a longterm online presence, that’s what I recommend. (If you are doing a very short-lived site, or if you’re just “fooling around,” then yes, do use a free service!)
To learn how to self-host your site in 10 minutes or less, here’s my free tutorial showing how to set up your site at Bluehost.
Disclosure: I am a Bluehost affiliate marketing partner. This means that if you end up clicking one of my links to Bluehost and sign up for a hosting package, I receive a commission. However, I recommend Bluehost because I’ve used them and think they offer good value, along with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.