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Question:

"Do I really need a personal website for my BLOG?"

 

 

Answer:

Having an Internet blogging presence and an unique e-mail address is essential if you want to get your message out there. The web is an invaluable tool to provide others with information.

 

Using a web-based blogging service (like Blogger, MySpace or LiveJournal) is a second best solution. Serious bloggers have their own domain name, their blog is under their control and censorship is not an issue.

 

If you're a serious blogger and you want the freedom to have your say - whatever it may be - then you need your OWN domain with your OWN private blogging site. You also need a proper technical support service for when things go wrong.

 
 

Web-based BLOGGING service

versus

A Private Personal BLOGGING site

 

Web-based Blogging service

This is usually a service provided by big companies. Basically they provide the service in order to promote their own presence and to generate traffic for their own advertising activity (Ad Sense etc.).

As an example we'll use

 

 

 

 

 

 

This service is provided free and is one of the more popular platforms (generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com which it bought up in 2003). Most other free blogging services are run in a similar way. We are not singling out Blogger, but it is one of the best examples of what a common-or-garden web-based blogging service provides.

Pros.

  • It's very easy to open a "Blogger" account - so you can get started straight away.

  • You only need an existing Google account or you can instantly open one with your current e-mail address (usually Gmail).

  • There is minimal need of any technical knowledge.

  • The blogging templates are familiar to blog readers so are (generally) easy to navigate.

  • There is no charge for the service (but you are providing traffic through your followers to the main blogspot.com domain & by doing so get Google's adverts read, the same applies to the companies who provide a similar service).

Cons.

  • This is a free service. Your blog site is a sub domain of the service provider IT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU!

  • As you are using a sub domain of blogspot.com you cannot use an e-mail address that reflects your actual blog name.

  • There is no direct contact technical support - you're on your own and have to depend on simple documentation on the web, often provided by other users.

  • Customization features are limited.

  • If you are into Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and want to optimize your site more, blogger/ blogspot is not the ideal platform for you, as it lacks heading options and other tagging tools used by SEOs

  • Although Blogspot is improving in terms of its appearance, many people especially more professional bloggers, still find it is not that professional looking.

  • You are limited by size and content of your blog. Your blogging account will have limitations e.g. Blogger has the following limitations on content storage and bandwidth, per user account:

    Blog description = 500 characters. HTML mark up not supported.

    Number of blogs = 100 blogs per account.

    Number of labels = 5000 unique labels per blog (increased from the original 2000), 20 unique labels per post

    Number of pictures (hyperlinked from user's Picasa Web Album) = Up to 1 GB of free storage ( As of April 2012, disk space allocated is 5 GB)

    Number of posts =There is no limit on the number of posts one can have in one blog.

    Size of pages = Individual pages (the main page of a blog or archive pages) are limited to 1 MB

    Size of pictures = If posted via Blogger Mobile, limited 300 KB per picture; posted pictures are scaled to 1600px

    Stand-Alone Pages = Limited to 20 stand-alone pages.

    Team members (those who can write to a blog) = 100 invitations per blog.

    On February 18, 2010, Blogger introduced "auto-pagination", which limited the number of posts that could be displayed on each page, often causing the number of posts on the main page to be less than that specified by the user and leading to a hostile response from some users.

  • Large free services of this type are often blocked by certain countries. E.g. Blogger has been blocked for various periods of time in the following countries:

Cuba
Fiji
Iran (www.blogger.com and www.blogspot.com, as well as all blogs on this platform)
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan (www.blogger.com and www.blogspot.com, as well as all blogs on this platform are not accessible via most Internet providers because they take traffic from Kazakhstan, where they are blocked)
Myanmar
Pakistan
People's Republic of China
Russian Federation (some ISPs in 2012 blocking an IP address put into Federal List of Extremist Materials in 2011)
Syrian Arab Republic
Turkey (for a short period)
Vietnam
Yemen
Blocking of *.blogspot.com domains by keyword-based Internet filtering systems is also encountered due to the domain containing the substring "gspot."

  • Censorship. Your blog can have the plug pulled on it without warning - for all kinds of reasons, usually a complaint about your content (valid or not) to the provider. The provider does not usually investigate, but simply switches your blog off. YOU loose all your past content. You do not have access to any back-ups.

  • There is very limited scope for contact with the provider. Arbitration, after a blog has been pulled, is virtually non existent. The service is free so the provider is not obligated to you in any way.

 

A Private Personal BLOGGING site

Pros.

  • You have TOTAL control of your blog-site. The site BELONGS to you - you OWN it.

  • If you host your site yourself the only content censorship is what you apply to yourself and to your blog's contributors. If you host your site with us we will not censor any content BUT we do stipulate that there is no pornography or other sexually explicit or similarly indecent or imoral content used.

  • Your blog - as long as you renew your domain name when due, and pay your hosting fee is yours for as long as you like NO ONE will pull the plug on you.

  • Your blog will not be blocked by certain countries.

  • You will have UNLIMITED web space - so no limits on written content or graphics.

  • You will have UNLIMITED bandwidth.

  • Your blog-site will be hosted using the domain name of your choice (if available). So instead of having something like: www.billysblog.blogspot.co.uk you could have www.billysblog.net (.co.uk, .com, .org, .me or any other extension you prefer). You will also have an e-mail account of the same name and UNLIMITED mail-boxes.

  • Your blog-site is more "visible" to search engines and is more SEO friendly.

  • You can either upload your own blogging software to your site (we recommend WordPres) or we can do it all for you, including all the server side set-up. However you will have TOTAL control of how you want to administer your site, and customise the look & feel of it.

  • You will have thousands of themes, widgets and plugins available to you for your blog - if you use WordPress.

  • If you host your site with us we will upload the WordPress blogging software programme 'engine' for you, we will edit any php coded files for you AND we'll provide a full technical support service by direct contact with a human!

  • We will FREELY supply the latest version of WordPress for you to download or, if you require us to install the software programme on our servers we will also do that free of charge, using the very latest version of the software.

Cons.

  • You either have to download the software programme yourself and install it on a domain hosted on a server (or get someone like us to do it professionally for you).

  • Whilst the WP software is Open Source and entirely free to download and use, you will have the cost of registering a domain name, you'll need to pay to have your site hosted on a server - unless you alteady have your own server.

  • For some special features you may need to edit some php files - unless you have that done for you by the people who host your site (like us).

 

WP

WordPress (WP) has been consistently ranked as the #1 most popular and widely used blogging platform in the world (see review). By clicking on the WP logo on the left you can download the full programme now - ABSOLUTELY FREE of charge - for you to use as you please. Or if you would prefer we can register your preferred domain name & host it for you on our servers. We will then upload the WP programme to your domain name on our server. We will also set-up the prgramme for you, all you'll have to do then is go to your URL, log-in as the site administrator and  customise your blog site from your administrator control panel..  It's entirely up to you. Details are shown below.

 WP is web software you can use to create a beautiful blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.

Independant Review   

WHAT NEXT?

Decision. Once you have made the decision to have your OWN blogging site, the next step is to get a domain name.

Domain. A domain name is the address that Internet viewers use to access your web-site (your URL). Your domain name is your identity on the Internet and is similar to having your own phone number. Essentially, domain names serve as routing addresses on the Internet. Your domain name will also form part of your e-mail address e.g. you@yourdomain.com. You can register your domain name right now with us. If you already have a domain name then you will need to change it's DNS to "point" to our servers. We offer fantastic rates for domain name registrations.

You can either register your own domain name through a registrar of your own choice or we can register one for you. If you register the name yourself we can still host it for you.

Our registration rates per annum are:

1 Year

yourchosenname.biz 7.50
yourchosenname.com 7.50
yourchosenname.co.uk 6.50
yourchosenname.info 7.50
yourchosenname.me.uk 6.50
yourchosenname.net 7.50
yourchosenname.org 7.50
yourchosenname.org.uk 7.50

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Hosting. After choosing your domain name and registering it, you will need a home for it. You can host your domain on our servers.

We offer hosting services for as little as 3.99 per month! We have the most competitive and feature-packed hosting plans available anywhere in the UK.

 

Web Space. After you register your domain name and have arranged your hosting plan with us you will be allocated disk space on our servers - unlike many other hosting companies we give you unlimited web-space. That "space" is where you will store your web-site files and associated programmes (like WP), graphics, scripts, e-mail accounts info etc. as a guideline the average disk space used by most of our clients is in the region of 30Mb). To upload information to your web space you  will requires FTP software. Unless you use us to do that for you. If you haven't already got FTP software you're welcome to download a copy for free by clicking on the FileZilla download icon on the right.

Web-site/ Blog-site Installation. After we register your domain name, supply you with a hosting plan, upload & set-up WP for you, then we'll make sure it gets maintained on our server - so we'll look after you from "scratch to finish". If you want to do the design yourself, or wish to engage a "Webmaster" to do the work on your behalf then that's o.k. - we'll provide any technical assistance that you may require as a goodwill gesture - if you have an account with us and host your site on our servers. By now - if you've read this far - you're  wondering how much we charge.

Cost. Here's the REALLY good news! For a standard WP blog site we charge a one off flat rate for the whole process of setting everything up on the server, that's just 30.00.  

 

So the total cost to you for a professional private blog site including:

  1. Domain name registration

  2. Hosting (paid annually in advance)

  3. One off set-up fee.

is initially (on average) 72.00.

 

That gives you 12 months of unlimited blog site use - with no hassle. After that you just pay the domain name renewal fee and the annual hosting fee = approx 42.00/ annum (that works out at 11.5 pence per day!). The rest is FREE!

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