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Where Should You Host Your Blog?

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Submitted by Jennifer Jones | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me!

Should you host your blog yourself or pay someone to host it? One thing for sure - as a blogger, I just want to add information to a form, click submit, and find it on my blog. That is the true value of a blogging system to me. I want to let you know up front that I love Article Advocates for two reasons - it allows me to do what I just described and this blogging service is free to use. It also offers content management and marketing services if I want to use them in the future. I can create register a domain name (or multiple domain names), create my own website(s) and publish the articles I already have in the system will just begin showing up on my website(s)!

To continue and answer the question about hosting a blog with someone, let’s first look at how a blog is created. Just like creating web pages, first, you need a software or script that will take your entries, format it and publish it to the web. The second component of a blog, is the web space, where the software should publish to, a home for the blog pages. Note that on most other systems, you place your information in one place and it shows up in one place - it is not syndicated.

Knowing this information, let’s review the different ways to host a blog:

Full blog host

This is where the blogging system or software is provided for you and your blog is also published to a web space provided by the host. Blogger, SquareSpace and Typepad fall into this category. It’s very much like creating a website with a site builder, but again, you publish the information and it shows up in just one place - there is no syndication of your content (except for Article Advocates).

Hosted blog software but published elsewhere

This is where the blog software is provided for you but the blog pages are published to another website or web host altogether. By doing this, the software acts as a publishing system like FrontPage except it creates nicely formatted blogs. Blogger is probably the most well known for this, and Blogger can do both by publishing to their host OR to yours. As a comparison, its like using FrontPage to publish your website. Again, you publish in one place and it displays in one place - no syndication.

Blog software and blogs are hosted on your web server

This is where you would install the blog script (software) on your web server – it can be any web hosting account. When you publish, the blog itself resides on YOUR web server. To draw a parallel, this technique is like buying web hosting and then installing a content management system on it to help you build web pages. It was clear to me that this was too technical for me - I don't want to deal with scripts or installing anything. That is why I went with Article Advocates - I can begin my data entry, build my content, have it syndicated on other websites and then eventually create my own website. All of this was available for free, it was easy to do and I didn't have to have any real technical knowledge on things like HTML, scripting, etc.

If you’re new to building web pages or have built sites using site builders then you might be able to handle going with fully hosted blog services. These hosts do all the nitty gritty for you and there’s very little technical stuff you need to know. If you can point and click, you can build a blog with a full blog host.

Having said that, just because you’re seasoned at building web pages doesn’t mean you should host your own blog. In fact, if you have a large amount of articles for your blog like I do, outsourcing becomes very appealing since you don’t have to worry about upgrading the blog script, people exploiting the script, making plug-ins work, or when your web host decides to disable part of your blog functions because there is a security hole. I find it best if all I have to do is concentrate on blogging. Blogging is more important than maintaining my blog, and that’s the way it should be.

Hosted software

Although Blogger is one of the best known host because of its popularity, often you find the system too slow to publish or completely down just when you have a hot idea to share. The idea is good, but you’ll need to find a quality service that provides personal service. I generally don't trust a service if I can't get someone on the phone.

Managing scripts

This is not a very popular method because of the learning curve. I am fairly technical and liked the flexibility scripts allow, but it takes time to manage. I even hired a programmer to create custom plug-ins and other parts of my blogging system the way you want it. Scripting provides flexibility. The reason I switch to Article Advocates was that I found much of the functionality here for free that I had been paying for on these other blogging systems, and there are no plug-ins necessary to make it happen.

Interview with Teo Graca - Article Advocates designer

I have spoken many times with Teo Graca, the Information Architect behind the Article Advocates blogging and content management system, and he has a severe prejudice against systems that force people to install software when they don't need to do this to provide the service offered. He says "plug-ins are a source of viruses, even from established companies like Sun Microsystems and Microsoft". I agree. Also, why would these companies ask you to install something when they don't have to. Teo says "when you install something, it gives that plug-in or application full access to your hard drive. There are only two possibilities in my view for a company with massive resources to do something like this - they are either ignorant of how to do it properly, or they are doing it with malicious intent. Neither reason is good."

I agree 100% that if I don't need a plug-in to accomplish a task and a company asks me to install one, that company is suspect!

More on hosting your own blog

At a very minimum, you need some knowledge of HTML or managing scripts on websites. This is good to know, but shouldn't be necessary to publish a blog. The burden of upgrading, troubleshooting and maintaining scripts is on you. If you have one or two blogs, it’s not so bad, but once you start having more blogs, it can be quite tedious. You also have to consider all the other responsibilities of maintaining the scripts and the hassle of maintaining your articles in more than one place. I like Article Advocates because I can now manage my blog articles in one place and let Teo's crew manage the hosting aspect of my blogging, and when I am ready, my articles are already in the system and my content is already formatted for distribution to my website(s). Also, before I decide to spend money, the content I have here is already syndicated and can show up on over 100 websites! That's powerful!

Conclusion

Armed with this information, you should be able to figure out which approach you want to use for blogging. I am sure by now that you know my recommendation. I want to also mention that Teo is still accessible and I get him on the phone pretty easily. I love working with a company on a personal level and I consider Teo a friend and business partner. And when I get some money to turn my hobby into a business, I know where I am going to put it first!

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LinkedIn Recommendation: Wendy Acosta - Owner, Possibilities Unlimited, LLC - I have worked with many 'experts' in the technology field, yet none can surpass the level of knowledge, expertise and creativity that Teo brings to the table. When I need a problem solved, or a foundation built that will evolve and grow as my projects grow, Teo is the only person I call. - January 20, 2011, Wendy was Teo's client

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