You’ve already decided to become a hugely famous blogger. You know what you want to write and you know why you want to write it. Perfect. It really is the way to go and I fully support your decision, but at this critical stage, you need to make a few very important choices. Hosted? Installed? Which brand of either. Get this right now or you may regret it later. I’ve seen success stories and – well, not success stories.
I used to work with a guy a few years back. He was a friend of mine who looked over my shoulder to ask what I was doing. He wondered why I was on my website when I should be working for the company I was working for. I explained to him that I was updating my blog and that if he had a message to send the world, he should start up a blog as well. He smiled widely and followed with a flood of questions. “How do I get started? What do I need? Is it expensive?” You know, all the typical stuff people ask when they want to get into this line of action.
His story is important here because he followed a common path of many budding bloggers. I suggested that he decide between a hosted blogging option and an installed one. A hosted option is offered by outfits such as – WordPress.com, Blog.com, Blogger.com, TypePad.com, Jux.com, Tumblr.com, Posterous.com, Blogetery.com, Weebly.com and LiveJournal.com. Many of these options are free and are quite attractive because everything is set up for you. There are no hosting fees or databases to install. There are no files to backup or technical worries. The only thing you concern yourself with is if your desired username is already taken or not.
There is one catch though and my friend didn’t realize he was going to get snagged by it when he began his journey. The catch is this – if you decide that blogging is, in fact, for you, you may want to move away from the hosted alternative later on in life. You may want to take advantage of the added flexibility (and complexity) of an installed alternative, such as WordPress.org (notice the .ORG there). I’m only going to mention WordPress here because it’s the best.
My friend did decide that he liked blogging so much that he made the switch later on to a WordPress install. It wasn’t a huge ordeal, but he did have to do a lot of extra work during the transition.
Here and there, people ask me for suggestions regarding this topic. I usually tell them to go with the hosted option, with Blogger.com being the best. I suggest this because blogging has matured greatly since the day of my friend’s situation. Back then, hosted options were spotty and I didn’t trust them all too much. Many web organizations were fly-by-night and came and went like the wind. Pouring your heart into one of them, only to wake up one morning and stare at an apology letter, which used to be their homepage, on your computer monitor, may ruin your life for a few days.
Things are different now. Blogger is huge and so are the others. Millions of people use these alternatives and the administration options have grown. You can do almost anything with a hosted option that you can do with an installed one.
I did want to simmer this caveat to the surface though because it is something to think about. When you get past the 500 post mark, which can take less than a year, an installed CMS may be the way to go. After all, no one said becoming famous wouldn’t take hard work.
Ask me questions – I would love to answer them.