Many people start their blogs on hosted platforms. Hosted blogging solutions can be a good way to start, because they’re free and they’re generally trusted in the search engines. But there are perils associated with hosting a blog on someone else’s server.
For one thing, you’re at the mercy of the owner of the platform. Blogger has been known to delete blogs without warning, simply because they felt the blog was too much like spam or too commercial.
WordPress doesn’t allow affiliate links to be used on their blogs, so making money by hosting a blog on their servers is difficult. Ideally, you should start your blog on your own server, preferably in the root of the domain.
Some people have their blog in a subdirectory, such as yourdomain.com/blog. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but putting your blog on its own domain can have special benefits. For one thing, a root domain often ranks better in the search engines than a subdirectory.
Putting your blog on the main domain (just yourdomain.com) can help it rank better, and might even give it a little more credibility in the eyes of your visitors. For another thing, people generally prefer a blog over a content site.
If you have some sort of content site on the root domain, then you have a blog in a subdirectory, people may come to your domain specifically to read your blog. If your blog isn’t easy to find, they may leave and never come back.
Most people who host a blog on their own server use WordPress. If you host the software on your own server, you’re free to have affiliate links if you wish. WordPress also has a lot of support in the form of themed templates and plugins.
If you’re going to host your blog in the root of your domain, you’ll upload all of the files and folder directly to the root instead of a subdirectory. If you had your blog previously in a subfolder or another domain, you’ll need to do a 301 redirect to tell search engines and visitors that the files have moved, and where they’ve moved to.
If you don’t know how to do this, you can search Google for “301 redirect” to learn how to set this up. If you move your blog from a hosted solution, you’ll need to provide a link to your new blog in a post on the old location.
Simply create a new post on the old blog, and say something like, “We’ve moved! This blog has been relocated to a new domain. Click here to visit the new blog, and be sure to update your bookmarks!”
By linking to the new location, you’ll not only be telling your visitors where to find you, but you’ll also be telling search engines where to find your new blog. They’ll follow that link to your blog’s new location, and you’ll probably get the new domain indexed faster than if you didn’t link to it from the old one.
You can save yourself from having to do this later by starting your blogs on your own domain from the beginning. A domain name is generally under $10, and hosting can be found for as little as $5 per month.
Some people may not even have that much money available when they’re just starting out, and that’s understandable. But as soon as you can possibly afford it, you should probably invest in a domain and hosting.
If you get a new domain, log into your cpanel and click the Fantastico button (it’s a little smiley face). On the left sidebar, under Blogs, click WordPress. Then click New Installation. From the drop down directory, choose the domain you want it to reside on.
If you want it to be located on yourdomain.com, leave the next field blank. If you prefer it to be on yourdomain.com/blog, then put the word blog in the next field. Then you’ll just enter all of your administrative login information and click Install WordPress and your blog will be live! You can find plenty of free themed templates to alter your blog with online.