Most bloggers who are starting out prefer to use hosted blog platforms since they are usually free and easy to use. These platforms allow you to host your own blog on their domain. Once you have finished the set up process, you are given a URL which combines the name of your blog and the URL of the hosting platform. For instance, you could have a blog named TopBlog with a web address like www.topblog.wordpress.com. The domain name contains the blog’s name, as well as the wordpress.com extension. The blog is therefore being hosted by WordPress.
Hosted blog platforms have several advantages, as well as disadvantages.
- Free to run/cheap – Most of the hosted platforms out there are either free or very affordable
- Easy to set up – These platforms allow you to set up a blog within minutes. All you need to do is select a template design and fill in several fields. Hosted platforms are best suited for people who don’t know much about the technical aspects of blogging
- Easy to run – Once the set up is complete, hosted blogs are normally very easy to run. Most of these platforms come with features which are very user-friendly. Articles can be posted by simply adding content to some fields and clicking on the publish button
- Automatic updates – Whenever there is an update of the blog platform, your blog will be updated automatically. You won’t have to worry about uploading new software
- Fast indexing in search engines – Since your blog is hosted on a domain which already has a good page rank, it is likely to be indexed and ranked very fast
- Not easy to configure – Hosted blogs are usually very limited when it comes to customization and features. This can be very frustrating for blog owners. However, the level of limitation varies from one hosted platform to another
- Design limitations – Hosted platforms offer default templates which are used by many people who are setting up blogs. As a result, a hosted blog is likely to end up appearing similar to many other blogs out there
- Less control – Hosted blog owners are not able to have full control of their blogs. Since the web address is not really their own, they remain at the mercy of their host. When the host is down, the blogs go down as well
- Generic URL – Unique URL appear more professional and are usually more memorable. Using a hosted platform means that you are stuck with a generic URL which might project you as a blogger who is not serious
- Difficulty in upgrading to standalone – Even if you get started with a hosted platform, a time might come when you’ll need to upgrade to a standalone platform. This will present quite a challenge, especially when it comes to redirecting your traffic, moving with your current readers, as well as improving your search engine ranking