Last November I presented at a conference on the topic of business blogging. It went over really well, and I had more than 50 people crammed into a small space to hear me talk.

by John Morton via Flickr

At some point I was asked whether it’s better to use a free service or to self host. Of course I always promote self hosting whenever I can, but I gave pros and cons of each during the presentation. However, here I almost wholly support self hosting. There’s way more reasons to go this route than the free route. So I don’t go overboard, I’m only listing 5 things here.

1. If you don’t own it, then it’s never really yours. Free sites get your stuff, and I’ve heard from so many people how hard it is to move their content to their new space when they decide they want to go that route.

2. Do you have being censored? I’ve said this here often, but I’ll say it again; there’s no such thing as free speech. I’ll add to that and say there’s no such thing as free speech if you use a free service. You can be blocked and dropped if either too many people complain or the right person complains. You could be dropped if no one complains but the owners don’t like what you have to say. Why risk it?

3. Why let another site get the benefit from your words? By self hosting, you get all benefits from what you do. And if you attach it to your website by popping it into a subdomain you help your website grow as well.

4. You can’t always market or sell anything on free sites. I don’t mean you can’t set up a business blog on your site or maybe throw in an affiliate link here and there, but most of those sites don’t like it if you want to sell stuff in sidebars of pop affiliate images in the middle of your posts.

5. Design, design, design. With WordPress, the self hosted version, there are literally thousands of different themes out there that you can use and modify for your purposes. With other themes you can alter them as well. You can pay for someone to create a unique theme for you. With free you don’t get as many choices.

There’s lots more one could say but I’m keeping it simple. If you’re going to be serious about blogging long term you should think about going this route.

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