5 Reasons Your WordPress Blog Should Be Self Hosted

I’m a HUGE fan of WordPress for websites and blogging, as anyone that reads here regularly will know.

But did you know that there is a difference between having your blog hosted by WordPress themselves, and hosting it on your own hosting (known as self hosting)? If you didn’t, don’t worry, a lot of people don’t.

To clarify, if your blog site has an address something like http://yourcompanyname.wordpress.com or http://yourcompanyname.blogspot.com then it’s hosted by either WordPress or Blogger / Blogspot.

If your blog has an address something like www.yourcompany.com/blog then the chances are it’s self hosted (although hat’s not always the case, drop me a line if you’re not sure and want to check).

So, read on to find out just 5 reasons (there are many more) why you should be self hosting your WordPress blog if you’re serious about your business blogging.

You’ll have more credibility

It used to be that if you had an @aol.com email address or a geocities domain name, you were seen pretty much as ‘second class’. And the newer version of that seems to be having a WordPress.com or Blogspot.com domain name for your blog.

It’s pretty simple – do you want people to see that your blog is a part of your business, or are you happy with them thinking you’re ‘playing’ at it?

I know and you know that there are some great blogs out there that AREN’T self hosted – but if you want to be taken seriously in 2012 then your blogsite needs to be either a part of your main site or have it’s own domain and be hosted on its own web space.

Are you serious about your blog?

You’ll get better search engine positions

A simple fact of life is that free blog sites just don’t do as well in the search engines. Quite odd really, especially as you consider that Blogger is owned by Google! But that’s how it is.

Add to this the fact that you can get some great SEO plugins for self hosted WordPress and it’s a no brainer.

Do you want your potential customers to find you when they search on Google?

You’ll have control

OK, it’s unlikely to happen, but what would you do if WordPress decided to take down your blog? Or remove your blog posts? Or jus remove access to them for a while?

While you’re hosting your blog on a freebie site, you’re at their mercy – your content belongs to them and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Self host, and YOU’RE in control – you can back up your posts, move them where you like, and run pretty much no risk of your account being closed down and your hard work wiped out.

Would you like to be more in control of your content?

You’ll have a better choice of themes

There’s a massive range of themes on WordPress.com, but let’s face it, how often have you seen the same themes being used time and time again by different industries? With self hosted WordPress you can have a hue choice of themes, from an out of the box standard one to one that matches or complements your own website.

Do you want to stand out by looking different to everyone else?

You’ll have better plugins

I alluded to this earlier with the mention of SEO plugins, but there are a whole array of plugins that you can use on self hosted WordPress but not on the free hosted version.

From Social Media plugins to sharing plugins to commenting plugins to analytics plug ins and beyond – if you’re serious about your blog you need quite a few of these plugins.

Are you serious about your blog?

In short, self hosted WordPress is the way to go if you want to look professional, have more control, have flexibility and make the most of your blog – what’s stopping you going self hosted today?

Like this post? Check out our Wacky WordPress offer to take you from free hosted to self hosted at a drastically knockdown price!



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Why WordPress is a Good Choice for your Website

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Image via CrunchBase

When you create a website, it is important that you choose a really good content system to help back up your great design. This will help you to manage your website more successfully and help it reach its full potential. WordPress is one of the best content management systems out there and is a great choice for any website. Read on for five reasons WordPress is a good choice for your website.

WordPress has got millions of users and there are close to 50 million WordPress websites in the world. This is a huge amount, and it suggests that they certainly must be doing something right for so many people to choose them for their website.

Lots of themes
Another great thing about WordPress is that there are lots of different themes that you can use. This means you can change the look of your website really simply: even if you are a complete beginner when it comes to websites, you’ll be able to choose a theme to suit your need and make your site stand out from the pack. With so many themes to choose from, there is something to fit with every style of site, from professional to fun and funky.

Easy to update
A lot of people also use WordPress for their websites because the content management system makes it really easy to update. The process for adding new content to your site is straightforward and efficient, so even if you’re not the best person in the world with technology, you’ll still be able to do it.

WordPress also has loads of options that allow you to customise its themes so you can adapt your website to exactly what you’re looking for. This could involve something relatively simple such as adding your own graphics to the site, to more complex things such as adapting the code to meet your needs. There are also some great external software options that use WordPress to create fantastic, customised websites.

One of these options is Genesis Framework, which is powered by Studiopress. This offers a range of themes and has a focus on SEO, enabling you to boost the performance of your website while still benefitting from the best bits of the WordPress experience. There are different packages available for the Genesis Framework, which means you’re sure to be able to find what you’re looking for and, whether you’re a novice or an advanced user, it’s sure to be able to meet your website needs.

Multiple uses
There are also lots of different things you can do with WordPress. For example, as well as creating a professional website for your business using a service such as Genesis, you could also start a WordPress blog to further enhance your online business. There are also ways of linking WordPress to your social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, so you can bring together all of your online activity into one place, allowing for more effective management and a more focused website that will ultimately be of benefit to you.

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Need business blogging help? You need this ebook :)

11,000 words, 56 pages, and more blogging hints tips and help ideas than you can shake a stick at!

We’ve been working on the 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook for a couple of weeks now, and if I do say so myself, it’s looking fab!

Here’s the list of contents to whet your appetite:

Welcome to the Challenge
Day 1 – Are you ready?
Day 2 – Top Tips
Day 3 – Call to Action
Day 4 – Questions questions questions
Day 5 – Be their guest
Day 6 – Say something nice
Day 7 – A day in the life
Day 8 – Picture this
Day 9 – SEO
Day 10 – Make it work
Day 11 – How did you do?
Day 12 – Round up, round up
Day 13 – Sing, sing a song
Day 14 – How did you start?
Day 15 – Blog post post mortem
Day 16 – Spread the word
Day 17 – Tag, you’re it!
Day 18 – Comment cava?
Day 19 – Review time
Day 20 – More questions questions
Day 21 – Registration agitation
Day 22 – Ask away
Day 23 – Heads up
Day 24 – Everyone has one
Day 25 – Receive a guest
Day 26 – Testimonials
Day 27 – Multi National
Day 28 – Subscribers
Day 29 – Interview
Day 30  – What did you learn?
Appendix I – Resources to help your blogging
Appendix II – Blogging books
Appendix III – Articles to help your blogging
Why small businesses should blog more
You’re not blogging for YOU you’re blogging for THEM
Make blog posts look better with Zemanta
Want to create more hype about your products or services?
Choosing keyphrases for blogging
Why you should always include a picture in your blogs
A blogger’s code of ethics
And Finally…

If I do say myself, it’s a great book, and at just a fiver, how can you say no?

Visit the 30 Day Blogging Challenge eBook page to find out more and purchase.

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Guest Blogging – Receiving Guest Bloggers

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Image via CrunchBase

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, the words won’t flow. And when that’s the case, and you’ve used up all your spare blogs, well there’s only one thing for it – bring on the guest blogs!

A guest blogger is someone who comes along and has a blog published on your website. You may have asked him (or her) or he may have requested a spot, but guest bloggers can be a boon to a busy blog, and even to a not so busy one.

You get content, a new audience (he’s bound to tell all his contacts about his guest spot). He gets a new audience (yours, who may follow him back to his blog) and promotion (you’ll tell everyone you know about his guest slot).

So let’s find a few guest bloggers, shall we?

Ask a client
A safe first option as a guest blogger is probably a client who will say nice things about as well as get to promote her own blog and service (subtly, as with any blogging). This works especially well if your service and products bear relation to one another, but can also work if they don’t.

A supplier
Again, pretty safe and can work well either way. Not very exciting though is it? And you’ll soon run out of people.

A competitor
A brave move, and not one a lot of people would take, but a lot of times worth the risk. Let’s face it, he’ll have to reciprocate and you both have pretty much the same potential clients.

A related business
Probably the easiest and the best is to look at a related business and see if they’ll guest blog for you – if you have a similar market they may say yes and you’ll both win.

Look in the comments
If you have an established blog you may have some people who regularly comment and would jump at the opportunity to guest blog for you.

A celebrity
Whether your idea of a celebrity is Chris Evans or Chris Brogan, it won’t hurt to ask them to guest blog.

(A clue though, Chris Brogan is more likely to say yes than Chris Evans!) The worst they can do is ignore you…

The prolific blogger
He posts a blog post every day, is always promoting his blog posts and never seems to have time to work – grab him before he starts another post for his own site!

The already guesting blogger
Everywhere you go you see her posts, and she seems to be in with all the right people. This means she has a huge audience, but is also happy to blog on smaller blogs, so what have you got to lose by asking her?

The new blogger
He’s only just started his blog, so he’s not got much of an audience, but he’ll have enthusiasm and tell everyone he knows he’s guested on your blog. And who doesn’t want to help a new blogger?

He who doesn’t
He doesn’t have a blog, doesn’t want a blog and thinks blogging is for mugs. But he has content, and he needs to put it somewhere – give him a spot and he’ll promote you for life.

Invite them in
If you know them, speak to them however you would normally, but if you don’t, a polite email is best, asking them if they would like a guest spot on your site.

Don’t forget
Remember to send them the URL and explain your ‘niche’.

Don’t badger
If you haven’t heard in an hour, don’t send them another seven emails saying the same thing – you’ll just annoy them.

But don’t give up
Give it a week or so and then drop another polite email – it could be that they didn’t get the first, were too busy to read it, had a VA delete it by accident.

Wait a little longer
I’d leave it another month or so before approaching them again. It may be that the time isn’t right, or that they just don’t want to do it – the polite ones will email you back and let you know the situation though!

They said yes!
Well done you! Thank them and now let’s agree some ground rules

Tone and Subject
What do you want them to write about? What do they want to write about? Do you want something funny or serious, businesslike or chatty? Talk about this up front so that everyone knows what they’re letting themselves in for.

Length / Number of Words
You don’t want them sending you a couple of paragraphs when you expected a thousand words, so agree up front how long the piece will be.

Who is going to source the pictures? You or them? Free or paid? Make it easy by deciding these things up front and letting your guest blogger know. (I would say that I would deal with pictures but the final choice was theirs if they didn’t like the ones I’d chosen – but then I have a strange sense of humour when it comes to blog posts and images….

Be clear up front if you’re not offering payment. Don’t panic – in most cases you’re not expected to, guest bloggers do it for free, but some high profile bloggers have been known to ask for a fee. Agree it up front – that way everyone knows what to do.

Date for submission
Try and get your blogger to send you the piece a few days before you need it, so you’ll have a chance to look it over, make any amendments agreed, upload it and schedule it to go.

Date for publication
Agree a date for publication and stick to it. Your guest blogger will probably have told people that they’re appearing on your blog and won’t want to be disappointed.

Introduce your guest blogger
Don’t just stick their post up there as a normal post – introduce them:
“Today we have a guest post from Nikki Pilkington. Nikki runs NikkiPilkington.com, a successful Internet Marketing Company based in the UK and France. She has been promoting websites for 15 years and today is going to talk to us about blah blah blah”
Followed by the post.

Another way to do it is just to say ‘A guest post by Nikki Pilkington’ , then have the post, then put the author info in a box at the end of the post.

Remember the links!
Probably one of the main reasons your guest author wants to post is to have the links back to his or her website – make sure they’re there and make sure they’re correct before publishing. This is also another good thing to have agreed up front – how many links and where in the piece they can appear.

From your blogs stats (you do have stats don’t you?) let your guest blogger know how their post did on the day, and then again maybe a week or so later. They’ll want to know how many readers it had, at the very least, but you may be able to tell them other info such as how many people clicked through to their site, how many people came to the post from search engines, what they searched for etc.

How to get stats?
Consider installing the WordPress.com stats plugin – Once it’s running it’ll begin collecting information about your pageviews, which posts and pages are the most popular, where your traffic is coming from, and what people click on when they leave. It’ll also add a link to your dashboard which allows you to see all your stats on a single page.

Get Clicky
I’m also a huge fan of Clicky web stats which allows you to ‘spy’ on your visitors, in that you can see which pages they’re visiting in real time. It allows you to see the reaction to your Tweets and promotion of a post immediately. You can get it at Get Clicky.

Something different please
If neither of those grab you, then Mashable did a round up of 30+ WordPress plugins for statistics that may have something you like.

So please consider finding guest bloggers for your website – it’s not difficult and it can help to expand your blog readership dramatically.


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