I Pay Nothing To Blog And I Shall Continue To Do So

In the blogging community, there are two types of bloggers: those who blog for free and those who don’t. There’s nothing wrong with either side, but the divide is noticeable. In the last few months I’ve been branching outside of WordPress for networking and I see a lot of bloggers (big ones, too) praise self-hosting and its perks, so I’ve been looking into it. I mentioned here that buying a domain and going self-hosted seems like the next step for someone like me who has been blogging for a while and does so regularly and wants to grow.

There are, of course, a bunch of pros and cons to going self-hosted and it’s important to know them before you make a decision. The pros are all very appealing, but the fact is one can still blog successfully without them.

And that’s what I keep telling myself every time I consider changing things up. As I’ve mentioned, buying a domain from WordPress isn’t too expensive, and I think that if I did decide to do anything, it’d be that. I don’t think I can handle full self hosting. There’s too many things to consider and maintain. Hosting, domain, coding, subscribers…and I’m a fairly tech-savvy person, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for others. And then there’s havoc when your site goes down. That never happens to me.

So aside from the maintenance effort I would have to apply, why am I not going self-hosted? Because I don’t need to. I blog for fun. Most of my posts are casual rants I wrote instead of studying or sleeping. I’m not selling anything or trying to eventually sell something or trying to create a community or anything. I’m just here because I want to be. It costs zero dollars and zero cents to let y’all read whatever nonsense I put together and you in turn pay zero dollars and zero cents to spend five minutes reading it and hopefully commenting/liking/sharing. I can’t justify spending money to let you guys read the exact same content from a website that doesn’t have .wordpress in the URL. In fact, most people who have their own domains say one of the reasons they have it is because it makes their site seem more professional. But I literally have a post about Snuggies, so I lost all professional credibility a long time ago.

And I really like WordPress. It’s easy to use and they don’t try to extort money from me and they have so many cool features. I especially love the Reader. All the other bloggers have to use Bloglovin’ (which I am on if you do use it) but I can follow blogs right in Wordpress’ Reader, and they’re all there and neat and formatted and accessible. WordPress also allows a lot of customization on the free plan. While there are a few things I’d change if I had CSS access, for the most part I am completely satisfied with how my blog looks. I chose the colours, the font, and the general layout. It’s exactly how I want it. For free.

I also read that if you get a new domain, you lose some things in the process. Not only do you probably lose readers because some people (myself included sometimes and I’m sorry) can’t be bothered to click the redirect link and open a new tab, but I think you lose all your likes. Comments and followers should transfer, but likes go. Maybe that’s not true or maybe there’s ways of fixing it. Still, it’s a risk.

I know there are so many .wordpress or .wix or .blogger users out there and I know that a lot of them probably also feel the pressure to upgrade, but I hope this post is a reminder that one is perfectly capable of running a successful blog without paying for anything. Blogging is about writing and personality, two things that can’t be bought.

Buying a domain or going self-hosted is a big deal and by no means do I wish to talk someone out of it with this post. If it’s something you want, then of course go for it! This post is just to take an opposing stance on a rather large topic in the blogosphere.

And I’m not saying that I’ll never buy a domain or try going self-hosted. I’m just saying that for the foreseeable future, I am comfortable with how things are now. And that’s fine. This is fine.

I’d love to hear thoughts from both parties so please leave a comment!

 

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41 thoughts on “I Pay Nothing To Blog And I Shall Continue To Do So

  1. I am the same. My blog is like an extension to Facebook’s posts. It’s just casual posts, rants and stuff. It simply would not make sense to self host like a pro-blogger who is out to expand into writing on other sites as a job.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind getting a custom domain. It doesn’t modify your subscribers. It just changes your URL. Everything else is exactly the same. That and the fact that becoming a premium user removes ads from your blog (and supports WordPress) is another plus.

    • Yeah, like I mentioned, buying a domain is the only thing I’d consider doing, but honestly the ads don’t bug me much at all – they’re small and out of the way.

  2. I currently have a wordpress.com blog, and I do plan to upgrade to a custom domain in the future. As long as I gain readership anyway 🙂 However, I find when people try to run WordPress based sites from self-hosted web servers, there tends to be a lot of issues. I frequently find that I am in touch with tech support for my work far more often than I should be, because my coding can’t override theirs, and theirs can’t override WordPress. Becomes a real pain pretty quickly.

  3. The idea of self hosting terrifies me, but I did buy a domain and a upgrade my wordpress account in order to customise my blog a little more. This worked for me and I think you hit the nail on the head with this post, you shouldn’t feel pressured to pay money to blog, you just need to do what feels right to you and wordpress is fantastic at giving people that freedom.

  4. I like all the points you brought up. Some of this is why I stick with a hosted domain, rather than going for my own site. A major reason is that I’m not as tech savvy as I wish, and a lot of the issues you mentioned would be minor nightmares for me. Having someone else take care of it – and for free – is great.

    • Exactly! I am in awe of people who know enough to handle it all themselves, but considering I’ve even had struggles with what I have now, I know I’m not near ready.

  5. Solid points and I agree with all of it. I had considered going self-hosted following a few of my blog friends making the move. But I waited to learn from them and let them make the mistakes before I considered it. Both of them eventually moved back to WP. I have found being on the platform versus being out in the internet world alone to be comforting in a way. Plus I also love the Reader option here is our “little” WP world. Great post!
    Danny

  6. I thought about being self-hosted but at the same time, I feel like being on wordpress is a lot easier. I feel for me that it’s exactly a case of what you said, that it’s still possible to run a successful blog without paying for anything. It also keeps my writing sharp and I don’t really see why I’d pay for that.

  7. wow, this was a very helpful post. I have considered the same thing. I would only want to do it for the personal domain and to support wordpress. but the free one works just fine for those of us who just do it for fun. plus I work lots of hours and hardly have time to dedicate to my blog, sadly. thanks for asking the question and giving your own thoughts!

  8. You’re totally right! It’s pretty noticeable when someone’s paying for their domain – not bad, not good either – but you notice. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now and I haven’t paid a dime either, high five! ✋ For now, I’m not planning on buying a domain, maybe if one day I get like, a LOT of followers, I don’t know.
    Awesome post! XD

    • I’m always a little in awe of people who buy their domain when or close to when they start their blog because their level of committing is a lot higher. Purchasing anything is like saying ‘I believe in this’ and it’s great that people believe in their blogs so much. Like you, maybe when I get a lot of followers will I make the switch.

      • You’re totally right, I haven’t thought of it that way! If they buy it it’s because they believe in it, so true!! XD As you said, it’s great that they believe in it!! And yay, we think the same way!! XD

  9. Hey, thanks for sharing! This has always been something I wondered about whether or not to do myself…. but you make some really good points. I think I will stay in the non-paying zone for a while 🙂 thanks for the encouragement!

  10. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I started blogging, and the most I thought I’d do was eventually buy the domain. I’ve never been interested in self-hosting because, like you, this was never meant to be a professional enterprise for me. That and, at the time, my networking and interaction rate wasn’t amazing, so it seemed kind of pointless.

    But that changed earlier in the year, and for the last few months I’ve been balancing between buying a domain for a portfolio site, or my site from WP. Reckon the portfolio site’s the better option, but that involves work and I’m sooo very lazy 🙂

  11. Interesting post. i blog for fun and playtime and just for practising learning and skills development (ish) and creativity(ish). But i’m exploring here from same account at different urls, as i kept carrying away with each new ‘test’ site growing into something not exactly planned. So I’d definitely like to pay for a theme here or there if not the domain, because i don’t like the idea of a mirror site away from the wordpress platform although needing to find out more about that before cementing that decision. i’d definitely like at least one premium plan blog too, but there’s always something or another delaying the spending power to realise that goal. Currently I’m having all kinds of issues with my WP – dunno if it’s having ticked the ‘fun’ box and being given unwanted challenges or what it is. I’m not getting my notifications panel showing anymore because it maybe needs Flash player these days and I don’t allow that to run because of vulnerability concerns. I need to read up on lots of this. Maybe I just got too out of practise. Dunno why everything has to develop in ways that make tech more difficult to use or if it’s just cos I’ve been greedy with the freebie stuff (within the free space limit overall though) – and it’s all different unique ‘original content’ that i don’t want all in the same look and feel space but I am very scatty about it too, obviously.!

    • Test sites do sound like a good way to make sure you like what you’re doing.
      I’m not having any trouble with WordPress and I don’t have any guesses as to why you are. Perhaps try a different browser? Or perhaps email or Tweet WordPress. They’ve helped me before.

  12. I’m the same as you. I blog for fun – and since I AM having fun, I consider myself a successful blogger 🙂 I’ve thought of upgrading but probably won’t because of the extra work and hassle… The thing that bothers me the most about self-hosted blogs, though, is that if I find one that I like, I can’t easily follow it. Even if it’s WordPress, you usually need to sign up for emails – and I don’t want emails, I want to see posts on Reader. Also, they don’t get as many comments as I do, probably because it’s annoying to fill in a form every time you want to comment… Comments are the best part of blogging!!!! 😉

    • I don’t want emails either and that’s why Bloglovin’ is popular.
      Yes, the easy comment access is another huge pro for WordPress. I wish I could edit what’s needed for non-users though because I feel like people would be more inclined to comment if they didn’t have to leave their email.

  13. I just started my blog (it’s only been a few days) but I did a bunch of research about different sites and places to host before I settled down and decided to step out and blog. I found that through my research that while self hosting sounds kind of interesting for those that can do it, I’ve already found myself browsing WP, seeing a transfer to the new site, looking at the new site and going ‘newp, can’t organize it as neatly’ and go right back to find new bloggers.

    I also thought the best advice I got before starting the blog was ‘Don’t attempt to make a community around you, join one and contribute’ which was the tipping scale to go with WP.

    I enjoyed reading this piece and your insight. Thank you!

    • That’s really good advice you got. Starting a blog or website from the ground up is hard and WordPress has a great community and so many ways to connect to other bloggers that starting here is definitely a good choice.

  14. Indeed. You don’t need to be self-hosted if all you want is to have fun sharing posts and thoughts with the internet. If I’m not living off of it, I see no reason to make it professional.

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