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With so many people deciding to start blogging, one of the first questions they ask is, "Where should it go?" I get that question all the time, but especially from those savvy in organic search marketing, because they are concerned about the links coming into the blog counting for improved search rankings. Should they be?

I say no. Not everyone agrees with me, and they might be smarter than me, but here's my reasoning.

If you host your blog on your own site, that's beneficial for your site's search rankings, because all the links you get to your blog raise the perceived importance of your site. That was my thinking when I set up my blog on my Web site and I think it worked just fine.

But in retrospect, I think setting my blog up elsewhere would have worked just fine, also. If I had set up my blog on a separate Web site, even a free one like Blogger, I'd have attracted links to my blog, which would improve the blog's perceived importance, and my blog would be linking to my Web site anyway, passing along value to my Web site. In addition, when someone searched for me, I'd have two sites coming up in the results instead of just one.

Which approach works better? Who knows? It might make no difference at all.

Which, unfortunately, leads us back to our original question. Where should you host your blog? I think you should look at non-search factors to make your decision.

If you are the kind of person who likes to tinker with the look and feel of your blog, and doesn't mind getting your hands dirty installing software, grab WordPress or Movable Type and have at it. Go install the blogging software on your site and customize to your heart's content.

But if you think you need to wash your hands after handling a tar file, you're better off using something simple, regardless of where it's hosted. If you are fine with picking between the available styles and haven't ever changed the default wallpaper on your computer, don't drive yourself nuts now. It will just set up an impediment that keeps you from blogging.

It's more important that you start blogging and that you write stuff that people want to read. I think if you do that, then you'll get attention and it will help you. Whether the attention comes straight to your Web site or takes a slight detour along the way isn't that important. If you're blog is good, it won't matter where you host it.

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April 23, 2009





Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, Web personalization, and Web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include ClickZ Live, RKG Summit, Ticket Summit, Webdagene, the CiTE conference, and the Forrester Marketing Conference.

Mike also founded and writes for the Biznology newsletter and blog, is the co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(28)

My family has used wordpress and I like that you can blog there but also insert it into your own web site.

I have been looking to do a blog but wasn't sure about many things - good information.

You can rank both free blogger blogs and your own self hosted wordpress blogs about the same. There is no difference. I've seen just as many blogger blogs on page 1 of google for highly competitive terms as I have regular websites.

Do a search for 'make money online' and you'll see two blogger blogs.

What ranks is content and good seo (both internal and external).

I'm thinking about starting up my own blog sometime and I might find a paid host and possibly use my existing domain name for it.

I prefer to use wordpress as I've used it a few times as I find it easy to use and can be customised with your own design to fit the website you are building it into.

I remember reading about a year ago that Google added nofollow to the links in Blogger by default. If that is still true unless you remove that from your template you won't be helping your own site at all.

I agree that where you host your blog makes little difference from an SEO perspective.

What I like about hosting my blog on my site is the level of control, which I cannot get from hosted services, and the flexibility to change the underlying blog software or service without my esteemed readership even noticing.

I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty :-) but don't want to spend hours patching software either when I don't have to, so I chose Blogger and have it publish to my Website.

for the beginner on a budget go with the free blog hosting services. But today virtual hosting plans are very cheap and if you plan on making money with it ..hosting is the keypoint to any site.

I really do not use any free hosted solutions as In the past i have learned my lessons the hard way

-Mike

Don't forget that when you host your own, you can put any advertising on it you want, that gets approved.

But on wordpress.com and others you cannot put ads and monetize your blog.

I definitely agree that content is king (or queen). I have clients ask me this a lot, and in the end it's largely about their comfort factor with the backend and technology -- that's a great point.

Both Wordpress and Blogger are free. You can download and install Wordpress on your server, then customize a template (if you're comfortable with PHP it's not bad at all). You would have to host the site, so if you don't currently have a hosting plan, you'd have to pay for that. But if you're plan allows you to run PHP on the server, you're set to go with a lot of options!

Girl, the guys who keep these two blogs are not bloggers. They are professional money makers and know SEO better than many gurus.

Mike - a controversial post is always good one. I use first approach and this pays off. Google loves when your blog is attached to a business site.

i have been using wordpress and i must say it is better than blogger and more user friendly than livejournal

You make good points, Raymond, but you seem to be assuming a certain skill set and audience. Yes, if you are in Web dev or technology, you have the skills to host your own blog and sure, your skills seem suspect if you don't. But that's a very small world. In the rest of the big world, people without those skills would not be able to post on a blog if they followed your advice. Most people aren't "serious about developing their Web site"--they just want to make money. I truly think that it's more important to get the content out there than it is to do it perfectly. In fact, I might even recommend to do it wrong quickly.

Many people blog without a real goal for blogging. They don't really know if they're going to commit to writing. Some want a way to make money while others just want to share information. I think newbies should start with a free blog site before moving to hosting.

I still think it's better off hosting your own blog somewhere because you have more flexibility to customize your blog and make it more user friendly.

Blogging is the best way to share and get ideas from other. You can even start writing from a very simple topic which you think no one will read. But mind you guys there are things in these world that others would love to talk to. I am using wordpress, and I like it, you can install different kind of plugins you like and you can even play with it as long as don't play with your theme when your blog was ranked in Google because it might be removed by the search engine.

I am also a freelance web designer and real estate agent, I think there are so many hosting to choose from, the popular one is hostgator, I host most of my site in there and no problems or if you use a free blog the like blogger then you have nothing to worry for the hosting because its free.

The reality is that most people want to have a blog but they do want to CREATE a blog. They do not want to write everyday and take the time necessary to create a following.

Thus, unless someone is ultra-serious, they should use blogger or wordpress (as you suggest) and then, if they write everyday and enjoy it, they should move their blog to their own host where they will have more control.

Just my 2 cents,
--T

If you host your own blog on a different server and link back to your site you get the beenfit of unique link back.

I started off adding a free blogger blog attached to my main site on how to build a small house. I just haven't spent a lot of time commenting on it and don't see the benefit. However, I've recently become very interested in Wordpress and plan to migrate my entire site to this format in the next couple months, mostly to have a way for visitors to leave comments, which is very valuable to building a community feel for a site (the current commenting system I have in place just isn't working- nobody contributes). And hosting it on my own server is the only option for me. If you host your blog somewhere for free you might as well set the clock as to its eventual demise. The host has too much control over whether your blog lives or dies.

I like Blogger. It's free and simply to use.. has a lot of options to create a nice and complete website (or blog). And above of all, it's very popular, and it's easy to remember an URL..

Wordpress is also very complete, but I don't like the URL they give you.

Regards,
Josue

First of all nice information. I think it depends on the person who wants to build and host a blog. Actually there two options available if anybody wants to make a blog. The first one free and there is nothing to worry about the budget here and the second one is self hosted blog like Wordpress and here you have to maintain some budget. There are many thing you can get in the wordpress where you cannot get in the free blog like in the blogger or weebly other types blog sites. So i want to tell that research a lot before making any decision on self hosting blogs.

I would recommend GoDaddy to host your blogs.

I host my website at freehostia and I am very satisfied by their services. They are cheap and offer a good quality.

I used to work on both the wordpress.com and the blogger.com, but wordpress is my Favorite , If you want to devolop your website, I suggest you to add a self hosted blog on wordpress.

I found out after setting up my biz blog first on wordpress, then blogger and now my own hosted domain that it reallly doesn't matter! all have advantages and disadvantages. just do it.

There are so many hosting to choose from, the popular one is wordpress, I host most of my websites there and there is no problem. Blogging is the best way to share our thoughts and views so its really very important to choose the best blogger's platform.

thanks for the post! I tend to lean towards owning my own domain name and hosting it on an independant web hosting company.

-- Mike

I have long been with free blog sites and I must say that paid sites are much better in terms of rankings and appeal. There are sites which offer cheap deals anyway so might as well grab the chance. Paid domains really are easier to manage and worked around for your standards. I got mine at http://www.hostingfest.com. It is a windows based Web Hosting Company which specializes in ASP.NET, MSSQL 2005 and ColdFusion. It also provides PHP and MySQL in all windows hosting packages.

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