Lee Dodd has written an article entitled 10 ways to become a more efficient webmaster in which he lists his favourite tools and services to make his sites run more smoothly.
Right up in the number one slot is “A Free Blog”. Lee advocates grabbing hold of a hosted WordPress or Blogger blog:
First, I feel like every webmaster should have a blog. Whether it is more of a personal blog for fun or something you plan to use to promote your business and even make money, I think you need to be doing it. Secondly, what Blogger and WordPress have done for the blogging industry is absolutely HUGE. These other tools are awesome and will save you time, headaches, and money, BUT the free blogging system these two big players are offering completely rock.
Whilst it’s great that he rates blogging so highly, what surprises me, given the audience he seems to be writing for, is that he encourages the use of a free platform.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the WordPress and Blogger platforms are fantastic, but given some of his other advice, why isn’t he telling everyone to get their own domain and host their own blog?
For example, take tip 9 where Lee talks about a site speed tester:
If you find that your site loads slowly, there are a variety of things that you need to do to take action. …you should consider your hosting platform. Are you on a shared plan, taking the inexpensive route, where you can be on a server with dozens or even hundreds of other sites? The cost to upgrade to a better hosting solution is likely going to have a big ROI longterm. Don’t be hesitant to fork over the dollars now, when ultimately you are costing yourself money by waiting.
He’s advocating a cost that is beyond many bloggers, even those earning a decent income: moving to a better (or dedicated) web hosting plan. And not to hesitate, even if it costs.
Surely if you’re serious about blogging, you get your own domain, and run your own blog. I’ve read many tales of people who started on hosted blogs, with a yourname.blogplatform.com address, started becoming moderately successful, then had to move to a dedicated domain, potentially losing traffic and search engine positioning because of it.
Not to mention that most hosted blog platforms don’t let you customise your site to the same degree as hosting it yourself – even if you ‘don’t hesitate’ and pay someone else to design and build it for you.
I’m not knocking Lee’s list for the sake of it. I’m a little biased but I think he should have simply put “Blog” as the number one tool. If you’re going to be blogging for the long haul, or tying it in with your existing web site, then you really need to consider hosting it properly.