Pros and Cons of Stand Alone Blogging Platforms
- Full Control of Design – Depending upon your ability with web design standalone blogs generally are very adaptable. I am not strong in this area personally but am constantly amazed by some of my colleague’s abilities to create incredibly diverse and clever designs. Of course those bloggers with little ability in this area may either need to use default templates (with the same limitations as default templates of hosted blogs) or get others to help with this.
- Adaptability – One of the things I enjoy about WordPress is the vast array of developers who are coming up with all manner of ‘plugins’ which extend the ability of the basic WP installation. Similarly many of the other standalone platforms have communities of developers producing similar arrays of plugins
- Free Platforms – while you end up paying for your domain name and hosting systems like these are usually free to run. Some do have license fees if you’re having multiple blogs or using them for commercial purposes – but many are open source.
- URL – Having your own domain name is great for many reasons. For one it’s easier to remember, secondly it’s more professional and hirdly it is more easily brand-able.
- Complicated Set Up – once again this depends upon your technical abilities and web savvy but when you move into stand alone platforms the complexity of set up tends to increase. It often involves arranging hosting, setting up databases and then downloading the platform onto you own computer and then uploading it via ftp onto your web hosting server. There are good tutorials around for most of the platforms to help with this process but for many it is a daunting thing. Once again it’s not my strength so I generally get by blogs set up and designed by a professional designer (although recently have been learning to do it a little more myself). NB: one way around this is to find a web host that will install your blog platform for you. This is becoming increasingly popular. Some platforms even recommend hosts that will do it for you
- Cost – While the blog platform itself might be free you need to factor in the ongoing costs of having your own domain name (a yearly fee plus a one off registration fee) and hosting fees (again yearly). There are many great deals out on these so it need not cost the world – although if your blog gets a lot of traffic the costs do go up and you might want to consider going onto a more professional and expensive plan.
- Updates – Most blog platforms go through different and versions over time. Updating from one to another can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Hosting Issues – I mentioned in the cons of the hosted platforms that you have ‘less control’ over your blog and are at the whims of your platform’s hosting being up or down. Of course this is also true for any hosting as from time to time different hosting solutions can have their own problems. Whether you use a hosted solution or a stand alone solution it’s important to back up and be aware that from time to time things do go down. Choose a reputable host if you go the stand alone route to ensure maximum uptime.