Tag Archive: types of blogs

Blog Ownership – Free Blogs vs. Self-Hosted Blogs


Before you setup a blog, you need to first think about blog ownership. If you’re a total newbie to blogging, you might not think this is sensible at all. Isn’t the blogger automatically the owner of his blog?

The answer isn’t as simple as you think. Online, it’s possible for you to own the text, images and thoughts in a blog, but someone else might be the owner of the platform you use for blogging and of the domain where your content is. Of course, it’s also possible to choose full ownership over both your content and your domain.

Free Blogs

When you don’t own your domain, you are most likely blogging using a free service or platform. Obviously, when you have a free blog, you don’t pay for anything. You just create and publish content.

You’d know if you’re viewing a free blog if the URL (domain name) that appears on the address box of your browser looks like this:

http://yourblogname.blogspot.com OR http://yourblogname.wordpress.com

Notice the portions blogspot.com (blogger.com) and wordpress.com? These are free blogging services that you can use without having to pay anything. The only catch is that the service’s name has to be retained in the domain name. It’s never going to be just http://www.yourblogname.com.

There are other free services you can use to start a blog but Blogger.com and WordPress.com are among the most popular.

Self-Hosted

When you’ve paid for a domain name and for space to store or host your content files, what you have is a self-hosted blog. You own both your blog’s domain name and the contents in it.

You’d recognize a self-hosted blog when you see one because the domain name that appears on the address box of your browser usually looks like this:

http://www.yourblogname.com

Most self-hosted blogs run on WordPress.org which you’ll have to download and install. We’ll tackle how to buy a domain, how to setup hosting and how to install WordPress in another section.

Free vs. Self-Hosted

So what’s the best option for you? Many web experts will tell you to go straight for the self-hosted option. This is because of several advantages to it:

  • You have full control and you can do almost whatever you want with and in your blog. I’d like to stress “almost” here because every service has terms and conditions, even paid ones. Self-hosting however simply gives you greater freedom than free options. Policies of free services can restrict many activities, such as monetization methods, among others. Free services can shut down a blog even without proper notice if you break their rules.
  • Self-hosted blogs have domain names that look more professional. This is important if you’re running a blog for your business or to showcase your services.
  • You’re given more means to customize. You can dramatically change your theme or add tons of different functions and features.

Despite these obvious advantages, I wouldn’t always recommend the self-hosted option especially for beginner bloggers because there are disadvantages to it too:

  • You’re in charge of regular maintenance which can be technically challenging and time-consuming.
  • You have to resolve issues on your own which will again be a problem if you’re not tech savvy. Some of the most difficult issues include hacker attacks and blogs that break after an update.
  • No host truly offers unlimited file storage and bandwidth. This is true even among hosts that say they do. You will have to eventually pay a lot once your files and number of visitors increase.
  • Crucial mistakes, which can have far reaching consequence, can happen when you immediately start a self-hosted blog with little knowledge about how things work. Not setting a preferred permalink structure and then setting it at a later point in time is an example of a critical beginner error.

For beginners, I would suggest starting a free blog first. This will help you both practice market research and get comfortable with some of the minor technical aspects of blogging. In the meantime, a good way to prepare for the self-hosted option is to start reading more about it.

Once you’ve become comfortable with publishing online and you’ve come to accept the possibilities of encountering challenges, then you can go for a self-hosted blog. If you’re bent on taking blogging seriously though, I recommend not taking too long to shift from a free to a self-hosted platform.

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Types of Blogs According to Topic


There is no single accurate count for the total number of existing blogs. Many sources agree though, including Technorati, that there are now more than 100 million blogs on the internet today. Their sheer quantity makes it difficult to try to classify blogs. Add to this the fact that there are no official rules that specify the boundaries blogs should follow in order to fall under a particular kind.

For the purpose of learning how to blog however, it’s important to get an idea of some of the more popular types of blogs. This will make it easier for you to decide for yourself what tone, theme, approach or direction to take for your own blog.

Topic Classifications

There are many different ways to group blogs. To simplify matters, let’s look into classifying blogs according to topic. Blogs can fall under:

  • Personal
  • Themed/Niche
  • Mixed
  • Corporate/Business/Official

Personal Blogs

These are the most common kinds of blogs and are often the easiest to find content for. This is because these feature personal life experiences and events or author opinions and thoughts.

In effect, personal blogs are the closest examples of traditional blogs. They are essentially online diaries and journals that carry a personal tone. Examples of personal blogs include:

Themed/Niche Blogs

A blog of this type may or may not be written in a personal tone depending on the author’s preference. Themed or niche online properties however distinguish themselves from the personal kind because they revolve around a specific area of concentration, usually excluding highly unrelated topics.

Themed blogs can either be broad or specific. For example in the area of health, you can choose to write about the broad topic of health or the more particular sub topic of low card dieting. In the area of sports, you can choose to blog about all kinds of sports or you can concentrate on the specific topic of boxing.

Here are some actual examples:

Mixed Blogs

In between personal and themed blogs, there has emerged the mixed kind. These feature a variety of topics and tones as the author sees fit to publish. Bloggers have a variety of reasons and motivations for having these.

I wouldn’t recommend going down this path unless you’re already a popular person or you have a well formed objective in mind. This is because it is difficult to create a dedicated readership when you write about a variety of different topics.

Corporate/Official Blogs

These are the kinds of blogs written for and about a specific company, organization, movement, institution or public figure. Bloggers or staff members are usually commissioned to write according to the values, principles or identity of the official owner. Examples include:

Best Types of Blog

Unless you’ve been hired to write for an organization or you own a company, you really have only two options, a personal or a themed blog. The best kind will depend on your intentions, purpose or objectives for blogging.

Based on my own experience however, I would lean towards setting up blogs about specific themes or niches. Blogs with themes are the ones that are likely to develop a following. There are groups of people out there that are absolutely dedicated to specific topics and they might follow you if you develop a great blog about their interest.

Take note though that you should never go for a niche or theme that is too narrow. Otherwise, you may not have enough information or content to publish.

Now that you know what a blog is and what kinds are out there, it’s time for you to prepare to blog. The next section will tackle defining your intentions and forming the right mindset.

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