Using a robust blog host

(Originally posted at Big in Japan)

A question that comes up regularly when you’re talking to clients about starting a new blog is where they should actually host the blog. Sure, Typepad or WordPress.com only cost a few bucks a month, but is the cost worth it? If you’re running a business and using your blog as a tool to drive sales/connect to users/solicit feedback, so you want to put that content in the hands of a hosted service?

Certainly there’s advantages to using a hosted service such as Typepad or WordPress.com – the biggest being the low cost. But there’s also disadvantages – namely, you’re not in control of your content. When you sign up for hosted services you have to agree to abide by their terms. The services have the ability to change their terms as they see fit, and if you get sideways and violate those terms, you risk having your content pulled or worse – deleted.

There is some ruckus in the blogosphere lately about WordPress.com shutting of some accounts that use the PayPerPost (no link, they don’t deserve it) functionality. Now, I’m not a fan of PayPerPost at all (not even a little), but I wonder what happens if WordPress.com decides that they’re building their own ad network, and no longer allows Google Adsense, for instance. Slippery slope indeed.

This is part of why Big in Japan offers a hosted blog solution. This is more expensive than Typepad or WordPress.com, but there are several significant advantages:

  • Content is in your control – We have a contractual obligation to you when it comes to your data. We can’t delete it, we back it up, and we can’t share it with anyone for any reason unless you ask us to.
  • You dictate your standards – You decide entirely what is and is not acceptable for your site. We might suggest, for instance, not to use PayPerPost but we’re not going to require it.
  • You’re in total control – When you’re hosting away from the services, you have much more freedom to change and modify how your blog software works.

This applies to any professional blog hosting, although we tend to believe ours is the best! But generally, using a hosted service for your business needs can get real scary, real fast. Be sure to decide in advance whether than risk is worth it. You don’t want to find yourself in a corner you can’t get out of because you tried to save a few bucks.