#ReigneBlogs: All About Domain and Blog Hosting

Thursday, June 22, 2017
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Domain-Blog-Hosting-ReigningStill

On my first #ReigneBlogs post, I mentioned something about Blogging Platform (and Blog Hosting) and Domain. Here, I'll share with you everything I know about them and hopefully help you in your blogging journey.

I'm making this series to help aspiring bloggers and my fellow bloggers who wants to learn a thing or two about blogging technicalities, SEO and blogging in general.

I've been blogging for around 15years. This site is 11 years old. I know, I've been doing this for a long time already. I may not have a HUGE following but I have enough to make the brands consider me for collaboration.

I have invested sweat, blood and tears to get where I am now. It's not easy. So this blog series is my way of paying forward. All of the things I would share here are based from my own personal views and opinions. Based from my own research and experience. I am not super expert with everything and I admit that my stats are not sky-high but I think I know enough and I have enough reach to earn from this blog.

I was able to increase this blog's reach within the last 4 years making it profitable. Yes, out of the 11 years I've been blogging neto ko nalang sya napagkakakitaan. Years ago, this blog is just for fun since this is my personal space. It is still kinda is but I'm now accepting brand collaborations. My numbers started to shoot up when I made some changes on my codes mid-2013. So everything I'll share with you now is the result of my 4 years of "studying". Hahahah! It's not much. But it'll definitely help you kick start your blogging journey.

It's going to be a looooong discussion so go get your popcorn first!

Let's talk about Domains

A quick Google search would tell us that...
A Domain is a distinct subset of the Internet with addresses sharing a common suffix or under the control of a particular organization or individual.
Aaaahhh.. so ano nga sya? In layman's term, a Domain is your site's "main address" in the internet. For example, my domain is celerhinaaubrey.com, blogspot.com is another domain, wordpress.com is another domain, google.com is also a domain.

Usually, serious bloggers buy custom domain. Like what I did. I bought www.celerhinaaubrey.com and www.reigningstill.com for this blog. So if you try to go to both domains, it'll direct you to this blog's homepage.

You can opt to not buy your own domain and just get your blog address from your Blog Host. For example when you signed up on Blogger.com, it'll ask for your Blog title and preferred address. Once you're all set, you'll have www.yourblog.BLOGSPOT.com as your blog address. Your domain is Blogspot but you'll have your own sub-domain. Parang own room sa bahay. Kumbaga, ang address mo eh parang si Harry Potter - Cupboard Under The Stairs, 4 Privet Drive. Gets?

Reasons to get your own Domain

Some bloggers get their custom domain because they just want to remove the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com from their blog address. Some thinks it'll make you look legit. All of those are valid reasons.

Though I know a lot of bloggers na hindi naman bumili ng sarili nilang domain but still they are popular like Jessica Quirk of What I Wore (http://whatiwore.tumblr.com) and Rowena of Animetric. She has been using www.animetric.blogspot.com for a very long time before actually getting her own domain. Both women are successful bloggers even if they don't have a custom domain.

Thing is, getting your own domain is not a sure way to elevate your blog status. However, there are PR brands who prefer to work with bloggers with their own domain. Also, it is easier to measure your blog's authority if you have your own domain. They say that Google rank blogs with their own Domain better daw. Take note of DAW. Since as I've said I saw a couple of successful bloggers na hindi naman custom domain ang gamit.

Why did I get my own Domain?

Simple, because I think it's cool to have your own domain. This blog is almost 11 years old. My domain is 5 years old. 5 years ago, di pa ganun ka-uso ang custom Domain. Feeling ko kami kami lang may sariling domain. My best friend went for it first and then dahil inggitera ako, ginaya ko. Buti nalang, inggitera ako because during that time Google still offers custom Domain to their blogspot bloggers for only $10/year! Yes! 10USD! Forever. Now, domains don't come cheap.

There are some that would allow you to buy the domains cheap on your first year but the price would go up and up and up through the years. You can get your custom Domains from Go Daddy, Hostgator, Namecheap or even our very own Pangalan.com. I got reigningstill.com from Pangalan. It's my first year so let's see. I got that domain for only around 500php/year. I hope they won't increase because I am only willing to shell out 500php/year. But I've heard a lot of positive feedback for Namecheap.

You have to think long term guys okay? Usually kasi, some bloggers would get their domain from the one that offers the cheapest rate on their first year. Ayun, di nila alam that the price would be x2 on the 2nd year, x5 on the 3rd year and so on. Eh ang hirap po magpalipat ng domain provider. May extra charge sya so dapat talaga get as much feedback as possible. You don't want the hassle, believe me!

Choosing your domain name

It is very important to get an easy-to-remember domain. Yung di mahirap spell. Makinig kayo sa akin because my domain is actually difficult to share. I was once interviewed sa radio and oh my! They have to spell out my domain! Eh ang haba!! Nakakaloka! Hahaha!

I suggest you use simple blog domains. As short as possible. And easy to remember. But of course, it's all up to you! I love my blog domain because it's soooo ME! I just had to buy REIGNINGSTILL.COM because I have associated myself with my blog name - ReigningStill so much (all social media accounts are @reigningstill) that I want to officially own it and make sure that it won't be taken away from me. Hahaha! I just redirect all traffic from reigningstill.com to celerhinaaubrey.com.

Kailangan pag isipan mabuti ang Domain even before you buy. Why? Because changing your domain means you'll start from scratch stats-wise. Also, your brand's recall is usually on your domain. That's why I'm sticking with my Domain na mahaba kahit gusto ko ng lumipat sa reigningstill.com. Ayokong mag start from scratch! Di ako matapang. Hahaha!

Let's talk about Blog Hosting

Alright, now that we are clear about Domains, let's talk about Blog Hosting.

If domain is your "address", your blog host is your "home".

A quick Google search would tell us that...

A blog host is the company that provides the space on their servers and equipment to store your blog. Typically, a fee is required to store your blog on a blog host's server. Blogging hosts can provide a variety of ancillary services, and some blog hosts provide blogging software as well.

So technically, it's like your home. Dun mo nilalagay lahat ng gamit mo. Dun ka nagsusulat at sila nagtatago ng mga sinulat mo.

Free Blog Host vs Paid Ones

A general Con for Free Blog Host is the fact that they "own" your blog's content. They would set specific rules and you have to follow. They have the right to cancel your blog and bring it down if you don't follow their rules. They could also delete your entire blog if they want to.

I'm on free blog hosting because I don't see the need to self-host. Why? Because I don't have the money and I have no plans in posting anything that would make Google delete my entire blog.

On paid hosting, you own your content. It's yours. You can post whatever you want and it's yours. But it's still not a guarantee that you won't lose your blog. I've encountered a lot of bloggers who lost their entire blog even if they are self-hosted. Some got hacked, some were deleted unintentionally and their host provider don't have a back up. That's one thing about self-hosting though, you are responsible for your blog's security. And most of them don't come cheap.

If you are on free-hosting naman, you are relying on your provider's security. So if napili mo lacks on the security department, pwede ka din ma-hack.

If you ask me, my general rule is this - if you are not yet earning that much from your blog and you are not okay with shelling out moolah, then get a free hosting. Self-hosting don't come cheap. And kung titipirin mo lang ang sarili mo, you'd usually end up with either a crappy service provider or a very low hosting allocation. Also, mahirap isipin yung security ng site mo and everything.

But if you have the money and you are willing pay, you know what you are doing (the technicalities) or you have friends who could assist you (as in friends ha, hindi yung friends mo kunwari tapos bebentahan ka ng hosting services nila! Teehee!), then by all means go! Also, if you plan to post stuff na hindi pwede sa mga free hosting then please self-host.

But generally, free-hosting or not, I highly suggest that you backup your blog at least once a week and use a different image hosting site like Flickr for flexibility.

Now let's talk about the common Blog Platforms available and their pros and cons.

Blogger

First on my list is of course, blogger.com. This is my blog platform of choice. They offer free blog hosting and is powered by Google so I am very confident. I love that it offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space. However, I believe there is a limit on image hosting because it's tied up on your Google allocation which is around 15GB. That's why I highly suggest that you use a different image hosting provider because it'll be easier to move from one platform to another if your images have a separate image hosting site. I use Flickr for image hosting for it allows 1TB (yes! Terabyte) of free image allocation. After that, you have to pay. But really? How can you use up all the 1TB? Hahaha!

Another thing I love about blogger.com is the security. Since it is tied up with Google, the security is pretty much top-notch.

They also allow advertisement. So I could get a Google Adsense and Nuffnang, and run side-bar advertisements without any problem.

Most of the time, you'll read on some blogs (who offer affiliate for some hosting services) that Blogger is limited because it doesn't have plugins etc. and that available blog designs is limited.

That is true when you rely on blogger's in house available widgets and design. But like Android, I see Blogger's platform as an open source, meaning if you know a thing or two about software development or coding, you could easily add stuff on blogger. You could improve the initial SEO optimization, you could add more widgets, you could do a lot with the designs.

That's exactly what I did on my blog. This site has been optimized and updated. I did a couple of tweaks here and there to make it pretty. Usually, you only have to do it once. Like the SEO optimization and blog design, you only have to do it once and then everything is good.

So I would say that for someone without a technical background, they might find it limiting and simple but with proper help from people who know what they could do, I guess this is a great platform for bloggers.

Wordpress.com

This is Wordpress' free hosting platform. Though you could use your custom domain. No plugins and you cannot advertise. So usually, if you are on the wordpress platform, I encourage you to use their paid hosting counterpart wordpress.org.

Wordpress is prettier and easier to navigate. Easier to use as well. But if you want to monetize your blog, this is not a good option.

However, if you just want to blog, a space to write and you are not really into customization, then this is fine.

Wordpress.org

This is Wordpress' paid platform. If you opted to self-host, you can get wordpress' hosting services or get a 3rd party hosting services like GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, iPage, etc. Do not ask me what's the best among them because I have no idea!

Although I've heard a lot of horror stories about some host provider. May mga waley ang customer assistance. May mga naha-hack. May mga walang paki sa site mo. So in general talaga if you opted to self-host, mas madami ang researches na kailangan mo gawin and you really need to understand what you are doing.

If you are non-techie, you have to get the assistance of tech people to help you set it up. Although there are loads of plugins and extensions that you could use so blog customization is a lot easy.

It is also user-friendly and easy to navigate. This is the top blogging platform we have to date. A lot of business blogs use wordpress.org because of the user friendliness.

Drawback? It doesn't come cheap. You have to pay for your hosting. A good price is around 5000/year. Hosting price depends of the bandwidth allocation. Of course, you have to consider after-sales service.

Tanong-tanong sa fellow bloggers. Mas maganda kung dun ka sa matagal ng nagba-blog para mas matagal na yung experience nila.

Aside from hosting, most of the really good plugins are not free. There are free plugins but you have to make sure they are clean. Some hackers use this free plugins to access a blog's backend info. Tanong tanong talaga muna.

This platform is good for business blogs because of the flixibility.

Tumblr

Another popular blog platform is Tumblr. They offer free hosting and integrated social media capability. That's actually why it's kinda popular especially for millennials. You could use custom domain in Tumblr as well.

They offer loads of blog designs but no plugins. Most Tumblr blogs I know are just personal blogs. One notable blogger who started in Tumblr is Camille Co.

I have a Tumblr blog which i use o host my IG posts. But that's it. So I don't know much about it except that it's not a good platform if you want to earn from your blog.

Squarespace

I've been hearing alot of positive reviews about Squarespace. Price is around $8-24/month. So it's not cheap at all. But they offer custom domain and hosting already so everything is covered. This is another business blog favorite because usability.

Honestly, I haven't tried it at all yet but as I've said, I've been hearing lots of raves about this platform.

There are other platforms available in the market now like Wix and Medium but I honestly don't know much about them anymore.

Obviously, this post is medyo bias sa Blogger because that's what I use. There was a point in my blog career when I almost moved to Wordpress.org and self-host but then after further researching, I realized that I'm not willing to shell out that much money. So what I did is research further and tweaked my blog so I could further enhance it. Also, the many horror stories I've been hearing about some host-provider is more than enough for me to just stick with Blogger.

I hope this post was able to help you in deciding what platform to use when you finally start blogging. Goodluck!

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