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Years ago, Al Gore invented the internet and then there was the big social networking boom. Blogging has, and will be, the premier platform for social networking.

It should not be a surprise to anyone running a business, writing a book, creating music (or anyone else remotely interested in sharing info with others and building a fanbase) that blogging can give you a huge competitve advantage.

If you understand this and are interested in starting a new blog, there are many services which will enable you to create it, design it, and maintain it, all without spending a dime. Some of the most popular blogging solutions include WordPress, Blogger, and OnlineJournal.

The best thing about using these services is that they enable someone without technical knowledge to create their own online presence, complete with a unique design and subdomain.

Many people jump at the idea to use these free services - but we urge you to WAIT! While it may seem like a good idea to sign up for one of these free services, there are numerous reasons why they are only ideal for the casual blogger (who enjoys wasting hours on end in front of the computer). I know that you (loyal Vista readers) are looking for results - not a hobby. Therefore, we put together a quick list explaining why you need to carefully consider your blogging options:

5 Key Reasons why you should host your own blog:

1. To Build Your Brand
Your brand is essential and hosting a blog can also help to build a brand. Over time, your visitors will associate your blog with your domain name, as opposed to a generic subdomain. Self hosting also allow you to greatly customize the look and feel of the blog, and also freedom to adapt to certain trends in the marketplace.

Additionally, having a self hosted blog implies professionalism. For example, what would you think if the The New Yorker website was hosted on Blogger at

2. You like to make Money
Many people are interested in blogging because of the potential income that can be generated. Pay-per-click advertising like Google Adwords can generate some serious cashflow for those you know there niche. However, many of the free hosted solutions do not give you the option to place advertisements on your website. So if you are looking for complete advertising freedom, it is a no brainer.

Additionally, most affiliate programs will reject your application if you do not own your domain. If you are using blogspot you won’t make the cut.

3. SEO Rules!
Easily the biggest deal breaker in my opinion. One of the greatest things about having a blog is the fact that Search Engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo love the fresh content. As you add to your blog, you essentially become more visible online and viewers are able to find you. This builds your pagerank, or the value of your domain.

If your blog is located at and you decide to ever change your service provider - you lose all of your pagerank. That’s right - your valuable efforts plugging away and building pagerank are non transferable and lost forever! If you have a self hosted blog you can always redirect your domain (to your new one) and VOILLA - you maintain your traffic.

Additionally, by hosting your blog on your website, you will be able to further optimize your blog to be even more search engine friendly. For example, you can take advantage of SEO plugins.

4. Design Freedom: Always a Good Thing
As I mentioned before - while there is a lot of flexibility to create a unique blog template, you can only achieve complete design freedom by hosting your own blog. Run of the mill templates are not only bland, they scream unprofessionalism to your viewers.

With the multitude of blogs out there - and new ones popping up everyday - who can really afford to blend in with the crowd?

5. Scripts, Coding and Database backup
As your blog grows and you get more and more traffic, you might want to include other applications such as forums, dynamic forms, or an eCommerce store. Perhaps you just want to add a little flair with some nice AJAX features? If you’re not hosting your own blog then you’re out of luck.

Granted, hosting your own blog does require some technical knowledge. And if you are not interested in doing it yourself, it will necessitate a monetary investment to get a developer to build your blog for you. However, the point you should take away is that it is worth the effort. In the end, you’ll get complete freedom and flexibility to design the ideal blog, make it profitable, and have the comfort of knowing all your work is worthwhile.

If you’d like to learn more about creating a self hosted blog, contact Vista Designworks.

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Why you should Self Host your Blog | this blog post has some great tips regarding why you should Self Host your Blog

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