In most cases, I recommend you choose “self-hosting” for your websites. Self-hosting allows maximum flexibility and is the best choice for maximizing your SEO.
Hosted Websites are Free
The two most popular “hosted” websites are WordPress.com and Blogger.com. These are free and “all-in-one.” Hosting, design, setup and maintenance!
Travel to these respective sites, follow the directions and create your website!
There are several advantages to hosted websites: convenience, security and cheap.
In either case, both provide hosting and are an “all-in-one” solution for creating a website. You don’t have to worry about security updates and your website will be hosted on safer and better servers than you can arrange yourself. Security issues, malware and downtime are virtually non-existant…and not your problem.
Hosted websites, however, are severely inflexible and your ability to customize the theme (aka appearance) and functionality is limited. Worst of all, this option provides limited ability for search engine optimization (SEO).
These sites require you purchase hosting (nominal rates, keep reading), install WordPress and maintain the site yourself. In return you get maximum flexibility, customization and complete autonomy.
There are many “self-hosted” companies offering to host your WordPress.org site; GoDaddy.com and Bluehost.com are two of our favorites and two of the most popular.
For a low monthly fee, usually less than $10, you can obtain hosting for your site, install WordPress.org with one click and have complete access and control over your site.
There are countless free themes from which to choose compared to a more limited selection with the “hosted” sites. In addition, WordPress.org is “open source” allowing the creation of infinite “plugins” to add almost any function imaginable to your site. These, too, are free.
Security updates are provided regularly to prevent hacking (i.e. invasion from malware, spam) and while upgrading is a simple click, you must still remember to do so, whereas with hosted sites, this is provided for you.
Best Way to Maximize SEO
Your ability to optimize your site, however, is the biggest reason to move to WordPress on a self-hosted site. Maximum flexibility includes use of plugins to specifically allow you to optimize your site; analytics, webmasters tools, Scribe, etc.
Maximum flexibility also means you can start and grow your site at your own pace. Millions of blogs and websites are “self-hosted,” that is, it isn’t too difficult.
The last advantage to “self-hosted” is that you own your files. There is no risk of your site suddenly disappearing due to a change in policy or rules. With self-hosted plans, you have constant access to your servers and files.