Lee Dodd’s No.1 way to become a more efficient webmaster: A Free Blog
Lee Dodd has written an article entitled 10 ways to become a more efficient webmaster in which he lists his favourite tools and services to make his sites run more smoothly.
Right up in the number one slot is “A Free Blog”. Lee advocates grabbing hold of a hosted WordPress or Blogger blog:
First, I feel like every webmaster should have a blog. Whether it is more of a personal blog for fun or something you plan to use to promote your business and even make money, I think you need to be doing it. Secondly, what Blogger and WordPress have done for the blogging industry is absolutely HUGE. These other tools are awesome and will save you time, headaches, and money, BUT the free blogging system these two big players are offering completely rock.
Whilst it’s great that he rates blogging so highly, what surprises me, given the audience he seems to be writing for, is that he encourages the use of a free platform.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the WordPress and Blogger platforms are fantastic, but given some of his other advice, why isn’t he telling everyone to get their own domain and host their own blog?
For example, take tip 9 where Lee talks about a site speed tester:
If you find that your site loads slowly, there are a variety of things that you need to do to take action. …you should consider your hosting platform. Are you on a shared plan, taking the inexpensive route, where you can be on a server with dozens or even hundreds of other sites? The cost to upgrade to a better hosting solution is likely going to have a big ROI longterm. Don’t be hesitant to fork over the dollars now, when ultimately you are costing yourself money by waiting.
He’s advocating a cost that is beyond many bloggers, even those earning a decent income: moving to a better (or dedicated) web hosting plan. And not to hesitate, even if it costs.
Surely if you’re serious about blogging, you get your own domain, and run your own blog. I’ve read many tales of people who started on hosted blogs, with a yourname.blogplatform.com address, started becoming moderately successful, then had to move to a dedicated domain, potentially losing traffic and search engine positioning because of it.
Not to mention that most hosted blog platforms don’t let you customise your site to the same degree as hosting it yourself – even if you ‘don’t hesitate’ and pay someone else to design and build it for you.
I’m not knocking Lee’s list for the sake of it. I’m a little biased but I think he should have simply put “Blog” as the number one tool. If you’re going to be blogging for the long haul, or tying it in with your existing web site, then you really need to consider hosting it properly.
Andy Merrett is a London-based full-time blogger writing for several Shiny Media technology blogs and various other projects. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Actually, Lee’s advice is solid.
You seem to be forgetting something about both Blogger and WordPress. They both offer to not only easy customization, but both offer cheap hosting plans (and in the case of Blogger, FREE).
That is what I have done for my custom domain, (with Blogger) and I love it quite nicely.
The only reason I put Blogger and WordPress.com in there versus a paid solution is because this is a list of free tools available to anyone. I certainly agree that one should (if financially possible) get their own domain and hosting plan to start their blog. Thanks for the mention and feedback – great post!
While I’m a fan of WordPress.com and the full version of WordPress, there’s a bigger issue here: Actions peak louder than words.
A “webmaster” is, in my opinion, a master of the website you run. It implies you know what you are doing, which means you know about web design, layout, CSS, XHTML, coding, troubleshooting, servers, and all the related stuff that makes a website run efficiently and SEO friendly.
Then why feature a site that is built with FrontPage or Word, or set in 10 year old technology with tables and inline styles, and…I’ve seen a lot of so called webmasters, web page designers, hosting services, and web experts spout their “wisdom” when they don’t walk the walk. They just talk the talk.
Your blog or website is your resume if it is your business. Honestly, as easy as it is to have a WordPress.com free blog, it doesn’t speak well for your webmaster experience, talents, or skills if your site isn’t your resume.
I take your point about the free nature of the tools – I guess I read it in light of point 9 which suggested spending quite serious amounts of cash for good hosting.
I’ve nothing against the hosted solutions in themselves, Darnell, and I think it’s great that you can use Blogger with your own domain name now. However I have seen a number of people regret not going down the self-hosting route from the start. Given that it’s relatively inexpensive now to host on a server capable of running PHP and MySQL, and that all the other tools, whilst free, are for checking out a self-hosted web site, I would’ve thought it good to bite the bullet and do it yourself from the word go.