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Hosted Blog or DIY?
August 11, 2009 7:05 AM   Subscribe

My boss would like to start a blog. He already has a domain. We're unsure as to whether to use something like Wordpress to host, or to install it (or Moveable Type?) ourselves. Opinions?

He is also a bit concerned with search engine optimization. The concern is that google (and others) will not recognize that a hosted blog (pointing to his domain) is a PART of the domain, but appear as another domain altogether (Wordpress'?). Basically he would like the blog to come up when people google our business name. It would be tagged appropriately, he is just concerned that using a partially hosted service would dilute the connection to the domain. Hopefully that makes sense!

He will be using the blog for weekly/monthly/etc newsletters, posting pictures, links, etc. He is also concerned about being able to use his own fonts. It seems to be that this should be possible, but I'm not so up on the server side of blog hosting (or any hosting). What is our best bet here?
posted by heavenstobetsy to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Self-hosted Wordpress is very easy to use and has really good support. It'll certainly look more official than having it hosted on wordpress.org or Blogger. He has to be realistic as far as SEO stuff goes, though.

As far as fonts go, he's basically limited to the regular web-safe fonts. These can look quite good. There are ways to use custom fonts with things like SIFR or the @fontface CSS rule, but they're certainly not going to be easy for a layperson to implement. If he means using fonts that are on his computer, like in Word, then that's not possible. It's just the way the web works.
posted by Magnakai at 7:22 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


My blog is hosted by Wordpress, and also has a redirect to my domain name. A Google search for "chez shoes" brings back chezshoes.wordpress.com as the first hit, so I don't think SEO would be a problem if your blog name contained the business name in a similar fashion.

The basic free Wordpress hosted blogs have limited customization ability, though, and I don't think font style can be changed.

Hope that helps!
posted by chez shoes at 7:24 AM on August 11, 2009


A lot here. The biggest concern will be bandwidth. If your boss reckons he might have in excess of a few hundred visitors, most bog-standard hosting deals will hit you with overages pretty quick. If this is going to be a few dozen customers, then it's best to self-host for the extra control it gives you.

'His own fonts'? Your boss will be able to define, through the CMS usually, what font to default to, what to use for different headings and so on, with fallback options, but if he's got some kind of non-standard downloadable font of his own, there's no way to guarantee that a user will see it beyond building your whole site out of linked JPEGs, and that's obviously a hideously bad idea.

Basic web hosting goes for $8 a month and up, which will give you plenty for a small business web site.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:27 AM on August 11, 2009


He should definitely install Wordpress on his own hosting account, as opposed to using Wordpress.com or Blogger or one of those. It's really easy, and the sky's the limit as far as customization goes. Feel free to memail me if you want some tips on specifics.
posted by jbickers at 7:32 AM on August 11, 2009


Keep in mind that Wordpress.com hosted sites restrict the use of Javascript, while a self-hosted Wordpress setup will not.

I self-host Wordpress on three separate sites and love it.
posted by alynnk at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2009


Self hosting wordpress is stupid easy. I suggest going that route.
posted by maxpower at 8:11 AM on August 11, 2009


Host the domain at Dreamhost.com, they have 1-click installs for Wordpress. It's very simple to setup and use.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2009


Nthing downloading the Worpress software and hosting it on his own site. He will have complete control and it is much more professional. His hosting company probably has an automatic set up for it as well. For example, I just need to go into my cpanel and click on the add(or update) Wordpress. It will ask where and you just type it www.example.com/blog.
posted by Vaike at 9:55 AM on August 11, 2009


You can use Wordpress.com to host a blog under your own domain. It's a premium feature ($10/year), but it's there.

I'll be the dissenting voice in the crowd and say that for inexperienced users, a wordpress.com-hosted blog is the way to go. You don't have to worry about installing software; you don't have to worry about security; you don't have to worry about complicated configuration issues; you don't have to worry about bandwidth caps. And so forth.

When you look at the cost of premium features on wordpress.com, it might seem like you're getting nickled-and-dimed, but compared to the cost of hiring someone to do the same stuff on a self-hosted Wordpress installation (or the time you'd need to figure it out yourself)---on top of the cost of quality web hosting---and you're actually getting a deal.
posted by aparrish at 9:55 AM on August 11, 2009


Also, for SEO, Wordpress has a default title or you can choose to have your post title come up as the title, or create your own.
posted by Vaike at 9:56 AM on August 11, 2009


Thanks, everyone! He's installing Wordpress as we speak (type).
posted by heavenstobetsy at 11:44 AM on August 11, 2009


I set up a WordPress blog on my site, and it was remarkably straightforward. As long as you have access to a mysql process and can set up a database for it, you should be all set.

One thing to note is that after it's set up it looks like the default wordpress theme. However, if it's on your own site it's completely customizeable. I wrote briefly about how I integrated my blog into my own website. If there were interest, I could go into more detail, but it's not too complicated and there are good tutorials out there.
posted by losvedir at 12:16 PM on August 11, 2009


Start out on wordpress.com, but pay for a custom domain and make sure the custom domain is set as the primary domain. Hosting on wordpress.com means that you participate in their tag-space, which increases your visibility to other users, and potentially, to search engines.

Once the blog is more established, you can move it to self-hosted wordpress.
posted by Good Brain at 12:52 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe nobody's recommending Typepad. Matt recommended it at one point for what it's worth.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:02 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


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