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Should I Pay For My Blog?
When starting your blog it is important to first determine what the purpose of the blog is. If your blog is for nothing more than personal joy, or perhaps a place to share thoughts with a select number of individuals, then a free blog is perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, if your blog has aims at making money or perhaps feeding information to a larger number of people perhaps it's time to consider investing a little money to maximize your blog's effective reach.
If your blog fits into the second category, and you want to increase both its reach and its ability to better serve your users then you can't afford not to make the small investments necessary. Doing so costs very little and only takes two small steps:
Step 1: The first inexpensive, but extremely valuable purchase would be a personal domain name. Nothing separates your blog from the thousands of others like it's own home on the internet. No longer will it be perceived as simply a common blog, but now it's an official home for the information you are sharing. This relationship change occurs on both a conscious and subconscious level to your users. Instead of being bobsblog.blogx.com you can have something personal like makemillionstoday.com - all for just a few dollars a year.
There are a number of options for purchasing your own domain name and they start as cheap as a couple of dollars and peak out around $20 dollars. While the cheapest option may sometimes seem the best that isn't always the case. There are also options with many hosting companies to purchase a domain name, or even get one for free when you purchase a hosting plan. Be sure to research a bit about the registrar you are going to use and make sure you will actually own the domain name. Some registrars will trick you into "buying" a domain name but then maintain the rights to it and will be able to prevent you from taking that domain name with you if you wish to leave their service.
Step 2: The next big question is do you need a hosting plan? Having a paid host offers a lot of benefits to your blog. While the free host or blog site definitely is economical it often has a limited amount of features and your ability to expand your blog into a more fully developed site will definitely be limited. Whereas if you choose to go with a paid hosting plan, which can come as cheap as a few dollars a month, you open up an entirely new book of options.
Many good web hosts offer both one click blog installations as well as email lists, web forums, shopping carts, and dozens of other useful features which can make your blog a better and more productive experience for your users. Have you ever wanted to sell customized t-shirts or coffee mugs on your blog? With the proper hosting plan this could be a simple process! Having a hosting plan will also allow you to install many of the widgets, or plugins, that are available to most of the major blogging systems.
When we get down to the nitty-gritty the real question is can you afford not to upgrade your blog? If you're serious about your blog it is becoming paramount to invest in it by getting a personalized domain and increasing your ability to offer your users what they want and need. Doing so will increase your reach and give you a the potential to turn your blog into the career you've always wanted.
For more information on purchasing domain names and finding a great web host you should check out our other articles and our Top 10 Web Hosts list.
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