Linda Ikeji is one of the hottest bloggers on the Nigerian Landscape. For the past 8 years her blog, lindaikeji.blogspot.com has been the daily destination for Nigerians looking to get all the gossip on their favorite African Celebrities, Politicians and Socialites. On October 8th the unthinkable happened, visitors to her website were greeted with the following message “Sorry the blog, lindaikeji.blogspot has been removed”!!!
There are a number of rumors as to why this could have happened, but I am not here to gossip, that is what Linda is for! 🙂 What I want to talk about is how to decide when to migrate off the free blogging websites (wordpress, blogger) to your own personal hosted site. One thing is for sure, as long as you are not hosting your own site you will always be in danger of suffering the same fate as Linda
To those of you that are new to the world of blogging let me take a few steps back. Blogging software allows anybody to quickly create a blog in minutes. You just register, pick a name and hey presto you are ready to start creating articles! The best part about it all is, its FREE!! You will know someone is using a free hosted website because there is usually an additional appendix in the URL. So in Linda Ikeji’s case, instead of seeing lindaikeji.com she had to settle for lindaikeji.blogspot.com. What this tells me is that she used Blogger, the free blogging software owned by Google. The advantage of blogger over similar sites is, you can actually integrate advertisements onto the free version. Other platforms (example wordpress.com) require you to upgrade (pay for a custom URL and host the site yourself) before you can incorporate ads. So Linda just stayed on the free site even after she rose to the 10th ranked website in Nigeria (according to Alexa).
If you are serious about blogging, you are going to eventually have to move off the free site. So here are a few reasons why I think you should move off the free stuff sooner rather than later;
- Google Rank: Your Google rank determines what position your website will be presented on Google when somebody searches with a relevant keyword. There are many factors that determine how high you rank, but one of them is longevity. The longer your website has been around putting out good material, the higher your Google rank will be. So if you stay on the free blog for two years then switch, you will lose all that time you put in!
- You lose your Alexa clout: Alexa provides commercial web traffic data, and has quickly become a good destination to determine a websites internet rank. Although Alexa’s relevance is debatable, one thing is very evident, many people use it as a first step to determine a websites popularity……….Funny side note, did you know alexas, alexa rank is 2,248 🙂
- You Can lose all your articles: As Linda Ikeji found out, when your site is hosted on these free blogging websites, you do not have any control over the content. Anytime they (blogger, wordpress etc) want they can just delete your blog. They will just say that you have violated an article in the Terms of Service agreement that we all know you never read!
- No Customer Service: Finally, free is good, but you get what you pay for. If you ever have any problems with the page, good luck finding someone to help you out. A professional site needs professionals customer service, so if you want to talk to a human being when your website is having issues, then you might want to consider switching.
The bottom line is this, it cost $10 to buy a custom URL and their are website hosting options that go for as low as $20/year. So if you are serious about being the next big blogger, open up your wallet. Right now if you want to access Linda Ikeji you have to use her mobile site at lindaikeji.mobil . Or you could just hope on over to our sister site www.smileandtalk.com, you will get all African entertainment you need!