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Websites

Part of the fun of being on the road is sharing your adventures with others. There are many easy ways to do this, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Many people will create a website or blog to have a personalized approach to telling their stories and adventures. This almost always brings up the question, ‘What is the best service to use for my website?’. Here are a few options.

Do it yourself

If you want complete control over how your site will look, how the content is shaped, and have a reasonable amount of tech skills, then a self hosted WordPress site is for you. In fact, that is what you are looking at right now, my self hosted WordPress site.

Wait, what does self hosted mean?

It means that I have paid for server space with a hosting company who keeps all of the content of my website up and running for everyone to see. Clicking on the WordPress link above will take you to the WordPress.org site, which contains many helpful articles to explain the finer points of a self hosted site.

I use Host Gator for my web hosting. (Note: I am an affiliate for Host Gator, meaning that if you click on the link provided and sign up, I will get a referral bonus. This helps pay the bills, so thank you for helping. Disclosure policy can be found here.)

Let someone else do the hard stuff

If self hosting isn’t your thing, you can always let someone else take care of the technical stuff and you just worry about the content. The two popular options are using Blogger, which is a Google product, or using WordPress.com.

So I probably just confused you there. How come I listed WordPress in both sections? The answer is that WordPress offers two different products. The self hosted is WordPress.org, which is where they provide the base code for you to use, but you have to do all of the technical work of setting up the theme, plugins, styling, and hosting. With WordPress.com, they do all of that for you.

Because Blogger and WordPress take care of the technical stuff for you, the options of how your site can be customized and look will be drastically reduced. From a support standpoint, this makes sense. The less variables in the equation, the easier it is to keep things running smoothly. Many people find this to be an adequate option.

The bit of information I want to impart here is this: If you ever think that you may want to take your blog to a self hosted website that uses WordPress.org, start with WordPress.com. The transition will be very easy. I started with a Blogger site, which at the time was great for me. It offered more flexibility than WordPress.com, I was able to customize it more, and I already had a lot of Google products already set up, so it was an easy move for me. The time did come when I wanted to migrate my site to a self hosted one, and that was a little more tricky. There are numerous help files to move your site from Blogger to WordPress, and on the surface things went smoothly and almost effortlessly, but on the back end of things I had some more difficulties. If you have built up a strong follower base, including many other sites linking to yours, you have to make sure that all of the links will still function properly.

But I digress…

So to recap, if you are content with someone else doing the technical work and you will stay that way, I recommend Blogger. If you now or at some point want to do the technical stuff yourself, go with WordPress.

Please email me with any comments, suggestions, or questions.

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