The free features available for free hosted blogs at wordpress.com are great. There’s a such a wide variety available that no matter what kind of a blog you have in mind, or what premium features you need, wordpress.com is not only a great place to start blogging, but may even be your last stop.
I took a look back at all the feature announcements we’ve made here, and it came to 370 posts, 82 in 2009 alone. That’s a lot of features. So in case you missed anything along the way here are some of my picks for cool things you can do with WordPress.com.
— My Tips on WordPress.com
The pros and cons of being free hosted by wordpress.com or self hosting wordpress.org software are summed up very well in WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
The make money motivation for moving to self hosting
Although it may not be the only reason, the most common reason for leaving wordpress.com and self hosting a wordpress.org blog that I’m aware of is the desire to make money by blogging.
If your wordpress.com blog does not currently attract 1,000 – 1,500 unique visitors every day, and your traffic stats do not demonstrate a growth trend, and your SEO is not up in the 90 percentile range, then it’s unlikely that you will make a significant income from blogging. You will be lucky if you make enough to cover web hosting costs.
If you are a skillful blogger with an archive of quality content, a knowledge base and skill sets that make it possible for you to “deliver the goods” See 1- 17 in How to Make Money by Blogging, then self hosting may be appealing but it doesn’t have to be immediate.
1. Purchase a Domain and Domain Mapping
The new domain will start with a PageRank of 0/10 and it will take at least 4 – 6 months to regain it, provided your traffic stats don’t fall off, and the number of backlinks your new posts secure are about the same as the number of backlinks your older posts secured.
In addition, if and when you begin self hosting a wordpress.org install your blog will no longer part of the wordpress.com community. That means your posts will no longer appear on the wordpress.com tagging pages, and the traffic that your wordpress.com blog used to derive from there will disappear.
Here’s the catch 22 that arises after you have worked hard for 4 – 6 months to bring the PageRank of the new blog up. If you are blogging for money then PageRank will be a major issue for you as a self hosting blogger.
While it may be true that once your site has a higher PageRank (4 or 5) that higher paying writing opportunities may become available to you, provided you seek them out, if you choose to write for services like ReviewMe, Text Link Ads, Smorty, and/or PayPerPost, etc. then understand that Google doesn’t like paid links.
Google’s position is that you must indicate paid links with “nofollow”. But when you work for the sites listed above or others like them they require that their “do-follow” links must be in your posts and their badges in your sidebar. There’s the catch. If you make that choice to write for those services or others like them then you will be kissing PageRank goodbye, so consider chilling for awhile and doing some information gathering.
Going into the business of blogging for money means undertaking due diligence, doing research first, developing a business plan, spending some money up front to hopefully make more money later on, and being prepared for the the fierce competition that exists. So, if you are convinced that you have what it takes to enter that competitive milieu in the future then you will have some homework to do first.
2. Take Note of the Metrics – Scout Out the Competition
The next step can be getting a clear picture of the all metrics that apply to your own blog at wordpress.com as it is now, and the blogs of similar sites that you are preparing to compete within a niche and make comparisons.
- demographic metrics
3. Research the Various Monetization Methods
According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009 report, in popularity it [affiliate links] beats paid postings, rich media ads, and is third only to display ads and search ads. … A number of monetization methods is being employed by the 28% of bloggers that do monetize. — Affiliate Links: Third Most Popular Blog Monetization method.
Read also: Twenty Income Streams for Bloggers
4. Research How Much Bloggers Get Paid to Blog
During discussions with bloggers, I have found that the average blogger (not a superstar, but not a slouch) earns around $10 per 250-word post. Of course, most people exceed the word count to please their employer. (Heck, this post is contracted for 250 words and it’s closer to 500!). — Calculating Your Worth as a Blogger
To make the average annual US income of $60,000, you need to make $34 an hour. If you are paid $5 a blog post, you would have to write 12,000 blog posts. At $25 a blog post, you would have to publish 2,400. For $50 per post, that’s 1200 posts. At $100 per blog post, you would have to generate 600 posts. — Blogging Jobs: How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?
The issue of the blogging pay scale is very important, not just because I’m one of the workers in this new industry who expects to be able to pay the rent or meet a mortgage, but also because I represent the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people who want to make money blogging. — Blogging Jobs: How Much is Blogging Worth?
More advice on preparing to self-host
As part of your preparation to move to self hosting to make a significant amount of money blogging, and to avoid the pitfalls I recommend that you lurk on make money blogging forums before you commit to choosing a monetization method or combination of monetization methods. Specifically, I advise you to aim to be able to correctly answer over 80% of the questions asked on those forums before you commit to self hosting.
There’s so much to learn about so many aspects of self hosting and blogging for money that I’ve come full circle. What’s Your Hurry?