DSTB Series – Hosted vs. Self Hosted Travel Blogs

by Dave on May 14, 2009 · 13 comments

Lightning fast internet cafe on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

"Lightning fast" internet cafe on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

After you develop a goal for your travel blog, it’s time to lay the foundation for your new presence on the web.  There are two approaches to storing your blog on the internet, hosted or self-hosted, and each has its unique pro’s and con’s.

Hosted Blogs

Recommended for:  Quick and Easy camp of bloggers

Take a few minutes to sign up for an account on one of the countless free sites offering blogs, such as Blogger or WordPress, and start publishing your travel tales to the world immediately.  A hosted blog means the software platform and all your data (the stories you write and photos you upload) are stored on the servers of the company whose website you used during the sign up process.  The downside to this approach is less control over the design (and advertising options, if available) and web address, which will likely include the name of your host (unless you have the option to redirect to a personal domain name).  Sans the investment in your own domain name, your web address might look like this, “Worldtraveler.wordpress.com.”

If you feel this option is right for you, then consider signing up for and evaluating a few blogs offered by established travel communities.  The benefits to this approach are numerous.  The travel community is an already established entity on the web, drawing in visitors seeking inspiration and motivation for their own future travels.  By aligning yourself with the community, you will pick up readers with less effort than if you are left to your own marketing devices.  Plus, these hosts will have blog designs and features which cater to travelers, such as easy-to-use mapping functions.

Bottom Line:  No start-up costs and ease of use comes at the expense of flexibility to customize the form and function of your travel blog.

Suggested travel blog communities:  BootsnAll, TravelPod, TravellersPoint

Self-hosted Blogs

Recommended for:  In the Middle and Fully Committed camps of bloggers

Setting up a blog on your own web host requires a little extra time, money and effort, however the big providers have done their best to make the process as easy as possible.  For example, I set up my newest blog, Medellin Living, using an already established hosting account with Go Daddy.  They have a one-click install for popular software platforms, such as WordPress, which saved me from having to read through the WordPress installation instructions (though they are extremely clear and well written).  I was ready to start posting to my new blog in minutes.

Besides improvements in the services and support offered by hosting companies, you have countless ways to customize your blog without being limited by the business decisions of a third party.  If you want the ability to exert total control over appearance, functionality and advertising, self-hosting is a must.

Bottom Line: A small annual investment offers you infinite opportunities to customize your travel blog and present a more professional appearance while leaving room to grow.

Suggested web hosts:  Go Daddy, Bluehost, Dreamhost

Further Reading:

Please feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment.

The next part will focus on factors to consider when choosing a domain name.

About the Author:

is the author of 1720 posts on Go Backpacking.

Dave is Editor and Founder of Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, and the Co-founder of Travel Blog Success. Follow him on Twitter @rtwdave or Google+

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Categories: Blogging
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13 Comments

Dominique De Guzman May 15, 2009 at 3:09 pm

thank you for this series. i plan a rtw trip in a few years and blogging about it, so this is very helpful. we met at the hostel in capetown and went wine tasting together. i’ve been reading your blogs ever since. keep up the great work! hope all’s well. best to you!

Reply

Dominique De Guzman May 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

thank you for this series. i plan a rtw trip in a few years and blogging about it, so this is very helpful. we met at the hostel in capetown and went wine tasting together. i’ve been reading your blogs ever since. keep up the great work! hope all’s well. best to you!

Reply

Dave May 15, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Hi Dominque – great to hear from you after all this time. I’m glad to hear you’re planning a RTW trip! It has been an amazing experience, well worth all the time, effort, and anxieties.

Reply

Dave May 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Hi Dominque – great to hear from you after all this time. I’m glad to hear you’re planning a RTW trip! It has been an amazing experience, well worth all the time, effort, and anxieties.

Reply

Lilliy May 19, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Hi from Jeddah,
Loved your 3 part series but I still have a feeling that there is more that you can tell up
I have been an armature blogger for 2 years now on my personal blog.. The idea of my travel blog has been in the back of my mind for a while now and finally recently I started and I want to concentrate more on it how to make more interesting, get more traffic, and monetize it. But I don’t want to self host it I have been using the blogger platform and very very comfortable using it. I know its armature looking but I also like following personal blogs there are especially 2 the lost girls and one man travels that I followed for a while and they use blogger.. Do you really think if I want to be middle of the road blogger that won’t work? I am not looking for quick results but I honestly for now like blogger platform. because first I want to be a better blogger..

Reply

Lilliy May 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Hi from Jeddah,
Loved your 3 part series but I still have a feeling that there is more that you can tell up
I have been an armature blogger for 2 years now on my personal blog.. The idea of my travel blog has been in the back of my mind for a while now and finally recently I started and I want to concentrate more on it how to make more interesting, get more traffic, and monetize it. But I don’t want to self host it I have been using the blogger platform and very very comfortable using it. I know its armature looking but I also like following personal blogs there are especially 2 the lost girls and one man travels that I followed for a while and they use blogger.. Do you really think if I want to be middle of the road blogger that won’t work? I am not looking for quick results but I honestly for now like blogger platform. because first I want to be a better blogger..

Reply

Lilliy May 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

sorry typo mistake.. “that you can tell us”

Reply

Lilliy May 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm

sorry typo mistake.. “that you can tell us”

Reply

Dave May 20, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Hi Lilliy –

I agree…there is so much to share to talk about, which is why I want to introduce you to other blogs I read which are fully dedicated to successful blogging. These links will usually be under the “Further Reading” heading at the end of each post.

I definitely think one can be successful with a hosted account, both in terms of attracting readers and earning money. I see you’ve already got Google Adsense and Amazon ads on your travel blog which is a good starting point. Earning money with these ads and other forms will require you to achieve a bigger audience and higher Google Page Rank.

I highlighted The Lost Girls in my follow-up article because they are the perfect example of a successful travel blog on a hosted account, though Amanda was not shy to leave a comment about the restrictions of Blogger, and their plans to move over to Wordpress.

Content is king. If you write unique, helpful, interesting, or entertaining posts on a regular basis then people will be attracted.

Reply

Dave May 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hi Lilliy –

I agree…there is so much to share to talk about, which is why I want to introduce you to other blogs I read which are fully dedicated to successful blogging. These links will usually be under the “Further Reading” heading at the end of each post.

I definitely think one can be successful with a hosted account, both in terms of attracting readers and earning money. I see you’ve already got Google Adsense and Amazon ads on your travel blog which is a good starting point. Earning money with these ads and other forms will require you to achieve a bigger audience and higher Google Page Rank.

I highlighted The Lost Girls in my follow-up article because they are the perfect example of a successful travel blog on a hosted account, though Amanda was not shy to leave a comment about the restrictions of Blogger, and their plans to move over to Wordpress.

Content is king. If you write unique, helpful, interesting, or entertaining posts on a regular basis then people will be attracted.

Reply

mai June 5, 2009 at 5:18 am

OHH Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource! PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;) See you! ^_^

Reply

mai June 5, 2009 at 12:18 am

OHH Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource! PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;) See you! ^_^

Reply

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