There are a great many great reasons to have your own website/blog, and a great many providers able to offer you a simple templated solution at a reasonable cost.
But how much would it be to host and maintain your own website, and what’s involved?
It’s absolutely worth having your own domain name, rather than a blogger.wix.com, writer.wordpress.com, or photographer.smugmug.com website. It’s your little piece of identity, your staked out plot of land in the internet landscape. It looks more professional, more serious, and it’s just more fun. It means you can have an associated email address as well.
There are a lot of offers out there, so do shop around, but I’m going to be taking the annual renewal cost as my number here, as per my domain registrar 123 Reg.
From £0.99 for first year, then:
£16 per year
While domain names can be purchased from almost anywhere with little difference in service, a web host is a different matter. It needs to be reliable, fast, suited to your purposes, with good customer service.
To that end, I’m always happy to recommend my host Siteground. They have been excellent, they’re recommended by WordPress, and the customer service is brilliant.
Again, there are offers and deals for the first year of hosting, but look just at the annual renewal cost, this is the big expense.
From £42 for first year, then:
£129 per year
The alternative, which I’ve offered to some, is to get the site hosted by someone who has a more robust, multi-site hosting package. I do this for friends and clients, and makes the whole thing much more affordable.
The days of hand-coding HTML are thankfully over, but there’s no need to go to the other extreme of a template-based site. WordPress is robust, customisable and used by about a third of websites globally. And best of all:
Under no circumstances should you use the default theme for your website, but there are several good free options out there. Magazine style is always a good and versatile option for writers, portfolio style works best for photographers and filmmakers.
But to have more options, tools and flexibility, as well as support, it’s worth paying for a theme. For complex websites, I use Avada, but for others, including this one, I use Look. Both are around the same price.
$60, one-off cost
So, in total, in the first year you’d be paying: £103.
Each subsequent year, you’d be paying: £145.
Is it worth it? I’d say yes, for control of your online space. There are definitely cheaper options, but you give up control and potentially have to have someone else’s advertising on your site.
There are extra costs you could take on, and some recommended plugins, but I’ll cover those with another article.