This is a really complicated subject. And you get many different opinions from different experts in the industry. Self-hosting is something not to be taken lightly though as it involves a lot of maintenance and a lot of planning. But business owners and individuals can have a self-hosted website these days. So, I’m going to talk about whether you should be self-hosting your website or not.
The industry has changed
There was a line of thinking in the web design industry that self-hosting or WordPress websites were only for big businesses that had developers inhouse. This has changed significantly in the last few years. The invention of various plugins that make it easy for anybody to design a website with WordPress, has completely changed the game.
The amount of free videos resource or even paid for courses that you can access now is amazing. If you’re willing to put the time in to learn how to develop your own self-hosted website the information is out there.
Hosted websites like Squarespace have made creating a website for business so much easier. Platforms like Shopify also help with running an online shop. There is definitely a time and a place for these hosted websites. Shopify, for example, is a great eCommerce solution.
Just to be clear I think they’re great options. They give business owners a simple way to get online without it taking them hours to learn various bits of code or to keep the site running smoothly.
SEO and self hosting
I do think however a WordPress website that is self-hosted is always going to be better in terms of SEO. Hosted websites where you build it yourself do have the ability to rank for SEO. In a future post, I’m planning to talk about how you can do that if you are a Shopify or Squarespace website owner. Squarespace itself actually has SEO functionality within its platform for making it easy for owners to use SEO tactics.
The reason a WordPress self-hosted website is going to be better in terms of SEO is that you have complete control on the server that you host your website on. Now, this is getting technical but if your server is a UK based server and your business is a UK based business it has significant impact on the results that you get in terms of SEO. With a lot of hosted websites, you don’t have the option to choose the server, your hosting package or impact the page speed and all of these things have quite a big impact on how fast your website is and how searchable it is ETC.
I mentioned website speed and functionality, and this actually has a huge factor in your SEO ranking. If your website is slow and clunky and doesn’t have mobile responsive features, then Google will automatically down rate it in the algorithm. On a lot of hosted websites you can actually control the mobile responsive elements. You can also keep your website running fast by not adding too many moving elements, but only with a WordPress self-hosted website can you actually have full control over those things.
I want to point out that I’m not against hosted websites. I think that they can be wonderful tools for businesses, and you can ask a specialist to help you do some coding or bespoke work on your Squarespace or Shopify website and get amazing results. That is not the point of this blog post. I don’t want to warn people off using hosted websites but what I do want to do is tell people that you can have a WordPress self-hosted website, that it isn’t as difficult as people make out. Especially with new plugins such as Elementor.
So should you be self hosting your website?
Going back to the initial question of should you be hosting your website. I think this is up to you, I think you have to decide what works for your business. Sometimes a hosted website is the right choice for business and sometimes it’s better for that business to self-host a WordPress website.
If you’re not sure which is right for your business or if you have either of these kinds of websites, I’d be happy to chat through the pros and cons for your business. Email me at [email protected]