If you are thinking about setting up a blog, there are many good options out there. However, it is my opinion that WordPress is the best blogging platform currently available. It is also one of the most widely used due to its robust features, extendability and ease of use.
If you decide to use WordPress, there are 2 ways you can do it. You can use the free hosted version of WordPress.com, or you can host it yourself. Both versions have their pros and cons. Ideally, you want to host your own copy of WordPress to have the most flexibility. This is not for everyone though. If you are not up to the task of running your site yourself, the hosted version is the way to go.
Also, when you are starting out with a new blog, WordPress.com is a big help due to the automatic domain authority you get from having a subdomain of WordPress.com. This means you can instantly get good search engine rankings which drive traffic to your site. This is the main reason to set up a hosted version and quickly build up some decent traffic.
Let’s say that you do decide to go with WordPress.com. What happens if you one day want to host your blog yourself? In that case, it is possible to transfer your blog to your own hosted version of WordPress without losing any data or traffic.
The key to this is having your own domain. When you sign up for a WordPress.com blog, your blog address will be a subdomain of wordpress.com, as in yourblog.wordpress.com. What you want to do is buy your own domain name and point it at your WordPress.com blog. WordPress.com allows you to do this for $10 a year, plus the cost of your domain. This works no matter when you set it up because WordPress.com automatically redirects traffic from your wordpress.com subdomain to your custom domain, without having to do your own redirects.
Once your links and search engine results are pointing to your new domain, you should be able to transfer all your files to your new host. The second important part of this is importing all your WordPress data into your new custom WordPress setup. With WordPress, this is very simple to do, and it will keep your url’s the same on your new site as they were on your old site. This is critical to making this work. You will also want to keep the same template so that your site appears to change as little as possible.
After your files and data are transferred, you can point your domain back at your new host. Also, WordPress will redirect any traffic to your old blog to your new one as long as you have the custom domain active in your WordPress settings. It’s that simple!