I hate to break it to you, but having your blog on one of these services makes you look unprofessional. My theory is that if you own one of these blogs, people might see .blogspot .blogger or .wordpress and run away without ever looking through your content. You might have the best content in the world, but the .whatever might be your achilles heal.
If you’re serious about your blog, why not spend the $60 or so per year it costs for a shared host and domain? That’s about as much as a video game these days. I’m getting more entertainment out of owning this blog than I ever would from a video game. It is NOT hard to set up. I used something called “fantastico” to install wordpress automatically. Yes, you may have to learn how to do upgrades manually, but that is very simple, not anything technical.
*one note is that if you do get too much traffic you’ll have to upgrade the host to dedicated or similar, which will cost around $100/month.. Some ads would take care of that cost, however if you’re really getting that much traffic.
I believe that is why people run away, they don’t think you’re serious about your blog if you have that .whatever. By having that, you have proven to them you’re not willing to put a little money into your site. You’ve proven you’re not willing to put a little extra effort into it.
There are also other benefits to owning the domain and host. Customization is one big factor. Another is the fact that you’re blog could be shut down at any time by the .whatever, if they don’t like your blog, that’s not going to happen when you own your host and domain.
I urge you, if you’re in any way serious about your blog, buy a domain and host. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
To be honest, when I started this blog, I didn’t even have the intention of using my host/domain for a blog. See, I’ve been trying to learn PHP, and I beleive certain functions I could not run on my PC with Apache because some ports are blocked by my ISP. I might have been wrong, I don’t know, but that was the main purpose for me buying the host, the domain I just bought for the fun of it I guess. That’s why when I got more serious about this blog, I changed the domain to technologyinsanity.com.