Should you go self-hosted? This was a question that I didn’t even realise existed when I started our blogging journey. The past 12 months of blogging has been a continual learning curve. This has recently seen me take the plunge and move to self-hosting with Siteground
Like many beginner bloggers, I simply chose a free blog platform – WordPress, uploaded one of the free themes and started writing. Within a very short time, as I learned more about blogging, I became aware of some of the limitations of Free WordPress..
I really didn’t like the look or layout of my blog, hated the arbitrary ads which were all over it and was unable to access many of the great plugins which are available. Particularly Yoast SEO which is an essential tool for keyword research and Search Engine Optimisation to help your posts to rank in Google.
Initially I upgraded to the personal plan, soon upgrading to the business plan at $145 per year to access premium themes, plugins and the ability to monetise our blog. I also registered our own domain name, enabling us to ditch the “wordpress.com” from our site address.
Learning about blogging
Over the past 12 months I have read other blogs, researched on Google and taken tutorials on SEO, Analytics, marketing and more. I am certainly no expert even now, but know a lot more than I did when I started out.
I am not a “tecchy” person so I rely on a lot of support. The support staff at WordPress were certainly helpful on a number of occasions. However there were other occasions where they seemed not to understand. Such as the time where my lack of knowledge was causing a glitch with Google crawling my site. It was simply that I had failed to attach images to posts, something I thought they should have picked up, but didn’t. This was seriously affecting my Google rankings until I came across a relevant article in my research.
What is self-hosting?
I then began to notice blogs, tweets and other social media discussion about the importance of being “self hosted”. Well, I own my domain name, I’m paying for a business plan, I’m self hosted right? Wrong.
Like many beginner bloggers, I had fallen for the confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
On WordPress.com, no matter what your plan, your site can be deleted and membership cancelled at no notice if they feel you have violated the terms of service. In short, WordPress owns all your content, not you. I was aghast to discover that something I had invested so much time, effort and money into for the past 12 months could literally disappear overnight.
So I began to research further into Self Hosting, which is where you pay a service provider to “host” or store your site. Not unlike choosing a mobile phone or internet provider.
With a self-hosted site, you set up with WordPress.org, then choose a service provider to host your site. If you want to check where you blog is hosted, you can check here
Why go Self Hosted?
The thought of self-hosting seemed overwhelming and daunting at first. However as I researched, I found that it was not only surprisingly easy, but had huge benefits.
- You own and completely control your website and all its contents
- Self Hosting allows you to customise your blog and you are not limited to WordPress themes. You even have the option of hiring a web designer if you choose.
- The ability to monetise your blog. Yes, you can monetise on the Business Plan, however, with the cost of $145 per year compared with $60 for a basic self hosting plan I feel it would take an awful long time to make up the difference
- Self Hosted sites apparently rank better in search engines. Since moving to self-hosting, I am definitely finding a slow but steady increase in organic traffic
- It looks more professional when dealing with brands, if this is the way you wish to go.
- As an Australian site, I was hosted in Colorado, which lacked a little authenticity with Google. I am now hosted SE Asia, which is much more credible.
- My site speed has grown phenomenally.
- Access to an infinite number of plug-ins.
- The ability to establish an e-store on your site
So I finally decided that I needed to “take the plunge” and move to self-hosting if I wanted our blog to grow any further.
Moving to Siteground
My research of numerous other bloggers led me to Siteground
The transition could not have been easier. First I set up a Siteground account, then chose one of their three plans,. These range from $4.95 per month for the Start up package. This offers 10 GB of storage space and up to 10,000 page views per month. I’ll certainly be delighted when I reach that level.
More Techno savvy bloggers would have no trouble exporting their content to WordPress.org. However I chose the option of having my site transferred to Siteground by an experienced technician. I did have to provide them with my logins to both WordPress and Siteground and they took it from there. I of course changed the details once the transition was finalised. The process took a couple of days, however they kept me in the loop, and really tweaked my site for optimal. My site did not go down for any length of time. It looks the same as it did before the migration, but works better.
How’s self hosting?
I still write and edit my posts via WordPress, my site is simply hosted elsewhere. It certainly has not been the daunting experience I was expecting.
Since starting with Siteground, I have had one issue with an upgrade, caused by a plugin, which the 24/7 chat service had fixed for me in no time. In fact they seemed to have a better knowledge of WordPress than some of the “happiness engineers”
So far I am very happy with the benefits of moving to self hosted. If I could do one thing over again in my blogging journey, it would have been to start out with a self hosted site on WordPress.Org
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