Getting into blogging is daunting to say the least, and every person in every corner of the world, not just the blogging community, will have some form of advice for you. But the piece I see come up most often is this: If you want to be taken seriously, you need to go self hosted!
Self hosted may sound like a simple enough concept, and it’s often a step towards something else. After four months of blogging, I decided that going self hosted was preferable to using a paid WordPress plan so dove right in and set up my blog on a self hosted platform. But it wasn’t easy, and it hasn’t been easy since doing it. Quite a few people have asked me questions about it, so I’ve decided to get the FAQs out in this post, for anyone that is thinking about going self hosted.
You need to do your research first
Going self hosted is a great concept, and is a relatively easy one to put into practice if you know what you’re going into. But there’s a lot of options and you need to know what you’re signing up for first. Make sure you know which platforms are available, how much they cost, what comes as part of the package, and how much input they want.
It costs money
Nothing in life is truly free, and self hosted is no exception. You need to pay for the hosting platform and the domain name at least, as well as a whole host of extras as required, such as email servers and SSL certificates. There are plenty of deals from various platforms for your first year of hosting, but these will go up exponentially after the first year. Keep that in mind. However, it may be cheaper than a paid WordPress platform, and will give more control.
You need to back up your WordPress/Blogger hosted blog
Some platforms will offer to migrate your blog over for you but the platform I used wouldn’t work. I ended up having to do it manually. This isn’t actually all that difficult, and a quick Google search taught me how to do it. Under no circumstances should you delete your old blog before backing up your content! To manually migrate, you have to export all of your blog’s content and import it into the new one. You should be able to Google this to find out how.
You will need to work harder to earn your views
Going self hosted loses you the luxury of a reader platform – you are now the only thing directing views to your site. So you will need to utilize social media and get sharing of those posts. Using Buffer, a free app, to schedule Tweets is a good start. Sharing a post on your old blog saying you’re going self hosted is a good way to get the message across to followers that your old URL is going to be inactive soon. But all of the sharing, advertising and pushing of your posts now needs to come from you.
You will need to know how to use WordPress.org
For those of you using Blogger as your platform, going self hosted will mean learning how to use WordPress. WordPress.org is a bit different from WordPress.com, as you have no limits on what you can do with your blog. You will need to install plugins for all your needs and learn how to use and utilize them. Just because they are popular, does not mean they are easy to use. You do not need to learn how to code but if IT was never your strong point, you may be better off on a platform.
Going self hosted is not a quick way to make money
But it is pretty essential for integrating things like Google Adsense, which will make you money. It also looks a lot more professional. I took two months to get onto Google Adsense and had to buy an SSL certificate to do so. And if you can’t get the views to your site, you won’t make any money from it. When it come to creating Brand Collaborations, it does look more professional to have an email server. This is business; you have to spend money to make money. But if you want to make money blogging, everyone will insist that going self hosted is key.
Here are just the answers to the questions I have been asked, and some pretty important points to consider. If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m no expert, but I will tell you what I know!