What’s it all about? I asked myself this question when I decided to take the leap of faith and run my OWN blog by going self hosted. I was totally unaware of this term when I first heard it, it took a lot of digging around the internet and asking others what the term actually meant. There wasn’t much in the way of support for beginners who were basically aliens to this whole other part of blogging. But after taking the big step I discovered myself many useful tips and gained more knowledge on this area which I’d like to share with you all.
WordPress vs WordPress.org
When starting a blog I just thought you picked a site like Blogger or WordPress, decided on your domain name and choose a theme and that was that. Then after a while I wondered how I could get rid of the lifeastillyrose.wordpress.com bit, so I looked at the different plan options and was so close to buying the next one up which gave the option of removing this. But after doing a bit more searching around the web, I discovered you couldn’t download custom designed themes from online and upload them to your blog as WordPress.com simply did not allow that. That was when I started looking into other ways around this, I knew there was wordpress.org which I assumed was the American version (LOL I was totally clueless) but no it really is quite more than that.
WordPress.com is a very easy but limited platform, you cannot alter the page structure – you can change things in the body of your page (the middle part), but you don’t have direct access to the HTML source of the blog and sections of your page. This means that the customisation of your theme is very limited. What I like about wordpress.org is that when you upload a theme and someone else is using the same theme, each blog will be different as there is lots of room for personalisation, e.g. show excerpts of your post, a slider at the top of your homepage, add Instagram feed as a footer (bottom on your blog). It allows you to really monetise your blog and make it more like you. However there are themes available on wordpress.org and by all means use them as they’re free. I only decided to buy one as I wanted to make it look more like me and I really liked the look of the PipDig and Esty ones.
Another con of wordpress.com is that you cannot utilise ads to earn money from your free WordPress blog, by this I mean putting ads in the side bar using GoogleAdsense, which is a shame as it is another way that bloggers earn their income – through ads. Think about it this way, by going self hosted your blog looks more presentable and attracts more people therefore you will be benefiting more from the ads as there is an increase in traffic on your site. It also has restrictions on using affiliate links meaning that you cannot have a ‘shop my style/wardrobe’ bar with links to items which when clicked earns you money.
My Host – Siteground
When you move to wordpress.org they are no longer the hosts your site, unlike wordpress.com were. Therefore you have to choose a host site. I recommend Siteground as they have reasonable prices and brilliant support! They were amazing at doing the actual migration and all the little problems that cropped up along the way, with their 24/7 Live Chat someone is always available to help and sort out the problem quickly. When I say problems I mean things to do with the installation process (which takes about 24 hours), like the web address not working or the html being blocked by the wifi network, all complicated things that I do not get! They offered a free migration service, so it was no hassle or cost. For my self I choose the Start Up plan at £2.75 per month, you really can’t go wrong. You are paying them for the support, security, automatic updates and speed, and so far I haven’t encountered any sticky problems with Siteground. To view Siteground’s website click HERE.
Transferring Followers, Stats and Posts
Do not panic! It is possible to transfer everything over, including all your previous WordPress followers and stats. Also if you have a large following on Bloglovin then do not worry as it is possible to transfer followers over to your new blog in the settings of your profile, it’s pretty easy. During the migration, Siteground use your login details to transfer all your blog posts over, you will not loose any of those. From what I can remember I asked on the Live Chat to transfer my followers and stats which wasn’t a problem at all, they either redirected me to contact someone else or did it within 10 minutes for me. I was so impressed with their help and support. Everything is taken care of so you do not need to worry about loosing anything – I guess that’s what you are paying for!
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – RECOMMEND
I was once told by two very big bloggers, Hannah Gale and Chloe Plumstead during a blogging workshop, that brands do not have time to sit down and read your content thoroughly, they judge whether or not they want to work with you based on the look of your blog. So if you have amazing content but not the best layout they’ll most likely discard your blog and move onto the next one. PR’s are very busy people, they are dealing with tones of requests to me sent things and are on the hunt for well presented bloggers to work with, so if your serious about making blogging a business then I think it is definitely worth the investment to buy a professional looking theme. I’m not going to lie, it was an expensive decision – moving to self hosted cost me somewhere around £80 but I see it as an investment, I won’t have to do it again. I did it in the hope that it will allow me to grow and become more successful.
Unfortunately I do not know anything about Blogger so cannot give advice on that but I will link useful websites down below:
All opinions are from my own experiences and I am not trying to force you to move self hosted, so please don’t feel pressured! It is a very pricey and serious thing to consider, its not easy and I must say it was pretty daunting and scary at first but hopefully this post will help you feel a little more confident about taking on the move. Good luck to all who decide to do it and to those who don’t good because your saving 80 quid in ya pocket!
Thank for reading this super long post, please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear if it helped you!
Tilly Rose x