Every now and then, I like to share my blogging experience. Not as ‘guru’ but as a blogger who likes to learn, implement and also journal every successful step. One of such step is leaving the free wordpress platform and going self hosted.
In February 2018, I decided it was time to gift me a domain name and hosting. I had read so much about going self hosted, plugins, SEO’s, content creation and marketing and really just wanted a better platform to practice all I had been reading.
Is Going Self Hosted A Good Choice?
There are people who think it is important to learn the ropes (learn how to create great content, learn your seo’s and keyword optimization etc) before going self hosted.
There are also those who think it is better to get right into being self hosted and learn the ropes while in it. There are no hard rules but find out why you want to start blogging before you invest money. Is it for business, hobby or both?
Personally, my time on the free wordpress platform was used to learn. I had read so much information about blogging and I really wanted to implement all I had been reading. I had goals and aspirations for my blog and I wanted all the benefits of going self hosted.
I wanted to add plugins and be able to modify my blog, I wanted to create a Google Analytics Account to track my article performance and monitor my real time and audience, I wanted to implement all I had read about SEO’s and get my posts to rank on Google, I wanted to share my experiences on a more professional platform.
Finally, monetization would not be a bad idea (something you cannot do on a free platform).
When you have successfully done something over and over again, it is only normal to look towards expanding. The urge to expand is even more when you start to feel restricted. I started to feel that way and that was when I knew I wanted to transfer to a self hosted blog.
I learnt how to export my content from a free wordpress platform and so as soon I got the conviction, I went self hosted.
It felt really good then. It still feels good but I have realised that blogging on a self hosted platform takes more effort than blogging on a free platform.
Here are 5 Truths I have adjusted to in the past 7 months of going self hosted.
5 Truths About Going Self Hosted
1. You May Not Have As Much Engagement As You Had On A Free Platform.
Fortunately, when you go self hosted on a wordpress platform, JetPack allows you migrate subscribers from your free platform to your self hosted blog.
You can also import your comment, contents and that’s pretty much it. Your likes are gone and you no longer get as much engagement / views from the wordpress reader or daily subscribers.
I had heard this was going to happen but I did not expect a drastic reduction in views/engagement.
2. You Have To Work Hard To Create/Retain A Community.
Going self hosted comes with a lot of hard work. Since there is now reduction in engagement, you will have to put in effort to create a new community and retain the one you have.
It is difficult to continue churning out content when there is little or no feedback at all but engagement is not all you have to work hard for. Maintaning a self hosted blog is hard work and more effort needs to go into:
- Publicising your articles on various social media platforms.
- Ensuring your content adds value.
- Joining blogging communities that share the same interest.
- Securing your blog from hackers.
- Choosing a theme that is responsive.
- Ensuring your plugins/themes are compatible and software is updated.
- You need to be consistent.
You do not worry so much about some of these things on a free platform but once you go self hosted, they become part of your blog routine.
Related: Simple Guide To A Daily Blog Routine
3. You Will Struggle With Your Domain Authority.
The domain authority of a website describes it’s relevance for a specific subject area. This relevance has a direct impact on how well your blog will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).
The first time I checked my domain authority, I was on a free wordpress platform and MOZ gave me a 99 over 100. Interesting right?
Fast foward to seven months of going self hosted and I still struggle with a 9 over 100. It has been a snail like move but it means I have to work really hard to build my domain authority.
Domain Authority is not all you may have to struggle with, there is the struggle to choose a perfect theme, being consistent, finding a focal niche etc
Sometimes, it is the hosting company that gives you a hard time. Too much downtime and maybe bad customer service. The free wordpress platform has more stable network and efficient happiness engineers.
Click the link to check your blog Domain Authority on MOZ – Open Site Explorer (OSE)
4. You Have To Invest In Your Blog.
Going self hosted does not come free of charge and in the same light, you should be ready to invest Time and Money if you want the best out of your blogging experience.
It feels like blogging evolves everyday and if you miss a day of researching, you could miss something important. There are lots of useful information on the internet but if you do not implement them correctly, your blog suffers.
- Read and implement
- Attend Content Creation and Seo classes.
- Attend other free and paid blog related classes offline/online.
- Read about Link building and keyword optimization.
- Keep researching.
- Invest in a journal, phone/camera, laptop etc. Things to aid good content on your blog.
- Pay for blog audit/blog consultation.
- Read about increasing your Page and Domain Authority
There are people who are really good with figuring these blog related issue on their own but if you are not one of them, then invest your Time or Money.
5. You May Be Discouraged.
Blogging is interesting but with the amount of work that goes into managing a self hosted blog, one can get discouraged when blogging expectations are not being met.
Juggling a 7 to 5 job and a self hosted blog can be daunting especially when you consider all the work that needs to go into an SEO worthy article before publishing.
Sometimes, I have an article in my draft for days but I cannot hit publish because it has to be Seo worthy and I have not had time to do the needful. Other days, I just cannot be bothered and hit publish.
Truth is, it is always better to do things the right way. It can be overwhelming but it pays at the end.
Guys, if you ever get to the part where you get discouraged, it is fine to take a break and re-strategize. Be patient and ask yourself why you started your blog. Make sure you actually love the process of creating content, it should never feel like a difficult chore.
I had someone tell me that, once you start treating your blog like a job you really love, you will always have time for it.
Share your thoughts
What have you had to struggle with since going self hosted?
How did you know it was time to transfer to a self hosted blog?
I will love to read from you