Grab a drink because this is a long one!
It’s been a little over a week now of being self-hosted and I still can’t believe it! I finally did what I said I, not only wanted to do but needed to do. I know there are plenty of bloggers out there who have written about self-hosting and everything already, but I figured why not talk about my experience as well? Every experience is different and if you’re thinking about going self-hosted, then it’s good to hear different points of view. I’m going to start from the day I decided to go ahead and take the leap, to where I am right now. So, if you’ve been thinking about going self-hosted and need a little more input before making the big leap, then keep reading!
Taking The Leap
Of course, it wasn’t a spontaneous leap. I’ve thought about it for a while since I discovered self-hosting and learned what it could do for me and why I needed it if I wanted to do blogging full time. If you haven’t read any posts regarding the same thing, then I highly advise you to do so. Please also note that before I did this, I made sure I had money set aside. If you don’t just have money to throw away (which I think is a very very small amount of us), then I really do suggest you make sure this is something you want to do. Once you decide that it is something you want, then be sure to save up for it because it can be costly.
Even though I knew I wanted to go self-hosted, I kept doubting myself. I kept saying “what if I regret it?” and “It’s a big step…am I ready?” I had already alerted my followers that there would no posts for the following week, so I couldn’t turn back. I meant to give myself a week of getting my blog together, but because I was so hesitant, I let two or three days pass. Eventually, I took the leap. I posted for hosting and my journey began!
Choosing A Site
The hosting site I decided to go with was Siteground. I feel like there are so many different sites to choose from and it’s important you choose the one best for you. How did I choose Siteground? Well, first I was seeing so many posts about self-hosting (I promise there are tons out there!) and that prompted me to check out WordPress.org where they have a section for hosting. On there, they tell you about the 3 sites they offer, which was Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Siteground. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about Bluehost, but I was loving what I was reading about Siteground the most. Even though, I was still stuck on which one to choose. I saw a pretty decent amount of good reviews for Siteground, but what really made me go “this is it” was a youtube video I watched. It was a video from a girl boss named Kilah and she was showing how she updates her inventory. Basically, she has Siteground and she states how it connects with Shopify and everything. Selling items on my blog is something I want to do, so I was sold at that point. I suggest you do a lot of research first before making that big step. This isn’t a decision you want to just make with your eyes close and hope for the best.
The Struggle Was Real
Listen ya’ll, when I finally did it, and I looked at this fresh new site, I was so confused! I felt like I was a newbie to the internet and needed all kinds of help. I learned that one of the very first things I needed to do was migrate my wordpress.com blog over to my new self-hosted site. Yea, I was lost already. You get the option to do it yourself or have people from the site do it. I, of course, think it’s a good idea for me to do it myself because I’m impatient…bad idea. In order to migrate it over, you have to install a plugin on your wordpress.com site. Well, that would’ve been fine if premium let you install plugins…but it doesn’t. So, I had to go to tech support. From the jump, I just want to say that I love the live chat option. It’s so much quicker than sending an email and you don’t have to call, which can be anxiety inducing for some.
Once I got in contact with someone, I’m sure he thought I was some 50-year old who just discovered the internet because he was helping me step by step on everything. I didn’t care as long as my blog was being migrated over properly. Eventually the people who migrate it for you just had to do it for me because of an issue beyond my control. During this whole issue, I was just saying how much I wish I didn’t make this move. I was already debating on getting a refund. You’d think after that was done, there would be no more issues this early…wrong. A day or so later, I noticed my follower count wasn’t right. It’s basically like I started over and that was almost giving me a heart attack! I worked hard to get where I am now and I’d hate to have to start over. In the end, it turned out to be an issue with Jetpack and it was all solved. I had a few good struggles, but they were resolvable and at the end that’s all I cared about.
Starting With A Blank Slate
Once everything is migrated over, you’re pretty much starting with a blank slate. You still have your posts and everything, but (at least for me) your theme is gone and you have to either load it back up if it’s in a zip file or just start from scratch. This was fine for me because I knew I was going to change up the look anyways. I thought that now I have a hosted site, I would have better theme options…I was wrong. The themes are fine for someone who isn’t so particular and is good with working with what they have, but sadly I’m like a perfectionist when it comes to my blog and none of those themes worked for me.
One of the joys of having a hosted site is that you can upload your own themes. I tried to look up some free themes, but I didn’t have much luck. I really didn’t want to buy one because, let’s be honest, really cute themes are high and I’m nowhere near able to just drop money on some blog themes. However, I did find a really cute one on Etsy on sale for I believe $10. This would be the theme I’m currently using. I fell in love with the price and design!
Note: If you’re going to spend money on a theme, then PLEASE make sure it’s one you love!
Reminder, it’s like I’m a newborn at this moment because everything looks different…the admin page and all. So, when I have to follow steps to set up my theme, I’m a little nervous, but the instructions were very detailed! The theme also used a lot of plugins, which I never got the chance to use before and let me tell you, I’m going crazy with them! Can one use too many plugins? I guess I’ll find out! There is one thing that I learned I would need and that’s a subscription newsletter. Basically, it’s a way to communicate with your subscribers through email. In order to have that, you have to find a subscription service, which…you guessed it..costs some money. Did I decide to get one? Nope! Again, I don’t have the money to totally go all out and that’s ok. You don’t HAVE to have all the works just because other people may say you do. Expand but within your means.
Overall Notes and Review
- Although being self-hosting can give more opportunities, not everyone needs it. Make sure you think about if it’s really for you.
- Do. Your. Research
- Save, save, save
- Expand but stay within your means
- Don’t be afraid to ask your blogger peeps, but also contact tech support
- Just because some bloggers say it’s necessary, doesn’t mean it’s necessary for you at the moment or you won’t succeed without it.
Overall, I’m so happy I went self-hosted and I’m glad I chose Siteground. The tech support was amazing and so very helpful. The guy that helped me received 5 stars from me! I still have a lot to learn about how to make this self-hosting thing work for me when it comes to monetizing my blog, but I’ll keep you guys updated!
Would you like more blog posts like this? Have you just recently gone self-hosted? How do you like it?