I’ve been blogging now since November of 2015 and I love it! Love it, love it, love it! I think about it all the time and I’m my most happiest when blogging.
I’ve learned a lot about blogging and screwed up a lot. Hell, I’m still screwing up. The biggest mistake I made was self-hosting too soon. I still don’t know to this day if this is an accurate statement but I think you lose the audience of WordPress reader by self-hosting. When I knew I was in love with blogging and for once in my life stuck to a hobby for more than a year, I decided to buy my own domain and self-host. Here are the good, bad and ugly from a hot mess perspective:
- I have access to Google Analytics and this is amazing. For those of you that are unfamiliar with GA, you can get such detailed info such as what time readers read your posts the most, what cities they live in (yes, that’s right, I know where you live ;)) and what pages they leave from indicating that post may have sucked. This reason was a huge reason for self-hosting.
- ‘Let’s make a little cash on the side’, I thought before going the self-hosting route. This was INCREDIBLY stupid or at least premature on my part. If you self-host you can participate in AdSense. Basically Google slaps ads on your site (you can have just 1 or many; I think I have like 2) where you dictate. Every time someone clicks on the ad, I get a few cents. This is great if you have thousands of people visiting your site a day, which I’m not there yet. Since starting this in September (and removing a few ads that left my site looking tacky), I’ve earned a combined total of $5.61, or half the price of 1 monthly fee to have godaddy.com host my site. And the kicker is, you can’t cash out till you’ve raised $100. So hopefully I can cash out before the year 3000.
- Plugins are pretty cool. You have a HUGE amount of options to personalize your site. From SEO, to social media to survey templates, you have so many more tools at your disposal. I use probably .0000000000000000001% of the ones available out there as I am too chicken shit to add something that will screw everything up. I’m not Steve Jobs here.
- I don’t know if this was an option when WordPress hosted my blog but with godaddy.com hosting my site, I have access to free, quality stock images. It seems like there are thousands of them! Now for my more obnoxious posts, it’s hard to find a matching picture (such as the post about the stripper or the vibrator- now that was a struggle) and leaves me be be creative.
- Every time I gain a follower from WordPress.com, I must migrate them over to my site which is kinda’ a pain. It’s ridiculously easy though.
- That leads me to my next point and it has been THE MOST PAINFUL thing to endure. Because you don’t show up in reader like you did when WordPress hosts, you loose a TON of opportunity to gain new followers. My growth has been at a slug’s pace, even when I’m posting almost daily. I mean, you are literally you’re own website and you have to be in charge of finding new readers.
- When I first migrated over, I lost all my readers. Not because I suddenly pissed God and the world off but that somehow you loose them all and have to scour forums on how to get them all back. You can read about it here: OMG…I Think I Lost All Of My Followers…. I got everyone back, thank God!
My next big thing I’m considering is switching my theme. I haven’t found any that I’ve fallen in love with yet. I like to keep the look simple and let my writing have the party. I’m all ears though if you have any suggestions. I’d also love to hear if you’ve been considering self-hosting or if you are happy on WordPress. If you did move to self-hosting, what was your experience?