A few months ago (okay, half a year) saw me complete a whole year of blogging and I truly felt like it was time for a refresh. Alongside a re-brand I decided to take the plunge and go self-hosted. I also switched things up with a whole new page layout and general blog redesign. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do any of this without reading helpful posts about the experience of other bloggers, so I guess now it’s my turn. Even if I am a little overdue! Although it’s necessary to provide you with a little background information, the purpose of this post is to lay out all of the factors you should consider when going self-hosted to simplify the process.
When I first began blogging, one of my only regrets was jumping right in and not doing any in-depth research into hosting. I took out a wordpress.com personal plan and within a couple of months, regretted my decision. What I really wanted was the freedom of wordpress.org; the ability to install themes and plugins, less restrictions and to be able to tailor my site. When it was almost time for my yearly subscription plan to end, I knew I wanted to go self-hosted. I also wanted to change my site identity (domain) from sophiehearts.org to sophhearts.com.
Personally, I chose Siteground’s migration services, after seeing plenty of good reviews. I chose their GrowBig package (£56.88 p/a) which was the obvious option for me as it included free migration. I was also charged £14.34 for my new domain name and an optional £10.80 for ‘Domain ID Protect’. Not getting Domain ID Protect is the equivalent of scrawling your number and address on a public toilet cubical in central London- not a good idea. It’s crucial, as it protects your personal details, leaving them inaccessible to the public.
I also paid for a Pipdig theme: Venture.
The Benefits of Going Self-hosted
Arguably one of the biggest benefits of going self-hosted is the ability to install themes and plugins at no additional cost. Having a site that can be tailored and which I have more freedom over with regards to design is so important to me. Being self-hosted also allows access to more advanced analytical tools and more general control.
A Higher DA Score
Okay so a self-hosted site won’t magic you up a better DA score. What it will do though, is provide you with the tools to improve it yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is a game-changer when it comes to assessing the SEO value and readability of your content. By utilising other Plugin’s and promoting across social media, you’ll be able to drive far more traffic to your blog. My DA is currently 26 and higher than it’s ever been.
Better Monetisation Prospects
With the additional freedom over coding that WordPress gives you, comes more ways of monetising your site. Google Adsense for example is an (almost) effortless way of monetising blog traffic.
Transfer Stats and Followers
When going self-hosted it’s incredibly important not to forget to transfer followers and stats to your new site. Literally all you have to do is contact JetPack support (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let them do the work for you! Knowing to do that is the trick, I dithered on it for a good while before coming across this advice.
The WordPress Follow Button
WordPress is one of the easiest ways for users to follow other blogs. By featuring a ‘follow via WordPress’ button and offering this as an option for new readers, naturally more people will be inclined to follow you. I didn’t clock onto this for about a month, after wondering why I was getting so few new followers. Once I’d enabled it (with the help of this video) I saw a dramatic difference.
DA and Internal Links
This only applies to you if you’re going self-hosted and changing your domain name. Although my migration went well, every single one of my ‘internal links’ had to be manually changed. The links remained the same as they always had, so directed to my old (no longer existent) site. It took a while, let me tell you. Another issue caused by my decision to change my domain name was that my DA disappeared. Despite containing all of my old content which once earned me a DA of 24, it was a new site and therefore I had to start all over again. However my DA for this domain grew at a much quicker growth rate than on my previous site.
I came across plenty of bloggers recommending Siteground hosting and now I know why. Their support continues far past the migration period to the rest of your time with them. They’re on hand for absolutely any queries, covering non-emergency situations and panic central alike. Recently I updated some Plugins, two of which conflicted with each other. My images stopped being optimised and I had a five minute meltdown. All I needed was the support of someone much more techie than me to provide step by step advise on how to do a site backup restoration.
*Soph Hearts sometimes uses affiliate links, this will never affect the authenticity of any recommendations. The above link is affiliate, I will receive a small commission if you use it to begin hosting through Siteground. Please see my disclaimer for any further information.