Don’t Make My Mistake | Self-Host Your Website
This is the simplest advice I can give any serious blogger: Don’t make my mistake – self-host your website. I’m writing this blog as a warning to any writer, blogger, or author who wants to take their website seriously. I hope this blog will help others avoid my own mistakes when I started my website. If you think self-hosting isn’t for you, you may be wrong.
You need to self-host your website.
Yeah, I know, what you’re thinking:
I don’t want to pay for my website.
Maintaining a website on my own is a pain.
What IS “self-hosting” anyway?
You’re not alone with these fears. I had these same worries rushing over me, drowning me with worry when I was considering to self-host. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t really know what “self-host” really meant.
Let me try to explain in non-technical words.
Blogging Host: Platforms that provide space for you to upload your content (wordpress.com) with typically simple formats and low to zero fees. Minimal to no coding is involved! Why? Because that hosts’ engineers take care of it for you. The content you publish is on the host’s website.
It’s kind of like publishing on a literary journal or newspaper. Your work is on their publication. You are writing for them.
Self-Hosted: A hosting provider website (like Bluehost) hosts your website (wordpress.org). In laymen’s terms, Bluehost converts your WordPress website (wordpress.com) into a self-hosted site (wordpress.org).
A web host is like getting your book published – you still own your work.
Does that make a little more sense?
WHY You Need to Self-Host Your Website
Having your own website means you get to share what you want. You have control of your own public image. And, you have control of what content people learn about you.
(By the way, I regularly update seasonal discounts at the end of this blog.)
Your content and website are found in search engines when you self-host your website.
The only reasons you would need a Hosted website, like WordPress, is for a few situations:
- You are only casually blogging/journaling.
- Potential compensation for the hours you put into writing doesn’t interest you (FYI, you cannot participate in affiliate programs, unless offered for that specific platform).
- You want to keep your website somewhat private.
- The small community offered within that publisher’s platform is sufficient for your networking (nearly all publishing platforms have one).
Your freedoms on content can differ depending on the web host you choose. But, if you self-host your own website, you’re freedoms suddenly open up:
- Control: You are not limited on design or content.
- Monetization: You can sell, promote contests, and conduct an actual business by self-hosting.
- Visibility: SEO (search engine optimization) is actually possible with your own site. Control your keywords and tags (search engines crawl these to find you). Think of how you search for things on Google, Chrome, Safari. You need SEO accessibility to be found)
While there are many plugins and tools to simplify your blogging experience (see My Favorite Blogging Tools), I highly recommend using the Yoast plugin for additional SEO support.
You want to improve your visibility. That’s one of the main goals of self-hosting. Installing helpful plugins is an important means of boosting your visibility.
Free Support to Self-Host Your Website
There are numerous options for web hosts, and you don’t need to know coding in order to setup your site, if you choose the right host.
Whether or not you decide to self-host, I recommend using WordPress for either scenario. They’re easy to use and have a good variety of themes to choose from.
If you have a problem, just ask a WordPress Happiness Engineer. They offer free support and are “happy” to help you along.
And, if you’re feeling committed to your site and hoping to get a little more incentive from your work, you may want to sign up for the WordPress Affiliate program.
After you sign up for WordPress, you’ll then see options for numerous plugins. I’ve slowly been learning which ones are necessary.
JetPack is great for safely backing up your site. It’s a real life-saver if you don’t want anything to happen to your blog. One little hiccup could mean losing everything you’ve worked on.
Back up your website BEFORE switching to self-hosting.
Using a plugin like JetPack is especially important when you take your website to the next level: Bluehost.
Woes to Self-Host Your Website
I’m not gonna lie. Self-hosting is a process, especially when you’re transferring from another site, like I did.
I got into self-hosting the hard way. I’d already started with WordPress as a blog host. I started looking into a self-hosting site and saw that WordPress itself recommended Bluehost, and was the most used host with the highest rating, it was kinda a no-brainer for me to choose Bluehost.
Little did I know, I should have STARTED by self-hosting my WordPress site. I did the work backwards.
If your website is going to be tied to a business, career or brand you’re trying to build, then save yourself the hair-pulling and sleepless nights. Self-host your website.
But, if you’re like me and you’re getting this information a little late in the game, there is still hope.
Thank God there’s a Help Desk to come and save you.
Help is On the Way
When I attempted to transfer my website over to Bluehost hosting, I was in a mess of a problem. I had no idea what heck I was doing. Panicking as I rocked myself in a corner: “What have I done? What have I DONE?!”
I could have saved myself a lot of premature agony if I had just thought to contact Support sooner.
What are we supposed to do when we need assistance? Oh right – Ask for HELP.
I was grateful beyond belief when I found Bluehost’s support team were ready and willing to guide me while I exported and imported my WordPress site.
One guy actually took over for a day. He worked on transferring my website while I got some sleep.
They were lifesavers! I was losing sleep over the process until they stepped in to help. Seriously. I was up until 2am trying to transfer a website all on my own.
Bluehost’s support team saved me from years of premature wrinkles and bags under my eyes.
In addition, the support team gave me my precious time back. I was able to return to my regular to-do list: blogging, editing my website, writing my book.
(For time-saving techniques, read my blog on Easy Hacks to Write More).
If the process ever seems too tricky, never feel too proud to ask support for help. In addition, there are webmasters you can hire to help setup your site, or even keep on retainer, if need be. Just do a search, interview candidates, and be sure to hire someone you trust.
Or, you can do like me – email and submit support tickets to the Help Desks.
Don’t let this scare you though. If you’ve just gotten started with your blog, then you have nothing to lose. My greatest fear was losing a year’s worth of comments and subscribers. THAT is what I needed transferred over and couldn’t do on my own.
Bluehost Affiliate Program
I also learned there’s the incentive of their affiliate program, which is great for anyone who hopes to earn a little money off of their site, especially when Bluehost offers one of the best compensation programs I’ve seen thus far.
So, if you’re intention is to make a little money off of your website, I would recommend signing up for the affiliate program. It costs nothing and you have so much potential to earn from it.
It’s just another reason to choose Bluehost to self-host your website.
In addition, I get notifications on Bluehost promos, which YOU all get to benefit from!
Bluehost Limited Time Offers:
I hope you found this all helpful. I did a lot of searching and research before I switched to a self-hosting site. Hopefully, my own experience will benefit the rest of you.
Leave me a comment and SHARE this post if you thought if was helpful.
Or, contact me about my services and see how I can help you set up your web pages, edit, or whatever else is within my power.
Improve Your Social Media on Subscription
DISCLAIMER: I receive compensation from the companies whose products I review. I test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. I am independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.