If you’re a new blogger, you might not know exactly what self-hosting is. You might be running your blog on the free WordPress.com platform and have not a clue about the process of hosting. That was me not too long ago.
But I’ve realized that to be a serious blogger, the best thing you can do for yourself and the growth of your blog is to go self-hosted.
What is Self-Hosting?
When you have a self-hosted blog, you pay for your blog to be online. You do not use a free platform and you pay a web host like Siteground to “house” your website and display it on the Internet. You own your website and you can get your own domain name instead of “www.insertname.wordpress.com”
A self-hosted blog is on its own server and you have full control over it. A lot of beginners go with WordPress.com because it’s so easy and free, but there are many drawbacks that come with a free WordPress website that many bloggers don’t realize when they are first starting out.
Simply Amanda started out on a free platform and then migrated to self-hosted with WordPress.org 5 months later. I wish I would’ve gone self-hosted from the beginning because of all the benefits.
Why You Need Self-Hosting
So you might be wondering what’s the difference and why self-hosting is so great. Here are 4 major reasons why you should consider going self-hosted for your blog!
You own it, babe. You have full control over your blog. With the free version, you think you own it, but in reality, you don’t and things can go south quickly. WordPress can shut down your blog at any given moment and you would lose everything. On their Terms of Service, they state that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”
If you’re trying to be a serious blogger, the last thing you want is losing all your hard work. What makes me so proud of Simply Amanda is that it is mine and it is something I built from the ground up. It’s so rewarding and amazing to know you created something and it’s yours. No one can ever take it away from you and that’s why self-hosted blogs are so awesome.
No one can shut you down.
2. You can customize it to your liking.
This is the fun part! Ever seen a gorgeous WordPress theme you just had to have? And then you realize it’s not offered for free WordPress. Ugh, I know the feeling. It sucks. With a self-hosted WordPress website, you have access to unlimited free and premium themes.
Free WordPress doesn’t let you change the layout of your website and barely lets you play around with colors. And you’re stuck with the WordPress.com link in the footer of your blog. I had a specific image in my mind of how I wanted my blog to look and the free WordPress platform just wasn’t giving me what I needed and is one of the main reasons I switched over. With free WordPress, you can’t access the coding to change things on your theme which is a real bummer. It’s hard to embed sign up forms for your email list and you are basically stuck with WordPress email notifications instead of the ability to create and send out newsletters to your subscribers.
With a self-hosted blog, you have the power to put whatever you want in your footer. You can mess around with your coding, change your themes, add sign up forms for your newsletter, and whatever else your little heart desires. The options are endless!
3. It looks way more professional.
This is a big one. It looks more professional! A self-hosted blog looks and functions better because you have more options when it comes to themes. You have more options with colors and you can move around your sidebar or have no sidebar at all. You can set up landing pages, menus, and create an aesthetically pleasing blog that keeps readers coming back for more.
Nobody wants to stay on a blog that looks messy or disorganized. A pretty blog with a clean design and amazing branding is the best way to keep people on your blog longer. You don’t have the flexibility to customize your blog on free WordPress. Self-hosted blogs leave a lasting impression on visitors and are much more functional.
If you’re looking to create a professional image for yourself and your brand, self-hosted is the way to go.
4. You can monetize it.
Money, money, money. If you’re looking to make cash from your blog and turn it into a real business, then you definitely need to monetize it and that’s something you just can’t do when you’re on the free version of WordPress. You can’t sell ads. They place ads on your website for you. This means that your readers see ads, but you never see a penny from it. Plus there are restrictions on affiliate marketing for free WordPress.
On a self-hosted blog, you can monetize it however you want. You can choose to place ads on your website, you can add affiliate links, sell your own products and much more. There are so many ways to make money and because you’re in control, you get to decide how and when you want to make money.
How To Become Self-Hosted
So if you’ve decided self-hosting is right for you and it’s the next step in building your dream blog + biz, there are a few steps to take in order to get there. You need to find a web host to host your blog on. It’s important to do your own research on this and check prices for what you’re willing to spend so that you stay within your budget. There are several hosts out there like Siteground, Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.
Now I personally use Siteground for my hosting and I can say with confidence that they are absolutely wonderful. Seriously. I love them so much and they made moving from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress a breeze. In fact, they moved everything over for me.
The first step to getting set up with them is heading over to their website and checking out their plans. You’ll see the prices for each plan. The best one to go with is the StartUp, no need to go further than that. Especially if you’re a new blogger. The StartUp plan is more than enough and you can always upgrade later if you need to.
Next, you’ll need to sign up for the plan you chose. If you already purchased your domain name elsewhere, then go ahead and enter that you already have a domain name. If not, it’s time to create and register one! So you can enter the name you like and then you will move on to the next step which is simply filling out your information and entering payment information as well.
You can get different plans for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years. Whatever you’re most comfortable with and whatever is within your budget.
Once you are all set up with a domain name and hosting plan, it’s time to actually get your blog onto that domain name. All you have to do is contact customer service and let them know you would like your website moved over from WordPress.com to your new self-hosted blog and they will take care of the rest!
Or if you want to take matters into your own hands, here’s a neat tutorial on how to do it yourself. Warning: it’s pretty techy so beware if you’re not too good with the tech side of things. After your blog is fully migrated, you are good to go and you can now go back to being that awesome blogger babe… but on a self-hosted blog!
Self-hosting is not for everyone. It depends on your goals as a blogger and what you plan to do with your website. It depends on how serious you’re going to be about it and whether or not you want to monetize it. It’s something to really think about before making the leap.
Are you self-hosted or on free WordPress?