Are you sitting there, staring at your wordpress.com blog and wondering how you can make it pop? Wondering how you can make it more aesthetically pleasing or more dynamic? Wondering how you can make it look and act like your favourite bloggers blog?
Unfortunately, wordpress.com has limited features, can't be monetised, and has limited customisation and unless you take the leap into Self Hosted territory, you'll never be able to have the feature packed, dynamic blog of your dreams. But you know that. That's why you're here!
Now, I know going self hosted can be a scary if not a completely daunting thought. However, if you set aside your fears and take control of your blogs online journey, you'll find the world is your oyster and you'll be able to create the blog of your dreams.
Being self hosted gives me complete control over this blog. I pay for server space (via Lyrical Host discount code BRYJ to save 10%) and make all edits to my blog via the wordpress.org platform. It means I can implement any plugins I want to enhance the user experience, as well as customise my blogs look and feel.
The decision to go self hosted and take control of your blog is an easy decision to make however, migrating from .com to .org isn't as straightforward or as easy as you'd think and there's a few things you should know before taking the leap.
So, if you're thinking about going self hosted, check out below what you should know to ensure a stress free, seamless journey into the world of Self Hosting!
Research is essential
Prior to taking the plunge into being Self Hosted, I spent a month or so researching the process, the plugins, the widgets, the themes I’d all need to create the blog I wanted to present to the world. SH gives a blogger a lot more freedom and flexibility, but migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org means a lot of the features you take for granted are no longer available. Doing your research beforehand and knowing exactly what you need to ensure your blogs downtime is minimum is incredibly helpful!
The cheapest hosting probably isn’t
I signed up with BlueHost due to so many blogs recommending them and their affordable pricing options. However, after migrating my blog over to their servers, et al, it turned out there was a significant amount of “add ons” that I would require to have my blog running smoothly. With the cost of these additional add ons just to get everything going, it turned out that BlueHost were not affordable at all compared to other service providers. Turns out they just have a great affiliate scheme...
Additionally, the support provided by BlueHost was subpar and unacceptable and at several points I was not even able to access my blog!
In the end I signed up with Lyrical Host (use Lyrical Host discount code BRYJ for 10% off!) who helped me migrate my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, were incredibly helpful, and even send me free monthly stock photos! Who doesn’t love freebies?
Not all Plugins are created equal
Although I knew what type of plugin I would need, it wouldn’t be until I installed them on my blog before I knew which plugin was the right plugin in. For example, there are dozens of SEO optimiser plugins, social share plugins etc, but it’s impossible to know what works best with your blogs theme and your technical know how. Plugins are all about trial and error and it is a case of finding what best suits you and your blog.
Knowing some basic CSS helps
CSS is your blogs style sheet, and unless you have had your blog theme custom made just for you, you’ll likely want to make some changes. There are plenty of plugins which allow you to change theme fonts and colours, but some other aspects of the theme can only be changed in the style sheet. Just remember to always keep a copy of the original style sheet as any mistakes when editing can break your blog.
Not everything will export
When migrating from .com to .org you will need to export your blog in its entirety. However, there is a massive glitch with this process where not all images are exported. Although in your posts it will seem as though everything is fine, this is because the html behind the images is still pointing at your .com hosted files. Luckily, there are plenty of plugins available that will identify these images and make copies of them in your .org hosting.
Patience is important
Going self hosted isn’t a quick and easy task. It requires patience, experimentation, creativity, and most importantly a passion for your blog as it takes time. A lot of time. However, seeing the end result - a blog you are proud of - it is more than worth the blood, sweat and tears!
And trust me, there will be tears of every kind, especially of joy when it's all up and running!
Are you self hosted - tell me about your journey in the comments!