I really enjoy discovering new blogs around Social Media every day. I must say, I found some really good ones that I even started to follow.
But one thing that I’ve noticed is that a big majority of them are NOT self-hosted.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally PRO free, when it comes to starting a blog. But it comes with a price, and I’ll explain you the 5 reasons why your blog needs to be self-hosted.
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5 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs to Be Self-Hosted
If you are asking yourself if it worth to switch from free hosting to a self-hosted blog my answer is “YESSS!”.
Especially if you want to take blogging seriously and want to look like a pro, you should have gone self-hosted from day one or as soon as possible if you’ve already started.
So whether you are starting a blog or want to move from a free hosted platform, I want to guide you through why your blog should be self-hosted and how you can make the switch.
If you are ready to make the big step, you can go self hosted for less than $4 a month right now.
You have full control over your own blog
Probably this is the number one reason why me and so many other bloggers decide for the self-hosted way.
You can decide what to show and what not to show in your own blog. From domain name, plugins, ads and even the design.
For example, you are not restricted on the domain name because someone else already took it.
Or, after finally have found a domain name that wasn’t taken, you’re not restricted to use “.wordpress” after it.
You don’t have to stick to pre-made templates that look so basic.
And did you know that on a free platform, the platform owners can delete your content at any point if they think it’s not a good fit for their term of service?
And no one would like to see their content wiped out because someone else doesn’t agree.
You can personalise how your blog looks like
Ever wonder why, who does blogging for a living, have got such great design? And they look so professional?
The answer is: they are self-hosted and they can personalise the blog as much as they want to.
When you own your own blog, you can customise it for the niche you blog about and decide for things like colours, fonts and much more.
There are hundreds of themes available for WordPress. And there are loads of free theme as well as premium ones.
My advise is to go for a premium one for the simple reason that you really have endless customisation options without the need of knowing how to code.
If you don’t know where to find some good looking themes, here’s some you’ll love. And if you don’t know which one is right for your blog, read my post about the 5 things to consider when buying a WordPress theme.
You can use as many plugins as you want
For who doesn’t know, plugins are a great way to customise a WordPress theme and enhance features.
With over 29,000 plugins available in the market, you have endless choice!
You can create pop-up form for your email list, you can create landing pages or personalise the homepage. You can even know in real time if some is trying to hack your website.
But guess what.. you can choose and install the plugins only if you are self-hosted.
With so much choice, make sure to choose something that relates to your blog or you’ll make it slow to load.
My suggestion is to make a mix. For example, there are some plugins that I install in all the website I create for my clients. And those are for security, SEO or anti-spam. And then, I would choose something more specific and related to what you want to do with your blog. For example a page builder to personalise pages, a plugin to keep all your affiliate link in the same place or a plugin to optimise image.
You can read this post to get an idea of the 5 best plugins for beginner bloggers.
You’ve got the professional look
If you’ve decide to take blogging seriously, I’m sure you’ve thought about sponsored posts.
A sponsored post is when a company pays you to write about their product. Great idea to make money blogging!
But you need to look professional to be at least considered for sponsored opportunities. Competition is very high and you want to stand out from the others.
First thing to do to look professional is to get a personalised URL or domain name for your blog.
Think about this: would you ever buy from an online shop that doesn’t look professional? I bet you and also me wouldn’t. So it’s the same for companies.
You can monetise your blog
Most of the free platforms don’t offer the possibility to display ads of your choice. That means that the platform owner randomly choose which ads they want to show.
Plus, you’re not making any money out of the ads. Which is unfair, because YOU are the one putting effort to bring visitors to your blog but someone else is taking the benefit of it.
Instead with a self-hosted blog you can decide which ad network you want to join, which ad you want to show and the place you want to show it.
For example, you can place ads in strategic place where people is more likely to see or click them. This will help you to make the most out of it and earn extra money from your blog.
How to switch to self-hosted
Switch to a self-hosted blog is easy, it doesn’t require any particular knowledge and you can follow the step-by-step guide I’m going to show you below.
If you are worried about the price.. Don’t worry! Within a couple of months you will be able to pay back the investment with sponsored posts, ads, affiliate marketing or other ways you decide to make money with your blog.
So, if you have a free WordPress blog and want to switch to self-hosted follow these steps:
1. Get a domain name + hosting
First thing first, choose a reliable hosting provider like Bluehost. You don’t want to your blog hacked the first day you go self-hosted. So avoid cheap providers. I had to clean an hacked website for a client and IT’S NOT fun!
Click here to get started with Bluehost or click the picture below.
To get the most out of it, remember that you get a FREE domain name with any packages for 12 months!
2. Set up WordPress
You’ll need to install and set up WordPress again, but this time it will be the self-hosted version. The good thing is that Bluehost offers a 1-click installation, so just choose a title and description and it will automatically set it up for you.
P.S. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can always change Site Title and Site Description after the installation from the dashboard 🙂
3. Export your old blog
Now, we need to go and transfer the content from your old blog to the new one.
To do so, go in your old blog first, dashboard > tools and click export. You’ll be redirected to a new page where you have to select what do you want to export. Choose “all content” to make sure everything will be exported. Click on download export file to proceed.
4. Import the file in the new blog
Once the content of the old blog has been saved as a file on your computer, go back to the new blog.
It will automatically install a plugin and you’ll see something like this.
Wait a few second until it finishes with the installation. Once finished click on “run importer“.
It will open a new page and this is our final step. Click on the button “choose file” and select the .XML file you’ve just save on the computer. Once done, click “select file and upload” and it will upload all the content of your old blog into the new one!
You will find all the old blog post in the posts section, the old pages in the page section and so on.
Now you can edit them on the your new self-hosted blog or start writing new posts.
I hope this post will help you to demystify the advantages of having your blog self-hosted and will guide to you do the big step.
I’d love to hear more about your journey! Let me know in the comment below what have been the advantages of going self-hosted and, if you’re not yet, what is stopping you.
P.S: If you’re stuck or just want to learn the basics of WordPress, you can now book a 1-to-1 coaching session with me!