Come December and it will be two years since I moved my writing blog to self hosted WordPress on Bluehost.com. Last year, in August, this blog, Diary of a Doting Mom, also switched to self hosted WordPress after being on Blogger for over 9 years. And you know what? It’s the best decision I ever made for both my blogs!
I’ll confess it wasn’t something I was sure about, so I talked to a few bloggers, found out the pros and cons, weighed out the costs versus my efforts in blogging and finally took the leap.
Today, I’m going to talk about why I made the shift from free WordPress and a custom domain on Blogger to my self-hosted space. I’ll offer some compelling reasons for you to consider and hey, the decision will still be yours! If you’re a blogger, thinking about making the shift, then you’ve come to the right place.
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1. Your own space on the web
If you’ve ever lived in a rented space and moved later to a home of your own, you’d understand this analogy. I was on Blogger for 9 years and found it very convenient to manage, since the interface is easy to understand. But, when I started trying my hand at WordPress in mid-2014, I was fascinated by how much more I could do with a blog!
In order to move from a free space (blogspot.com or wordpress.com) to a paid version (.com or .org, for example), you need to pay for a couple of things. And if you don’t have either of the two below, don’t worry. A Bluehost package offers just that!
- A domain name of your choice (mine are shailajav.com and shailajav.in)
- A hosting package (I am on Bluehost)
To explain in simple terms, think of it this way: you’re now owning a piece of your own space on the internet. Now isn’t that something you’d enjoy?
2. A professional look
So, what’s the big deal with a self-hosted website, you ask?
Well, it has a very professional look to it, for one thing. My earlier website was www.shailajav.wordpress.com. The parenting blog was www.momdiary.blogspot.in
A custom domain removes the ‘wordpress.com’ and the ‘blogspot.in’ from the URL giving it a more business-like look. This makes a big difference. Also, let’s admit it. You’re motivated to blog more regularly, to make that investment in self-hosted worthwhile. Oh and let’s not forget that you get access to so many more blog themes when you make the shift!
But wait, can you get a custom domain without moving to self-hosted? Yes, you can, but you won’t get the amazing features that I talk about in the next point.
3. Ability to use plugins
Plugins are my favourite part about going self-hosted! You get to download some interesting ones which you wouldn’t get on a free domain or a custom domain. Most plugins are free for those on self-hosted, so you’re pretty much set! These are just some of my favourites:
- Content-Protection: Prevent your text from being copied with the right-click protect plugin
- Max Buttons: Allows you to add a box like the one at the end of this post to get sign ups
- Title & No follow: This is perfect when you are working on sponsored content and need to add a no-follow link. It’s a one-click option!
- Monster Insights: Link this to your Google Analytics and see your stats right in your WordPress dashboard.
- Comment Luv: Allows people to leave a link back to their blogs while leaving a comment.
4. Access to SEO/ Yoast
By far the best thing about self-hosted is how you can use the Yoast plugin! It’s a boon if you want to optimize your posts for SEO and work on the readability index of your posts. It can take a bit of time to get it right but once you do, the features are wonderful!
5. Better security/ Backups
Did you know that Google can delete your blog without warning? Yes! That happened to artist Dennis Cooper, who had been blogging for 14 years on Blogger. 14 years of hard work were wiped out without a trace and no explanation.
On self-hosted websites, that risk is minimized to a large extent since it’s hosted on a platform you’ve paid for. And if you’re serious about blogging then you know that shelling out some money to keep this gig going is worth all the effort.
Bluehost also does a wonderful job of backups on a daily,weekly or monthly basis in their control panel. I still have a second Backup plugin, by the way (yay for plugins!) to ensure my data is safe. Taking weekly backups is recommended if you blog weekly, which is what I do.
More recently, the other good thing was Bluehost offered free SSL certificates for all their users! That was a boon! Considering most of us had to make the switch by October 1st, that was a significant saving made. I know other hosting providers charged for the SSL certificate.
Have you moved to HTTPS yet? You should! Read my tutorial today!
6. Monetize better
Now this is where things get a little bit more interesting when you are on self-hosted. A custom domain definitely ranks higher on Google search. So if you’re keen to start monetizing your blog using affiliate tools, advertisements, brand collaborations or sponsored posts, a self-hosted blog works wonders!
In the past year alone, I’ve been approached by multiple brands and platforms keen to work on collaborations. That’s after I moved to self-hosted. So if you’re considering a serious future in blogging, make the move to self-hosted.
7. Better options to share your content
Yes, I know that Jetpack on wordpress.com works just great with sharing your content and I love it too. But, when I switched to SSL, I lost all my share counts and was a bit worried about losing the social proof for my content. Enter this gorgeous plugin: Easy Social Share. I bought the paid version of Easy social sharing and it’s a dream! From retrieving old share counts to creating a subscriber box, it’s gorgeous!
I’ve heard great things about the Social Warfare plugin too, by the way. If you’re not keen on shelling out money on sharing plugins, use the free versions of Sumo or Shareaholic. The one thing I will warn against though is that both the latter plugins are heavy on page loading time and slow down your site. But they work well for most websites. I had them too until I switched over to Easy Social Share.
8. Bluehost is recommended by WordPress
One of the best reasons to switch to self-hosted using Bluehost is that they are certified by WordPress themselves! When you sign up with Bluehost, you get:
- Free Domain
- Free Site builder
- 1-click WordPress installation
- A special intro offer with a 30-day money-back guarantee
If you’re worried about making the shift on your own, I highly recommend WPBeginner. They moved my first blog and I just sat back and waited for the site to go live. Frequent e-mail updates from their end kept my anxiety at bay.
9. Bluehost offers the best value for money
We come to the most compelling reason on this list today.
I am not kidding when I tell you that you really get the best value for money when you go with Bluehost. Don’t believe me? Check out their plans I’ve shared below. The basic one works just fine for bloggers and small businesses. You can choose to upgrade later if you feel the need.
10. Excellent customer support
Every site has this risk of what’s called down time. This means that the site will be unable to load or return a ‘Bad gateway’ message to users. As site owners, this can be worrying, but Bluehost has a dedicated team that works to ensure your site is back up and running as soon as possible. I’ve had down times of 30 minutes at the most and it’s been stress-free. This leaves me with time to work on things that I actually love: Blogging and creating content.
So, have I convinced you to take the leap to self-hosted? Do you think it’s something you’d enjoy?
Let me know in the comments below.
But, wait! There’s more!
This Friday, November 24th, 2017 is Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday on November 27th. These two dates are important because you get the most amazing deals ever on anything you purchase online or off it. I’m talking about getting more than 75% off on a 3-year package!
Your BlueHost hosting package comes at incredibly discounted rates, so mark your calendars and buy on those dates! I did just that in 2015 and I got a fantastic deal for a 3-year hosting package.
Click any of the Bluehost banners in this post or this image below to avail of the discount!
What you get when you sign up on Black Friday:
- Rates as low as $2.65/mo
- Add-ons up to 60% off
- Top-of-the-line web hosting
Take the decision to make the move today. It’s worth it, trust me!
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**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to the Bluehost Affiliate programme. What that means is if you click on the Bluehost links in this post and avail of the offer any time of the year, I get a commission, at no extra cost to you. If you do avail of the offer, I thank you for your purchase.
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