As you may know, if you read through my oh so dramatic self-hosting announcement last month, I recently went self-hosted. In fact, this new site went live exactly a month ago today. In that first post, I mentioned that I may do a post on how I went self-hosted and my experience. However, I didn’t want to just talk through the process, because I felt that’s been done so many times before. (Hello Bexa wrote a really good post on the process here). Therefore, I thought I’d delve more into my experience during the process, and how I feel now.
Why I Chose to go Self-Hosted
When I started this blog, I was doing it as a hobby, so a free .wordpress account was perfect. However, as you know, I started to make money off of it and get more into the business side. For around 5 months of brand work, not having my own domain wasn’t an issue. However, the more I got approached, the more not being self-hosted started to hinder me. I wanted more freedom, I wanted a new look, and I wanted to appear more professional. I was finally making enough money to consider reinvesting some in my blog, so it seemed like the time.
My Biggest Fears
I’d been putting off going self-hosted for a multitude of reasons. My biggest fears were that:
- It would be far too hard to move it all over
- It would be incredibly expensive
- I’d lose all my previous blog posts/they wouldn’t upload right
- I’d lose all my likes and comments (Engagement means a lot to me)
- If using Pipdig, my blog would look very samey, as a lot of bloggers use them for themes
- My DA would start from 0 and be unattractive to brands, despite 1.5 years of work
So How was it, really?
Was it hard to move over?
In all honesty, the process was far easier than I expected it to be. I was lucky enough in that Katie from millennial rants, one of the best friends I’ve met through blogging, was already self-hosted. She sat down, talked through the process and my worries with me, recommended sites and basically was an all round star.
I bought a theme and hosting plan through Pipdig, who are absolute angels and transfer your whole site over for you after you buy a theme. All I really needed to do was follow the step by step instructions, give them the data they asked for and 2 days later I had a new website with all my old stuff. They say that it takes 3 days (You have full access to your old site during this time). However, mine only took 2.
Was it incredibly expensive?
It… definitely cost money. However, once you break it down it’s not too much, especially if you make more than it costs. In total, I had to buy (In order):
- My own domain (I used 1&1, which had the cheapest deal I found): 2 years for £10.98
- The blog theme (I used Pipdig, with transfers included): £39
- Hosting my blog (I used Siteground, which required me to pay the whole year at once): £39.60
So, altogether, the process cost £89.58. It was quite a bit of money, but I’ve made quite a bit more than that so far this year. Therefore, I felt that I could justify spending it to further my blogging “business”. The theme will last me forever, or at least until I next want to change it. The domain will last me 2 years, and then I’ll have to pay more to renew it. And the hosting will only last me a year, after that I’ll probably search for the next best deal.
Did I lose all my old content?
I am happy to report that I didn’t lose a thing. Pipdig moved the whole site over for me, so luckily the responsibility wasn’t in my hands. It did, however, change the formatting a little bit. My old posts have suddenly lost all the spacing between the paragraphs so, if I’m being frank, they look a bit of a mess. I’m slowly going back and reworking them all, but I have over 200 posts on here, so it obviously takes a lot of time. Every time I see that somebody has checked out an old post, I panic because the formatting makes them look ugly and I don’t want them to think that’s the standard I uphold. However, pictures, words, pages… All there.
Did I lose all my likes, comments and followers?
I was happy to find out that, due to the fact I was still using WordPress as an editing software, my followers were transferred over. I did, however, had to download an HTML code and paste it in my sidebar to put the follow button on my new site. All my likes were lost, and I had to fiddle some stuff around to get the like button back. However, my comments were in tact, and I care about comments more than anything else. So that made me happy.
Does my blog look very samey?
I’d like to think that it doesn’t? I wanted a white background because I find them clear, but I wanted to avoid the black/white/gold theme I see around a lot. It looks so beautiful and chic on other blogs, but it isn’t really me. I spent around 4 hours going through every single customisation option. I changed every colour I could, fiddled with the scheme, and input my Instagram feed at the top as a banner to inject even more colour. My goal was to make it cool and colourful, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.
How has the DA affected me?
My DA did start from 0, which was annoying but gave me something to work towards. Going self-hosted I now have access to the Yoast Plug-in, making my site SEO efficient. I went back to edit some of my old posts, and found that quite a few of them were already SEO efficient, which is great. As for growing my DA? I’ve had my site for exactly a month now, and I’ve already increased my DA to 14 in a month, so I’m hoping I can keep it up.
How Does it Compare to the Free Version?
I have so much more to customise
I like to make things look as “on brand” as possible, and the more you customise, the more you make things your own. I now have the ability to alter the HTML code, download plugins when things aren’t quite right (I have been enjoying this sooooo much), and have better themes with complete control.
It’s far more professional
As well as this, I’ve really spruced up my ‘home’ and ‘about’ pages. I hadn’t really touched them since I first started my blog, and back then I didn’t really care about them. However, now that this is all my own I made far more of an effort with them. If you ask me, they’re actually pretty interesting now. Check the home one out here, the about one out here, and judge for yourself!
My Stats have increased dramatically
Since going self-hosted, my monthly stats have more than doubled, and I pull in far more views per day. My low view days are higher than my average days used to be, and I could not be more thankful. This isn’t necessarily because of going self-hosted, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why it is. I have some theories:
- I’ve put a lot more effort into my blog since going self-hosted, maybe people have noticed.
- It looks a lot better, and people are attracted to things that look better.
- I feel like I’ve really come into my own with what I post and how I write, perhaps people like my content more.
- Now that I pay for my blog, I’ve tried so much harder to promote it (See here)
Any of these, or even a combination could be the source of my increase. However, I cannot deny the drastic difference in my stats since before and after going self-hosted.
So, Do I Regret It?
Can hands up say that going self-hosted was the best thing I did for my blog. I would not go back to my WordPress domain and I have this new lust for life with my blog. However, I used a free plan for a year and a half, and I think that was right for me. If I had started off self-hosted it wouldn’t have been worth it as I was still finding my feet. Also, it’s only really financially worth it if you’re aware that you’ll be getting your money back through branded work. For me, doing it now was perfect timing. So, if you’re considering it, evaluate when that time might be for you.
Thanks for reading til the end, I’m aware this was a long but thorough one! Are you self-hosted? Are you considering going for it? Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,