A guide to self-hosting for bloggers who have no idea where to start (we’ve all been there!)
A lot of bloggers will start off on a free hosting site with a domain that ends with .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com. But what happens when you want to buy your own domain and take your blog self-hosted?
Firstly, what are the benefits of going self-hosted?
There are plenty of benefits of being self-hosted. The most important thing is that you’ll have much more freedom over what your blog looks like. It’s much more ‘yours’, rather than being restricted to templates, and what you can and can’t add. With a self-hosted blog, you can add your own code to completely personalise it.
You can choose from thousands of templates rather than just a select few (and they tend to be nicer looking). You can also add plugins which include monetising your blog through affiliate links, adverts, and more.
So how do you get self-hosted?
1. Choose a Name
Like any business, you have to find a good name that sums up what you and your blog are about. This is kind of your main selling point. If you’re looking to work with agencies, they need to understand from your name what kind of blog you are. So don’t choose Miss Interior Design if your blog is nothing to do with houses, but is instead about parenting and family life.
You then need to check that this name is available to buy. You can use something like Check Domain to do this. Don’t forget that there are lots of options available. If the .co.uk version is taken, try .com or .net.
You need your own domain if you want to make money off your blog. If you have a domain like www.dreamofhome.wordpress.com, the domain doesn’t belong to you, and you won’t have your own domain authority.
2. Choose a Host
Once you’ve bought your domain you need to find someone who can host your website. There are plenty of companies available, but be careful. A lot will offer you a great deal for the first year and then shoot their prices up in the second. Find a fixed price host who is reliable. Check any blogger Facebook groups to find which are rated or slated. Most companies offer 24-hour help but do check. This is a handy tool to have if your blog crashes for any reason.
Don’t forget that you can buy a domain through a host so this might work out cheaper, or just easier.
3. Choose your blogging software
Next you need to find a software to actually create your blog. WordPress and Blogger are the two biggies and the best. Blogger is wonderful for those just starting out, but a LOT of bloggers find that as they grow and improve, it doesn’t do everything they need it to. They end up transferring to WordPress which is a difficult task when you’ve already got a substantial amount of blog content.
WordPress.org is more complicated, and therefore might take a bit of playing around for you to get used to it. However it might be more beneficial in the long run. I’ve always used WordPress and haven’t had any issues.
4.Design your site
Now for the exciting bit! You’ve bought your domain and got someone to host your site. You’ve also got all the software set up. You can either choose a template or get an official site created through a company. Getting a bespoke web design will make you stand out, but might cost more. If you’re serious about making money off your blog through collaborative posts, affiliate links or adverts, then spending money on your blog is an investment. It’s absolutely worth spending the money to get your website looking fabulous.
I hope this guide to self-hosting has helped and that you’ll go out and try it for yourself!