I can’t believe it has been a whole year since I migrated from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog at WordPress.org. What a journey! It hasn’t been easy. I have made a lot of mistakes and I have learned so much. So much that half the time I forget stuff. Lucky I take notes and bookmark pages or it would all be lost forever. Let’s call it over flow and not midlife, K?
Let me tell you a little, unknown secret about me. I actually started a blog on Blogger in 2008. I abandoned it fairly quickly though. I had a vision in my head of what my blog should look like and I just could not get Blogger to co-operate. That was mega frustrating. If I had known about WordPress.com back then, think of where I could be now!
There is so much more information on the internet these days about blogging. Thank goodness. Most of your answers to problems can be found with a quick search on Google. Unfortunately, not all information is good or complete. And so many blog posts out there make everything sound so easy peasy. Before you start a self-hosted blog, here are some scary truths you need to know.
Transfer To A Self-Hosted Blog As Soon As Possible
When I first started Living With Batman, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy blogging or if I would stick it out for the long haul. I was unwilling to spend any money on my new “hobby” or put any pressure on myself to make it work. I quickly got the feel for it, fell into a nice community of bloggers and my pageviews began to grow. As time went on, I realized that blogging was something I really wanted to do. Once I made my decision to take my blog from hobby to business, I transferred my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
I did a lot of research and after seriously contemplating paying someone to do the move, I decided to do it myself. The actual process of moving the blog is not that difficult. However, when I finally decided to transfer to a self-hosted blog, I had quite a few posts and a growing number of followers. Making sure every post was configured properly on the new site and letting everyone know where to find me now was by far more challenging and stressful. Honestly, I wish I had made the jump sooner. It would have been a lot less work.
I do see my time spent on the WordPress.com platform as a great learning experience and an awesome way to get your feet wet in the blogging world. If you are just starting out or are cash-strapped, it is a fantastic option. But if you are going into blogging with a business in mind, I would jump right into going self-hosted. There are many low investment hosting packages available out there if money is an issue for you.
A Self-Hosted Blog Takes A Lot Of Maintenance And You’re Going To Hate It
OMG, is it just me? Probably not.
The upkeep of a self-hosted blog is unbelievable. Some days it seems never ending. There is so much to do: make sure it looks pretty, make sure everything is up to date, make sure everything is working properly and most importantly, make sure your blog is secure from hackers. I could literally spend hours on just those tasks. Some days I feel like I am taking more steps backwards than I do forwards.
The key to conquering maintenance is to be super organized. The more efficient you can make the process, the better you will feel about tackling it. Consider scheduling a block of time several times a week.
The More You Learn About Self-Hosted Blogging, The Less You Will Think You Know
On every social media platform you will see a plethora of “how to blog” posts. In the beginning, you eat it up and consume every word. But soon it becomes over-whelming and sometimes it can have you questioning absolutely everything you are doing. Not to mention that awful side effect called, “blog envy”.
Relax, my friend. There is no right or wrong way to blog. What works for one blogger, may not work for another. I’m going to step out on a limb here and say there are as many ways to blog as there are bloggers.
Take the suggestions you find online and try them out. If they work for you, great. If not, move on. Don’t bash yourself or become distraught. Remember that the real key to your blogging success is enjoying what your do. If you don’t, it will show in your words.
A Self-Hosted Blog Isn’t Quite The Instant Money Maker You Think It Is
“Let me teach you A, B and C and money will fall into your lap.” Yeah, right. I wish I had a nickel every time a “make money blogging” post showed up in one of my feeds promising to make you an absurd amount of money. Then, I would get rich quick.
Can you make money blogging? Sure.
Can you follow someone else’s exact path to a income-generating blog and be successful? Maybe.
Will you make a full-time income with your blog? Probably not.
In the past year, some truths have surfaced for me. I do want to make money with my blog but I also want to have a life. Yes, there are some lucky ones who hit on a lucky formula and the money came flooding in. However, for most bloggers that earn a full-time income from their blogs, either do it selling their services or a product (i.e. indirectly through their blogs). Those bloggers work really hard and spend mega time (many more hours than a full-time job) researching, implementing and promoting. That is so not me. If that sounds like you, awesome. You can do it!
I am pleased to report that I do make income from my blogs. It isn’t huge but it suits me and the amount of time I am willing to put into it. Find your right balance.
So Many Themes, So Many Plug-ins, So Many Choices To Customize Your Blog
Are you one of those people who are constantly re-decorating your house? That is pretty much how I am with my blog. If you have followed me for any length of time, you have seen my blog change, over and over again. I am going to try really hard to just let it be for awhile…hopefully. lol
There are just too many choices out there! I’m like a kid in a candy store.
You come over to self-hosted and all of a sudden you have so much control over how your blog looks and performs. Be careful not to go over-board. Remember that more plug-ins, pics and options can really slow down your blog. What good is a pretty blog if it never loads?
Writing A Blog Post Will Become A Low Priority If You Let It Be
Did you read my list up to now? Who the heck has time to write when all the above tasks are looming!
It is so easy to get carried away with all the maintenance and upkeep with a self-hosted blog. Writing a blog post can get shifted to the bottom of your to do list so easily if you let it. Never mind the inspiration to write because you have all these other tasks running around in your head.
- Schedule time to write.
- Make an editorial calendar.
- Jot down ideas in your blog journal as you go about your day.
Remember that your blog is really about content and that is the foundation. Don’t let it crumble.
You Will Want To Quit Blogging A Million Times And That’s OK
It happens to all of us and it will happen to you too. Trust me it will. It is a sign that you need to step back for a bit and re-assess. Go enjoy real life for awhile. You know, that world above the screen.
Usually when the “screw all this” feeling starts to hit me, it means I have been working too hard and definitely too much. It is time to lay low and let the blog breathe for awhile. It will be waiting for you when you are ready to get back at it. Don’t put any pressure on yourself about how short this break should be. You will know when it is time to get back at it.
I hope I haven’t scared you too much. Blogging can and should be fun. I love my blogs and my blogging community. I lean on my bloggy friends when I need to and I give back to them when I am rocking it. I want everyone to feel like me and have success. That can happen with a self-hosted blog. You can do it, I know your can!