7 Scary Self-Hosted Blog Truths You Need To Know

There is a huge learning curve to starting a self-hosted blog. Knowing these 7 blogging truths should help you make it a success.

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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.

Related Post: How To Transfer Your Blog From WordPress.com To WordPress.org

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.

Related Post: De-clutter Tasks For Bloggers

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.

Related Post: Worst Blogging Advice…Ever

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.

Straight up.

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.

Related Post: How To Choose The Income Stream That Is Right For You

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?

Check Out My Resources Page!

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.

Related Post: Get Off The Social Media Treadmill

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.

Related Post: Sure-Fire Ways To Keep Your Blog Business Moving Forward When You Take A Break

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!

Thank you for reading!

I would love to connect with you!

You can find me on PINTERESTFACEBOOKTWITTER, or INSTAGRAM. Or you can follow me on Bloglovin here.

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  1. I’m currently in the learning curve part after switching to self hosted. I do wish I had done it sooner, though. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Great post!

  2. Definitely the more I learn about self-hosting, the less I feel I know! I’ve been at it 6 years now (3+ as self-hosted) and I still feel like a writer who is stumbling around in a platform and on technology I don’t really understand. I’m also stuck in that “should I continue or not” place because it is so far costing me money and making me nothing. Not the reason I started but it would be nice if it was slightly more than just an expensive hobby. But, every time I think I’m going to give it up, I just look back at some of my old posts and I’m just so proud of some of the things I’ve done! I’ve read 4-5 of your posts now and may I say you are the real deal? So helpful, specific, and credible. I click through those “make money blogging” links and they’re always bogus and vague. I can’t wait to start exploring more of your help topics – clearly I need it haha 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Belle Papillon 24/7 and commented:
    Thanks for sharing this info.
    I read somewhere about blogger’s remorse on not doing self-hosting right off the bat. Last year, I thought that I had to be proactive since I had trips planned and wanted to have a travel blog later on when I start my epic backpacking trip but after I read some posts from my blogger friends about the hassle of transfering stuff I decided to sign up (impulsively).
    I spent cash that was way over my budget with the add ons and what nots… it’s been half a year and it’s just floating in the www with nothing. I’m so low tech and I feel overwhelmed just thinking about how to set it up… and to worry abut the regular maintenance!?
    I’ll have to eventually deal with it but in the meantime I’m wasting my money coz it’s just sitting out there.
    IMHO people really have to think hard about decisions like this especially if there’s money involved and if you’re tech challenged like me. Don’t bite more than you can chew.

  4. The more stories I hear about people making the transfer, the happier I am that I went self-hosted right from the start. My interest in blogging started with somebody that was making a lot of money from a pyramid type blogging scam. I didn’t give them my money but was determined to show that I could be successful without their “help.” Yes, I became a blogger at first out of spite. lol #blogsharelearn

    1. I have heard a lot of reasons why people have started blogs, but you are the only one I have heard started for spite. Awesome!

  5. I started my blog in 2012 straight into the self hosting WordPress route and it has been a great experience and learning curve. My husband first helped me but nowadays it is just little ole me tinkering around…?

  6. Your posts are always so incredibly helpful, and I always hope the newbies are taking your words to heart. I know I am. Some of the information out there and the “roadmaps to success” simply suck the life out of the whole process. But I like what you said about finding balance. I refuse to make my blog a chore. But that’s just me.

    1. I hate it when I hear that people are feeling down because they just read about something they must be doing and they don’t know how. There are no musts.

  7. Thanks Elena. I had a website for years hosted by my son who took care of all the odds and ends and left me free to design and write posts. Then hackers moved in and my son had two new babies. Need I say more? I compared the .com and.org options with WordPress and decided I wanted to go .org. I set up the sites and moved all the blog posts (from two sites mark you) onto the new WP ones. What a steep learning curve! Many times I was sure I’d done the wrong thing, but I’d paid my host for several years, so I had to keep going and now I’m glad I did. Like Anna, I also have no problem with maintenance. If it tells me to update, I update. BUT now, again like Anna, I am stressed because I don’t know what else I SHOULD be doing! Oh and yes, I came from #BlogShareLearn 🙂

    1. Don’t worry about the shoulds. As long as you keep up with the updates, everything else should fall into place.

  8. This is a great post as usual, Elena. I am at a crossroads right now with my blog. I am on the brink of buying a theme as I am frustrated with the free one I am using now. I don’t make any money on the blog, but I have been self hosted from the start, so I don’t know any different in that department. I am anxious to go back and read all your other linked posts to get more insights. Thank you for sharing your experience. I don’t want to work 24 hours/day either, but I do want a professional look and I want readers!

    1. You know how to find me if you need any help. I absolutely love my Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. You can find the link on my resources page.

  9. I do find that the actual content sometimes feels like an after thought. So true that is why we all started blogging in the first place, I’ve never been able to stick to an editorial content very well and I SO need to do that to ensure that the writing actually happens!

  10. Thank you for putting this together! I used to do marketing at an agency and I was always surprised by how many businesses started with websites on free-hosting sites. There is so much flexibility when you move over to self-hosting but its an understandable fear of the process and experience if you aren’t comfortable with what you are doing. No matter the platform, having a good pool of resources to tap when things aren’t working the way they should, is the most important part! You’ve done such a great job of building up those resources through #BlogShareLearn. Thank you for everything you do!!!

  11. This was (informative yes) but sooo encouraging! While I’m not about to self host anytime soon to see that you struggle with the same things I do – keeping it fun while I go through all the herky, jerky, frusstrating, OMG, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding learning curves..was totally inspiring. I like this linky business:) thanks so much:)

  12. Thank you for sharing your tips and feelings. I can certainly relate to wanting to quit a million times lately. Sometimes I feel that I am just banging my head against the wall, but then I step back and breathe.

  13. Hi Elena you have described my last 15months but I actually started with a self hosted WordPress. I thought that was the only way to have a blog!! It certainly is a steep learning curve and I know what you mean about so many things that need to be done and then you are expected to write as well! I changed my attitude of the last few months as I don’t see myself making money from my venture. Therefore I am writing for pleasure and not letting the blog take over my life which it was doing. I’m sure your post will be very helpful especially to newbies who might be saved some time and frustration. Thanks for the link up. Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty

  14. I think I’m one of the only bloggers left in the world who actually likes being on Blogger. I don’t see my blog as a money making tool so that takes a lot of pressure off. It costs me nothing and I can just be in my happy little corner of the world. That being said, I pinned this for later down the track (and I love your new look blog xx)

    1. Thank you Leanne! I love your blog. If you are happy and comfortable with your format then there really is not reason to switch. If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me!

  15. I moved from Blogger to self hosted WordPress – believe me WordPress to WordPress is MUCH easier. I don’t actually find the maintenance to be that bad…but I used to be on Blogger…so that’s probably why.

  16. Elena! I love the new blog and the new look! I figure blogging is a part-time “business” that allows me to write and connect with others and it has been all of those things so far. Once I dabble into the e-book world, it will be different, but I will still try not to lose sleep over it! You and your posts were an inspiration to me to move to self hosting. But I paid WordPress to do all the work. It was worth it!

    1. Thank you so much lovely! I was so pleased to hear you were going to make the switch when we met. It is great to see each other progress.

  17. Ypu said a mouthful there! I recently ditched my blog of 4 years. Wiped it from the world. I created a new and went the freebie way simply because I didn’t want all the backend fuss. But you’re right in saying, if you’re building a business, go self-hosted. Despite the fuss, the freedom to do want you want is liberating.


  18. I agree with all of this except the part about maintenance. I don’t do any of that. When it asks for an update I click a button. Now I wonder about all of the super secret important things I should be doing. New worries!

  19. What a great post. I am thinking of going self-hosted and I am not going to lie, I am a little scared. I am comfortable with how my blog works but I also want to be taken seriously and I think a self hosted blog would help get me there.

    1. If you are comfortable with how your blog works, it should be an easy transition for you. Go for it! Let me know how your make out.

  20. “You will want to quit blogging a million times.”

    Hmm … yes, indeed. I struggle with this one Elena, but then how would I have ever met all of you?! More than money or any other material benefit that may or may not result from blogging, I cannot deny how truly wonderful it has been to meet all of you and feel the connection that comes from like-minded women.

    Community. I believe that’s where it’s really at.

    1. Absolutely yes! It would be a shame if you gave up now. You are an inspiration to so many. Take a break and enjoy the dock of the bay. (midlife reference there for you)

      1. I can hear the tune (love that song).

        Thanks for your encouragement Elena. I’m a bit of a rebel at heart, so I think part of the challenge for me is finding a way to make it my own–instead of following “the rules” we read so much about. All of those “shoulds” and “musts” are starting to drive me a little crazy; I see them in my email and I’m at the point where I’m deleting them without even opening them.

        If we find our own way, there’s more of a chance to be creative and break new ground. That makes it more fun.

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