However, before making that decision, you should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of self-hosting.
Disadvantages to Self-Hosting
1. Not all your blog followers will follow you.
A reader wrote and said she returned to a WordPress.com hosted blog after she tried to self-host but lost all her followers.
Like with any decision, you should do research.
Before making the change, I read articles that said it was possible to redirect your followers to your new site. I spoke with bloggers who brought their followers with them, and my tech helpers said they would ensure my WordPress and Email followers would go with me to the new site.
Worst case, and all those sources were wrong, and I lost my following, I knew I would still have that base.
It is important to know that you will lose some of your followers. My followers primarily come from WordPress.com, WordPress.org, or are Email subscribers without blogs. Those followers transferred.
If you have any followers on Blogger, Google’s platform, they will not transfer to your new site. They will have to sign up again.
2. You can still make money blogging without self-hosting.
- Accept a credit card donation.
A Momma’s View, which is at https://amommasview.wordpress.com, is a WordPress.com site. As can be seen by the screen shot, this blog has the potential to make money.
When I first wrote How to Make Money Blogging Even if No one is Paying You Part I, I indicated I felt accepting money for blogging which gives out free information on the Internet is in some way tacky.
I have since changed my position. Notice this comment I received from a reader after I published a post he requested:
Thank you … when I… become something good, I will definitely come to see you with a surprise…
Suppose the blogger did want to thank me by making a donation to my site. If I don’t have the “donation” option, the reader can’t make that choice.
I shouldn’t assume people think having a credit card donation on a website is inappropriate in an age where information disseminated on the Internet is free. I shouldn’t think for people.
I know a WordPress.com blogger who receives credit card donations, and then goes out of his way to write thank you notes, just like I would as a teacher if a student’s parent gave me a holiday gift.
How to get a credit card donation option on your blog:
The admin blogger of A Momma’s View explained, “Check it on WordPress Support page (look for Buy Now or Donate button).”
- You can sell ads on a WordPress.com website!
During my interview with the A Momma’s View blogger, she shared,
“Depending on the plan you’re on, you can’t sell ads…”
Notice she doesn’t say that you can’t sell ads on WordPress.com, she explained, “Depending on the plan you’re on…”
I also interviewed Stella, the blogger at FashionandStylePolice. She explained how you can have ads on a WordPress.com site.
“I am on WordPress.com with my own domain. I have had ads [and] a reblog since I had my blog. I had to apply to WordPress to get ads on my blog. It is up to them to decide which blogs on WordPress.com has ads.”
3. Self-hosted bloggers lose the ability to be reblogged.
For bloggers who depend on reblogging for readership growth, this can be perhaps the biggest disadvantage, especially if you can still make money blogging in these other ways.
This can also be frustrating for their readers who might want to share their work in this way.
4. Self-hosting can be time-consuming.
Many decisions needed making. Some of them are still underway. I had enormous help, but it still took a week to set up my new site. Do not attempt this unless you have time to set aside. I am not tech savvy. Validating my new site at Pinterest, signing out of my old site and into my new… Setting up a new site, like any new venture, takes time.
5. Self-hosting can be expensive.
There is site maintenance involved. In addition to paying for a new domain, a theme, tech help that might be needed, there are site maintenance charges unless you are knowledgeable enough to maintain your own site.
Advantages to Self-Hosting
1. You have more freedom. I interviewed Trudy of Rendevous in New York. She explained why she self-hosted.
I waited a while to start my blog. And I knew that if I was going to start creatively writing a blog, I wanted to have full control on how I managed my blog, how I wanted to monetize it, free to use any language I felt necessary without worrying about repercussions, free to take on affiliates and not be worried that I am breaking a list of rules that I’m not aware of. It’s my baby to raise at my pace, the way I say. It’s liberating, frightening, and a learning experience.
2. I can still receive comments, and people are notified of my comments. I heard this was not possible without signing up for Disqus.
3. The WordPress app still works.
4. You are able to install social sharing buttons. Shareaholic buttons are easily installed using a free plugin.
The StumbleUpon button is available, even though it is no longer available through WordPress.com unless you install it manually. Another button I am excited about is Flipboard. Both sites are huge referrers of traffic for me.
These buttons could lead to more social shares which could lead to more traffic. Perhaps because they are larger, readers will see them and remember to share if they like your article.
5. You have the potential to make money. According to the Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, “Anytime you get lots of eyeballs in one place, there is money to be made.”
How to Make Money Blogging Even if No one is Paying You Part I explains how you could make money by becoming an affiliate of Amazon.com.
You could sign also up for Google Adsense. According to the Huffington Post Guide, “The program matches ads to your site’s content.” Therefore, these could be ads for products your audience genuinely needs.
I hear people sell their books on their site. People have requested being able to purchase a book full of my blogging tips, so they have them all in one place. If I ever pursue that dream, I should be able to sell my book on my site.
6. I hear Google Analytics gives better information about where your referral traffic is coming from on a self-hosted site. I like to get good return on my time investment by promoting in places where I get the most referral traffic.
7. Many self-hosted companies offer free 24/7 tech. support. A Small Orange, which is my company, does, and they are very knowledgeable and helpful.
In closing, I can not adequately analyze the merits of self-hosting since I’ve only just started my path down a self-hosted site.
Fortunately, I had wonderful help along the way. For this reason, I found starting a second blog far easier than starting the first. My friends have been valuable resources to me, friends I didn’t know when I first started blogging.
Shoutouts go to Trudy of Rendevous in New York, Shawn from Down Home Thoughts, Terri from Perspectives On…, Stella from FashionandStylePolice and Elena from Living With Batman for helping me begin my self-hosting journey.
I don’t know if I will ever write a book or make money in any way from blogging. I don’t know if I will be able to make better use of Google Analytics. I do know there are no chances if I don’t stay on this self-hosted path.
Readers, please share, so bloggers know the full ramifications of self-hosting before they consider trying it.
What are your thoughts after reading this? Do you think you might be tempted to try self-hosting? If you are already self-hosting, are you happy with your decision? Why? I look forward to your views.