If you’re moving from a free blog platform to a self hosted blog platform, there are mistakes that you could make that would mean death for your blog. Would you do these 10 things if meant you see hardly any growth in traffic for about two years?! Do not follow this post as a step by step guide. Maybe a ’10 Step Program That Could Lose Your Hundreds of Dollars!’ That sounds like a terrible idea right?
It’s exactly what I did! *facepalm*
The mistakes that I made when moving to a self hosted blog platform, ended up costing me $360 extra in the first six months of 2016 ALONE.
Why you should have a self-hosted blog from the beginning
So, WordPress Com vs Org?
I should have just forked out the $3.95 for blog hosting from the beginning. It would have cost $23.70 for six months instead of $360.
All that nonsense sparked a rebrand and relaunched my craft blog Heart Handmade UK in April 2016.
As or leaving Blogspot to go for a self-hosted blog, I made the switch in 2014. I know for a fact that I spent too much money when I didn’t need to.
You can start a profitable self hosted blog for as little as £2.95 a month! Making it one of the cheapest businesses to start. Fo’ Reals.
Or, check out this post to help you figure out some strategy before you launch your self hosted blog.
1. You Didn’t Hire A Pro To Help You Move To A Self Hosted Blog (although Siteground will do it for free if you ask via LiveChat)
That is unless you are super happy to do it for free, then read on as there’s a cautionary tale about web coding. Does the thought of moving from Blogger to WordPress make you pancake? (Yes, I did just say the word pancake instead of panic, I do that a lot).
If you’re overwhelmed, I recommend you to go to a freelance specialist site. Like Upwork or Fiverr. I used Fiverr for the move, and the freelancer I used was great. The move itself went without a hitch.
I didn’t like the WordPress themes that were available, and I wanted my freelancer to recreate the Blogspot theme on WordPress (where my self hosted blog lives). I wasn’t aware of sites like StudioPress to find themes, I didn’t even know you could buy them on Etsy!
It was my fault, and I didn’t realise he didn’t have the experience.
Upwork seems to be a place for freelance pro’s, but that could just be my bias. Sure, I had paid enough money for an excellent design (that I got six years out of on the Blogger blog).
Recreating the Blogger theme, required customising an existing theme available via WordPress. The freelancer butchered the code. He was inexperienced. Oh Lordy, was that code chopped up like crazy? Yes, yes it was.
I had no idea about that; the blog just looked how I want it. The service I received at the time was great, but two years later I discovered all was not well. All of the costly problems I had experienced with the blog were related to the awful theme code. Hence the recent redesign and relaunch.
It has cost me hundreds of dollars.
Whereas, it could have cost much less if I had gone directly to upwork and hired a pro. That included vetting, and the freelancer having great feedback and a résumé with referrals.
2. You Didn’t Use A Framework like The Genesis Framework, Which is Perfect For Any Self Hosted Blog (Don’t Butcher Free Themes)
Installing Genesis alone, reduced the size of my database by about 50mb. Totally worth it. In my mind, it has paid for itself.
Frameworks provide all the custom functionalities that could make your self hosted blog AWESOME. Clarity Avenue is run on the Ace Framework that comes with the BluChic theme that is currently installed.
Such functionalities can be extremely useful to have on a WordPress site. They don’t force you to have a particular design.
3. You’re Afraid You’ll Lose Traffic So You Don’t Make The Move To A Self Hosted Blog
If you are a blogger already… Unfortunately, you will lose traffic, BUT it won’t be much, and it won’t be for long. My traffic dropped by about a half because of the move, and that should not have happened.
It was all in the code.
So many fabulous blogs have made the switch and seen zero drops in traffic. It took longer than expected to get the traffic back but I got it back which is the important thing.
In all honesty, I wish I had started my blog on a self-hosted WordPress blog. Using the Genesis framework and got a freelancer/code genius to check it all looked legit and launched my blog launch party!
4. You Are Terrified Of SEO but I understand why.
You don’t have to hire someone to deal with your SEO because the Yoast plugin is excellent, and Google webmaster tools can walk you through everything you could need to do to get your self hosted blog found. It looks terrifying, but I *promise* you that it’s simple. Via the plugin window in the WordPress dashboard, it’s easy to fill in all of your details.
Again… another costly mistake by Moi, $200. Not included in my first figure at the top of this post! *cries* It turns out; they had pretty much filled in what they needed to in the Yoast plugin that was INSANELY SIMPLE to do. I was so mad at myself when I looked at the settings and realised I didn’t have to spend money.
It was a rookie mistake to make
My fear allowed me to hand over $200 for something that cost me about 5 minutes to fill in. (Yes, you’re entirely justified in calling me an idiot).
5. You Download WordPress Plugins Like They’re The Newest Ed Shearan Album.
Yes, WP Plugins are amazing. There are so many suggestions online for the plugins that you must use, honestly, add the YoastSEO Plugin and customise it. It’s possible to add other Plugins, but you should try not to get too excited about downloading and testing all the fancy plugins that are recommended to you.
Security Is Top Priority Because People Will Try To Hack You
There is no actual need for a lot of the ones that exist, and it only takes one bad apple to spoil the cart. Your self-hosted blog will need a superb security plugin; you may even have to spring for additional security from your hosting service. You don’t have to buy it when you sign up, but I recommend it if you can afford it. The blog got hacked, and it cost me $200 to fix.
Also remember that every time you activate a new plugin on your site, it is taking up memory in your database. And that memory doesn’t always get removed by just deleting the plugin. I’ve had to pay to get bad code removed because I wouldn’t trust myself not to destroy my database.
6. You Think You Shouldn’t Have To Pay For Hosting
Have you heard of the adage ‘You have to invest money to make money’. It’s true. Therefore, a series of small investments could help you boost your blog. Not to mention the fact that if you are willing to invest in yourself and your blog, then brands will be more willing to invest in you.
While that fact terrifies me and I’m not Money Bags McRich Face, I think that you should set aside some money to invest in your blog.
As I said at the beginning of this post, you can start a profitable, self hosted blog for as little as $3.95/month,
That makes it one of the cheapest businesses to start with a little cash money. Have a separate PayPal account and bank account from your personal accounts. You’re building a small business empire, and you need to be able to get access to records easily for the tax man.
7. You Don’t Have A Blog Business Plan
Fizzle has a great one-page plan that I have written notes on, so it’s happening!
8.You Haven’t Got A Newsletter List & Don’t Want To Start One
Guess what, the quickest way to build trust with your readers is being yourself and the people who want to sign up to your newsletter list are more likely to buy from you.
Douglas Karr, writing on the Marketing Tech Blog, about his list of over 100,000:
“Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.”
Don’t neglect the list.
Your newsletter subscribers could be your future customers and friends. Since the Heart Handmade rebrand and deciding that I do need a strategy of some sort, and I need to blog smarter.
Not only that, I started collecting e-mail addresses. In less than 30 days I had 1500 subscribers.
The MailChimp List Growth May 2016
List 1: 1,187
This screenshot is showing that I started in the second half of April! The light blue bar means “already subscribed” and the dark blue bar is “New Subscribers!”. Woot!
As of 30th August 2016, the subscriber number was 7925, and I converted to ConvertKit (now Seva) and started using LeadPages to deliver free digital files in May. A very worthy investment! And as of 15th October 2016, the subscriber number was 12,329
I never really wanted to invest in an e-mail list before, but I’m so glad that I did. We now have a private facebook group for us crafty gals. One thing that I never thought I would say; I’m definitely into writing my newsletter each week.
9. You Think You Can Set It & Forget It
and you’re not a social butterfly.
That can be tricky for an introvert like me. The work doesn’t stop after you have published your post.
Bring the mountain to Mohammed!
Basically, in this instance, you need to tell people your blog exists, and that means that you need to network.
Sign up for a hosting service that supports WordPress.org blogs well (the self-hosted blog we’ve been talking about).
Initially, I signed up for 123reg, but they didn’t handle my blog speed very well.
SiteGround are the up and coming web hosts for self hosted blogs and you can read more about them in this post Choosing A Web Hosting Provider Shouldn’t Be Difficult.
10. You Don’t Think You Need A Social Media Strategy For Your Self Hosted Blog
Social media is the number one driver of traffic to both of my blogs.
This book offers a lot of valuable content! Because I’ve read everything I can about blogging and still think that this book provided valuable insight into how a real blogging hustler works.
Are you freaking out because of all these things that went wrong with me? Don’t be. I made the mistakes, so you don’t have to. Have you moved from Blogger to WordPress and had zero problems? Are you about to make the switch because you’re fed up with the limitations of your free platform? Have you even started a blog yet? Or are you still thinking about it?
Please tell me in the comments in below, and I would LOVE it if you would be so kind as to share on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, wherever the heck you hang out most ^-^ & tag me in, I love finding new people to follow.