I decided to go self-hosted for a number of reasons. I started blogging using the free WordPress package which was fab to begin with but as I learned more about blogging I realised I wanted more freedom to add plug ins (such as links to my social media accounts) and have more control over my SEO. So…. after not much thought I decided to go for it. I’m no techy and this became evident as once I had started I quite clearly didn’t know what I was doing. But after much swearing, sulking and resorting to alcohol, I finally managed to get myself up and running ,mostly by sheer luck rather than good planning! So, if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here is my guide on what to do and, more importantly, what not to do!
- Read about the self hosting process before you start. This way you will know what to expect and what you need to do. I didn’t so was googling things as I went along and getting all kinds of crazy.
- Pick a host for your site. I went with TSO but there are lots of other options out there; again do your research. I signed up for their basic yearly ‘lite’ package which is about £14.99. All you have to do is create an account with them.
- If you don’t already own one, then choose and purchase your domain name. This cost about £17.99 for a year. I did this with TSO too. Confessions of a Working Mum has already been snapped up (wah!) so I went for www.confessionworkingmum.com You must do this before you register your site. I tried to do it with my old WordPress url which obviously wouldn’t work (I told you I had no idea what I was doing).
- Take a backup of all the content on your existing site. In WordPress you can do this by choosing the ‘export’ option. Please don’t forget to do this as I have heard of entire site content being lost in migration to your self-hosted site which would be heart breaking. It will be emailed to you in a weird looking spread sheet. Don’t worry.
- You can either manually upload your content into your new site or get your new host to do it. I opted for the latter as it was a free service provided by TSO.
- Then you just have to wait……
- Until you receive an email telling you your content migration has been successful. (This was a couple of hours in my case). Make sure at this point that your host gives you the log in details to your new site.
- Go and check your site and don’t panic! Some things may look a bit different. For example I had lost my contact page and some images had moved. It just takes a bit of housekeeping and you can get everything back the way you want it.
Don’t lose your head
It’s at this point that I lost the plot a little bit. I decided to stay with WordPress as a platform (so you are self-hosted but are using WordPress as a platform for your content) because I was familiar with it but I got really confused and tried to log in under my old account details. I had no options to update my site from this and thought that everything had gone wrong! Cue several emails to TSO (who are wonderful and patient and replied even on a Sunday) and a lot of sulking and proclamations that “I’m giving up blogging anyway”. The lovely chap at TSO eventually ascertained that I was using the wrong log in, set me straight and there it was my new site with full access. I was self-hosted!
Hints and tips
Install the Jet Pack plug in straight away because you can synch your old and new WordPress accounts and carry over your stats and followers and see notifications (on the website and in the app). You can also link your self-hosted site to Klout once you have done this so your score shouldn’t be affected. This blog explains how.
Unfortunately every new website has a DA score of 1 so you have to work to increase your score but as long as you keep linking, posting and sharing your content this shouldn’t be a problem.
Don’t forget to update all your social media accounts with your new web address and any other accounts that link with it eg. Rise, Britmums, Tots100 etc.
I’m in the process of getting a new header designed and will be changing the look and feel of the blog over the next month or so which I’m really excited about. Jet Pack offer some lovely free themes – I just need to decide which one!
I hope this helps you if you are considering going self-hosted. Have you had any triumphs or disasters during the process or any top tips to share?