Self-Hosting A Blog
Like many bloggers, I first started blogging on Blogger, but soon found myself getting a little frustrated. Not being able to get my blog to look just as I imagined in my head was frustrating. I couldn’t set up a menu bar like I wanted to, sometimes the text in a post was not all the same size and don’t get me started on the pictures!
Being by no means computer savvy, the thought of touching coding made my knees go weak. I thought that if I did the world would stop turning. The problems I encountered on Blogger could probably have been put right by someone who knew coding. That person just wasn’t me.
So I started thinking and researching my other options.
It didn’t take me long to start looking into what WordPress had to offer. I learned that there are two versions of WordPress – WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com works in a similar way to Blogger, in that they do all the hard work for you. They maintain, secure and to a degree control your site. Which has its pros and cons.
Pros Of WordPress.com
- Your site is maintained and looked after by WordPress.com.
- There is a good WordPress.com blogging community, where you can easily interact with other bloggers.
- It’s less time consuming as you don’t have to worry about updates.
- There is a nice selection of themes and custom options to choose from.
Which all makes for relatively stress-free blogging.
Cons Of WordPress.Com
- They are rules in place as to what you can and cannot do on your blog or site.
- After a while, you may want to make changes to your blog that will end up costing you money.
- WordPress.com will run their own adverts on your blog, but you cannot.
- Monetising your blog isn’t as easy as it is on WordPress.org.
None of which may prove to be a problem, depending on where you want your blog to go. Another good thing is that if and when the time comes you can transfer your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
So What Is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the version of WordPress that you use if you want to self-host your blog. Self-hosting is when you own your blog and nobody can tell you what you can or cannot do on it. I liken it to owning a mobile home, I own the home [my blog] and can do with it what I like, but I must pay rent for the location [hosting site] I choose to park my mobile home in.
Is Setting Up A Self Hosted Blog On WordPress.org Difficult?
No, not in the slightest.
I am not at all computer savvy and I managed it. If you go to WordPress.org you can install WordPress onto your PC. They do offer one-click hosting account setups with blog hosting sites that they recommend. I would recommend doing your homework first before diving in, you don’t want to pay the money, set up your blog and then realise that a different blog hosting site would have suited you better.
After days of deliberation, I chose to go with BlueHost and am so glad I did. I looked at other companies, but some were too complicated and others I didn’t like the feel of….I have always been a bit like that, if I don’t like the feel of something then it obviously isn’t right for me!
BlueHost have been great! I was determined to set up my blog myself so I didn’t have to always rely on someone else for help.The plan was to learn as I went along. Which worked for me.
The first time I made a mistake on my blog – my whole blog crashed and I couldn’t get into it! I took deep breathes, hugged a tree before picking up the phone to call BlueHost. I will be honest that I didn’t expect too much when I called, but the chap at the other end of the phone was great and exceedingly patient. It didn’t take him long to get my blog back up and running, which could have been partly down to the fact I do pay to have my blog backed up regularly in BlueHost……Which I also back up at home on my PC and on a USB stick! Yes, it takes time, but a lot less time than having to redo a blog!
Since then there have been numerous occasions when I have had to call BlueHost And each and every time they have been great and got things sorted for me. Without making me feel stupid or as if I am wasting their time. Which gave me more confidence when it comes to twiddling with my blog.
Setting Up A Theme For My Blog
WordPress do offer a number of themes for free, but whilst researching about setting up a blog, I came across Studiopress and fell in love with the Modern Pro Blogger theme that they sell on their site and is designed by Pretty Darn Cute. I’d noticed that many blog themes are plain or a bit on the masculine side, whereas the Modern Pro Blogger is more feminine and customizable, with various colours and setup to choose from.
Pretty Darn Cute were also a great help when I was setting up my blog. Patiently emailing me back and giving me advice when I couldn’t quite work out why I couldn’t get the theme looking like I wanted. They do have excellent setup instructions, but for someone who was totally clueless, there were times when I got a bit muddled.
If WordPress don’t have the theme you are looking for then shop around. There are plenty of sites offering themes or you can always start off with a WordPress theme and change it at a later date when you have found a theme that suits you.
The Framework Behind My Theme
I don’t know much about what a framework is, but I have it in my head that it is the motor behind the theme. It is something that is there, supporting and doing its bit quietly behind the theme.
There are different frameworks, but I knew wanted a theme on a Genesis framework because I had read so much about the security and the regular updates done by Genesis. I liked what I read about the Genesis framework and with my limited knowledge, I decided that it sounded perfect for someone like me – pretty clueless!
Other Things I Have Learned
I have been self-hosting my blog for almost five months now and don’t regret it for a second.
I set up my blog totally on my own with the only help being from BlueHost and Pretty Darn Cute when I have needed it. It did take me the best part of two weeks to get my blog looking like I want it to.
I often have to Google things I want to know, but that’s the beauty of the internet; there is always someone who has the answer you are looking for. People have been so patient and helpful, something that I never really expected.
I am now more confident at installing and uninstalling plugins. To start with I was very unsure, but now if a plugin doesn’t do as I want I uninstall it rather than make do.
It was only last week that I installed a spam plugin as I wasn’t sure which one to go for and what a difference it made! Before I had spam coming out of my ears! If you don’t have one installed, do so now, it will save you time!
Coding doesn’t seem so daunting now, which is a big relief.
I think the most important thing that I have learned is that if you don’t have a go, you don’t learn anything. There is a lot to be said about learning from our mistakes!
Would I Recommend Self Hosting A Blog?
Self-hosting a blog is time-consuming and sometimes a little stressful, but in return for that, you get a sense of achievement. You can look at your blog knowing you did that. And no one can dictate to you what you can or cannot put in your blog, it’s all yours. From the look and design of your blog to the posts you write, it’s a reflection of you.
Do you self-host your blog? If so is it easier or more difficult than expected? If you don’t self-host your blog, would you like to?
© 2014 – 2017, Debbie. All rights reserved.