I have been self hosted for a few days and I have to admit it was one of the most stressful and nerve wracking things I have ever done to my blog. I have had ellamaygarrett.com for over a year now and the thought of losing everything that I had worked for was my biggest concern and something that prevented me from taking the plunge before.
As I mentioned on my last update post, other people’s experience posts really helped me throughout the whole process so I thought I would share mine in the hope that it helps anybody else out there thinking of making the leap to being self hosted.
Where Do I Start?
I hopped over to Site Ground where I purchased a plan that was a little over £30 for the year. Their website is reasonably easy to navigate so it doesn’t feel like a daunting process. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t research any companies and I went with Site Ground purely on the recommendation of others in their own experience posts so I have little to compare it to. Site Ground migrated all my WordPress content over for me so that was a nice easy thing that I didn’t have to worry about. Honestly, during this bit, just do some research or chill out. Let them handle the moving process for you. They will let you know when everything is ready for you to take over and make your own edits. I was sent a link when my site was ready and I could begin making changes.
I would totally recommend using the Site Ground help pages as I did find them really clear and useful to use when going through the various steps to becoming self hosted and having a fully functioning site.
When you know nothing about this type of venture it is super daunting and you do fear losing everything at points. Because I already had ellamaygarrett.com the mapping from here there and everywhere got quite complicated and I was worried it wasn’t going to work. The best advice I could have is just to be as patient as possible. By this point, I had already been making the transition for a few solid hours and every time I tried to customise my new self hosted site I was kicked off and my old WordPress site would reappear in its place. I was massively frustrated as I kept losing all the changes I made so I decided what was best was for me to close my laptop down for a bit and just come back to it later. Honestly, this made the world of difference and probably benefited the Site Ground support team that I just kept hassling about this that and the other.
I went to pipdig for my theme as I knew it was a site a lot of reputable bloggers use and love. I will admit that I dived in to buying one very quickly without actually checking out other places so I would recommend finding a theme you love (if you’re going to buy outside of WordPress) before making the whole transition as I was left worried about a half finished site going public and being on some default theme. I chose the Firefly theme and it cost me £39 but was quick and easy to download and looks good (well I think so anyway!). I would say that if you want something very individual to you, pipdig probably isn’t the best source as you will probably see several blogs that are variations of similar themes from them.
This is something that I am still attempting to work on. I followed the guide on the Jet Pack help site which was definitely super easy and ensured I didn’t lose the 2150 followers I had. Although, this is something that I am still working on. Yes I now have the followers I had before but I have 11 followers some how still lurking on my old site who followed after I made the migration. If I attempt to migrate them over again, does this replace the ones I have already migrated? I don’t want to attempt to move 11 people and lose over 2000. That is a lot of work to gain back! If anybody knows, I would really appreciate the help!
I am now attempting to learn the ropes of SEO (I am useless at this stuff!), ads, DA and more. This is all totally outside of my comfort zone and I am thinking in time of doing beginner guides on each of the topics to make the self hosted journey a little easier for each and every person that decides to make the switch and didn’t know very much – like myself! Let me know if you would like to see more when it comes to a beginner in the self hosted journey as I cannot begin to say how much other people’s experience posts helped me and I would very much like to do the same!