This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure page.
*This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure page.
So you want to turn your blog into a side hustle or full-time biz? Whether you haven’t started a blog yet, or you have been blogging for a while, you need to have a self-hosted blog.
The only reason I would suggest you NOT have a self-hosted blog, is if you are strictly blogging for fun or as a hobby. BUT, if you plan on monetizing your blog in any capacity, or your blog is a reflection of a business, you NEED to have self-hosting.
Why? What the heck is self-hosting?
No worries pal, I have the answers to all your questions about self-hosting in this blog post.
Today, I want to talk about why self-hosting is one of the two things I recommend to new bloggers when they are starting a blog. I will touch on 7 big reasons self-hosting is an investment you need to take if you want your blog to be successful, and to be taken seriously!
Let’s get to it friend!
6 Reasons Self Hosting is a Blogging Must Have
1 | Self Hosting Gives YOU all the Control
One of the biggest reason I chose to go self-hosted, and also a reason I recommend you should as well, is the fact that you have complete control over your blog. You OWN it.
When you opt to use a free platform, you do not have full control over your blog. You cannot use plugins, which really optimize your blogs potential. Ads can be put on your site without your permission, and they can be random and clash with your brand, making your blog look ugly. Not to mention you don’t receive any income from those ads! You also have very little ability to customize your blog and create the vision you probably have in your head.
If you go with a self-hosted blog, you have access to unlimited plugins to optimize your blog, you have complete control over what is put on your website, and if you choose to use ads, YOU receive the income generated from them. You can also pick from a million different customizable themes and make your blog look and perform exactly how you want it to!
Another big thing with free blog platforms is that they can take down your blog at anytime if you violate their terms of service in any way! Imagine, you work so hard on your blog, and then one day it is just GONE! No thank you!
So basically, if you are a hobby blogger or are blogging just for fun, free blogging platforms are totally fine! BUT, if you want to be a professional blogger, and plan to monetize your blog, even down the road, you really need to go the self-hosted.
2 | You Can Fully Optimize Your Blog with Plugins
I mentioned this in my first point briefly, but to reiterate, you cannot use plugins with a free blogging platform! And well, plugins are the $h*t!
WordPress currently has just shy of 30,000 plugins to help you optimize your blog! If you are like me, and know nothing about code, plugins will be your best friend!
They allow you to customize your blog and make it look the way you want and do the things you want it to do in a very simple and user friendly way.
There are plugins for everything you can imagine, from adding sharing buttons, to creating email marketing opt-in forms! There is even a plugin that helps you make your posts more search engine optimized, which in return, helps you gain more traffic! Yes please! Am I right?!
3 | You Can Customize Your Blog and Make it Your Own
So, with free blogging platforms, you really don’t have much flexibility with how it looks or what it does. They are not always the most customizable and in all honesty, they all look kind of the same.
But, if you use a self-hosted platform, your ability to customize your blog are literally ENDLESS!
You can do whatever the heck you want to it!
There are so many different themes out there for WordPress it is hard to pick just one! This means that you get to search around until you find the theme that is the best fit for you and your blog!
Once you decide on a theme, you can tweak anything you want, and you can do it without having to use any code at all!
If you plan on using your blog to generate an income of some kind, whether through providing services, selling courses, or using affiliate links, you will want it to look professional and perform in the way you want it to. Having the ability to choose from thousands of themes if a big reason to go self-hosted.
PS – If you are interested, I use the Tweak Me V2 Theme by Nosegraze. I love it and it is SUPER user friendly. See more details on it here.
4 | You Look More Professional and Trustworthy to Your Readers
As I touched on in point 3, having the ability to customize your blog with an appealing theme makes you look professional.
But, something else that makes you look professional is the fact that you will also have your own domain name. Self-hosting comes with having your own Domain Name, but a free blog platform does not.
To explain, if you run on a free platform, your website will appear like follows: www.kendrablogs.blogspot.com BUT on a self-hosted platform, my website domain appears as www.kendrablogs.com. In your opinion which one appears more professional? The second one right?
If you were looking to purchase a course or digital product about blogging, which of these websites would you trust more if they showed up in a Google search??
So, again, with self-hosting both your blog overall, and your blogs domain name appear more professional, and will help you to grow your audience and following.
5 | Your Money Making Options Are Endless
In many cases, free blogging platforms limit how you are able to monetize your blog (if they even allow you to at all). In addition to not being able to monetize your site, free platforms will also display ads on your site that you have zero control over, and receive absolutely no income from. I don’t no about you, but if I am going to include ugly ads on my site, I better at least be making some money from them!
A big reason I myself, along with many other bloggers I know, have gone self-hosted, is because we want to generate a income from all the hard work we are putting into our blogs. And no, you don’t have to be a full time blogger to make some money from your blog! I’m not a full time blogger (yet). I work part time at my day job, but I also blog in my spare time and generate a nice little side income from it.
You can check out my first income report here: How I made $513 with a Brand New Blog
Even if you aren’t ready quite yet to monetize your blog yet, if you have any plans to do it in the future, self-hosting is the way to go!
If you don’t go with a self-hosted blog, you will be missing out various income stream options for your blog!
Going self-hosted is actually super affordable (usually less than $5 / month), and really, the ROI is pretty high if you decide to monetize your blog. A great example is that with one affiliate sale, I earned back the money I invested into my yearly hosting plan. ONE SALE.
More Resources to Monetize Your Blog:
6 | Self Hosting Will Help Your SEO
Even if you are brand new to blogging, you have probably heard how important SEO is to growing your blog.
Paying attention to your blog’s SEO can help you rank higher in Google results, which helps people find you and grows your traffic and audience! Clearly very beneficial, right?
If you care about your blogs long term success, than working on your SEO strategy consistently from day one is a great place to start, and having a self-hosted blog will really help you with that!
Basically, having a self-hosted blog allows you to optimize your content for search engines (having access to the Yoast SEO plugin for example!). Google and other search engines will actually put more trust in a custom domain name and a private hosting company than it will in a free blog, which means that in their eyes, self-hosted blogs will usually have better content and in return will rank higher in a search.
No idea what SEO even means?! No worries I got your back with this post: Learn SEO: A Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Okay, so those are the 6 reasons I believe that Self-hosting is so important, and totally worth the investment as a new OR seasoned blogger. Does it make sense now? Do you understand now why so many bloggers preach self-hosting?!
If you are convinced, I have put together a quick tutorial to get you started with your very own self hosted blog! In just a few short steps we can get you up & running in literally less than 20 minutes.
HOW TO START A SELF-HOSTED BLOG:
There are two key elements to a self-hosted blog. The first is the hosting provider and the second the blogging platform you will use. Now, there are tons of different options to pick from, but in my personal experience, I always recommend Siteground + WordPress.org.
Siteground will be your hosting provider, and WordPress.org will be your blogging platform.
Many bloggers recommend Bluehost as their hosting provider of choice, but I used Bluehost the first year-ish for one of my blogs, and it I had issues with downtime very often. I decided to make the switch to Siteground, and have been extremely happy with the outcome!
For more information on Siteground, you can read these posts:
Okay, now let’s get into starting your blog!!!
STEP ONE: SETTING UP YOUR HOSTING + DOMAIN NAME
So, first things first, you will want to Click Here to head over to Siteground and choose your plan! If you’re a brand new blogger, you could easily go with the StartUp plan, but I personally use the GrowBig plan because it allows me to host multiple websites. I currently run three blogs, so having that feature was important to me!
For many beginner bloggers it’s hard to decide on a niche. And the GrowBig plan allows you to set up more than one website so you can test different niches as you are starting out. With the GrowBig plan you also get super-duper fast customer service, which as a new blogger can be SUPER helpful. Your blog will also load faster which gives you higher rankings in Google! That can help you majorly when it comes to blog growth! And lastly it has one year of free WildCard SSL which is extremely important for all online businesses. What that means basically, is that it keeps your website more secure.
For the extra $2 per month, I thought it was worthwhile to go with the GrowBig plan, but it is completely up to you and your needs at this point. You can always upgrade at a later date as well if you need to 🙂
After you choose your plan, you will be asked to pick your domain name and input all of your information. You can decide if you want Domain Privacy and HackAlerting (I recommend it) But it is totally your choice. Simply follow through all the prompted steps until you are able to login to your Siteground account.
STEP TWO: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now, like I mentioned earlier, Siteground hosts your website, but WordPress is where you will actually build your website. So this step is pretty important!
Once you login to Siteground simply click the “My Accounts” tab and then click the red button that says “Go to cPanel”
Then you are going to scroll down until you see the “WordPress Tools” Section, and click “WordPress Installer”.
Hit the blue “install button”. You will be brought to a page where you will need to fill in some information. If you need help, see below:
Choose Protocol: most likely it is: http://
Choose Domain: The domain name you chose earlier should be in the drop down menu.
In Directory: you can leave this blank.
Site Name: choose a site name, you can change this later.
Site Description: choose a site description, you can always change this later.
**Admin Username: choose a username. You will use this when you login to the backend of your blog (wordpress). Write this down or remember this!
**Admin Password: choose a password. You will use this when you login to the backend of your blog. Write this down or remember this!
Admin Email: provide your email of choice.
Choose a Theme to Install: you can install a theme from here or you can install a theme when you log into WordPress in the next step. You can start off with a free theme and upgrade later if you want a paid theme. Your theme can always be changed!
Now Just Click Install!
STEP THREE: LOGIN TO YOUR NEW BLOG
Yay! Time to login and explore your blog!
simply head to www.[insertyourdomainname].com/wp-admin and login using the user name & password you picked in the previous step.
STEP FOUR: EXPORTING & IMPORTING YOUR OLD BLOG
*** This step will only be applicable to those who were previously blogging on a free platform and made the switch. If you started from scratch, you do not need to complete this step!
Okay,so the first thing you want to do is to go into the Dashboard of your old blog,on your free platform, and under the “Tools” section > “Export” and then you will find a button that says “Download Export File”. (I am only familiar with the WordPress.com free platform, but it should be a similar option on any of the other free platforms as well).
Make sure you are selecting “All content”, so that the file you download will contain everything that was on your old blog.
Once that file has finished downloading, you are going to log into the WordPress dashboard of your new self-hosted blog and follow the same process, except this time go to “Tools” > “Import” > “Install Now” and then select the platform you are importing from. (If your old blog was a WordPress.com blog, choose the WordPress option. If it was on the Blogger platform, choose Blogger, etc.)
Now, you should be prompted to download a free WordPress plugin that will help you deal with the import of your file, and all you will have to do is select and upload that XML file you just exported from your old blog a few minutes ago.
And that is it! Easy as pie! Now you have your very own self-hosted blog!!! Congratulations 🙂
So, what are the next steps?! Here are some other helpful resources to get you started:
- Build Your Blog: A 6 Week Blueprint to Help New Bloggers Create a Foundation for Success from The Very Start
- A New Blogger Checklist: Everything You Need to Do When Starting a Blog
- 22 Steps for Launching a Successful Blog
- 10 Tips for Having a Successful Blog from Day One
- The KendraBLOGS Blogging Toolkit
- How to Start & Grow Your Email List
- 7 Ways to Grow Your Blog Traffic
- Grow Your Blog with This Pinterest Strategy
You can also join the kendraBLOGS Email List & get instant access to the Free Resource Library! A library filled with blogging resources such as check lists, workbooks, lists, and more. You will also receive helpful blogging tips and resources straight to your inbox 🙂
If you have any questions, leave a comment or reach out to me by email! I am happy to help!