While I was blogging at WordPress.com I saw a self-hosted blog as the end goal. Like that was the point which proved that I had a really good blog because I had total control over it. I know from certain circles having a self-hosted blog is the thing to do if you want to be seen as a “proper” blogger. So I moved away from WordPress.com and though now I realise that may not have been the best decision. There were also some very good reasons as to why I wanted a self-hosted blog.
4 ADVANTAGES OF A SELF-HOSTED BLOG
While blogging on WordPress.com I had to play by their rules. This meant I had to be very careful when using affiliate links* within blog posts. And I could only use the WordAds program if I wanted to make money using my blog. The WordAds program is very difficult to get into, you have to apply and will only get in if your blog gets over 10,000 views a month. WordPress say they do this so you can only display ads if your blog is going to make decent money with them.
However, I bought a WordPress Premium plan, and among other perks, it gave me access to the WordAds program. I ran ads on my WordPress blog for around 7 months and during that time made $7.39. Which isn’t much considering I needed to make $100 before I could cash out. I wasn’t too worried about this, I was just interested in seeing how much ad revenue my blog could make.
Moving to a self-hosted blog meant I could use the Google Adsense program. Not only do I have more control over what ads are displayed to my users. But I also have greater control over where the ads are shown on my website. Nothing annoys me more than a website which is 60% ads.
With Adsense, I still have to reach £60 before cashing out. But the amount I make through Adsense is slightly higher than what I was getting through WordAds. I’m sorry I can’t give exact numbers here. Google is a bit touchy when it comes to Adsense.
*If anyone is wondering, in 4 years I have made £15 using affiliate links.
Having your own domain means you also have a domain authority. I have a full blog post about it if you want to learn more. But the DA score shows how high a page is likely to rank in search results for a specific keyword. Domain Authority is a tricky thing. You can use Moz to find out your domain score. It’s ranked from 1 to 100 where 100 is going to be at the top of every search result. However, only websites like Facebook and YouTube have such a high domain authority.
Even large blogs don’t really have a DA over 50-60. But depending on the keyword you don’t need a really high DA to rank at the top of search results.
I’ve seen it become more and more common over the last few months for brands to look for blogs who have a DA of over 25. This could imply that your blog would get more traffic but it doesn’t always work like that. DA isn’t something which you can directly influence. If you’re wanting to start working more with brands having a domain for your blog is definitely something to look into.
It’s also important to note that influencing your DA can take a really long time so it’s better to have your own domain name earlier. Focusing more on your blog’s SEO can help increase the DA but this isn’t an exact science.
On WordPress.com you are limited to the blog themes they have available. For a while, I paid for the custom design upgrade which meant I could edit the CSS of the themes WordPress had available. But I was still limited by the constraints of the blog theme. WordPress has a few premium themes, which I started using when I signed up for a premium subscription.
The theme I’m using on my self-hosted blog is actually one of the premium themes WordPress has available. I liked the theme so much that when I moved away from WordPress I decided to buy the same theme rather than finding something else. I now have much more control over my theme though I’ve chosen to not change much as I like it the way it is.
Having a self-hosted blog means you have much more control over the way your blog looks. There are way more themes which you can buy, on Etsy or websites like PipDig. But you can also have a designer create a unique theme just for you. I’ve actually thought about having a full custom theme, as a designer that isn’t something I would want to pay money for. But I also don’t have the right skills yet to actually do that.
Being able to install plugins is the main advantage of having a self-hosted blog. Plugins allow you to add functionality to your WordPress site. Though it’s important to note a lot of that functionality you already had while using a hosted blogging platform. Plugins can allow you to make your blog more secure and automatically backup everything.
I mentioned earlier that I had more control over where ads are placed on my blog. This is because I use a plugin where I can define what parts of my blog should have an ad placed before or after it.
Plugins allow you to further customize how you manage your blog. Though it’s important to note that plugins can break and managing your own blog means that you have to also deal with plugins not working. This can be a big hassle when a plugin breaks preventing you from logging into the WordPress software running your blog. I haven’t quite decided yet if plugins breaking makes having a self-hosted blog less desirable. It certainly is quite frustrating.
There you go, four factors I thought about before deciding to move to a self-hosted blog. I think going self-hosted definitely makes you look more credible when it comes to working with brands. But don’t listen to anyone who says you’re not a proper blogger till you have a self-hosted blog because it’s also more hassle than it’s worth.