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Beginning the process of moving to self-hosting

  1. After a few months of deliberation and based on feedback from my followers, I have decided to begin the process of moving my humor blog The Mainland to a self-hosted WordPress.org site.

    As much as I enjoy the WP.com community, I have always wanted to do more with my blog. I do not like being restricted to the same boring themes and would like to start selling advertising.

    I have already signed up with BlueHost and imported my existing blog and will be working on setting the new site up over the next month or so. (I purchased a dummy domain so that I could still publish under my normal domain here while I setup the new site and will then transfer the domain over when I'm ready.)

    Now, I've seen several people on this forum claim that being hosted at WP.com is better than self-hosting, which I suppose would be true if you have a casual blog.

    I'd really like to hear from people that have actually made the switch and found it successful or if not, what they would have done differently.

    I'm also interested to find out how many subscribers were willing to re-subscribe on the new site. I plan on giving my readers plently of advanced warning, but it is a concern of mine.

    The blog I need help with is themainland.net.

  2. Let me also know how much this whole process cost for you too.

  3. So far I spent $106 to sign up for a year of hosting at BlueHost which Ive heard was one of the best WP hosts. The WP install was ridiculously easy. Literally 1 click. And importing my existing blog was painless. You do have to pay for Akismet though which is $5 a month. Also, the theme I downloaded from fthemes.com is free but contains a small footer link that can be removed for $19.95. Still debating on that one.

    But for the moment that is all I plan to spend. Ive installed several plugins that I really wanted that were free and am working on my subscriber conversion strategy.

  4. The WP install was ridiculously easy. Literally 1 click

    What are you saying? I don't think it to be so easy.
    Once a friend of mine who was moving her blog to WordPress.org and thinking me a good user of wordpress asked me for some help regarding installations. I did excuse her cause I was totally stuck there even after installing bunches of software.
    The cost of the transferring they told me was 15 to 17$. I think $106 is too much.

  5. The $106 was for a year of web hosting. Not transferring my blog. And it was easy. In less than 1 hour, I went from not even having a web host to a complete copy (at least visually) of my blog with a new theme.

    BlueHost really makes it easy. I mean there is a button that installs WP for you and then I ran the import. Im a tech guy. I started my career as a web developer and still work in IT today so I like having the ability to tinker. I'm not an expert on CSS but I know enough to set general things like colors, fonts, and layout sizes, etc.

    I already pay to have WP map my domain. So my users will not have to go to a different URL when the new site goes live.

    The only thing I will have to do is transfer my domain over to BlueHost once Im ready since right now Im working off a new temp domain I ordered in order to build the site out the way I want before going live.

  6. Great that you are still in IT to do your own fixing.

    One of my blogs is self-hosted from the start because part of it is corporately sponsored.

    I can't spend much time to beyond the regular features offered by wordpress (.com or .org). I don't know much at all about CSS and again I don't have time: I have a full time job.

    I think the spamming is greater ...to me because it is self-hosted, it's not wordpresses server and not the same type of protection at all. Unless the hosting company is highly motivated to cater specifically to WordPress platform clients.

    The self-hosted blog from the launch was and is aiming for a specific type of global audience.

    http://www.velo-city2012blog.com There is a web site which serves a different purpose but linked to the blog. The web site was created and managed by a completely different party.

  7. I know that BlueHost is one of WP's preferred hosting partners and when I was shopping around everyone said to go with them due to their ease of installation. I would have to believe that they have a decent level of security if WP recommends them. As for spam, I plan to pay the $5 month for Akismet service. I like the way it works on my WP.com blog so it's worth $60 a year.

    Now I am not such a tech geek where I would go in and hack all the php code. I have a full time job too as well as a family and pretty much relegate blogging time to between 8pm and midnight. So I didnt want to have to spend a lot of time coding. But with the theme I picked out and several plugins installed, I've done virtually no coding.

    If you would like to see what Ive done so far, you can check it out at http://mainlandblogtest.com. My current blog as it http://themainland.net. So you can see the difference. Keep in mind, i am in no way ready to switch over yet as I have more config to do. I just want to illustrate that it can be pretty easy to get up and running on self hosted fairly quickly.

  8. I think self hosting is a bit pointless unless you literally get visitors in their thousands. Until I even reach a stage where I'm on say Raincoasters level, then I'd consider it. Though it's a level I doubt I'll ever get to. I'm happy on free WordPress.

  9. I don't know if it's pointless. Depends on your needs I guess. I'm a creative Person by nature and don't like having restrictions placed on how my site can look. I paid for one of the premium themes and stuck with it for a while, but was still blasé to me compared with what's out there for self hosted blogs.

    I keep hearing stuff like, you don't want to leave WP.com because then you'll just be an island on your own. Well, Hawaii is an island and I believe they attract a good share of visitors. I did a survey on my blog asking them if they'd resubscribe if I moved and so far everyone has said yes. Whether that's true or not I don't know. But I am excited about trying to grow the blog in ways I just can't do on WP.com.

  10. Aye good point I spose, and yeah I'd still subscribe :)

  11. robrubin, what about links in articles to old articles?

    For example, I have my own domain now, but I didn't in the beginning. So links I put in articles still have .wordpress in the URL. If I moved, wouldn't I have to find EVERY one of those and change them?

    Just curious.

  12. The links should still work.

    I have blogs hosted here and blogs hosted elsewhere, and I prefer here because I'm lazy and it has better SEO. I'm not a tinkerer. I like to write and post stuff, not fart around with themes, and I don't like to do updates and check for compatability and I have managed, a couple of times, to take a client's website entirely offline just because of plugins. In my opinion, unless you need flash constantly, or some other form of embed we can't have here, or javascript widgets, or paid advertising, it ain't worth the bother of going self-hosted except as a learning experience.

  13. AMEN

  14. My brother is a software engineer who owns two blogs at wordpress.org.
    I'm telling you wordpress.org is not to improve your economy. I agree that wordpress.com has a better SEO. Besides I can not spend the money like water as you. So I prefer wordpress.com to convey my thoughts.

  15. And the blog of my brother (an year old) seems a lot better than my one ranked 1 and my one 3 (not started by me though). Yet I learned most of the blogging from my brother. :)

  16. Oops learnt

  17. Well, presumably a blog made by a software engineer WOULD be better than one made by an amateur, regardless of platform.

  18. Still his ranked is less than that of mine :) my brother is extra expert in it.
    He has given it up now. Because he is married now and he don't have enough time.

  19. Ah, we should all have such problems!

  20. Then how do you find time after marriage?

  21. I love that technology blog of him. Really looks like a blog of a software engineer has frozen though.

  22. Yes he has given up blogging now and his last post was on October or November I guess.

  23. I think starting a blog on WordPress.com is a great way to get started and I think if I didn't start it here I would be totally lost when trying to self host. And, yes @raincoaster, if I were lazy then absolutely I wouldn't consider going to self hosting.

    But, I started this particular blog with a bigger picture in mind. Ideally, down the road I'd like to generate a decent amount of revenue from it. Whether that happens or not, who knows. But what I do know is that I have no chance of doing that here.

    And if it doesn't work out, I'll be back here having learned some valuable lessons. But I have to at least try to make it work.

    And besides, I will still be around here viewing and commenting on others blogs like before.

  24. Have a good journey there and hope you'll come back one day.

  25. robrubin, good luck on your new blog adventure. It’s obvious that you think this is the best option for you, so go for it.

    For me, wordpress.com has been fantastic.Three reasons:
    1. I have a business to run outside of a blog. I don’t have the time nor inclination to self host.
    2. Blog ads bug me. It may be just me, but I hate having a sign that shouts Buy Something on a blog I follow. I think blogging as a marketing strategy is brilliant, but the blatant selling through ads and Amazon pages...eh, not so much.
    3. I can’t figure out how to make the profit math work for self hosting. Despite the “get rich” stories about blogging, I’ve seen surveys on for profit blogs that report majority of bloggers for profit make less than $20.00 a month. Sure, a few make a lot more, but that’s a few. So, I’m not sure why I’d take on the expense for hosting, the word press charges for shifting, etc., etc. for a couple of bucks a month.But, maybe you’ll be the blogging superstar that doesn’t have to worry about it.

    Good luck!

  26. I'm not really planning on littering the site with Adsense banners and crap like that. In fact I would marketing my own stuff. I record music in addition to writing my blog and have an album on iTunes that I'd like more heavily promote. I also plan to trademark a new slogan for the blog and setup a zazzle store with stuff related to that trademark.

    But beyond that I really want an awesome design. Maybe that stems from early career as a web developer but most of the themes on free WordPress feel amateurish to me.

    As I've said, if it ends up being too cost prohibitive, I'll probably just come back to free WordPress.

  27. @robrubin
    I wish you all the best but do be aware of this. You cannot use the WordPress.com Showcase and Off-Topic Forums to promote your WordPress.org install. Your posts will not longer appear in the WordPress.com glabl tag listings, and you cannot get support form WordPress.com support forums either. That's because WordPress.org installs are not part of the WordPress.com community and these forums are only for blogs that are being free hosted by WordPress.com. What I experienced is that self hosted WordPress.org installs are like stand alone islands. So in one case after a couple of years I decided to move one of my self hosted blogs back into this WordPress.com community.

    Good luck with your install. :)

  28. *head-desk* "glabl" was meant to be "global"

  29. Yes timetheif I realize that. WordPress.org does have its own forum and showcase. But I can still view and comment on my favorite blogs which is what I care about most anyway.

  30. Update to the above comments: Most bloggers make in the realm of $20 a YEAR, and those are bloggers who are TRYING to make money.

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