Apologies for those who have attempted to access this blog over the last few days, but the transfer to a self-hosted arrangement has caused a bit of disruption and tested my skills with websites in general.
While I consider myself fairly computer-savvy and learned HTML coding about 20 years ago as a 13 year old boy, I haven’t kept up with many of the intricacies of self-hosting, the wordpress.org system, plugins and everything else that the conversion entails, so there were a few days there where things weren’t running too smoothly.
Hopefully we’re through that now though, but I thought it was worth doing a brief post on the whole change to at least let you know a bit about it.
When I started this blog I wasn’t confident that it would actually lead anywhere, which is why I started with the free version (i.e. insideraccountant.wordpress.com), but as time went by and I started to enjoy writing more and thought I would stick with it. That led to me getting my own dedicated domain (www.insideraccountant.com) which was still only a very small outlay (about $40 from memory), and as I’ve enjoyed things more I thought I would move up to self-hosting and wordpress.org (rather than wordpress.com).
All of that’s a fairly logical (and unsurprising) progression, but I must also say that as I scoured the PF blogosphere I noticed that a lot of PF bloggers seem to be making a reasonable amount of money out of their blogs, and it made me wonder.
Now I’m not expecting to make a fortune out of this show, but if I could make even $100/month then it would make this whole thing worthwhile. And some guys are making thousands of dollars per month and their content doesn’t seem to be any better (or more voluminous) than mine. So I thought I’d give it a shot.
So monetizing the blog was a fair part of the motivation, and since you can’t monetize a wordpress.com blog it left no option but to self-host and switch to wordpress.org.
And here we are.
Who did I use?
From the research that I did, which I must admit wasn’t particularly extensive, Bluehost seemed to be the easiest option given their preferred self-hoster status with WordPress. A huge portion of the market seems to use them as well.
Their pricing was also quite good, as I managed to use an introductory price of $3.95/month for the first year, which then goes up to the still very cheap rate of $5.95/month thereafter.
Following on from the whole monetizing of the blog thing that I referred to before, being self-hosted also allows me to insert affiliate links like the one above. You see, as well as adding in Google Adsense advertisements you can also sign up for affiliate programs where those affiliates will pay you for anyone that clicks the link and signs up for the product (whatever that product may be). Now I know that this in theory is kind of like selling something to my readers, but they’re really only for products that people reading the blog might actually want, and it’s not like I’m putting up links to gambling or cigarettes websites.
So feel free to click and buy if you wish, and if you don’t wish to then just scroll straight past!
Issues that I faced
For anyone contemplating a switch to self-hosting, here are some of the issues that I faced in the change:
- Redirecting the domain (which was set up through wordpress.com’s domain issuing service) so that it sources information from bluehost rather than wordpress.com. This takes a few days, and means that you (and your readers) are in a bit of limbo.
- Exporting from wordpress.com and then reimporting to wordpress.org, which wasn’t particularly hard, but was more of an issue of exactly when I should do it since I was in limbo for a while there.
- Permalink issues, which meant that the links to my posts on the wordpress reader didn’t work.
- Converting from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and issues that come with it generally, including having to reconfigure much of the setup from scratch.
- Working out which plugins to use once on wordpress.org. While wordpress.com was nowhere near as flexible and powerful, it seemed to just work (e.g. with the statistics page, where as wordpress.org requires a plugin and I then needed to pick one and work out how it worked). The flexibility of wordpress.org also means that you need to tell it what to do a bit more, at least initially anyway.
- Setting up Google Adsense for Google advertisements, inserting code and generally working out how that works.
- Researching affiliate programs and then starting to set them up as well.
Now for an experienced user all of these things wouldn’t be that difficult I’m sure, but for me it was an entirely new experience and took a fair bit of time.
If I had my time over again I would have just set up with bluehost and wordpress.org from day one rather than switch between the two, but I say that now with the benefit of hindsight of course.
Anyway, I hope it wasn’t too much disruption for any readers out there, and if you have any tips or advice on making the switch to self-hosting (or can see anything in my site that isn’t working properly) please let me know!