One of my August Goals was to get my own domain and move from WordPress to a self-hosted platform. I wanted to do this because one of my long term goals for this blog is to work with brands and possibly even earn some money. It seems like having your own domain etc. is pretty much essential if this is something you want to do!
The idea of getting my own domain, moving my blog to a self-hosted platform and on top of it all, actually paying money for it (!) seemed so daunting. I had no idea what self-hosting even meant, let alone how all my posts and followers were going to transfer over to this mysterious other place on the internet!
I’m not alone in this confusion – I see tweets almost daily with people asking for help on making the switch. I thought I’d make a post with everything I’ve learnt during this process to hopefully help some of you who are as in the dark as I was!
1) Decide on your domain
What would you like your blog to be called? For most people, this is as simple as removing the .wordpress.com and just moving to .com. I went from jenngrieveblog.wordpress.com to a much neater looking jennifergrieve.com.
2) Buy your chosen domain*
The next step is to buy your domain. You can do this with the same company that you buy your web hosting from, but I found that it was cheaper not to. The obvious pro is that it’s a lot simpler buy it all from one place, so it really just depends on whether your priorities are in simplicity or price!
In the end, I bought my domain from namecheap and it couldn’t have been easier! It cost me £7.62 to buy my domain for the year, which was the cheapest that I was able to find.
3) Buy your web host*
A web host is basically the place on the internet where your blog is held, and has all the tools for you to use your blog. To decide which platform to go with, I looked at aspects like: how much customer support they offer, whether they would transfer my wordpress blog over for me and overall price.
In the end I settled on siteground, who have 24/7 support chats with advisors (who are so friendly and keen to help), transfer your blog for you (for free!!) and is only £33 for the year. Unfortunately the majority of platforms don’t have the option to pay per month. This is something I would have liked, but I figured that £33 for a year wasn’t too bad, especially when compared to other platforms that I looked at.
Other hosts I looked at were: tsohost, one.com and bluehost in case you wanted to check those out.
4) Transfer your blog over
By going with siteground, this was one stage that caused me no stress whatsoever. You just fill in a form with all of your .wordpress.com site details and they move it all over for you in a matter of hours.
5) Make sure your domain leads to your blog
This is a step that can either be completely stress-free or quite frustrating. If you make sure that you don’t forget to do it (as I almost did, lol), you are already on the right track. This step means that when you type your domain (e.g. jennifergrieve.com) into the search bar, you end up at your blog rather than a standardised page provided by namecheap.
To do this, you just need to follow these instructions and it will take anywhere from 24-72 hours – in the end it took around 48 hours for me.
6) Transfer your followers over
One thing I was worried about when I started the move to being self-hosted was losing all of my followers. I’d spend time and effort trying to grow my audience and I didn’t want to lose them just like that! Luckily, by downloading Jetpack as a plugin and following these instructions, I was able to easily migrate them over to my new site!
7) Transfer your stats over
This one is completely optional. I wanted to keep my stats because I love looking at my progress since the very start of my blog. It’s completely up to you whether this is something you want to do as well. All you have to do to migrate your statistics is post a query in the WordPress Support Forums and the WordPress staff will move them all over for you!
8) Choose your theme
You can now relax – your blog is now up and you’re self hosted! All that’s left to do now is make it look nice! You have the option here to either find a free theme or buy one. There are some great free themes on sites like colourlib, athemes, justfreethemes etc!
I was adamant that I wasn’t going to spend any more money, but I’m a complete perfectionist and just couldn’t find one that I was 100% happy with. This by no means means that you need to buy a theme for it to look good! Even still, I ended up buying a theme from Etsy. The themes there range in price from £5 to over £50 – mine cost about £20!
*This post contains some affiliate links, which I will earn money from if you use. This helps to keep my blog running!
To buy your domain from namecheap: click here
To buy your web-hosting from siteground: click here