Q&A with Sweet Jelly Bean on Blogging & Self-Hosting

Hello my Beauties,

today i’m very excited about this post.
After collecting the most asked questions from my readers on blogging and going self-hosted, i decided to do a Q&A post for you. But since there is a person, who has a lot more experience in this field than me, it became obvious that an interview would be a much smarter way to get all the right answers for you together.

So may i present to you the {Q&A with Sweet Jelly Bean on Blogging & Self-Hosting}.

Hello dear Sweet Jelly Bean,

As you are a big lover and supporter of “swimming freely through the blogosphere and doing your own thing”, I thought I would ask you a few frequently appearing questions on blogging, blog tips and self-hosting.
That’s going to be interesting for all the “already bloggers” or those who are thinking about starting.

Q: If you don’t mind telling my readers how long have you already been blogging?
A: Apparently, 1 year old on 5th July! I got confused with my bloggiversary but thank goodness to WordPress for the pop up reminder. It was an emotional moment. :-p

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Q: Did you start on the free WordPress site right away or did you also try some other platforms before that?
A: I had a quick look around Blogger at first, then finally decided to make WordPress my home.
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Q: Would you say, it’s wise to get your own domain right away or is it ok to just blog for a while, to see it that’s something you are willing to stick to?
A:  I would say get your domain as early as you can. Not only does it make your site look more professional, it’s also easier to remember without the blogspot.com or wordpress.com tagging along. And if you’ve been blogging for a while, have a good PR or traffic, you could end up losing them if you choose to own your domain later. But it’s a choice a blogger must make after knowing this info.

Q: Could you clarify the difference between owning a domain name and being self-hosted? Are those two different concepts?
A: I won’t be surprised if others have confused the two to be the same. I thought the same thing before, too. Domain is just your vanity URL, as dubbed by many bloggers. It’s the sweetellybean.com or luchessa.org. That’s it. Self-hosted means switching to a different host, i.e. WordPress.com is a free hosting site, whereas Hostgator isn’t. If before you were not able to use Javascript or say Rafflecopter doesn’t show up on your blog properly, once you’re self-hosted, you won’t have this issue anymore.

 

I also read this from WordPress.com News, which pretty much describe Domain and Hosting Provider in a non-techy way:

“Your domain is like your street address. When someone wants to visit your house, they pop your address into Google Maps, follow the directions, and arrive at your doorstep. Your home, on the other hand, is like your hosting provider. It is where your store all of your things: your books, your clothes, your photo albums. If your mayor one day knocked on your door and said, “We’re changing your street name from Main Street to Broadway,” your house would remain the same, but your address would change.” (source: WordPress.com)

 

Q: What were the things that were important for you, when you decided to go self-hosted? What were you looking for?

A: Freedom! haha. One of the attractions of being self-hosted is having full control, being able to do what you like on your blog, or how much tweaking you subject it to. And you know, I’m sort of obsessed in that. Getting paid for what you love to do is one of the best blogging perks but you can’t do this if you’re a WordPress.com! Lucky Bloggers, though.
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Q: Could you recommend any other good hosts, other than the one you went with?

A: I can make a suggestion but unable to fully recommend as I’ve not tried these host services yet apart from Hostgator, but WordPress.com offer a list of hosts that might be worth looking at. It includes BlueHost, Hostgator, DreamHost and GoDaddy. Link here.

 

Q: Do you think it’s smart to get a package deal, including a domain name & host from the same company? Does it make any difference?

A: Yes. I think it’s just more straightforward and you can easily manage your accounts since they’re in one place. I know because my fiancé purchased my domain via GoDaddy and I was with WordPress, then I had to pay for Domain Mapping while still hosting with WordPress, and/or Site Redirect once self-hosted.  That’s if you want to get your old links to work and your audience to get redirected to your new site. It’s a back and forth process and I’m not very keen on it. Also, you will find that some hosting companies will offer free domain when you pick a hosting plan. So that’s a time and money-saver there. In the end, it’s really up to your preference. There are many deals out there, you just have to look.

 

Q: Would you say it’s better to get a Guided Transfer or do the big move on your own?

A: If you don’t have the time, patience and you just go gaga with codes but have the cash, then go for Guided Transfer! It will save you your hair. Believe me. But then, I did the big move on my fiancé’s blog to self-hosting and it went well, so it’s really up to you. I’ve covered both versions recently on my blog and you’re more than welcome to check it out: Guided Transfer or DIY to self-host your blog.

 

Q: If doing it on your own – what to keep in mind?

A: Do your research, get those step by step handy, understand them, designate a time to do it all and lots of patience. You need it!

 

Q: What are the downsides of being self – hosted? And are there any?

A: The downside is that you will see a decline on your traffic. I think most of the newly self-hosted blogs have told me that. But it might not be the case for others. My traffic picked up after 3-4 weeks later and was getting a few offers on advertising, sponsored posts etc..

 

And unlike being a WordPress.com blog where security management is being taken care of automatically, this time, you really need to focus and spare sometime to make sure that your site is not vulnerable to hacking or Brute Force Attack. There are plugins to upload and if unsure, again, use your Live Support knowledge to do so, or drop me a line. 🙂

 

Q: Do you know any good forums or sites, where newbies can ask their questions and get quick answers when it comes to all the technical self-hosting stuff?

A: Honestly, I would say your host’s Live Support. That’s what they’re there for. Hostgator Live Support is my first point of contact for any technical issues, I’m unable to deal on my own. And you can also check out WordPress.org Support since someone might have asked the same questions you have. Otherwise, Google it!Q: What are the best features and widgets that made your new blog a “better place” for you and your readers?
A: I’d say my theme that I’m using now. It has everything in it and just the right layout I’ve ever wanted. I’ve had feedbacks that it’s now very easy for my readers to navigate my blog and get all the choices they need in one place. I have my good techy friend to thank for suggesting this theme!

 

And then you have CommentLuv. One of the best additions on my blog, not only are my commenters able to promote their own links but also I get a chance to read what they have posted instantly. Pin it button on Images, EasyRotator, Facebook comments, Signature Watermark are just one of those handy plugins to make a blogger’s life and your readers’ easier. 

 

I just want to say thank you very much to Luchessa for this wonderful Q&A portion on her blog. This has been so much fun to do and I can definitely say that Lu (as I call her) is one of my best blogging friends in the blogosphere.
xx Donah 

 

There you go, my Beauties. I really hope it was helpful for any of you. I’m sure we all struggle with the “other side” of blogging and it’s always great to have people who you can ask a thing or two. 
If you want to connect with Donah, please visit her blog or talk to her on Twitter.

*The pictures used in this post have been given to me by Donah herself. I have the explicit permission to use them.