Why I Left Wordpress to Self Host
Polished by Leanne the blog has been around for two years, and boy has that time flown haha! But I bet a few of you didn't realise I'd been blogging for that long did you? That is because the first year of posting was on Wordpress.
Wordpress: where it all began
When I first began looking into starting my own little space, there was so much information and so many different sites, it was so overwhelming to somebody who had absolutely no idea where to begin. There were many, many different websites where you could set up your blog, how was I to choose? I decided to narrow the search by looking for free sites, after all, I was a newbie and didn't know if blogging was something I was going to build on, was it really worth investing in? No. Not yet. I might not be any good at it...I might get bored!
Up popped Wordpress amongst a few others such as Blogger, another well known blog host. Wordpress seemed so easy to navigate, even for someone who wasn't particularly over confident with using computer programmes. I basically fluffed my way through setting up my own little space, and off I went. I'd upload posts as and when I felt like, and I was excited to see that my following was growing quickly and I was receiving lots of likes.
For a whole year I plodded along, enjoying what I was doing, but hoping that I could somehow push further and become a little more noticed. It just wasn't happening. What was I doing wrong? Was my content that bad?
Like for Like, Follow for Follow
As I'd been blogging for the best part of a year, I started to notice a pattern. It was a little like Instagram. People, other bloggers, in an attempt to grow their following were doing the whole follow for follow thing. This can be a nasty trap to fall into, it might be nice to look like you have hundreds of followers, but do you really?
Basically, when you follow people on Wordpress their recent posts pop up on your feed. As you scroll down the page you don't even need to click on their article to give it a like... do you see where I'm going with this?
Just like most bloggers, I put a lot of time and energy and yes..love into my posts. I want people to sit down with a cuppa, read my content and enjoy it, even interact with me. I'm not saying that all Wordpress users do this at all, but I felt like a lot of the time, people would just scroll down their feed, tap the little star in the corner without giving my posts a second thought. What was worse, I started doing it back. I'd fallen into the trap, I didn't even play this game on Instagram so why was I doing it here? What was the point? Something had to change...
So after a year of blogging I knew that it was something I wanted to continue, I love it, I enjoy it, it was time to start taking it more seriously and put more effort in and invest.
It was the best thing I did!
Squarespace was recommended to me by my Brother-in-Law who'd set up his own studio on it showcasing his photography skills and portfolio. There were so many different types of templates to choose from, and it all seemed a little more technical, I certainly spent a long time setting this website up, but it was worth it. I persevered!
When my website was all setup and I began posting my articles, I was then able to download an app that worked alongside this blog showing me how many visitors I'd had, how many views, even what kind of devices had been used to view my website and pages/blogposts. I was blown away.
People were no longer just scrolling down a list and tapping the like button, people were actually taking the time to visit my website! There was genuine interest, my posts were being read by each of these visitors! Finally, I felt like my hard work was paying off, I was reaching people, I was being heard.
The good outweighs the bad
Yes, I pay for my website, and I pay for my own domain too, but to me its a small price to pay for the opportunities that have been opened up for me. I would never recommend for someone to go self hosted if they were just getting started, I really do feel like my time on Wordpress really helped me learn and grow to get to the stage I'm at today, it helps you find your feet.
But, I would definitely recommend self-hosting if you've been blogging for a 'long' time and you want to become more ....independent...is that the right word? You have so much more control over what you do with your space. It might seem scary, especially if you have grown a big following, but remember, if your following is true, they will stay with you.
I am far more content now knowing that I have a true following, it might not look like I have hundreds of followers, but the people I'm reaching are interested, they connect with me, it's real! Have you been thinking about going self-hosted? I'd love to know, is there anything holding you back?
Thank you for reading
Love, Leanne Xx