But in January 2014 I upgraded from a free wordpress site (www.plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com) to a self hosted site – from now on known as the SHS- (www.plasticisrubbish.com) which I pay for. Mainly because I wanted to access exciting features like carousels and plugins. It took up a whole load of time and I had to learn about domains, hosting and buying a theme. I don’t really know what I am talking about but will share my experiences to help the computer noddies out.
This has had several consequences. I have to rent my .com name – that is plasticisrubbish.com. This is called a domain. I rent it from Go Daddy who are very cheap but who I now realise are not the greenest company to do business with.
I also had to choose someone to host my blog. This is called hosting. There are all kinds of things you should take into account when choosing a host and I understand few of them. All I can say is that I am with Hostgator who I have found to be reliable and helpful.
The cost of hosting has fallen dramatically and there are a few reasons why you might want to go straight for a self hosted site.
Moving Sites – from a free WordPress to a hosted site
You can pay WordPress to move your site for you or you can do it yourself. I don’t have much money so I did it myself. It was very hard. I had to read a lot of information on the WordPress and Hostgator sites. It took a lot of man hours but I did it. I cant tell you how because I DIDNT FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT I WAS DOING. It had something to do with a C- Panel and other things. I think it was worth it because despite the pain and crying jags I do (sort of), understand a few more things about websites.
But still with WordPress?
I still have my wordpress.com site which I can access and I am not sure what I am meant to do with it. Do I delete it?
And Still Looks & Feels Like WordPress
My new site uses the WordPress structure. It is just like using the free WordPress site but there ate loads more features like themes and plugins.
Choosing A Theme
The advantage of a hosted site means that you get a large choice of funky themes. This is like a predesigned website that you can tweak to suit. You can buy them on line. I am using Flagman. Then I had to work out how to use the theme which meant watching my blog disintegrate into a blur of techno babble on a depressingly regular basis.
Later I got into designing logos and tackling the gimp graphic package.
It was a sharp learning curve but extremely addictive. Too addictive. I have to call it done.
Plugins & Widgets
WordPress also lets you add plugins and widgets. These are like little extra programs that do fun things like link your Instagram account and show your Tweets. Widgets can be used to make your blog look better.
Offers loads of plugins that you might find useful.
Post Shares and how mine didn’t carry over!
When I changed blogs my post shares didn’t come with me. The url of each post had changed si some information did not carry over. I don’t know if this is still the case but if it matters to you it is worth considering from the start. As a consequence, some very popular posts that had been shared many times now showed nothing. I was mildly concerned our stats didn’t carry over. I say mildly because up until now I hadn’t really bothered about hits. Quite frankly it was enough to get posts posted without wondering who was reading them. With the kind of crappy connections I had ( I wrote much of the blog while traveling in the blackest of backwaters), I didn’t have time trying to see irrelevant stuff like who was sharing my posts. But this got me thinking. What counts as a popular blog? Is it measured by hits, social media followers or interactions? More of this later. In the meantime you need to consider a redirect.
You will need to redirect people from your old site to your new site. Any links to the old site will now be out of date. People using those links will have to be redirected to the new address. You will have to pay for this. Annually. One year I forgot and my visitor numbers plummeted. I am still paying – its about £24.00 a year
It seems that my Google rank didn’t go with me either. If you look for me under wordpress.com I have a Google Rank BUT I have no google rank for the .com site. I have no idea how that works or wether I will eventually end up with 2 Google rankings.
Google ranking and post shares are all indications of how popular you are. The third is of course your stats.
Google Stats Versus WordPress Stats.
Oh dear what an addictive and dispiriting subject that can be. Your stats are of course about how many people visit your blog and it can become an obsession.
If you have a hosted.com WordPress site you can use Jetpack to do all sorts of things for you including monitor your site stats. Which it does very well – but Jetpack is a huge program and if you don’t want to use all of its features it can slow your site down.
The other option is Google stats. You have to insert the google code into your site which was a challenge – for met at least. I thought I had done this and Google were collecting my site stats but they always trailed behind my WordPress page /post view stats. One big reason I stuck with Jetpack.
Then I installed a plugin called Google Analytics Dashboard for WP which allows me to see my google stats on my wordpress dash board. This is a great program and I wish I had done this at first. Trouble is my google stats increased massively and now far outstrip my wordpress figures. I realised I was double counting so removed the plugin.
The other problem with Google is it is so complex. Jetpack is really easy to understand and the info you need is so easily accessible.
Sharing Is Caring
A quick trawl of the internet shows that most people seem to think that stats are as nothing compared to a loyal readership , well crafted content and popular posts. That’s me sorted! But how do you judge if a post and indeed a blog is popular.
Sharing posts is certainly one way to judge. But to do that you have to make it easy for people to share your posts.
You can see some figures here for what people consider counts as a successful blog, how many page views and social media followers should you have.
The best explanation of bounce rates I have found is from Wikipedia
“Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing on to view other pages within the same site.”
Apparently it is important because search engines like allow bounce rate.
“Bounce rate is a measure of the effectiveness of a website in encouraging visitors to continue with their visit. It is expressed as a percentage and represents the proportion of visits that end on the first page of the website that the visitor sees.“
Many feel this is unfair as the bounce rate doesn’t take into account how useful that first page is. Take my blog for example – if some on is only looking for information on getting a milk delivery in glass bottle (find out here), they don’t need to look further than that page. Information obtained they leave the site happy but my bounce rate is poor. Ho hum! Never easy is it!
Do you know you need to protect your blog from hackers?
Nope me neither. It never crossed my mind that any hacker would care about my burblings – but apparently they do.
Here a some very useful tips on making your blog more difficult to access