When I first started Meanwhile With, I had told myself that it was going to be the blog that I put time into. I posted twice a week right off the bat, was posting on Instagram, and even joined several Facebook groups for like-minded bloggers to grow a readership that would enjoy what I had to say. This all worked, but I felt like there was always room for improvement for my blog.
Now, this isn’t to say that I started blogging with the intention of ever monetizing or gain any monetary compensation for it, because that truly isn’t the case. However, I did want to gain an audience that I could help and reach out to readers from all over, whether it’s about beauty, about fashion, or about…well, just about anything. Upon doing my research, I found that the first step in expanding my blog was my blog itself! I’ve heard a lot about self-hosting and WordPress and SEO and to be quite honest, none of it ever made sense to me. However, one day, I set out a bit of time and did my research on what it all meant and the rest is kind of history. (Even if it did take tons of time!)
I started my blog with a domain purchased from GoDaddy and used the good ol’ Blogger website. I was explained that the difference between Blogger and WordPress is like the difference between renting a home and buying a home. With Blogger, you’re ‘renting’ your space from Blogger, who owns your site and is totally managed by Blogger. On the other hand, WordPress is your own space that you ‘bought’, so you are in control of your blog and content. The biggest difference between Blogger and WordPress is that with the latter, you need your own host. I know, sounds scary, doesn’t it? Admittedly, this is was the most difficult part for me, because there are tons of hosting sites out there. Ultimately, I went with Siteground and have been pretty impressed with how easily everything is laid out.
Back up and rewind. None of this made sense to me.
Fear not! I know that the task of setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog can be daunting, so let me go over in steps what I did to make the transition from Blogger to WordPress. Yay!
Warning: incredibly lengthy blog post ahead. You better get a snack.
#1: Purchase a Domain Name
This is going to be the title of your site, either in .com, .org, .co.uk, etc. As I mentioned, I purchased my domain through GoDaddy for really inexpensive, though a lot of self-hosting sites offer a free domain name when hosting with them. I would recommend using a domain straight from the hosting site you’re using, only because using GoDaddy was one extra step for me. I had to change settings to point to the Siteground servers so that people can find my blog!
#2: Purchase Hosting and Install WordPress
I did my research when it comes to hosting and it came down to Siteground and Bluehost. Again, I went with Siteground on a whim and have been pretty impressed with how easy it was to navigate. Once you have purchased hosting, you’ll want to install WordPress. Siteground made this super simple and I was able to install in just a few clicks from my cPanel. Keep in mind that there won’t be a dedicated website (in other words, you won’t use WordPress.com to log into your blog) but instead, you’ll add /wp-admin to the end of your URL. From there you can log in and access your admin panel with WordPress, where you can edit your theme, write new posts, and install plug-ins.
#3: Set up a Theme
This part is really where the fun begins, because you can start actually setting up your blog. WordPress has free templates that you can use as well as paid ones, but if you’re willing to purchase one, I would recommend another site. I used a template that I purchased from Etsy and prefer it over the ones found on WordPress because I feel like it makes my site unique and I love that it’s aesthetically pleasing to me. From here you can add your social media buttons, a profile, a bio, anything your little heart desires!
#4: Migrate Blogger Posts
This is a task that I was really scared about, as there was a part of me that believed I would have to do this myself. Spoiler alert: I didn’t! Luckily there’s a handy plugin for WordPress called Blogger Imported Extended. In just a few clicks, all of my posts, photos, and even comments migrated over to my new blog on WordPress. This was probably the easiest step in making the transition!
#5: Install Plugins
What I have been loving about WordPress are the plugins that are readily available for your blog. However, there’s so many that I feel like things could get confusing! I went onto Pinterest and found a few links of recommended plugins and ultimately went with Google Insights and Yoast, though I’m sure my list will grow.
So, I have a self-hosted WordPress blog. Now what?
Once you have everything up and running, you’re good to go. Keep on writing those posts and publishing them, and enjoy using your shiny new self-hosted WordPress blog!
If you’ve also set up your own self-hosted WordPress blog, what were some things you wish you had known?