I was recently updating the various guides I have on the blog and one of them is my Self-Hosting Guide. And as I was going through it, I realized I’ve been self-hosting my blog since February 2016…
That’s more than 3 years!
It was a big decision for me to go self-hosted back then. It took a lot of time and research; I talked to a lot of fellow bloggers as well. My experience prompted me to compile a guide to help others make the decision (or not to).
For the last 2 years in February, I contemplate whether or not I want to remain self-hosted as my renewal notice comes. I think when money is involved, you always get a little hesitant and take a little extra time to think your decision over. And of course, life changes from year to year so there are many factors at play.
So where do I stand as I enter Year 4?
I seriously considered not renewing my hosting this year for a variety of reasons.
(1) The Cost to the Usage Ratio
When I started blogging, I was working on my blog everyday but that certainly isn’t the case anymore. I was a student back in university and I had a lot of downtime (and it served as a good stress reliever). Skip ahead a few years to 2018 and there were times where I didn’t touch my blog for days (let alone a book!). It’s a stat that seems unbelievable to me because in theory, I should have more free time since all I do now is work (no school). But it’s my reality so I started to ponder if I was getting enough value from my self-hosted blog ($$) when I have the option to return my free site.
I pay for my domain name annually in November and hosting is paid annually in February. I don’t mind paying for my domain every year because I like the shorter, easy to remember domain. It costs me $13 USD a year but I use my earnings from Branded Surveys (referral link) to pay for it. My hosting costs work out to $10 USD a month which I think isn’t very expensive for a hobby you enjoy and (usually) do multiple times a week. And considering I don’t buy a lot of books (I use my library for the most part or participate in promotional opportunities), I don’t have a lot of other associated costs with my blogging/reading. Even better, I use my earnings from Swagbucks (referral link) for PayPal giftcards and use that to pay for part of my self-hosting invoice so it really doesn’t cost me that much in hindsight.
While I do work more now (and shift work to boot), I no longer have to commute (2 hrs) to work everyday so I have more free time on my hands to spend blogging and reading–and I hope that will be the case shortly.
One of the biggest draws to going self-hosted in the first place was the ability to do more with the design of my blog. While the free themes on WordPress.com are great, I wanted more flexibility with colours, feeds and plug-ins and only a self-hosted site could do that for me.
I love my theme and I don’t feel the itching need to change it like I did before on my WordPress.com site. Though I had found a theme for my wordpress.com blog just before I made the switch so I know I could find something that works if need be.
The plugins have been a great addition as well; though I’ll be the first to admit that I probably don’t use them as much as I should. They can be tricky too since they often have limited features until you purchase the premium version; they might not work with your theme; or, I can’t find exactly what I am looking for. While some save me lots of time, others require some troubleshooting that I don’t always have the time to execute.
>> SERIESous Tips: My Favourite WordPress Plugins
(3) Do I Still Enjoy Blogging?
I wrote about this sentiment in my Monthly Inventory: December 2018 edition where adulting seems to have transformed my blogging and reading experience in that last year. But my so-so feelings about the last year and the fact that I have to renew my hosting for another full year made me start to question my blogging experience and if it is something I want to continue going forward.
Perhaps it’s just part of the reflective nature of the new year and new resolutions, but it’s something I often ponder around this time of year. Of course I would still read and I’d probably continue reviewing on Goodreads; but the appeal to have no commitments to regular posting and promotional deadlines is enticing.
My Final Decision?
In April, I’ll be celebrating 6 years of blogging! I can’t believe it myself…but if there is anything I’ve learned about blogging in that time: you can make this experience whatever you want it to be.
I’m having no problem churning out content on a regular basis even if my reading doesn’t always reflect that. Yes, sometimes writing those posts feel like a chore because I get behind, but I still love sharing my thoughts on what I read. I have enough posts scheduled that I have some buffer time before I need to panic about not having enough content; and even then, I can reduce how many times I post in a week. Flexibility is key and I definitely have the ability to execute that.
Another big resolution: I also plan on reducing the number of promotional opportunities I undertake this year. I love promoting all the books I request but I’m at the stage in my blogging career where less is more. And I hope that by reducing those deadlines, I can take a lighter approach to blogging and reading.
So in the end? I’ve decided to renew my self-hosting for another year. While January has been a dicey month, I’m hoping the rest of the year will be smoother in all things.
Check out my mini-guide to self-hosting complete with help links!
Check it out here:
What are your thoughts on Self-Hosting?
I’m so glad you’ve decided to stick around!
I think less is more is such a good thing. I have taken very much the same approach since getting further into adulting. Blogging is something that I do for FUN, and if it starts to become a source of stress then I need to reevaluate my approach.
Thank you! I’m glad too!
It’s nice to take things as they come. I’m really cutting back on my requests and ARCs so that really helps reduce the deadline stress. Now my stress comes from trying to find the time to read 😛