A couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to go self-hosted with my blog. I had been loving blogging for quite a while and felt it was the right time to take the next step. I read up on all my options and what would work best for me. Eventually I decided to go self-hosted with wordpress.org and buy a theme from pigdig.
Apart from the usual: picking a theme, transferring your blog, etc, etc. there are a few things that I didn’t know about that I’ve been slowly finding out over the last couple of months. There’s a few things that are important to do after going self-hosted that I’ve only found out sporadically. I thought I would save you the trouble finding out like I did, and tell you right here and now.
I won’t be telling you how to change to a wordpress self-hosted site, if you’ve bought a theme from pigdig they are more than happy to help you through there. If not, I think there’s other places and other people that can tell you a million times better than me (because to be frank I’m not really sure how to do it anyway because the lovely Phil from pigdig installed it for me). Rather this is a post on all the little things you might forget about after you’ve installed the theme, you’ve gone self-hosted and your blog is up and running.
Tweak your theme
When you’ve just bought a theme, gone self-hosted and installed it it’s easy to think that you can just leave it at that (since installing the theme is quite the hassle in itself). But to really personalise it and make your website truly your own, tweak the theme.
By going to appearance and customize you will find all the things you can change. You’ll find that no one theme you buy is going to be the same for everyone because there are endless possibilities to change things up. Also consider looking into your widgets as you’ll be able to add as many or as little things as you want to your page from there too.
Install Google Analytics
I know numbers aren’t everything but since the option is there to know what your stats look like why not take it? By signing up to Google Analytics you can find out everything regarding the statistics and the numbers of your blog. There’s the usual like how many page views and users do you get in a month, but there’s also things like what country are these users from, what age are they and what gender. You might not want to do anything with this information immediately, but it’s nice to have it tracking in case you change your mind later.
Think about plugins
Plugins are great, they’re kind of like invisible software on your blog that will help you do so many things. The most important one, I – and many other bloggers – think, is the Yoast SEO one. This is going to help you massively with SEO and ranking higher in the Google search bar (which is basically what SEO consists of). Another one I think is particularly handy is the Google Analytics plugin. It is synced with your Google Analytics page and shows you a quick overview of your analytics on the admin of your website. I have Google Analytics for WP but monsterinsights is also an option.
Direct your readers from your old blog to your new one
At the beginning people might still try to find you by searching your old blog. If you’ve decided to not entirely delete that one, you should add a post saying that you’ve now gone self-hosted and people can find your new blog on … Or, if it’s possible, create a redirect, where when anyone goes onto your old website, they are immediately redirected to your new website.
Change the links on your social media
If you’ve got a blog, you probably have and use social media and probably have your blog link in your bio (if not, HELLO, what are you doing? start now!). It might be easy to forget that those links need to be changed too. You don’t want people visiting your old blog do you?
Change old links
If you’ve had your blog for a little while before going self-hosted then you’ve probably written some posts where you’ve included a link to one of your other posts one time or another. Now that you’ve gone self-hosted, all these links are going to be redirecting your readers to your old website. It might take a while, but I think it’s totally worth changing up these old links to the same posts just on your new website. Especially if you promote your old posts regularly, this is an important step not to forget.
Update SEO for older posts
Like I said before, if you want your pages to rank high in the Google search bar you need to have your SEO in order. If you’ve downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin it’s pretty easy to make all your posts SEO friendly, all the details are included on the bottom of each post.
So take the time to fix the SEO for any old posts that you’ve written. Normally it’s as simple as giving descriptions to your images and adding a focus keyword (again, at the end of every post there will be a box with everything you should consider). It might take some time, depending on how many posts you’ve written, but it’s totally worth it.
This will also help your DA go up. Your DA is kind of the credibility of your blog for Google. You can check your DA here. The higher it is, the better. When you’re not self-hosted though, Google doesn’t take you into account because you don’t have your own domain name. So now that you’ve gone self-hosted there are loads of things you can do to make it go up. Such as improve your SEO, if you want to find out more on how to improve your DA you can check out this post.
Claim your blog on bloglovin’
This step is not necessarily essential but I think it’s important if you want it to be easy for your readers to follow your blog. Bloglovin is my favourite place to have all of the blogs I love in the same place where I can see all their new posts without having to visit each of the blogs individually.
It might take a while for you to grow on there – it sure does with me – but for me there’s nothing more annoying than finding a blog that I like and them not being on bloglovin. It will more than likely put me off reading their blog altogether because I don’t want to check their website to see if they have anything new every time. Also, don’t forget to add that little heart or plus button on your blog, making it even easier for people to follow you.
Improve your comments section
If you’re on wordpress you are going to have a comment section don’t worry. But if you want to really spruce up your blog consider installing disqus. I find it the most amazing comment section, no more having to type in your e-mail and your website every time you want to leave a comment. It’s super easy to use and notifies you by e-mail if you’ve got any new comments on any of your posts, which you can then respond to easily.