If you research blogging and how to start a blog, chances are you’ve come across a million and one guides and just as many sites that list any number of mistakes newbie bloggers make. One mistake that consistently ranks number one is not self-hosting.
Okay. I get that. Using a free platform like WordPress.com is limiting and the blog doesn’t really belong to you. You are just renting the space (for free). Using a self-hosted site is described as owning your own home and doing whatever it is you want to it. Your chosen blogging platform may close one day, making your beautiful blog go poof as well, so self-hosting is preferred. However, WordPress is my chosen platform and it has been going strong for years. I started in 2010, well after it was established. And it’s considered the top blogging platform by many, many resources. So, I’m not afraid.
Apparently, I am making newbie blogger mistake #1: not self-hosting.
Well, we have plans to switch one day. Scratch that. The Husband is totally onboard with it. Kat happens to hate risk taking, so is dawdling as long as possible and willingly getting sidetracked. She also hates the idea of spending hundreds of dollars to self-host, especially when there are two toddlers to raise, love, and educate and when one of those toddlers is in full school prep, well, costs add up. Sure, it makes monetizing easy, but Kat does not take risks and paying money up front for something that might not pan out has her giggling and saying she’ll look into it, for the next 10, 20, 30 or so years.
So, yes, I am willingly making a newbie blogger mistake (because I have full confidence in WordPress considering its and my long history and really don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars, which you’re going to pay for quality!).
And I am embracing it!
Think about it. How many newbie bloggers actually know, 100%, exactly what they are doing and what to write to draw faithful readers? This is my third time working The Lily Cafe and, after almost 7 months, I’m still working things out. I’ve changed themes, changed how I write, added more topics I write about, added The Husband as a weekly contributor, changed the menu, changed my bio, and changed many other things many times.
My point is, it’s taken me this long to find my brand, make my brand work for me, and find aesthetics and phrases that make me happy. It’s taken me this long to practice my writing, find my voice, and settle on a tone.
Sure, my blog has grown over the months, but it was hardly professional 100% of the time. At one point I didn’t even have a menu! As someone who is more of a saver than spender, knowing I was tinkering around while paying for it would have twisted me in knots. I would have felt like I was wasting my money, which definitely does not make me happy.
No, I’d rather work out my kinks before switching to paying for it. I’d rather have my writing be more interesting and polished and my brand nailed down before switching to self-hosting. Of course, the technical side of switching the blog over will take time, but at least I can launch as professional a blog as possible and know I am paying for something that looks nice, functions well, can potentially make money, and won’t be up and down with constant tweaks.
Not self-hosting right away may be a newbie mistake, but it’s a mistake I gladly embrace. For all I know, I might have given up blogging four months in, but still would have paid up front for 2-3 years of self-hosting (to be able to pay that nice, low monthly fee). Working on a free platform has given me the chance to see if I want to do this and whether or not I can even swing it while raising two young children. Minimal risk.
Next step: I’ll look into “fixing” my mistake. Maybe. You know, maybe before my youngest turns 18. Maybe.
What blogging mistakes have you made and what have you learned? Do you consider it a mistake?