Last week, I started this discussion by asking the question of when is it time for paid hosting and whether I am ready to make the switch.
Today, I ask how moving my blog to a paid host might improve the business of my site, what I would have to do to move to a paid host, and whether now is the time to make the switch.
What will it mean to switch over to paid hosting?
A switch to paid hosting means instant autonomy. One of the downsides to free-hosted web applications such as WordPress.com and Blogger is that the creator of the website – you – is not the owner of the website. When you create a website with a free host such as WordPress.com or Blogger, you are subject to the terms and conditions of those providers.
In addition, you do not own your domain. Owning a dedicated domain name for your site promotes credibility especially in business. A domain name from subdomain providers such as WordPress.com and Blogger free-hosted sites look something like this: www.yourblogname.wordpress.com or www.yourblgname.blogspot.com, where your blog name is inextricably intertwined with the subdomain host’s name. If you own a business, it is a lot more credible have a dedicated domain containing only the name of your business or related keywords.
Subdomain accounts also dictate how much bandwidth your site can support. Thus, if your site is attracting increasing amounts of traffic, the subdomain provider could choose to shut down the site once your bandwidth maximum is reached.
Moving your website from a subsdomain to a paid host gives you autonomy, the ability to have a dedicated domain, and increased bandwidth capacity that you choose.
What will I have to do to make the switch?
1. Choose a Host and Publishing Platform
iNetPublication lists its editor’s picks for the top three web hosting services as (1) midPhase; (2) Easy CGI; and (3) Start Logic. Each of these services offer hosting for under $8.00 a month for 2-3 GB of storage space. I haven’t yet gone as far as researching paid hosting services, but when I do, I will be sure to check up on these sites. They seem to provide valuable services for the price.
I think that I will stay with the WordPress’ blog publishing platform. I am accustomed to WordPress’ platform through their free-hosted service. In addition, WordPress’ platform is reputed to be very user-friendly and simple to use.
2. Purchase a Domain Name
When you move a blog to a paid host, you will want to have a domain name, which will be the address for your site.
A few months ago, I purchased the domain ‘aspiretograce.com.’ So, once I switch over to a paid host, I will be able to point my blog to my chosen host’s server at the address www.aspiretograce.com. As of now, I am forwarding www.aspiretograce.com to my subdomain such that when you type that domain into your browser, it directs you to www.aspiretograce.wordpress.com. Once I move to a paid host, I will need to redirect my aspiretograce.com to the paid host’s server.
One of the downsides to pointing my domain name to the subdomain now is my inability to track referrals. If someone follows a link directly to my subdomain, WordPress will tell me who referred the link. So, in other words, I will be able to tell from which site the visitor is coming, whether it is from Twitter, Facebook, or another blog or website. But, if the link is www.aspiretograce.com, the referral information will originate only from www.aspiretograce.com. Thus, I am not able to tell where a visitor is coming from if they have clicked on the aspiretograce.com link. Having accurate referral information is important because if you can tell where your traffic is coming from, it will help you target your marketing.
3. Find a Good Step-by-Step Guide to Moving to a Paid Host
Gemma Baltazar of The Lady Programmer (on JaypeeOnline) provides pretty comprehensive step-by-step instructions on moving a blog from Blogger to a new host using the WordPress.org blog publishing platform.
Some of her suggestions include:
- Backing up your existing blog
- Choosing a publishing platform and upgrading to the latest version
- Purchasing domain name
- Choosing a theme
- Announcing the move to your readers
What Have I decided to do?
As you may already know, I will be moving in about two months. If you’ve been keeping up with other post topics on Aspire to Grace, then you know that I am in the process of converting our primary residence to a rental property, preparing for the transition to telecommuting, and looking for a place in Mississippi. So, I will be pretty busy for at least the next month.
Do I have time to move Aspire to Grace to a paid host now? The short answer is ‘no.’
One of the reasons for writing this post was so that I could go through the motions of determining what value and effort would go into moving over to a paid host. I have learned a lot about this topic and have answered many of my own questions.
As excited as I am about making the move, however, I have decided to wait. Since purchasing a paid hosting service would mean a sharp increase in responsibility for maintaining my site, I think it wise to wait until I have more time to take full advantage the service. Once I make the move, it will be time to take Aspire to Grace to the next level in terms of design and functionality. I simply do not have the time right now to jump all the way in to get my money’s worth.
Once I have moved to Mississippi, I will reopen this topic for consideration. I anticipate being ready at that time since I will have a lot more time on my hands during the month before my husband returns from Kuwait.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried paid hosting?
TECHY TUESDAYS is a forum to discuss various technologies and web applications. I am currently hosting a series of posts called “Building a Blog.” This series discusses all of the things that I am doing to build this website. I will also discuss tips and suggestions for building your blog based on my own progress, as well as feed back from others. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.