This guest post is by the Blog Tyrant.
If you take your blogging seriously you’ll know that you have to wear a lot of different hats. We are content marketers, SEO students, social media savants, and sometimes web designers.
But what a lot of bloggers seem to forget is that our blog hosting setup is an extremely crucial piece in the puzzle. Yet it often gets overlooked because it is scary, boring or just too darn hard.
It is really complicated stuff. I certainly couldn’t cover everything in one post—some people spend their whole careers figuring it out!
What I am going to show you, however, is a few big mistakes that you need to make sure you avoid when starting a blog and setting up hosting. If you know any others please leave a comment and let me know. It might really help someone.
1. Setting up on a free host instead of your own
I’ve talked about this a lot on my blog and so have writers here on ProBlogger but it is a mistake that many new bloggers continue to make.
Now don’t get me wrong, services like Tumblr are a really cool way to get your word out there and blog socially but if you want to take it to the next level and go pro, you need to get your own domain name, and install WordPress on your own host.
Here’s why I don’t like freely hosted blogs:
- Lack of control: On a free blog, you don’t have total control over the theme, settings, back end, or hosting environment. You are essentially leasing a space from the owners.
- You don’t own it: The big concern for me is that on a lot of free platforms you don’t own the blog! This is a really big problem if you are trying to go professional or if you ever want to sell the blog down the track.
- Google doesn’t rank them as well: The last big clincher for me is that many SEOs will tell you that Google doesn’t rank these free domains as well in the search results. If you want to step up and compete in a very competitive niche, you’ll need your own domain name and a solid permalink structure.
And it’s important that you switch sooner rather than later if you are planning on doing it. You see, when you change from free to paid hosting, there’s a whole host of other issues to sort out, like a loss of current rankings if your link structure changes.
It’s very important that you weigh up the pros and cons of a migration like this as soon as possible.
2. Not choosing a host with live support
As I mentioned at the start, this stuff is really confusing. And things often go wrong. When they do, it is really important that you have live support staff that can help you out and get the problem fixed fast, without hassle.
Part of the reason I recommended Blue Host in my post on the best host for new WordPress bloggers was because they have live, 24/7 support staff that are incredibly helpful. I am no longer with Blue Host as I outgrew the service, but for the years that I was there, I had countless life-saving, middle-of-the-night, brilliant support sessions from staff who really know their stuff.
I have noticed that it is really common to get stressed and panicked when you don’t understand something fully. And because hosting is so complicated, it is really easy to lose your cool when something goes wrong. It is a massive advantage to know there are people there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in case something goes wrong.
3. Thinking that “unlimited domains” actually means unlimited domains
Something that I learned only recently is that when most hosts say that you get unlimited domains, unlimited hosting, and unlimited databases, they don’t actually mean it.
If you dig deeper into the terms of service you will find that most hosts (not all) have an excessive storage policy which basically says that if you abuse your “unlimited” space, your service will be affected.
Some of the things they might do include:
- Throttling: This is where your site gets slowed down in order to help cope with the strain on the servers. This might happen if you have a bunch of sites that are taking up too much bandwidth for your hosting environment.
- Stopped backups: Most good hosts perform a daily backup of your entire server to re-install if something goes wrong. But if you exceed the allowed file count by too much, you’ll find that those automatic daily backups stop pretty quickly.
- Account suspension: If things get really bad and the host suspects that you are hosting files not related to any website activity, they will suspend your account. This is something that you really don’t want to happen.
My best tip here would be to know exactly what your host’s policies are on file storage, and to then make sure you know exactly what your server needs are.
If your blog is getting a lot of traffic and constantly growing it might be time to move to a more advanced environment like a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated host.
4. Mixing your experimental stuff with your money sites
If you have a website or blog that is starting to make money that you rely on, it is really important to make sure it is on its own hosting account.
You see, what often happens is that we purchase one hosting package and then start experimenting with new blogs and websites. Eventually the whole situation gets cluttered, crowded, and very unprofessional.
Blogs that are starting to get some good traffic and have good rankings and loyal subscribers need to be protected and looked after. Make sure you keep them on their own host for security and up-time reasons, and leave your experimental sites to a different hosting package and location.
5. Failing to delete old blogs, websites, and files
The last thing I want to talk about is the fact that many bloggers leave abandoned or dead files, blogs, and websites in their host not knowing that they represent a security threat.
Without going in to all the details (I don’t really know all the details!), hackers can use insecure and old files to access your account in some situations. This is especially risky if you have been using WordPress and not keeping your plugins and installations up to date. It’s a threat.
If you’re not going to use a blog any more, just delete it. It’s not the easiest process, but it’s something that is worthwhile learning. So how do you do it?
Well, in some hosting environments you can just go to Addon Domains and then remove the domain that you want to stop using. That often removes the installation and the remaning database.
Other times, you will need to use PHPMyAdmin to locate the old site and delete the corresponding database. This can be a complicated process, so it’s best to ask your own host for advice on how to proceed. As mentioned, some environments and setups are different to others.
Are you making any mistakes?
I’d love to know if you are making any of these mistakes or whether you can think of any others that we can add to the list. Please leave a comment and let me know.
The Blog Tyrant is a 26 year old Australian guy who plays video games at lunch time and sells blogs for $20,000 a pop.