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Are you trying to start your own blog but don’t know what goes where? Yeah, we’ve been there. When it comes to blogging professionally, the most important thing you need to get is a blog hosting service that is reliable, effective, maybe has some extras, and that is (of course) affordable.
In this article, we want to help you understand what the hell is a blog hosting service, the importance of being self-hosted, show you how we chose ours and tell you why we made that choice. And we’re telling you this exactly like we would to ourselves of last year if we were to time travel and go grab a beer together.
Before we got on the blogging journey, we started reading – A LOT. We researched information about everything, from how to start a blog, how to write an article, where to promote it, how to monetize a blog and so on and so forth.
We gathered all the info we could find out there, filtered the bullshit from the valuable info, and managed to put it all together so we would have an idea of where the hell to start and how to do it right.
Let me tell you, this wasn’t easy. That’s exactly why we only began blogging in March, this year. The good part is that we have enough life experience to smell the scams, even in new territory. Our biggest issue is that, like any 20 something-year-olds do, when someone talks super excited about a product we’ve never encountered before, our shields go up in an instant, like they are asking us for 1 million $ or something.
Hey, it’s not that we’re cheap and wouldn’t buy it if we truly needed it (and if it was worth it, obviously!), but it’s the simple fact that we’re basically broke in our 20’s and just learning how to turn our lives around. Now is not the time to invest in things that aren’t guaranteed to make us some real money fast. That’s just how we think and we’re pretty sure that you’re the same.
But enough with the chit-chatting! Let’s get to it!
What the Hell is a Blog Hosting Service? (and how to choose one)
To be able to answer this question as accurately as possible, we must use a simple comparison with the use of imagination. How?
Let’s say that you live in a rented apartment. It’s nice that you have furniture, tools and other stuff to use, that you can have guests, but nothing in there is yours. If your living room walls are a super bright green that gives you a headache (this is our true, story by the way) you can’t paint them white, simply because you don’t own the place.
Same goes for anything else in your rented apartment – you can use anything in it, but nothing is yours so you can’t replace the stuff with nicer stuff that fit your personal style. Also, if the owners want to sell the place, you have to move out, just like that.
Blogging on a free hosting service, like Blogger or WordPress, is kind of the same as this. Your blog is basically living rent-free in one of their “apartments”, but guess what? Even though you can somewhat personalize the appearance of your blog, is still going to look like thousands of others, and nothing you post on it is actually yours from the moment you hit publish. Not your photos, not your articles. Nothing.
And the nasty part is that your blog can get deleted just like that, you can’t monetize it, and brands will not be interested in working with you because your blog gives the impression that you’re doing it as a hobby, not seriously.
That sucks, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, if you go for a self-hosting service, is like buying your own place. You decide how it looks (through blog themes), you decide what goes where, and you can even “rent out” some “rooms” of your blog if you want – from ad spaces to guest posting.
Not to mention that you can monetize it easily, and brands will take you seriously. Yes, it’s not going to come for free, but when you’re talking about less than 4$ per month do you even have to question it?
How to choose a Blog Hosting Service?
Now that we’ve (hopefully) clarified the free hosting vs self-hosting service topic, let’s get into the important part, choosing a quality self-hosting service that will fit your needs, and maybe have a little extra something, something (because that’s always good!).
For us personally, our biggest battle was between Wix, Siteground, and Bluehost. Deciding on which one to go is harder than just clicking on the best-looking ad and buying. There are some things you must be focused on.
1. What do you need a self-hosting service for?
Do you need it for blogging? Or are you the creative type that wants a professional shop? Or do you want a shop with a blog? These are some of the important questions you’ll need to answer before going further.
If you’re thinking of starting your own blog, you’ll wand WordPress as well, so you’ll need to chose the hosting service that offers you easy installing and support for all your WordPress needs.
2. What extras do you need?
Besides the 24/7 customer support that is a must, especially if you’re a newbie and not so tech savvy, you’ll most certainly need some guides as well. Also, does your preferred hosting provide the name you’ll want for your website for free or not? This might be important if you’re on a budget.
3. Research and make Pros and Cons lists
Like Ted Mosby from “How I met your mother” likes to do every time there’s a decision ahead, get out your (yellow) pad and a pen and start comparing. We personally started researching the 3 that we mentioned before through Pinterest reviews, Youtube videos, and Google searches.
We eliminated all the pages that were from their sites, focused only on the quality bloggers that use them and their reviews, and made lists. Be careful who you’re listening to before you make any decision. Brouse around the reviewer’s site a bit, to see if they offer quality posts over quantity, see how their site looks (because visuals are important to professionals) and don’t just go on believing anything anyone tells you. (including us!)
We couldn’t just jump into the decision, without mentioning the price. Most of the times, like it or not, the price is the deciding factor. In this case, it should be important, because no one wants to waste their money on a service that doesn’t give you exactly what you need, even if it is as little as 4$ per month… but especially if it’s more!
Oh, decisions, decisions! Now that you know what you need it for, what extras the providers have to give you, you’ve made your research, you know their prices, it’s time to decide. Sometimes it’s a no-brainer, sometimes it takes a little bit more time.
Personal experience: After giving it A LOT of thought, and went through the process that we’ve talked about in this article, we went with Bluehost!
Why did we choose Bluehost?
Simply put, because Bluehost fit all of our blogging needs, it’s budget-friendly (only 3,95$ per month!), we never had any problems since being with them and because we got our blog’s name for free for the first year(yay!).
We’ve been with Bluehost since the 1st of March of this year ( so over 7 months now) and as our blog evolved and changed, they have helped us through it all. From having an easy one-button WordPress install to guides to friendly customer support.
It’s true that if you’ll ever need something from their customer support you’ll need to wait a while, but the operators will do anything they can to help you, so it’s worth the wait.
Also, they do have a good affiliate program to help you promote their products and make some money yourself (there’s another plus for you!).
Aaand… that’s all for today, lovely dreamers! We hope that you found some answers about blog hosting in this article, and if you did, don’t be shy! Share it, pin it, tweet it!
Our question for you is: How did you decide on your blog hosting service?