The general idea about blogging is that it’s easy to set up a blog, and it will be successful soon if one’s good at it. That’s an optimistic approach for sure but be prepared to face hardships is what I’d say to people with such an idea. Starting a blog is easy of course. But where and how you start are the most difficult part of the puzzle that is blogging.
Where to start?
From the web hosting service
How to start?
By choosing the right host…or by not making hosting mistakes that will let you make a bag full of regrets soon.
People don’t normally bother about the hosting aspect of their blogs, probably because it’s either too complicated or too boring. This makes it more likely for new bloggers to make mistakes with their hosting choices. And what would these mistakes get them? A negative impact on search engine rankings, another on their online authority over time, and on top of all this, waste their time and money.
Here is a list of common hosting mistakes bloggers make, and should avoid if they want their blog to be successful.
Going for a cheap or free hosting service
Yes, your budget influences your decision. Naturally, a cheap or free hosting service will get your attention. Besides, what could go wrong when you use free hosting for ‘just a blog’, right? To be honest, things could go wrong in so many ways if you aspire to become a professional blogger.
There are exceptions like Tumblr of course. But to become a professional blogger, using WordPress is your best bet. Figure out a good domain name, register it and install WordPress on it. You are all set.
That said, let me give you a few reasons that can give you second thoughts on availing a free hosting service.
Don’t expect to have control over everything – Yes. It’s a free blog. You don’t get to control every aspect of a service you just got for free from the internet. In most cases, you will only be leasing a portion of the hosting server. Do you like limited control over the hosting environment, the themes, settings and configurations? Yes? Be my guest. But expect issues to follow just when you almost start to make it big in blogging.
Scale it up the way you want it….not – Eventually visitors will start coming from all directions to read your blogs, indicating that the time is right for you to scale up your blog. But the free service will stand in your way though. You won’t be able to scale up the blog the way you like it. You will be forced to do it the way the host wants it….mostly. Unacceptable for future pro bloggers.
Cold shoulder from Google – Legend has it that when a blog gets a cold shoulder from Google, the number of visitors they get decreases. Any expert SEO specialist will attest to the fact that Google don’t like ranking free domains in the search result pages.
Website performance issues – It’s a free service. But it doesn’t mean you are the only getting it for free. So while other website owners in the hosting server squeeze the resources, your website will be left broken. Slow loading speed of a website tend to annoy visitors. They don’t want to wait for a couple of minutes to read your blog while they can read a few others with that time.
In addition to all this, migrating to a paid service won’t be easy as well, especially if your link structure changes.
Going for a host without live support
You would by now that hosting is quite complicated. Because it’s complicated, errors in different shapes and sizes are likely to occur (not that they always will). If or when they do occur, you would feel more secure when you have the live support staff of your host about to answer your prayers. They can resolve the issues in a jiffy, even in the middle of the night.
Trusting advertisements with ‘unlimited’ in big letters
This trick’s become old. But it still works on new bloggers. Alright so the thing is there is no ‘unlimited’. It’s just a ruse to attract customers. If you can’t believe that hosting providers do this kind of things, just check the fine print of those hosts.
Most would probably make it apparent that there is still a limit. Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage and the likes are myths in the hosting industry. Once your website reaches a certain limit, you will start noticing something wrong with the services.
If all the sites accommodated by the ‘unlimited’ shared hosting server starts taking up a lot of bandwidth, your website will start slowing down to reduce the strain on the server. This is called throttling. In some cases, in addition to throttling, the host might even stop backup services if you exceed the limit of something that they claimed to be unlimited. Lack of SSH and support for multiple POP accounts are other things to watch out for.
Choosing a host without going through reviews first
Let’s get real here. This is an important decision that could affect your blogging career. Unfortunately, many new bloggers don’t think that way. For them, hosting is about getting some space for themselves in the internet. If the host you chose is bad at what they do, you will be the one suffering. On top of that, you will also be paying for that suffering.
Before choosing a host, visit their website and do some research. Because they are doing a business, they wouldn’t reveal any information that might discourage potential clients from buying their services. You can get in touch with one of their customers and enquire about the host’s services or rely on third-party reviewers to get their opinions.
Experimenting with the hosting package where your blog resides
A growing blog should have a house for itself i.e. it should have the hosting solution for itself. Many bloggers often try to experiment with other websites and blogs by using the same hosting account they use for their growing blog. That’s a bad idea, and downright bothersome when it ends up cluttered and crowded.
Blogs that are generating good traffic, and having a decent number of subscribers need to be kept secure, and that is achieved by keeping the blog on its own host. You can use another hosting account to house your experimental websites.
Selecting a hosting package that doesn’t feature daily/weekly backups
New bloggers tend to think that blogs are safe from hackers because they are not worthy enough as a profitable prey. They are wrong. Hackers can make do with all those sensitive information of the subscribers of your blog. Other than this, they don’t even think about the possibility of a critical technical error that can jeopardize their hard work.
Critical technical errors, getting hacked, corrupted database – These are just a few things that could ultimately lead to the demise of your blog. Though there is always a chance these can happen, you can still make sure that you recover in excellent condition. Just make sure to choose a hosting provider that performs daily (recommended) or weekly backups.
The point to note is that there is no foolproof path to building a successful blog without a good hosting solution to nurture it. Many of the mistakes mentioned above won’t be of concern if you are going for a good WordPress hosting solution. Before signing up for a hosting service, make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes countless others did. Learning from these mistakes kind of gives you a path that lets you grow your blog without hitches.