Book blogging is a very specific niche – the community is fairly small and it can be hard to find advice on web hosting from a book blogger. How do I know this??? Cause way back when i decided to self host (two years ago!) it was nearly impossible to actually hear from another book blogger about their self hosting experience. Did they like it? Was it cost efficient? Did they recommend self hosting or not?
Now, most bloggers totally recommend self-hosting, but book blogging encounters it’s own form of problems when you decide to self host. And all the reasons a lifestyle or business blogger might self host are probably very different from why a book blogger chooses to self host.
Anyway, all that long intro to say, as a book blogger, here’s a list of pros and cons from my own experience of self-hosting.
Also, some random pictures of Florida Flowers™ because everyone needs some sunshine in their lives.
Con – Self-Hosting Costs Lots of Money
Self hosting is not cheap. I started out paying $75 a year, which was great! I also pay for my website name and pay a hosting service to own a web page. I also paid a web designer for my current theme, so add another $30 dollars, and the initial cost rounded out to just about $150. Not bad for a “side hobby” that I’m super passionate about.
BUT early last year, my views grew and with growing views, my web hosting costs increased. erghgghghg, double edged sword of a growing platform. I pay for a website that supports 10,000 views a month (WHICH I DO NOT GET HALF THAT MANY VIEWS, but whatever)
Anyway, paying for the higher service means it costs me right around $350 a year for the website + domain name.
That’s a lot of money for me. I save for several months and put aside a pay check or two just for the website. But in my opinion, the time I spend writing posts and creating content pays for the blog service. Will it ever actually pay for itself? maybe not.
Pro – You Might Have a Chance of Making Money
Notice how I used the word chance? making money is NOT easy and depends a lot on random stats that annoy me to no end.
Right now, I’m making about $1.75 a month. Yes, it varies, and no I haven’t gotten a penny of the money I’ve made. Because google won’t let me withdraw money from my google ads account until I’ve made at least $100 dollars.
And even though I started self-hosting close to two years ago, my site didn’t start earning pennies until last December. It’s a lot of work for a very tiny chance at monetary gain.
Other types of blogs can make money by advertising companies that work with them or sponsored content, but with book blogging, it’s very difficult to create sponsored content. I think Audible COULD work with bloggers and maybe some publishers COULD pay bloggers to promote books but if that happens, it’s not widespread in the community. And certainly, it hasn’t happened in my corner of the world.
Right now, the only income I’ve managed to nail down is google ads. So, yes, please check out any ads that pop up on my webpage. (Really, Thanks!!!)
But as I mentioned, in seven month of monetization, I’ve made around seven dollars. So really, making money is not the end goal of self hosting. It may happen, but don’t bank on it. (did I just make a pun!???)
Con – Figuring out Moving over to Self-Hosting can be Very Techy
I mean, if you’ve started blogging a LONG while ago, it is a ton of work to move everything to self-hosting. When I switched to self-hosting, I was a confused mess. Another blogger helped me out, otherwise I’d still be a confused web html mess. Well, let’s face it, I’m still a confused html mess. More on this in a moment.
Pro – You have CONTROL over your blog
And while HTML is confusing and really intimidating, self-hosting gives you control over your blog. You can add plug-ins, and ad campaigns, and create custom web themes, it’s ALL YOURS.
I also think it helps with SEO, errr, Search Engine Optimization. I’m far from an expert on search engine life, but owning your web name enables you to tweak search terms and run more plug ins that help with SEO. And the better your SEO, the better chance more people stumble into your corner of the internet.
Also! With your own website, you can create newsletters and more personalized email lists. I should really take advantage of this more, but I’ve been lazy about internet work lately, SO I’m behind on my email lists. Surprised, no. Opps, yes.
Con – HTML is confusing as heck
HTML is always confusing. Like, really, really confusing. And sometimes you need to add random stuff because the European parliament made another rule about the internet. Pesky Europeans.
But really, everything that you love takes work. Being creative is hard and yes, html is a big hurdle in that process. But HTML confusion isn’t limited to just self-hosting, it happens on regularly hosted websites. May has written a couple of posts about book blogging and html tips, and their blog is hosted on WordPress, so if you aren’t self-hosted and are currently looking for html tips, check out their posts!!!
Pro – More Design Fun!!!
Despite the inevitable HTML headache, blog design is so much better with your own website! You can upload specialized fonts and add more video clips to your blog posts, and the tools kit for your text is just bigger and better.
I’m a sucker for a well-designed website. Like a real sucker. A blog could have nothing beneficial to me but if the design is gorgeous, whelp, I’m going to spend several hours on there enjoying it.
Ready to self-host and get in all the specialized design fun???? (of course you are, right?)
I’m sure there are plenty more reasons, but these are the top reasons that came to my mind immediately!
If you’ve been blogging for a while, and wondering if you should switch, I nearly always recommend YES! But each blogger is their own person – it takes money, time, and energy into switching to self-hosting, I know it’s a big step. Book blogging is a personal journey, and no matter if you’re self-hosted or not, I know it’s a big life investment. Go at your own pace, enjoy writing on your corner of the internet and keep reading great books. 😊
Are you self-hosted? Do you have questions about self-hosting? If you are self-hosted, what do you think are some pros and cons? (please, do share your thoughts in the comments!!!)
Also, HAPPY FIRST DAY OF OFFICIAL SUMMER!!! (or winter if you’re south of the Equator)