I started this blog in 2015, in February to be precise. That was the month I published the very first post on the blog.
However, before that moment, I had created the WordPress account on impulse way back like four months earlier.
At that time, I knew next to nothing about blogging in general and niche blogging in particular. But I had a clear purpose of what I wanted to achieve with the blog.
What was my purpose of starting the blog?
I started the blog for two main reasons:
1. To share my thoughts with the world.
2. To hone my writing skills.
Sharing my thoughts with the world
I knew right from the beginning that I had some meaningful thoughts I could share with the world, but I needed a suitable online platform to do it.
And that’s what I have been doing with the blog for close to seven years now. Other things being equal, I will continue to do so for a long time to come.
I believe you know I’m not bragging about that, right?
Yes? Thank you.
Everyone has his or her thoughts in their minds but not everyone has had the courage to put them down in writing and send them out to the blogosphere.
You show courage when you share your thoughts in writing and make them available to the world to see and read. That’s essentially what we do anytime we push that magic button, labeled ‘publish’ in the menu of wordpress editor.
With over 350 original posts, this blog is the most concrete evidence of the thoughts I have shared with the world so far in my writing journey.
Honing my writing skills
Apart from sharing my thoughts with the world, honing my writing skill was the second reason I had in mind when I started this blog.
Over the course of the life of the blog, if there is anything that is very clear to me as an achievement, it is the fact that I write better now than I used to. My grammar, sentence structure, presentation style, etc have all been improved upon in more ways than one.
I am not saying I have become the best writer in town. (You know I’m not). But I am saying the blog has made me become a cohesive and a better writer than I have ever been.
Being intentional with writing
As far back I can remember, I have always claimed that reading and writing are my favourite hobbies. The reading part I understand because I have always made deliberate efforts to read as many books as possible, from my childhood to adulthood.
But I was less intentional with the writing part. I wrote on impulse and on no particular platform. So before I started this blog, all my pieces of writing were started in various places – in diaries, notebooks, desktops, etc.
But thanks to the WordPress content management system, I now have a good platform not only to share my thoughts with the world but also to hone my writing skills in the process.
Since I started the blog, writing has become an intentional act for me. So now if you are looking for a compendium of most of my writings, you know where to turn to.
Beyond sharing my thoughts and honing my writing skills
With this blog, I must admit that I have done more than sharing my thoughts. I have influenced lives, broadened my global worldview, and made connections with people in ways than I could have ever imagined.
I have also moved beyond honing my writing talent to acquiring news skills such as web designing, thereby adding to my personal development benefits. Little wonder my little post, “Blogging for personal development”, (which I wrote on impulse under an hour), turned out to be the most liked post on the blog.
The next level blogging agenda
In the early days, I never knew the blog would become this successful. (I know – success is relative, and I still have a long way to go). So I am grateful for how far I have come with the blog for two reasons.
For the seventh year running
First, the blog has survived the five years longevity threshold. One, two, three, four, five and is now seven years old.
Way back when I started, I read posts that suggested that most new blogs don’t make it to their fifth anniversary.
Isn’t it a thing of joy that this blog did not become a part of that negative statistic?
I don’t know what you think about that, but I’m happy to have come this far in my blogging journey without giving up
The surprising thing is that I never focused on surpassing the five-year lifespan of blogs. I kept on doing what I love and before I knew it, it was already five years.
I recall that it was after the fifth anniversary of the blog that I decided to upgrade from the WordPress free plan to a paid personal plan. That singular action has made the blog to be more visible and authoritative on the internet, thereby trebling the monthly blog hits.
Exceeding the hundredth thousand hit
Second, the blog crossed the hundred thousand all-time hits milestone
Of that number of hits, more than 90 percent were unique visitors from organic traffic. If you feel that’s not a big achievement, I would beg to differ – because, throughout the first year, I didn’t have up to two thousand visits to the blog.
The blog readership increased tremendously from the year 2020 to 2021, following the upgrade to the paid personal plan.
Having achieved all this while on hosted WordPress, I could see that there are more grounds I could gain, more heights I could attain, and more possibilities to explore if I move over to a self-hosted blog.
Am I being overly optimistic? Maybe not.
What I do know is that switching to a self-hosted blog will come with its own challenges but I reckon that they would not be insurmountable. So let me tell you why I want to move from hosted WordPress to a self-hosted blog.
Reasons I want to go selfhosting with the blog
For more flexibility and customisation
Hosted WordPress has been a great resource to me and I have enjoyed using it. From the years I was on the free plan to the time I have spent since I upgraded to the paid personal plan, I don’t have any regrets.
However, I have come to realise that the time has come for me to move up higher on the blogging journey. And from what I have seen so far, self-hosting is the better way to go in achieving that objective.
As good as WordPress.com is, I have seen that it has some fundamental limitations that can hinder my future blogging aspirations. Even if I decide to upgrade to the business or premium plans, some of the problems will still be there.
Apart from the huge cost implications of taking the premium or the business paid plan, the fact that I will not still have full control over the blog, is too much for me to bear.
But with self-hosting, I’m guaranteed full control of the blog, flexibility to the best of my desire, and unrestricted customization possibilities, including the freedom to install as many relevant plugins as possible.
Taking ownership of the blog
One of the most disturbing things about ordinary wordpress is that one does not have full ownership of the blog. And like one commentator once observed, you might just wake to see that your blog is shut down, throwing away your years of hard work on the blog.
Tell me if that is not scary!
A self-hosted blog will afford me complete ownership of the blog and its contents. This will definitely give me the freedom to tinker with the blog features the way I won’t be able to do in a free WordPress plan.
For a professional outlook
Everyone knows that the WordPress free plan doesn’t look professional at all. Like one blogger said, “If you want to be taken seriously with your blogging, don’t go with the free plan.”
Don’t get me wrong, the free plan serves its purpose. It gets you easily started on the blogging journey at no cost.
In my own case, I did not only use it to get started on the blog journey, I also used it to navigate the learning curve of using the WordPress resource – at no cost to me. That was great while it lasted.
Upon the realisation that there must be more to blogging than the free plan offered me, I committed to paying for a personal plan with the view that I would obtain some leverage with it. (And this is my second year on the paid plan).
Unfortunately, I have come to realise that apart from the custom domain name it afforded me to have, the fact that I don’t have adverts plastered on my blog pages with no financial returns to me, the paid personal plan is only a few notches better than the free plan.
Now the temptation is to upgrade to either the premium or the business plan in order to enjoy more flexibilities. But none of them comes cheap. So I have decided that instead of investing in the upgrade, I should rather spend the money or even less on switching to a self-hosted blog.
Hopefully, I would be afforded the unparalleled professional blog outlook, everything else that wordpress.com afforded me, and more.
To explore monetizing opportunities
There is no doubt I have achieved the initial purpose of starting the blog, namely to share my thoughts with the world and experiment with my writing.
So for the seventh year running, I have been sharing my thoughts with the world and I have been honing my writing skills to a level way higher than where it was when I got started.
It’s time to aim higher
Am I about to quit on my blogging journey? The answer is definitely ‘no.’
I will continue to share my thoughts with the world. And I will continue to develop my writing aspirations and skills through the blog. But by the same token, the time has come for me to move the blog to the next level: seeking genuine monetisation avenues.
Monetisation means that I will seek to earn some income through the blog. That is not to say I’m leaving my paid employment to run the blog full time. Not yet.
As I said in a previous post, I have never earned any dime from running this blog. Thankfully, I have a stable job that has been paying all my bills.
When I started the blog, making money from it was never part of the plan. But all that is about to change now. Hopefully, of course!
That’s obviously one of the reasons I’m considering shifting the blog to a self-hosted platform. My expectation is that once I move the blog to self-hosted WordPress, I would be able to explore the available monetization opportunities.
I have done my research, and I have seen the possibilities of earning a passive income through the blog.
Don’t worry, I will not sell my soul because I said I want to monetize the blog. I will still be guided by the fundamental values I have upheld on the blog so far.
This is a personal blog and it has afforded me the opportunity of inspiring thought processes, influencing people, and sharing my views with the world from a Christian perspective. Monetisation will not change all that.
My purpose of aiming for monetisation of the blog is to earn the first one dollar from the blog. With that, I would prove (to myself) that it is possible to make money online from my writings.
Making money is something many bloggers have achieved but I haven’t done so myself. Hopefully, that would soon change for the better for me too.
Of course, I have read countless accounts of people who are making money from their blogs. And who says, I cannot be one of them?
So in the short term to midterm, I would love to make enough money from the blog so that the blog can at least be self-financing and self-sustaining. Will that be a tall order? I hope not.
Other reasons for going selfhosting
Apart from the above-mentioned points, there would be other benefits of having a self-hosted blog.
I want to gain more authority with Google. So far, more than 90% of my blog visitors come through Google. And I can already see the potential for more.
Recently I noticed that one of my posts from 2018 on Blind Bartimaeus ranks amongst the top five (sometimes, top three) articles on Google global search.
What that means is that, if someone searches “lessons from blind Bartimaeus” on Google from any part of the world, the referenced article will be presented amongst the chosen display results on the first page.
That means a lot to me because someone, a senior colleague, once told me that he would never visit my blog except Google takes him there. I felt hurt at the time he said that, but now I know better.
So, self-hosting is a good way to benefit more from the massive blog traffic that come from Google searches. Hopefully, I would be using an appropriate SEO strategy to gain more google traffic.
When will I go self-hosted?
I have made up my mind to cut over from wordpress.com to a self-hosted WordPress platform. And in fact, I have just purchased the hosting service from a recommended hosting company. All that left now, as publish this post now, is for my existing blog to be migrated from the former host to the new one.
So consider this post as my pre-notice to you that I’m moving the blog to a selfhosted service, and a request for your continued support all the way.
Thank you for reading and remain blessed.
What is your take about the plan to go self-hosting with the blog? Share your comment below.