Blogging 103

Note: Also see

Blogging 101

Blogging 102

Blogging 104

Blogging 105

This is a continuation of my Blogging 101 and Blogging 102 posts which seemed to be quite popular, so here’s Blogging 103.  What follows are my opinions only, of course:

11. Buying your own domain name. Do this.

This means your site is known as:

Rather than


You do not need to be self-hosted to buy your domain.

You can do this for about $10 bucks, or less, per year with companies like GoDaddy

It’s so reasonable to do this, and of course do your research.  (remember in Blogging 102, Google is your best friend.)

Why do you want to own your domain?

Here’s a nice synopsis but in a nutshell:

credibility on the internet

more recognition with others


more professional looking.  Does anyone you know who’s really running a business have the word “blogspot” in their business’ URL?  Didn’t think so.

Something to think about it you’re wanting to grow your blog or just appear more professional.

Not to mention, the less keystokes someone has to type to hit your site, the better it is.  I admit that typing in the extra words: or rather than just .com has occassionally prevented me from linking to a site or keying it into my browser. Over time, this could be tens of thousands of hits you’re not getting.

12. Free vs. Self-Hosted WordPress. (perhaps the most requested topic I cover in this series based on reader’s requests)

Summary of the info I found here

The main 3 Pros to being Self-Hosted as I see it:

  • Ability to upload themes
  • Ability to upload plugins
  • Complete control to change code if you’re technically minded

The cons that are listed but I don’t see any of these as a big deal.  At all. And I “de-bunk” each con.

  • You need a web host which generally costs $7-12 a month (I use BlueHost and pay $15 a month for their VPS option and there are BlueHost plans for 5.99 per month.  Another popular one is Dreamhost and unless your site is getting tens and tens of thousands of views per day, this is probably sufficient server bandwidth for you. And if you are getting that many views, you’re already self-hosted and you’re not reading this anyway)
  • On this matter, if you are going to self host and you don’t already have your domain name purchased, i.e. you’re and you want to become, when you sign up with your host, in my case Bluehost they also sell domains.  So you can get your domain name + hosting = all in one stop shopping.
  • Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run (maybe but see Blogging 102 about knowing when to hire things out or Blogging 102 for research + google are your best friends.  If you do hire it out, a complete site makeover and migration to self-hosting is probably going to run you anywhere from $300 to $750 depending on what your exact needs are.)
  • You’re responsible for stopping spam (see this post at the bottom, not hard, and it’s free)
  • You have to handle backups (yes and I pay for them through an outside company; however many people don’t back up.  Not advised but if you want to cut corners you don’t have to backup your site)
  • You must upgrade the software manually when a new version comes out (takes 2 seconds and it’s like updating your Microsoft programs or your iTunes.  Asks you, Do you want to update?  You click yes and it does it’s thing and it’s done in two seconds.)

Again, if you are serious about growing your blog, turning it into somewhat more of a “business”, wanting to add plugins or themes to your site, or ability to customize it in any way, just self-host.

I don’t see it as hard or a big deal in any way.  Since I went straight from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress, I never had the free WP and if I can make that jump, anyone who’s already on WordPress can easily make the jump to self-hosting.

However, for both of these items, buying your domain or becoming self hosted, if you don’t care about your domain name or if free WP or even Blogger works for you, and you’re not interesting in making any changes…don’t!

Do what works for you in food, in life, with exercise and with regard to your blog and blogging style and platform.

Just handling those two topics was a mouthful so guess what, Blogging 104 will be next in this series.

From my last post, Braids, thank you so much for the compliments on the photos!

It was wonderful watching Skylar get her braids, seeing her enthusiasm for it all, and then coming home to play with my images and edit my photos was like having Christmas. 

A second time around, for me.

Thanks for telling me which images you liked, and why.

As I mentioned, I have ulterior motives why I posted so many images.

Time for chocolate!

How about a Chocolate Macaroon

Vegan, GF, one bowl + spoon, and you don’t even need a dehydrator.


1. If you blog, are you self-hosted?  Why or why not?  Any plans for any changes with that?

2. Did this post help clarify things if these were topics you wanted more info about?

3. Yes, there will be a blogging 104.

Topics to be discussed based on previous reader requests include:

Product Reviews

Running Reader Contests & Giveaways

How to handle revealing yourself to the world when you start a blog

What other questions do you have or would you like to see me cover?

I don’t want to bore those who don’t have blogs but so many people have written to me privately and have said these posts have inspired them to start a blog, so hey, maybe you’re a reader now, but will be a blogger, soon.

And if you have no desire to blog?  Great, don’t! Blogs are wonderful but they are time consuming, and all bloggers need readers.

I heart all my readers, so much.  Thank you for reading my blog and anyone else’s you read.

This post was auto-published.  I am probably flying over the Gulf of Mexico right about now en route to Atlanta and then San Diego.


  1. I am self-hosted, but I still haven’t changed my theme or anything! I should probably work on that, but I have NO idea what I’m doing!

  2. Welcome back from your vacation. I love editing photos after I return — it sort of seals it all in my memory bank. And good advice here. I switched to my own domain several years ago. The sooner it’s done, the less that needs to be migrated.

  3. Thank you Averie!!!!! <3 Def answered my questions!

  4. I really like the last photo of Skylar – she has a look of pure joy on her face!

    I am not tech savvy, so I feel like running my blog in a more meaningful manner would be difficult. I would be interested in trying it, but I would definitely want someone to design my blog for me – I am not very good at making it look pretty! It would be nice to have fun additions to the site!

  5. I just moved to self hosted exactly a month ago(has it been that long already? Jeez it goes by fast). I’m so glad I did it while my blog was still so new. This post really confirmed all the reasons why I did it. For me there was no reason to stick with something that I could never really make “my own”. There are options on, but nothing is ever truly unique.
    Looking forward to 104 :D

  6. Great tips again! I’m on free wordpress right now any buying my domain name is definitely the next thing on my list of things to do for my blog! Thanks for sharing all this, you are amazing!

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I have always been curious on free vs self hosts.

  8. Averie- thanks for this!
    I just started blogging this past month so this is super helpful. Already bought my domain name but have been struggling to understand when it’s worth it to self-host. Do you have an opinion on how many views you should be getting before self-hosting is worth it? Would love to hear more on that on 104 :)

    • I think it’s worth it at any time. Dont think about what you’re getting now, think about what you’re GROWING into…had I had that mentality, i wouldnt have been stuck in blogger blog hell. I was scared to move, then I grew, got more scared to move, vicious circle.

  9. averie, i love your blogging series thus far but blogging 103, here, was the most helpful to me thus far.
    i am still dotwordpressdotcom and i had NO IDEA i could get rid of dotwordpress and STILL be with wordpress (yes i am that not-tech-savvy and/or uninformed). i would SO LOVE to update, change, improve my blog – what’s holding me back is time, money, fear, laziness (?!)…anyway, all food for thought and i so appreciate the info you have shared.
    hope your flight is going smoothly! maybe you’ll get to actually watch an in-flight movie?!

  10. Skylar is so beautiful!!! I definitely agree about getting your own domain name. It just FEELS so much better to have MY space!

  11. I bought my domain name for two years a few months ago and even though it was extremely simple to buy it, I still was totally confused. When it comes to anything other just writing posts, I pretty clueless (as you can see on my blog.) If I could afford it and understood what the heck I was doing–and had more time–I would hire it out to self-host and pimp it up a bit ;)

    For now, simple works. At least I own the name! Thanks again for another helpful post.

  12. I’ve wanted to buy my own domain for a long time now, but just never have! I know it’d be worth it, for some reason I’m just afraid to take the plunge?!

  13. I love these posts1 I’m in the process of getting a design done and moving over to self hosted – Im excited!

  14. These posts are not boring Averie! And I look forward to learning more about giveaways, sponsorships, etc.

    I totally agree with buying a domain name, self hosting, etc — I made the switch a few months ago (with Jenn’s help!) and I am so happy I did. It just feels more like it is “mine” — plus after wordpress decided to shut down my blog for a day — why? I still don’t know. I wanted to have total control.

    I hope your trip home goes well!

  15. You’ve definitely gotten me thinking!! I think I am going to buy a domain soon!!

    Thank you :D

  16. What did you do to those first two photos? It sort of looks like a water-color wash. Very nice, especially the first one. I’d crop out (or photo-shop out) that little corner of the chair poking into the side, and then blow it up life-size!

  17. Great post! I’m not self-hosted, as I don’t get enough views for it to be worth it.

  18. Hi,
    interesting post. I like how you also touched on readers who aren’t bloggers- we do exist! I love reading blogs (especially yours ) but have no desire (or time!) to start my own. I’d have to say that content and ease of reading really attracts me. 1.) your daughter is cute, and i have a 4 yr old so i like reading about someone who is a working mom w/ a child and 2.) your recipes are delicious.
    Also, blogs that have too many advertisements and background clutter usually turn me off.
    anyway, that’s my 2 cents.
    good luck on your dream career journey!

    • thanks katie for reading and yes we all need readers, and not everyone wants to blog. we all have diff talents in life and diff goals and readers ARE (for me THE most important part of a blog…i am not one of these ppl who says ‘i blog just for me’….no, if no one was reading, i wouldnt do this all every day..haha!)

      thanks for the compliments and for reading!

  19. Thanks for all the thought you put into this post to help aspiring bloggies like me learn more!

  20. more fabulous tips thanks for sharing…I Love the last picture of skylar your camera takes gorgeous photos!

  21. Self hosting, sure, but not through Go Daddy – their CEO had that big stink where he killed an elephant. Killing endangered species = super uncool.

  22. I definitely need to do my blogging research – this whole self-hosting thing scares me a bit and I’m not sure what my next steps are! I think I’m content for the time being, but we’ll see what happens. Thanks for sharing this info with us…you’re taking your time to do this when you don’t need to and I really appreciate it!

  23. thanks for your continued blogging tips, i always enjoy reading these kinds of posts from people! right now i’m waaay back at installments 101 and maybe 102, haha! but i like to read what i should be thinking about and bookmarking it. though, i’m sort of kicking myself reading that blogger is a bummer because well, that’s what i’ve got!

    i’ve also been catching up on your previous posts about finding that career that really clicks with you and it resonated with me because i’m sort of trying to do the same for myself. life’s sent me for some loops but i believe that if we’re going to do something we should at least try to find something that is our passion and that we enjoy.

    for you, my gosh you HAVE to keep putting together that photography portfolio because you obviously have such a gift and a great eye! and then ‘playing’ with them in photoshop is always a ball…so best of luck to you there and keep it up! can’t wait to hear/see more. :)

    hope the rest of your flights go smoothly!

  24. Great post, very informative.

    1. Yes and it’s been a fun learning experience since I’m a tecch geek. I’m a control freak, self hosting lets me control more.
    2. Sure, but truthfully I knew most of it already. :-)
    3. Hmmm, content selection.

  25. Thanks for making these 101-posts Averie! They are really usefull for us new-bloggers! Cant wait for you 104-post!
    Wish you a good day:)

  26. Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s really helpful that you lay it out there like that.

    Yes, I’m definitely thinking of making a move! Just need to make sure the tech guy in town can help me if I need it.

    Safe journey!

  27. Thanks for the tips. It’s awesome to have this sort of advice when your starting a blog! :D

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  29. I’m enjoying the tips! Hope your settling in back home.

  30. I really have been enjoying this series….they’re all bookmarked. I’ve been thinking about buying my own domain — thanks for all the information about it!

  31. Thank you for this wonderfull post, again :)
    I’m not planning on becoming self-hosted soon. I’m not that long in the blogosphere, so whenever a chance comes my way, I’ll take it, but for the time it is good how it is. However, my blog is on blogspot and I’m thinking about moving to wordpress (thanks to you mentioning wordpress). My blog in my mothertongue is on WordPress and I’m starting to like the many options.

  32. Great post, Averie! I was self hosted from the get-go. In fact, my original site was not a blog at all, it was a business website (for my nutrition consulting) with a couple of recipes + health articles. I switched over to a blog in January and couldn’t be more happy with the switch! As much as I love meeting with clients (and I still do on a daily basis) I absolutely LOVE blogging and sharing my recipe ideas + holistic approach to health.

  33. Once again I am amazed at all that bloggers do & juggle on a daily basis – and they still have their lives to live. You make it look so easy :)

  34. I don’t really have a blog, but I love these posts! I feel like I’m learning a lot. In fact, it feels like I’m getting a “behind-the-scenes” tour :)

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  36. I’ve been pondering a lot of these questions lately, so I was pretty psyched to see this post this morning. Thanks Averie!

  37. As soon as I decided to start my blog I bought a domain name that day … I figured if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.

  38. Averie,

    I need all the help I can get with my self-hosted blog. Your 104 post is definitely helping. One thing, can you recommend a good e-shop plugin ?


  39. Self-hosted! I may have pulled half my hair out getting there, but it was so worth it. Like you mentioned – I wanted more flexibility. But even if you don’t want to self-host, as you mentioned, getting the domain is easy.
    Another reason why not to use blogger: I can’t tell you how many times I’ll decide not to comment (even when I really want to!) because of how difficult it is to comment on blogger blogs (more often than not, at least.) I can’t use open ID anymore, and if the user doesn’t allow the “Name/URL” option, I have to use my (ancient) google account. AND enter in that darn captcha. May not seem like a lot, but those extra steps are total deal breakers for me.
    Sorry, a little late to the party with this :P

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