It’s been 7.5 years since I began blogging. When I started my journey, blogging was just about penning down my thoughts and feelings. It simply felt like an online diary where I could rant about anything and everything under the sun. It’s taken lot of hard yards on the road to a self hosted blog.
Slowly, I realized the importance of comments, shares, likes, having a social media presence and so on. It was all about making oneself heard. Blogging was no more a pastime among a select few which was the case in the early 2000s in India. It seemed as though almost everyone was rushing to open a blog. But then, more than 90% of them remained dormant after a few posts. In this clutter, one had to make an effort to be heard and seen.
During my initial years, both BlogAdda and Indiblogger began vying for the attention of various bloggers through ‘n’ number of contests. These communities also helped in reinforcing the fact that blogging was no more an individual activity. Bloggers like me could collaborate with others who I looked up to.
And then came communities like Blog-A-Rhythm, BlogChatter, WriteTribe and more. They brought in the concept of writing prompts, daily & weekly blogging challenges and more. These communities played a strong role in helping me achieve my blogging goals and objectives.
My key takeaway from all these blogging communities was the fact that I started to read and share posts from various bloggers. I will be honest by saying that in my initial years, I was generally not too much of a reader. Rather than arrogance, it was more due to the fact that I took blogging as simply nothing more than an online diary. But as I started to read, I realized that there was so much to learn from each and every blogger out there.
As the years went by and with all the accolades, compliments and brickbats flooding about in equal measure, I realized that blogging can help me build my personal brand by creating my online identity. In order to do this, I had to convince myself that since blogging was my passion, the move to the next level had to come sooner rather than later. It had to be more than just a hobby.
Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, Alt tags, Sitemaps, Analytics, Accessibility, Site Performance and more are words I hear day in and day out in my professional career. While I realized that I need to work on all these to take my blog to the next level, I do admit to procrastinating for a few years. Initially, I felt that I wouldn’t have the time or the energy to manage all this. I tried to take the easy way out to let WordPress manage everything.
But then, attending the Blogchatter Twitter sessions on SEO changed my thinking. All these things seemed quite easy to manage. The common theme – You could do implement all this only if you had a self hosted blog. It was now or never. During this period, I also saw a lot of fellow bloggers moving to self hosted platforms courtesy Host My Blog. Voila!
Rajendra Zore and his team at Host My Blog are really professional and helped in the seamless migration to the self hosted blog. Though the DNS propagation took more time than usual, the team was supportive throughout. As I began to install plugins this weekend, they were very helpful to answer each of my questions really patiently. Atul & Amrita, fellow bloggers have also been really kind to help me take my baby steps in the self hosted world.
Moving to a self hosted blog requires investment and time. But then, if you are into blogging for the long term, now is the time to make the move. Today, I feel that I should have made the move a few years ago. But then, it’s never too late to begin, isn’t it?