Community Magazine

Going Self-hosted (plus Reflections on My Blogging Journey)

By Eemusings @eemusings

PSA: All going to plan, I’m going to be moving to self-hosting tomorrow! If you are following me through WordPress, please consider subscribing through RSS or Bloglovin. I’m also on Paperblog.

Here’s an amusing spam comment my filter recently caught, posted on one of my link roundup posts:

“The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won’t disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you’d have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.”


In the month between changing to my own domain, losing all my site stats, and then regaining them with Google and Moz updates, I enjoyed a massive dropoff in the amount of spam coming through. We’re back to normal levels though, and
that means checking the filter every couple of days to stay on top of it all and rescue any mistakenly flagged stuff.

On the eve of going self-hosted, it seemed timely to reflect on the journey so far.

I may not have a huge amount of traffic, but somehow I’ve managed to earn some pretty respectable rankings without consciously trying.

For the majority of this wee blog’s existence, I didn’t even do the most basic of things – use hyperlinks, or write post titles. I definitely did not ever think about SEO. I’m not sure I could even touch type at that point, so I didn’t use proper capitalisation (for shame. It looked like, and I treated it like, a journal). I probably sabotaged myself in every way, actually, with my penchant for abbreviations and my writer’s instinct that reprimands me to never repeat myself. I refuse to stick to a single niche (‘personal finance plus’ is as close as you’ll ever get) and while I’ve tried to maintain other blogs in the pursuit of that spirit, it’s always proved way, way too hard. It’s too close to what I do at day job, and I’m just not creative or dedicated enough.

That definitely made things difficult when it came time to finally choose a domain name – and were options, but the former is too screen-namey and the latter too complicated (though I did like the alliteration and the fact it plonks me up front alphabetically). I still like the ring of my old title, ‘Musings of an Abstract Aucklander’, so I’ve kept that in the tagline; plus it’s well and truly indexed by Google, and sometimes people search that entire phrase to get to the blog (god only knows why).

Seriously, kids. Get the name right. Don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily – think long term (e.g. don’t use your age in your name. That’s just silly, unless you only plan to blog for a year). And sort out your domain early on, ideally, so you don’t have to rely on redirects for your old posts like me.

Basically, the only thing I did right was read and interact on other blogs. And as it turned out, carnivals aren’t just for boosting egos, they’re also an SEO thing. Woop. I should probably do more of that.

I’ll admit sometimes I’m slack on responding to comments or tweets. My MO on other forms of communication – text, email, phone messages – is that unless a response is explicitly required, I won’t give one. I do try to be more responsive than that on social, but don’t always manage. It’s not a media legacy thing (example: once during a breaking news situation, I/we tweeted out a new piece of information, which later turned out to be incorrect. I said we should acknowledge the mistake and apologise, but I was the only one – I ended up backing down on that one against others in the newsroom and now regret it) – just a time thing.

I was talking to Revanche and a couple others on Twitter sometime back about subscribing to comment threads. She does; I hardly ever do – it’s just too overwhelming and it’s a very rare convo where I care enough to want to keep up. I think that’s pretty common; my stats page shows the total number of people subscribed to comment threads on my blog – and it rarely budges. That’s why I don’t reply to comments individually unless it’s really warranted. Some bloggers do respond directly to comments via email, or their systems alert you when someone replies specifically to your comment, which is nice. That’s probably the best way to do it.

What do you wish you had known when you first started blogging? Anything you’d do differently today?

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