On July 7, 2014, our passionate team of photographers set out to do something different and unique. Not only do we love cameras and lenses, we also wanted to explore the art, the craft, and the styles of photography. We’ve shared the experiences of many talented photographers and artists. We’ve studied and demonstrated the styles of famous photographers. Thanks to your support, this 6 month old publication has grown tremendously.
Our unique readership has averaged 200% per month growth since July. Almost all of that has been organic, from search engines, reposts, and word of mouth. We’ve hit and beat our milestones way ahead of schedule, but we’ve certainly experienced some growing pains behind the scenes. In this article, we’re going to share with you some of our recent challenges and what we’ve done to keep iLHP growing.
Growing Pains and Limitations of WordPress.COM
When our team of photographers and writers started out, we knew we wanted to make something great. We wrote out a business plan, pursued a dedicated strategy, and have been enjoying the progress ever since. WordPress.com has been great to us, providing a easy to use platform for us to explore our niche and develop our product. However, as we keep growing, there have been several key limitations with free hosting at WordPress.com:
- A Closed Environment – Many powerful tools and plugins, such as Google Analytics, are unavailable. Working with a limited number of proprietary WordPress.com tools is difficult for a rapidly growing website.
- Costly Upgrades – While initial setup is free, the cost of necessary WordPress.com upgrades add up quickly. A custom domain name itself is about $18/year. The initial 3GB of storage runs out quickly and it’s another $20 to buy only 10GB. Any type of eCommerce option will require the purchase of WordPress Business, which starts from $299/year.
- Limited Monetization Options – The closed and proprietary nature also means that any advertisements run on the website has to be through WordPress’s own WordAds program. The program is invitation only and popular programs like Google’s Adsense does not work on the .COM platform.
Self Hosting and Switching to WordPress.ORG
The solution to our problems is self hosting. First, with self-hosting, we are able to run the same WordPress software through an open developer environment. This means, all third party tools and plugins are available to us, usually free of charge. Second, through Bluehost.com, we end up paying about the same as the upgrades through WordPress.com but we get 100GB of space, faster load speeds, and unlimited bandwidth. For the long run, this decision just makes common sense. Lastly, photo studio rentals, expensive in-depth How To’s, and all of our exclusive articles have all been funded out of pocket so far. We can finally control the type of ads that are run on our website.
Thank you for your Continued Support
I just want to personally thank you, our dear readers, for your continued support and patience over the last few days as we transitioned from WordPress.com to Bluehost. We experienced an expectedly long downtime due to some rookie errors. A lot of hair was pulled out and a lot of wine bottles have been recycled. But we are back up and running at 100%. If you’ve considered switching your WordPress.com blog onto a self-hosting site, please feel free to contact us for some detailed tips and insights.