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I’ve been blogging for four years. During that time, I’ve had my sites hosted on two blog hosting platforms and used an addition 3 platforms for work-related projects.
As a non-technical person, this use of multiple platforms has given me a unique perspective on what actually works for blogging.
All I’m asking for is three simple requirements in a blog hosting company:
- I want a simple, user-friendly platform that even a novice can understand.
- I want customer services reps that I can reach quickly and don’t treat me like an idiot.
- Quick worry-free website hosting and backup with no downtime.
- Bonus points if they actually take the time to teach me what I’m doing wrong.
I don’t think that any of these expectations are crazy. After all, it all goes back to customer service.
Over the last few months, I’ve had multiple issues with the Godaddy system. Invariably whenever there is an issue, I’m forced to spend 30-60 minutes on the phone with Godaddy while they troubleshoot my issue.
The last two times I was told it was a “known issue” and that it would be fixed shortly. 5-12 hours later I was finally able to get back into my website.
On a positive note, these were all backend issues and as far as I know, my readers never knew there was an issue.
However, as a young mother, I have very limited blogging time. All of my spare time is devoted to this blog, so when I can’t work, it is a big issue.
Dealing with blog hosting issues is the last thing I have time for – technical issues suck the life out of me.
Although these issues were annoying, my biggest issue was my site speed. I ran tests on Pingdom, webpagetest, and GTmetrix. Every single site gave me a “C” or lower and my load times were anywhere from 14-18 seconds.
In blogging land those speeds will kill you! Who wants to wait around for 15 seconds for a site to load. I know I certainly wouldn’t.
I had done all the caching, smushing and junk the experts recommend and my times refused to improve. I finally decided it had to be my hosting service, not my blog.
After a ton of research and recommendations from other bloggers and the techy people I know, I made the switch from Godaddy to SiteGround last week.
I know it sounds stupid, but that site is my baby. I’ve put my heart and soul into my blog and was so scared that something would go wrong. Even though I read a ton of posts on Godaddy vs. Siteground, it was still the scariest thing ever.
It was the easiest transition I’ve ever made.
I opened my account through the SiteGround website. Then, put in a ticket order for the switch. They wrote back with a couple of questions and less than 24 hours later my blog hosting was switched.
All I had to do was go in and change the Godaddy nameservers to the SiteGround servers. I didn’t have to waste a single minute of my time on hold. The Siteground blog hosting platform is designed for bloggers like me who don’t have the skills or inclination to play with coding or backend applications.
I was ready to cry I was so happy.
Do you want to know the best part? I tested my site speed as soon as the change occurred and my site loading time had dropped to 6-9 seconds.
I’ve tested it a few times since to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and the times are consistently 6-9 seconds.
I’ve still got a decent amount of clean-up left to do. I’d like to get my site speed down to 3-5 seconds, but that is a goal for next month. For now, I’m just happy to have a site that is significantly quicker.
One of the other side benefits to SiteGround was a free SSL certificate.
SSL certificates are becoming more and more important as Google continues to change their search algorithms. Google is giving increased preference to blogging sites with higher levels of security.
Having a secure site is a strong indicator to Google that you are legit which means they will feel more comfortable directing traffic to your blog.
I’m not sure if you have noticed lately, but the various browsers are highlighting the fact that various site is unsecured.
Start watching as you navigate and you’ll see more and more security notices.
I’ve been planning to update to SSL for a while, but had received some fairly high quotes from Godaddy and wasn’t ready to spend the money.
I knew an SSL Certificate was included in my package but wasn’t sure how to redeem it. I set up a quick chat session with one of the SiteGround employees to ask about it.
She literally switched me over on the spot.
The whole thing took less than 10 minutes and I was doing other work at the same time as we chatted back and forth.
Editors note: The SSL switch wasn’t quite as easy as I thought. I got a few errors and had to do two additional calls with Siteground to get it resolved. It was free though, so I’m not about to complain about saving $70 dollars.
Based on my research, SiteGround specializes in blog hosting platforms for small to medium sized bloggers. They have plans that are designed around the unique needs of bloggers and have the mix of service and pricing that makes them very competitive.
I’m currently using a shared hosting platform, which is designed for someone with less than 25,000 monthly visitors, multiple websites and 20GB of space for $5.95 per month. Hopefully, I’ll be jumping up to the higher plans in the next couple of month as my traffic increases.
They have plans starting as low as $3.95 per month. As you increase in traffic and size you’ll need to upgrade.
My goal is to have enough traffic to need my own dedicated server someday!
At this point, I’ve been using SiteGround for 2 weeks. So far I’m very happy and in the next couple of weeks will be transferring my other blogs.
I was going to transfer them myself (which is a huge hassle), but after the first free site transfer they only charge $30 per site and include another SSL certificate.
I think it is going to be the best $30 I ever spent.
I will update this post periodically to let you guys know if I still recommend SiteGround. Based on previous experience, hosting companies tend to be great for the first 2-3 years and then as they expand and grow their customer base service dies with the growth.
Hopefully, SiteGround won’t follow this trend.
For New Bloggers:
If you are a new blogger and searching for hosting SiteGround is a great resource. I haven’t gone through the process of starting a new WordPress blog with them, but I read through a bunch of their resource pages.
They will do your WordPress installation with a SiteGround hosting package for free.
It isn’t hard to start a WordPress Blog, but it is a hassle and time consuming your first time. I recommend taking advantage of their services.
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