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“Where did you stay in the Philippines?” I asked the husband of the 90-year old something lady that I am looking after.
They lived in the Philippines for nearly 12 years and he worked for an international bank as the Assistant Vice President.
“Mmmmm… Wait. I can’t remember but it’s near Makati.” He replied.
“Taguig? The Fort? BGC?” I fired aiming to ring some bells. I named-dropped the most prestigious and high end places where he sure would have been assigned to live.
“Mmmmmmm….” he paused longer this time, looked at me with a blank expression on his eyes and walked away.
This is why I started blogging.
If I will be thrown this question in the future, I can easily show the travel section of my website and most of the information of where I went, what I loved, what I ate and all the lessons I have learned would be there for just 3.95 Euros a month.
If I will be lucky to reach old age, then I’d have something to look back to without the hassle of flipping through the dusty old pages of my journals and if I will be lucky enough to have saved them from moving so much.
Few weeks ago, Facebook and Instagram were down. What if like Friendster, they decide to shut down too? What will happen to my tons of memories saved there? What do I have left with me? Going self-hosted has given me an assurance that I am holding on something that I can call mine.
Though this is not the first blog I launched, this is the first that I have poured all my heart and soul into.
However, with so many other affordable web hosting companies, it is quite hard to choose and decide which one to go with.
Since my goal was just to have a memory bank, the hosting company didn’t matter at first. But as I go to see how far the world of blogging will bring me, the hosting company became an important matter.
In 2015, I launched a blog with Ipage. It was reasonably priced but it didn’t feel good to be with them. That time too, I didn’t have enough patience to learn. I just hit publish and literally run. I thought that bloggers who make it just got lucky to publish one post and then people talk about them nonstop.
When I couldn’t pay for the hosting fees anymore, I decided to cancel it and just use the free ones with WordPress.com and one with Wix. I didn’t have any problem with them but it felt that I couldn’t move so much. The content wasn’t also mine. Since it was a free hosting, like Facebook and Instagram, I don’t call the shots. They do.
I want to be able to do something for myself.
In May 2018, I decided to go for it.
With sweaty palms, palpitating heart and mind full of self-doubt, I purchased my own domain.
I felt invincible.
I purchased my own domain without a lot of researching. I said I will learn as I go. I just wanted to write since it feels like the universe has been telling me that it is what I am called for to do. With a new purpose in mind, I bought my domain from Hostgator.
It wasn’t quite easy. I was in a limbo. After buying the domain, I didn’t know that I needed a platform too. I needed to have a content management system or CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
I thought it was just all the same. After all, I just wanted to write and going self-hosted will motivate me to write more since I will be paying for it. I was wrong and Hostgator’s customer service representative continued to speak using jargons that made me feel so stupid no matter how much I told him that I know nothing about the technical side of owning a website.
I found out that I also needed to have an SSL Certificate.
I didn’t even know what SSL Certificate was. You know that thing that makes a website appear secure and with https? That is SSL Certificate’s job.
Because I was told to have SSL Certifcate, I must upgrade to the next plan because Hostgator’s most basic plan doesn’t support SSL Certificate. (Maybe they do now but I didn’t check.) I upgraded. That meant paying again.
After the upgrade, I wasn’t told that SSL certificate isn’t free. I must purchase it on top of the upgrade. I felt scammed and the customer service representative wasn’t so proactive in setting customer expectation. I worked for customer service for years so I know what I am talking about. In sales, it is quite a different story.
With all these, I got fed up. I requested for everything to be canceled. No one was able to retain me. For once, I am thankful for my Bank and Customer service, Complaints and Customer Retentions experiences and training.
While waiting for everything to be credited back to the account, I started my research properly.
It was not easy with my other freelance stints, my breadwinner responsibilities and with my blossoming relationship with my boyfriend whom I just met then.
Friendliest 24/7 Customer Service
All my favorite bloggers are raving aboutSiteground’s Customer Service.
I tried contacting them and I was elated. I was not even a customer then but I was already being treated like I was the most important customer they have.
They have set my expectations properly. I need not repeat that I am a technophobe. They explained everything I needed to know like they were explaining it to a toddler. It was the most laid back inquiry I ever had. If I was to do a Quality Assurance Scoring, I would give the representative a 110% on her scorecard which I did and still doing every time I need to transact with them.
FREE Website Migration
I needed to wait for two weeks before everything could be done and then request the transfer to Siteground but it was a very smooth process.
They assisted me to point the domain to Siteground since it was with Hostgator.
FREE SSL Certificate
SSL Certificate is free even on their most basic plan.
FREE WordPress Installation
They helped me install WordPress. Actually, they installed it for me.
30-day money back guarantee
They even assured me a 30-day money back if I am not happy with what I have signed up for.
I am close to believing that their representatives are 6-figure bloggers. They are so skilled and knowledgeable.
I never had any issues with their up-time too. Even when my Facebook and Email were hacked in October, they were so helpful. The support was able to calm me down and provided me with everything I needed to know. The hacker was not able to touch my website. Siteground has a strong system that protects the customers.
No matter how many photos, plug ins and nonsense stuff I have saved, my website still loads fast. They even have a new system called QUIC that make sites fast even if the internet is slow. This one is very new.
Free Unlimited Email Accounts
I was also able to create my business email that is now linked to my Gmail account for easy access. This gave me a professional email address.
FREE Cloudfare CDN
According to Vangie Viel, CDN is short for content delivery network which is a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other Web content to a user based on the geographical locations of the user, origin of the webpage and the content delivery server.
This service is effective in speeding up website’s content delivery.
If I wanted to launch another blog for my journey to veganism, I can do it with them without having to purchase a new one.
Blogging is not easy. I was a fool to believe those who are saying that it is. I forgot to consider my being a third world village girl whose relationship to technology is hopeless. But with the right hosting company, a go-getter attitude and passion to learn new things every single day while being able to use my gifts, I can say that nothing is impossible. I am proud to say that I am the only one who set up everything in this blog.
As I near my tenth month in the world of blogging, I might not have made much money yet, but I have learned a lot of new skills I never would have had I not wiped my tears and got my act together.
So far, blogging made sure that I will never run out of new books to read. I am also receiving free accessories and was nominated to few awards. In the near future, I am looking at launching my own services and publishing my own book. All these are what blogging has trained me to become.
The best part, blogging has also allowed me to work with people from all over the world who have the same passion.
Blogging has taught me to believe in myself.
Give it a try. Blogging will never allow you to be bored again.
I will also tell you how I grew my Pinterest views to 1.2 million in just between three to four months.
Start a blog. Write. No matter how many other million other bloggers there already are. You are you and that’s what makes you unique. That is your gift. No one can think like you. No one can see the things like you do.
Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Life begins at the end of it.