We were all newbies at one time or another. Today, I’m going to tell you something kind of embarrassing about a mistake I made as a new blogger. It was an honest mistake and totally understandable as a newbie. . . but I still cringe when I see others doing the same thing.
Hopefully, if you’re a new blogger reading this, I got to you before you made the same embarrassing mistake that I did. Before we get into the details, let’s chat on how this mistake came about.
See, I had been blogging for years in the late 90s/early 2000s. Unfortunately, I had to put it all aside and hustle, hard, to make a living. Working 65-75 hours per week at my career didn’t allow much time for blogging. When I decided to jump back into writing and site design nearly 15 years later, it was a whole new ballgame. So, I poured over every article out there on how to start a blog, platforms, how to promote it, the ins and outs of post lengths. . . everything I could get my hands on. Pinterest became my go-to source of an amazing, never-ending well of information.
As a newbie, you’re probably reading up on everything you can and totally overwhelmed at all of the information out there. You’re reading dozens of blog posts like “Start Your Blog in 4 Easy Steps” and “The Total Newb’s Guide to Starting a Blog.” I know I did.
Wow. Everyone is soo helpful, right?
Well, what I didn’t realize when I was a second-time new blogger, and maybe you don’t realize either, is that those guides are major money-makers. True story.
Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a living blogging. In fact, I make a decent income from both my blogs. I wouldn’t be able to do as much as I do if I didn’t.
What is wrong, however, is that many bloggers seem to have sold their soul to the highest bidder. They recommend certain hosting companies (*cough* Bluehost, HostGator *cough*) and other products not because they are the best tools out there, but because they pay the highest affiliate rates.
What that means is that they use a special link to send you to a certain company’s product, and the company gives them a cut of the money when you make a purchase. I’m totally fine with affiliate links, in fact, I use them a lot. It helps me to afford now to do what I love as a career which is writing and blogging. But I have integrity and only ever promote things I use and think are the bomb dot com. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone out there. I may be a little naive sometimes I guess, expecting everyone else to have firm values as I do.
So, anyway, here I am reading all these awesome, simplified guides and instructionals, complete with screenshots, thinking how helpful they all are. “Wow,” I thought, “All I’m seeing are recommendations on two different hosting companies: Bluehost and Hostgator. They must be the best out there to get such rave reviews. Plus everyone’s offering discount links, so that’s pretty awesome.” See? Naive.
Don’t take my word for it. Do a search for something simple like “how to start a blog” and I bet that at least 7 out of 10 will recommend Bluehost and the others will recommend HostGator. I’ll wait.
Crazy stuff, right? The reason for this is that Bluehost, and HostGator to a slightly lesser degree, pay out ridiculously high affiliate commissions on every affiliate sale. There are bloggers making TENS of thousands of dollars every month from the Bluehost and HostGator affiliate programs at the expense of their readers. That is wrong. It’s wrong because neither of those hosts are very high quality and are actually owned by the same huge company, EIG.It's WRONG that so many bloggers have sold their soul to the highest bidder. Click To Tweet
Here comes the embarrassing part… I fell for it and signed up for HostGator to host my brand new blog, The Art of Better. It took me about a year to realize something wasn’t right with the speed of my site and many more months to troubleshoot and optimize as much as I could on my end, thinking that might help. No luck. I had a ton of downtime and finally just turned off my downtime monitor because I didn’t know what else to do.
HostGator wasn’t any help. Their support was always awful. They promised to fix the issue, failed to open support tickets or lost them, hung up on me [seriously], kept me on hold for hours, you name it. Basically, they did everything you should do if you hate your customers.
I started asking around in the various blog groups I was a part of to see if anyone else had the same issues. Holy cow. It was like opening the floodgates. After doing more research, it seems like most people hosted with any EIG owned company were pretty damn disgruntled.
Now, before I get crucified in the comments or on social media for this post, I need to remind you that every company has good reviews and bad reviews. Of course, experiences vary. However, when 70-75% of non-affiliate articles and reviews share the same troubles with a particular service, that’s indicative of a problem.
When I finally made the move away from HostGator and EIG, I was shocked at the difference it made. Believe me when I say that I did a crap-ton of research when choosing my new host. I spoke with bloggers one-on-one and relied on those with whom I had an established, long-term relationship… people I trusted.
Who’d I end up going with for hosting? Before I tell you, just know that I do earn a commission if you choose to use them for your site too. That’s what enables me to run my blogs, including this one, and be able to help so many people. I love my current host and want to shout it from the rooftops. Or something. You know what I mean.
I went with SiteGround. SiteGround all the way. Siteground every day. It’s been some months now since I completed the migration process and I couldn’t be happier. Why? Well, let me list all the reasons:
1. SiteGround’s tech support people handled my migration FREE. There are two small things that I had to do as the domain owner but they did the rest.
2. My site is faster, noticeably so.
3. They offer free daily automatic backup service. I like having a backup plan!
4. Tech Support has been amazing. They’ve really knocked my socks off. I’m not so swift at the back end technical stuff, and they held my hand via phone when I had to do my domain owner part of the migration. They were gracious and patient every single time, and they didn’t make me feel like an idiot for asking stupid questions.
5. Their support team is available, quickly, 24 hours a day via phone, chat, and helpdesk. I like talking to a live person. I have never had to wait longer than 60 seconds for a live chat support person to appear on the line!
6. The SiteGround dashboard is so easy to use. Everything is organized in a way that actually makes sense.
7. I’m only paying half of what I paid for HostGator. I repeat: I’m getting so much more for much less money! That’s probably my favorite part.
So, I’ve been exceptionally pleased, and I know you would be also. If you’ve found this or any of my other pieces helpful and you decide to go with SiteGround for your hosting, please consider using my affiliate link by clicking HERE or on the SiteGround image on the sidebar if you’re on desktop or lower on your screen if you’re on mobile. When you use my link, you get the best possible deal on your hosting plan, up to 60% off regular prices, and I get to be able to afford to keep helping people and doing what I love. It’s a win-win at no cost to you.
If you choose not to go with SiteGround for your new blog, that’s cool too. I would just suggest that as a new blogger you do as much research as possible and stay away from companies owned by EIG. They all seem to be a mess.