Okay. Here it is. I am not a blog about blogging but I feel compelled to garner feedback and experience from my fellow WP community. I also want to put it out there – this post is my personal experience and I am not affiliated with paid blogging in any form.
I started this blog non-noncommittally in July of 2016. I love reading blogs and wanted to try creating one of my own. In my experience, when I Google, “how to start a blog”, or see other bloggers showing step-by-step tutorials about how to start a blog, in hindsight I realize they 1) all contain the same formula and 2) they are getting PAID for it.
First let’s talk about the “formula”. Yes, a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog is not rocket science and will be basically the same for Word Press or Weebly, etc… but ONE thing popped out at me. They all talk about “self-hosting” and specifically, Bluehost. They’re “formula” all gives a self anecdotal story of how they started their blog, how they went with a self-hosting platform like Bluehost, how the rates are affordable and how you can make money if you self-host.
With my eyes like saucers, I bought the scam! Yes! I researched how to start a blog for months…literally. I combed through page after page of Google results to my search query “how to start a blog” and “best blogging platforms”. I did my due diligence and thought hard about my domain name, etc… Well, silly me!
Here’s the facts:
I bought into the self-hosting idea. I am certain that for some bloggers who are savvy and want to learn how to run advertisements on their blog and create a passive income, it’s the right fit. Not so much for me. I paid a low fee of $4 a month with Bluehost to start and secured my domain name mrsmotherdirt.com. Great! Done! I blogged on and off for a year, had over 100 followers and was having fun. When 2017 rolled around, I decided that I did not want to pay Bluehost the now $8 per month rate that they were jacking it up too. Instead I contacted WordPress and used the tutorials to switch over to the personal WP blog. In the process, I ended up loosing my 100+ followers and had to pay Bluehost for my domain name anyway. THAT was not fun and it really left me deflated. I had worked hard to build my blog that first year and to lose all my followers and some content felt defeating. I ended up taking a long blogging hiatus. Then in February 2018, I decided to come back. In a few months I have reestablished my blog and I am happy where I have gotten. I love my readership and the blogs I have discovered!
Earlier this month when my Bluehost payment came due, it was set to the manual renewal setting that I set it too (I never do anything with auto pay. Like never!), or so I thought! But lo and behold, they auto-charged my PayPal account. I tried to log into my Bluehost account but of course, I could not get in. I “chatted” with the help-bot and reset my password. When I finally logged in my account, it was set to auto pay and it showed my account was “deactivated”. Things were not adding up so I called the customer support number.
Apparently, those tricky bastards do not explicitly tell you that if you ever, even ONE time, pay with PayPal (I pay with PayPal online to minimize risk of credit-card theft), they dump you into an auto-renewal policy. You have to manually go into your PayPal account and inactivate the vendor from auto-pay.
Okay, so that one is on me. Maybe I didn’t read the fine print that is in invisible ink or something. The customer service guy, Victor, was stammering all over the place when I was confronting him about the policies and practices of his company. Since my renewal wasn’t due until 6/29/2018, yet I was debited on 6/12/2018, I asked for a refund. Hmmm, seems like that should be easy. Nope! No refund. Bluehost doesn’t refund. I asked him to send me THAT policy in writing to which he never did.
Then I asked how I can cancel my account. On the website there is no indication of where you can cancel. Victor told me “I can cancel you on the phone, you can’t do it on the website and it basically inactivates your account but never deletes it”. He also sent me an updated bill as “confirmation” that my account was closed.
Ummm, that’s weird. NOWHERE on the email did it say my account was canceled. I then requested that Mr. Victor, customer rep, send me my confirmation number in writing and he had to put me on hold to speak to a manager and finally sent me this:
I don’t know about you, but this whole thing feels “scammy” and dishonest. I also realized that the bloggers who are writing these Bluehost, how to start a blog posts are getting paid every time you, me, or some other newbie clicks on the link to Bluehost. If this is how you make money as a blogger, I want no part of it. As for self-hosting, I have heard Godaddy isn’t much better. I think I will stay right here with Word Press where I have been treated fairly and can self-delete my blog if I wish, without fighting the corporation to do so.
My new domain name is mrsmotherdirtblog.com and I like it!
What has been your blogging journey? Do you self-host? Why or why not?