Today I’m beginning the huge task of transferring my self-hosted WordPress blog onto a premium theme. So please excuse things being out of alignment while I go through each post to strip out old coding for new short codes, change media players, resize images and thumbnails blah blah!
It’s hard to believe I’ve been running my blog on the free Pinboard masonry theme since 2013.
Over the years this theme has served me well and generated tens of thousands in affiliate commissions. Proof that even if you make a complete hash of things or do an amateurish job with SEO (not to mention the bad grammar!) you can still make tons of moola just by having your own self-hosted WordPress blog… and cranking out posts every month!
And it doesn’t cost the earth to have your own self-hosted WordPress blog either! You can start for just over a few dollars per month. Mine is still hosted on HostGator where I also have over a dozen other domains bringing home the bacon.
So I guess you might be asking, if it ain’t broke why fix it, why go paid when there isn’t a shortage of great free WordPress themes to choose from?
Well, there are number of valid reasons really.
When building a personal brand online it helps if you can stand out in the overcrowded marketplace where most websites all look like clones of each other. After looking at hundreds of themes I settled on the simplicity of the Brixton theme. Note: There is now an identical and more ecommerce supported theme called BRITONIC.
One of the biggest downsides to using a free WP theme is they require many external plugins to improve your site’s functionality. This dramatically slows down your blog load time and makes it less appealing.
With premium themes, you get a much more sophisticated Theme Options interface that will allow you to modify nearly every single aspect of your blog. Plus they come pre-packaged with custom widgets built in that would otherwise require you to use separate plugins for content sliders, post templates, galleries and advertising widgets etc.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and website speed optimization are essential for the success and good search engine ranking of any WordPress blog these days. A free theme has to rely heavily on many external plugins because developers don’t give SEO much attention. This results in bloated code greatly slowing down your site’s performance. Premium themes have good SEO capabilities and unique features built into the code base for optimized performance and to minify script files.
Free themes are usually not supported by their author. If they are, then it’s not for very long after a theme is published. Every time WordPress publishes an update, an unsupported theme falls another step behind in being up to date and current.
From my own experiences, with each WordPress update something broke on my blog or caused a new plugin conflict. It always required coding to fix the bug… that’s if you know how! Finding the answers easily is very difficult. I’ve had to drop plugins or lose functions I liked because I couldn’t find the code answers. Premium themes come with good author support and good customer service to make for an effortless experience when achieving design-specific goals.
Free blog themes are easily hacked because they have many security vulnerabilities. Premium themes are built with strong security in mind, and come with ongoing support to keep their code base updated to the latest security standards.
WordPress are constantly updating their architecture to fix bugs and security threats, and working under the hood designing things to increase your blog performance and optimization. Keeping a theme updated means keeping it fresh, safe, relevant and free of bugs. Free themes don’t get updated frequently, if at all, or if they are it can be years between updates.
So there you have it! If you do not yet have your own self-hosted blog I HIGHLY RECOMMEND starting one hosted on HostGator. Having your own self-hosted blog will not only brand YOU.inc, but allow you to generate multiple streams of affiliate income 24/7. You own it 100%, you control it! It’s a business asset and blog posts generate revenue for years.
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