Hi Pebs! I moved from wordpress.com to .org. I'm with Hostgator. Their customer service is excellent. I had a silly problem and got live chatting with them - they spent an hour on line with me and solved the problem (it was my fault, stooopid computer). I don't think I lost my email followers, but I chickened out and paid someone to move it all for me as I am so untechy it's unreal. choochy @ www.stumblinginflats.com
My advice is sign up fro amazon web services you get 750 hours per month free usage for as long as you use it.
choose the bitnami ami wordpress installation fire it up and you have your own hosted web server and you can install any wordpress module you want.
second buy an amazon elastic ip address, go to your domain name provider and get them to point the cname to the amazon elastic IP address
now your own server is up and running in the wild old web... you have full control access to full on amazon availability (rarely goes down - its amazon after all).
Now its a linux ubuntu 12.04 installation.... do not be scared about running it. once the ami has started you administer through the wordpress interface (you should be used to it if you been using wordpress site).
DO CHANGE the standard username and password for the bitnami web appliance/server (its user and bitnami) immediatly or anyone will be able to take control over you site application and have their wiked way with it.
This is the cheapest way I've come across to have your hosted solution under your own control
I worked with the amazing lady, Jan, at www.dorsetcopy.com . She was fantastic - moved my entire site over, and there were a LOT of problems with transferring the theme, plus she sorted all the SEO figures for around 50 quid. It might sound a lot, but she was incredible, sorting out the transfer (took us ages, as theme was only ok for .com not .org) and also all the other niggly things. Plus she recently linked my blog to Twitter free of charge.
I'm not a techy, but she downloaded all the SEO plugins I needed (or something)! I find I get more visitors, especially now the title of my blog is snappier, without the .wordpress ending - think people take you more seriously. BUt as she explained, all the SEO help is great, but you still need to get out there and 'shamelessly promote your blog', in my case, hooking up with MS websites...oh, and Twitter! X
Sorry Choochy, just re read that reply and it reads like i'm being sarcastic with the thanks for that cos the link doesn't work but I mean thank you and then separately I wanted to say the link doesn't work so can you give it to me again as I'll definitely use her
Not sure if you have done this already but one thing to ask about is where the blog is hosted. I am in the process of moving all my blogs to one host, cause they were all over the place, and I wanted someone local to do it so that I could meet with them personally.
Found a guy and he said that having the blog hosted in UK will improve google hits - not sure if this is true though. He also advised against Hostgator as they had security issues recently.
Um, hate to throw a spanner in the works but why are you going self-hosted and do you think it's worth the extra hassle and responsibility? Sorry if I'm being the devil's advocate - it's just that I've been sticking with .com until I'm convinced it's worth going over to self-hosting!
Thanks for your feedback YoungDebbie, i have done an enormous amount of research and the plugins are just way too exciting for me to be missing out on them! I don't think it seems that major a responsibility backing up my page but I think in the long run I'll get a lot more out of it. Fingers crossed it doesn't back fire