As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to switch blog-publishing services from Blogger to WordPress. Making this switch is one of the most talked about blog topics and I’ve had multiple requests to post some feedback since I made the change last week, so I didn’t want to delay my opinions any longer.
This was a major decision, but one that has proven to be wise! First of all, this was a huge undertaking! I’m not talking about the free wordpress.com site, this post is exclusively about switching to a self-hosted wordpress.org site! Last week, I finally convinced myself to take the time to make the switch, and perhaps shortsightedly, began the process without much of an advance plan.
Here, I have outlined some tips that hopefully YOU will consider before making the switch, in hopes of avoiding three or four hours of blog downtime – like I did.
First though, here are some pros and cons of the switch:
-Better monetization options i.e. ads, brand collaboration, links
-Not having to deal with Google’s ever changing rules and regulations
-Better control of your site and easy access to customer service from host site if your site is ever goes down
-More customization options (there’s literally a widget for EVERYTHING)
You might have different opinions and think that there are more cons to using wordpress.org, but so far the cost has been my only issue with the site. I spent around $250 for three years worth of service worth of service. However, there are cheaper routes for those of you who don’t need that many years or the extra features that I paid for! The money that I spent on the new site was generated by some of my previously sponsored posts, with a wordpress.org site and more sponsorship opportunities, the self-hosting will eventually pay for itself!
Why I made the switch
I told myself after a year of blogging I would spend the money and purchase a self-hosted site. I’m coming up on my one year blog-iversary and decided now was the time. I have heard great things about the site and wanted to find out about them for myself. My biggest thing was the customization options that WordPress offers. I am a huge HTML buff and love designing logos in photoshop (yep, I did my blog myself), on Blogger I was very limited with the designs that I was offered. I felt like that was limiting the amount of creativity I could insert into my blog. It looked like an elementary version of what I wanted it to be, and I blamed any lost sponsorship opportunities on its appearance. I am so pleased with the new appearance! I also had heard things about better monetization of WordPress and since making money through my blog is reasonably important to a college girl like me, I decided that it was worth the splurge, and if I did it well, I would make the money back. So far, so good.
Tips on making the switch
1. The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase hosting. I used Bluehost, but I know people who use GoDaddy and Hostgator and love those! You will go through the whole payment process and blog set up, and finally get to the point of needing to either transfer your domain name, if you already have one, or buy a domain. Transferring your domain is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, and all I can suggest is to use the free customer service that your server offers! They walked me through the whole process. My mistake here was that I purchased my domain almost a year ago with Godaddy. I was unaware that you could actually create a website with them, so instead I transferred my domain elsewhere for no reason. I could have skipped this step had I known that Godaddy offered websites! Blonde moment.
2. One thing to consider before you make the switch is to find your blog theme ahead of time. Whether you’re buying one from Etsy or having someone awesome customize one for you, it is nice to just be able to install it and get your site up and running ASAP, rather than search for hours like I had too. I also suggest using the Genesis framework for any blog theme that you use! I’ve loved the results and my blog looks spiffy clean, I hope you agree!
3. Once you’re able to log on with your new WordPress log in info, you will need to download the blogger importer plugin. This is when you transfer all of your blogger posts, photos, and comments to your new blog. Very simple and the plugin guides you through the whole process. I had to go through and edit my tags and categories, but it gave me something to do during class (not recommended, don’t tell my parents). This is extremely time consuming, since I have around 90 posts. I guess that’s why they tell you to make the switch sooner rather than later. I suggest adding tags and categories to all of your posts, because categories in your sidebar is an awesome feature that WordPress has. It’s easy to navigate through my outfit posts, fashion favorites, and even recipes! Using tags and categories maximizes your SEO and helps your posts appear higher in Google search.
4. Adding photos will take some getting used to, since they don’t size them down like Blogger does so kindly. I had to play around with what size photos look nice on my blog and remember them for each post. The photo adding feature is also a little different from Blogger, but I can say that the uploading time is cut almost in half; every fashion blogger’s dream!
Overall, I am very please with the options that WordPress has given me. Everything is very easy to add and change, and like I said above there really is a plugin for everything! The process is not as grueling as everyone says, I promise. If you’re a little more tech challenged, I’d be happy to help you out, just shoot me an email! One of my biggest regrets with this site is waiting so long to make the switch, so if you’ve been thinking about doing it, now is the time!
Have a question that I didn’t answer above? Leave it in the comments and I’d be happy to help out!