Last week, I made a big jump up in the blogging world and joined the WordPress club. That’s WordPress.org, not .com, which means my site is not free. I now pay for hosting and have complete control over my blog. This has positive & negative sides to it.
Back in May, I purchased a more professional & cleaner looking layout for my blog. I also bought MamaGab.net from Blogger for $10 for the same reasons. My husband and I felt that my blog’s audience was growing and these would help give my blog more credibility and professionalism, kind of like buying a suit for a job interview.
I debated between switching to WordPress then, but I was deterred by hosting costs and I wasn’t convinced that it was a good move, until about a month later, when I realized my mistake.
Why Move to WordPress?
On Blogger, while I did own my domain, Blogger/Google still owned my content and technically could shut my blog down at any time. Honestly, when I heard this reasoning, I was not convinced I should switch to WordPress. I saw no reason why they would do that (but it could happen).
The real reason I moved to WordPress is because I started looking into SEO–Search Engine Optimization. Specifically, I read this article by Christian Mommy Blogger about optimizing your site for SEO. Yes, you can help search engines find your content by doing a number of things manually, so I started saving my photos using the same keywords found in my title and content, but one of the easiest ways to do maximize your SEO is by using a nice little plugin called Yoast–available on WordPress, not Blogger. And really, there are so many things available in WordPress that make it easier to blog well, SEO aside.
WordPress is simply more professional. That doesn’t mean WordPress is for everyone, but if you’re ready to move beyond the hobby blogging, then WordPress might be for you.
After I purchased my new template & domain, my blog grew tremendously. But as time went on, it became more evident to me that I had outgrown my Blogger blog. There were things that I wanted to do that I could not do with ease on Blogger, like the menu bar up at the top that easily categorizes posts. I’ve also started earning a small income from blogging and I would love to see that grow. From what I’ve read, it’s easier to grow it once you are self-hosted on WordPress.
If you’re considering switching, you might be interested in this post from Blogging with Amy. I agree with her that if you’ve considered switching to WordPress in the past, then you’ll probably continue thinking about it in the future, because that’s exactly what happened with me. You may as well switch sooner rather than later to make it easier on yourself.
How Did I Switch to WordPress?
For months I’ve planned on switching. Once I knew I had more than enough in my blog’s bank account to purchase the framework & theme I wanted (Genesis & Prose), I started making plans. Except one thing kept holding me back.
I hate HTML. I hate coding. Doing anything code related makes my palms sweaty and makes me a grouchy mommy (one of many reasons I blog when the kids are napping).
To really switch, I would need to find a kid-free time to do it, like a weekend when my husband could watch the kids. But you know what? We’re redoing our kitchen ourselves–removing wallpaper, painting walls, painting cabinets, and putting in new counter tops. How could we possibly give up a weekend of work? I am so tired of having chaos in the kitchen and I’m ready to have it done. My home and my family have to remain my priority.
I finally decided to use more money from my blog’s bank account to hire a professional. I came across this list on Simply Stacie of designers who do Blogger to WordPress migrations. After checking references for a few different companies, I finally settled on Justin with Japster, Inc. I actually did not go with the cheapest company, though he definitely has good prices. I went with someone who had good references. I’m so relieved that I hired this out. I’m a DIY girl, but we did have some hiccups with the switch and I’m relieved that it was all in the hands of someone else, someone who knows what they’re doing. Not someone who puts meals on the table, homeschools her children, cleans the toilets not all too frequently, leads a local MOPS ministry, and gets a headache at the thought of coding. Those other things are all worthy of my time and energy, but given my comfort level with the techy side of blogging, I’m glad I put my transfer in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.
Switching to WordPress
I have loved switching to WordPress. I’m constantly amazed at the things that I can customize, and I have a long list of changes that I want to make, some big and some small. I’ve tried to avoid going crazy with Plugins & Widgets (I’m not sure that I know the difference in those terms yet), but the options are truly endless. But more important than spending hours on an efficient blog, I want to spend the bulk of my time focusing on good content. I’ll work on the technical issues one week at a time, bit by bit. There has definitely been a learning curve, and currently it takes me far longer to write a blog post in WordPress than it ever did in Blogger. But I’m guessing that this will improve as I get used to it.
If you’re wondering, I opted for Genesis as my theme and Prose as my child theme. Again, I’m a DIY girl, so I wanted something that I could completely customize without having to work with coding very much. For my site design, I selected several color palettes and emailed those to a friend who is a graphic designer. She chose her favorite and is currently working on a new logo for me. In the meantime, I designed my site using the colors in our palette. You can install an extension into Chrome (and other browsers) called Colorzilla that enables you to select precise colors from an image, so I simply pasted these color selections into my Prose layout options. It was super easy and really fun.
If you’re thinking about switching to WordPress, here are some resources that I found helpful (as in I had a gazillion tabs from each of these blogs open as I was designing and making changes to my blog!)
Are you on Blogger, WordPress.com, or self-hosted on WordPress? If you’re on WordPress, did you have to migrate? How did that process work out for you? All I can say is that I’m not looking back! This is the best thing I could’ve done for my blog.