It’s a new year and I have been writing down goals and thinking of what this year will bring. Since I am a blogger, I have of course thought of things pertaining to blogging. Maybe you have some blog goals this year as well? Maybe you are thinking of switching your blog from one platform to another like I did last year? In case you are, I want to share my experience of switching from Blogger to WordPress with you. It’s a fairly simple experience, but I know that when making a big decision it helps to find out as much as possible to determine what to do. Let’s begin a little bit with my blog history.
Waaaaaayyyyyyyy back in the day, I started blogging as a way to share clothing and other things I created for my oldest daughter. Blogging was just gaining a little steam and many people still looked at me funny when I said I had a blog because they had no idea what that was. I started with a free blog using Blogger. That meant my site name ended with .blogspot. Fast forward a few years and I was still blogging and more ways were starting to pop up to earn a little extra money using that platform. This excited me since it would help fund my hobby, but I knew I wanted my blog to be more professional to do so. As I saw other bloggers begin to go to .com’s for a more professional look and feel, I just kept watch on what they did and what they shared about their experience. I wasn’t too sure I would keep blogging and didn’t want to start using a .com and then decide not to really blog anymore. Then the day came when I decided to go with a .com. I used the service provided from Blogger to do so and make the easy change. It went well. All the links to my old blog address went to the new and it all worked great. But I kept seeing how others had also changed over to WordPress from Blogger. I kept seeing people say it was better, but I wasn’t convinced yet.
As with most of this blog stuff, I’m usually behind. I just haven’t felt like it can take a front row in my life yet while raising small children, so I often put things off until I am really sure about the change or what I want to do. Last year I decided to make the switch from Blogger to WordPress for a few reasons. One, I wanted the better seo and opportunities to rank higher in search engines that are said to happen with WordPress. Two, I wanted to be able to have more control over the design of my site even if that meant waiting a while until I could hire a professional site designer to really help out. Third, I had always been so sad about the .com I had chosen because it was similar to a blogger I admire and had a blog friendship with. It was a total accident by the way. I had a newborn and was trying to think of a good site name and blame that “lack of sleep brain not functioning right because of a newborn” on it. I kicked myself when I realized what I had done. I sent an email and apologized and knew eventually I wanted to change the site name. She was super nice about the whole situation, but it still just felt wrong to me.
When considering the switch there were a few things I had to keep in mind. Having a self hosted site costs money. With the Blogger’s .com program, I only had to pay $10 a year for the site address. If you have a self hosted site, you have to have a hosting service which you pay and it’s a bit more depending on how much traffic your site gets. I also had to figure out how to make it happen. I had found some tutorials on how to make the switch yourself, but to be honest that scared me. As much as I love a good do it yourself project, I have learned sometimes you have to hire professionals. I needed a professional to make the switch for me. I began looking at blogs that are successful and use WordPress and saw the names of the hosting companies they used. I discovered that quite a few people I admire used RFE Hosting, so I got on their site and sent over an email with all of my questions, concerns, etc.
Thankfully they are able to make the switch I needed. One that would allow BOTH of my old site addresses to forward to the new site address. How happy that made me! I was so worried about losing people or people not being able to find my new site through old links. And it really did not cost as much as I thought it would at all. I was more than happy to hand over my money for someone to do this for me in a few hours. I had one hiccup that caused a little bit of a problem in that I had never set up a google account for my blogger blog for some reason (remember a few years back they started with the whole get an account with them and they everything was linked to it thing? Yup. I’m so good with technical terms and all let me tell ya haha). So it took a bit to get in touch with google about it and get that so the tech guy could get all the links forwarded to the new blog. But let me say, Aaron from RFE Hosting was so good about everything. It’s so good to be able to have confidence in the people who you hire.
In fact, he even just helped me big time when I added a plug in that changed all of my links. ALL OF THEM. I have no idea what I or the plug in did, but none of my links worked anymore. That meant all those pins on Pinterest went to error codes. All those links to my site from other sites also all went to error codes. I was mortified and actually grieved about this. I felt really stupid. I thought there goes my traffic I have and along with that the small sum of money I earn from google ads every month. But guess what? I emailed Aaron. At first I thought all was lost from an initial email, but once he got on there he was able to fix it and all things worked out beautifully. Whew. He even fixed my links for the better seo which was what the plug in was suppose to do. And this all happened on a weekend. I didn’t have to wait for regular business hours! What a relief. So now I always make sure to ask about plug ins whenever I’m considering installing them to make sure it’s safe and a good fit for my site. And I always get a good answer back.
Now, have my stats really changed from making the switch? Not really. I didn’t see a big change in my traffic at all, but that’s okay. I know there are so many things that go into attracting and getting people to visit this site. I’m going to keep doing my thing and see where it takes me. I am very happy with the more control over my site I have though. It was a bit of a learning curve, but there are tons of fantastic tutorials out there to help learn how to use self hosted WordPress. I will continually be updating things, but I made sure I had the basics here. I looked at others sites who are successful and I admire and saw what add ons they had, and if it’s something I need I go and find a plug in for it (example: a comment form on a static page. I didn’t have one before but now I do). I’m also very happy with my new site address. I feel so much better about that! So overall I am very happy I made the switch and I am very happy with the company I used to make it happen and host my new site. Maybe a switch is what is best for your blog or maybe it’s not. Just always make sure to research and really count the cost of what the change will have for you and your blog to see if it’s the best fit.
Thank you all for sharing along with my journey and I hope that this post helps you if you are considering making the switch.