So in Part 1, I covered how I picked a domain, host, theme, and framework. Today I’m going to ramble explain the move itself and what I did when I first got here.
From all the stories I had read, this was the most stressful part of the entire process. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I didn’t have to do anything but give Erin my log in info for Google (you can change the password temporarily) and within half and hour, she was done.
That was it. All my posts, photos, and comments (see below) were moved and I was ready to start blogging again.
Things to do on your blogger blog before moving:
1) Delete your drafts or save them somewhere else. They might go live during the transfer. I just saved mine in a Microsoft Word document.
2) Make sure your comments are NOT in Google + comment form. I had made the change a couple months before, from the regular commenting system to Google +, and although it was much easier for people to comment while STL was on Blogger, none of those comments transferred from Blogger to WordPress. So I have about a dozen posts with no comments. It wasn’t the end of the world, just something to think about.
3) Back up your Blogger blog. Go to your template tab and in the top right corner, there is the option to backup/restore. Choose the back up option!
4) Don’t delete your Blogger blog. If you ever need to access info off of it, you want it to be there. And if your redirects work right, no one will be able to access it after the move. I’ve been having some issues with my redirects and Erin has been working hard on it.
4) Create a post letting readers know what is going on and how to find your new site after it has gone live (which in my case, was in less than an hour.)
So you’ve moved! I honestly didn’t know how to log onto my WordPress.org account or how to access it; Erin sent me links I’m telling you, this lady is amazing! But once I got onto my dashboard, it was like entering alien territory. Here are the things I learned by trial and error and from asking many blogger friends!
Time to get aquainted with your new dashboard! Kind of scary and crazy, huh? Ok, at least that is what I thought. There were so many options! But start small.
1) Check to make sure your posts and comments are all there. Go to your posts tab and look at the published ones.
2) Go to your pages tab and create the pages you want, like “about me,” “contact,” etc. Your pages will not transfer and you will have to create new ones. This is really easy though, all you have to do is copy the content off of your Blogger and paste.
3) Buy your themes and frameworks, if desired. After buying and downloading them, go to your appearance tab, go to themes, and click add new. If you buy from Studio Press, they have excellent detailed tutorials. From there, you can start designing and playing around with layouts, sidebars, colors, and headers.
4) Download plug ins. I tell you, I spent hours googling which plug ins were worth downloading and which ones were the best at what they did. I had a secret Blogging on WordPress board on Pinterest to pin ideas about layout, color schemes, and of course, tips and tricks. I’m going to make that public and you can check out all the links I used for inspiration. I’m also going to list the plug ins that are live on my blog right now below.
Askimet. Everyone recommended this one and there is a reason they did. It does a fantastic job of blocking spam.
CommentLuv. It lets commenters leave a link to their blog with their most recent post so that I or anyone else can click on that and visit your blog from your comment. It is great for letting me find new blogs from the comment section!
Contact Form 7. I use this on my Contact page and it lets you put a simple contact page anywhere you want. It was super easy to install and lets people contact me without giving them my email.
Easy Recipe. This plug in formats my recipes so that they are easier to read and gives it a print option. I really like it. The only downside is I can’t add links within the recipe box without paying for their premium version. But other than that, I really like it! I just click the Easy Recipe icon in my new post and add the information. Easy!
Jetpack. This gives me stats and a whole bunch of other stuff I haven’t figured out. This plug in does it all! Update: Jetpack did not work for me at all. Because it is a do it all plug in, it was eating up all of my bandwidth, which was getting very expensive. Because I only used it for comment reply notifications and stats, I deleted it and downloaded other plug ins to do those things, which saved me tons of bandwidth.
Update: Comment Reply Notification. This gives commenters the choice to receive email notifications when I respond. This is great for building relationships between you and your readers! I personally love getting emails with replies from blogging friends.
Google Analyticator. This lets Google Analytics track your blog. I still haven’t completely figured this out either, but it was highly recommended, and is supposed to be the best data tracking option out there.
Limit Login Attempt. Pretty self explanatory. I only have so many chances to get my password right. This was a default, already downloaded plug in.
Pinterest Pin It Button For Images. It automatically adds a hover pin it button to your images. You can customize it, which is something I want to do, but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Shareaholic. This is the share buttons at the bottom of each post. I like how they look and this widget is extremely customizable. Highly recommend!
Simple Social Icons. Also very customizable; background color, font size, number of boxes, you name it. There are dozens of social media icons and all you have to do is enter the url of your facebook page, or pinterest profile, and voila, you are done! I customized the color and size of my icons, which says something, because I’m not very techy.
What Would Seth Godin Do. This is the box above your post that first time visitors see. You can customize what it says, what links it has, and how many times a person has to visit before it disappears. Mine welcomes visitors and gives links to my about page and recipe page.
Genesis Featured Widget Amplified. I use this on my Recipe Page that came with the Foodie theme. There are tutorials on Shay Bock’s site about setting it up. This is the part of the page that automatically adds recipes based on ingredients or categories. This is probably the biggest reason I bought the Foodie theme and it is worth it!
WordPress Editorial Calendar. This was highly recommended, but to be honest, I really haven’t used it. It is a calendar that shows you published posts, scheduled posts, etc. It is helpful, I just forget to look at it :/ Update: If you are ever going on vacation or having guest posters, this will be your best friend. That way, you can see when you need posts.
W3Total Cache. Highly recommended. Again, not sure what it does, but it was on everyone’s list.
Related Posts by Zementa. I love this plugin! You can choose how many related posts are under each post, the size of the icons, the kinds of posts you want – it is wonderful.
Chitika. I have this because I signed up to advertise with them. We’ll see how long it stays there but it has worked great! I no longer use Chitika for advertising because you make next to nothing. I work with Glam and Gourmet Ads.
Update: WordPress SEO. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE download this one. I didn’t for the longest time, but you guys, this is seriously amazing. It lets you add all this information so that search engines will find your posts first. If you want to read more about that, check out this Grow Your Blog eBook where I did a whole section on SEO.
Update: Tweetily. This plugin tweets old posts for you! You can pick how many hours in between tweets, what categories you want tweeted from, if links are included, etc. It is fantastic for someone like me who forgets to tweet.
Update: RSS Image Feed. This plugin is for my email subscribers. I use MailChimp and in order for MailChimp to grab my first image from my post, it needs this plugin. So this gets photos into my emails for my subscribers. Otherwise it would be booooring and that’s not my goal.
Update: WordPress Facebook Like Plugin. This adds a little like/share for Facebook at the top of my posts.
Update: Popularity Posts Widget. This gives a list and photos of my most popular posts. It works well for my sized sidebar and is very customizable.
I’ve read that 20 plugins is the magic number to prevent your site crashing, and Zainab confirmed that, so I’ve tried to keep that number constant.
Here are three things I love about WordPress compared to Blogger:
1) The commenting system. Now people can leave their blog url in the comments so I can find them really easily, AND, I can respond to comments from my WordPress dashboard. How cool is that? I don’t have to visit the blog url, I can just reply to all of them right from the dashboard. It is a time saving feature for sure.
2) The massive number of plugins. ^ And how easy it is to make your blog look more professional. Sure, you might have to pay, but the option wasn’t as realistic in Blogger.
3) It is really easy to guest post on WordPress blogs. Like, really easy. You can just add a guest user – I think that is so neat.
So how about you? Any favorite plug ins? What do you love about WordPress? Am I rambling or am I rambling??
Next post will be about how I designed my site to match my old site as closely as possible and how I maintained all my followers!