Many of you wanted to know exactly why I switched over from Blogger to WordPress and what I thought of it so far. I’m still trying to figure everything out, but here are some answers to your questions!
Why did you decide to make the switch?
Many reasons, but the main one has to do with SEO which stands for search engine optimization. If you are someone who is trying to earn an income from your blog, you want as many people as possible to find your posts. You want it to be optimized with key words that others are searching for. (I’ve always blogged for fun. It’s a fantastic hobby that I am passionate about and I LOVE it. However my husband lost his job over a year ago and has been under-employed since. I use every penny I make from this blog to help pay a bill or two.) Wordpress allows you to tag your posts and include something called “meta tags” which help attach your keywords (tags) to your posts that search engines like.
I noticed you changed your blog name from The Stories of A to Z to Home Stories A to Z. Why?
Okay, this is going to get personal here, so I’m warning you up front. I started blogging 3 1/2 yrs ago with the sole purpose of keeping friends and family up to date on my life at home. I had just made the switch from working full-time as a school counselor to staying home full-time with my boys Asher and Zephan. The blog was about “the stories of A(sher) to Z(ephan)”. The first year I blogged had NOTHING to do with design, decorating, crafts or projects; it was more of a writing blog about my faith and musings as a mother, wife, woman, etc, and it was deeply personal.
Then something horrible happened in my life that silenced me. ***Updated to add: This “horrible thing” had nothing to do with my kiddos and nothing to do with blogging. It was completely unrelated but just changed me and changed what I felt I could share of myself.*** I didn’t feel like I could share anything personal on a blog any longer….and I didn’t want to. Around this same time, I discovered Buzzings of a Queen Bee which led me to Just a Girl, which led me to The Lettered Cottage, which led me to Nester, and on and on and on. Oh my goodness! Were there really people out there with my same interests and hobbies blogging about them and sharing them with everyone?! I can do that! And so I did. But I kept my old blog name which didn’t really make sense any longer.
When I made the switch, I decided it was time to have a name that reflected what this blog is all about…Home Stories A to Z!
I hate truncated (read more….) posts. Why don’t you have a more traditional format?
To truncate or not to truncate…it’s a big question with lots of opinions. I’m honestly not a big fan of the truncated post either, but not the type that I currently have on my blog. I don’t like the truncated posts where I read most of a post and then have to click on “read more” once already engaged. I get it. It’s annoying. However, I wanted my blog to look like a link party and wanted to give you all a plethora of clicking options. We all like to click around on link parties, right? On my old format, I crammed as much as I could onto the sidebar to highlight some posts of interest. This worked okay, but looked messy. So far I’m really happy with the format my programmer designed for me and I hope you’ll click around!
Did you do the switch yourself?
Oh my goodness no! I decided to switch back in the fall and contacted Ashley from My Front Porch Swing to help me out. She got me set up with Bluehost to host my blog. I purchased my new url name, and Ashley began the process of importing my content from Blogger to WordPress. But then I got scared. I couldn’t easily figure things out on WordPress. Ashley was very helpful in teaching me, but I wasn’t ready. Did I really want to do this? Am I ready for this? What if I lose all my followers? What if I can’t figure WordPress out? What if I don’t like it? Nope. I wasn’t ready. So there my “new” blog sat, half-imported until I got my nerve up to revisit it.
In December, I started working for Laurie Turk as the editor for Tip Junkie Decorate which is hosted on WordPress. I got a tad bit more comfortable with the format and more confident that I might be ready to switch. In March, I saw that Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect switched and it sealed the deal for me. I loved the look of her blog! I contacted her programmer, Tony from Evenpar Solutions, and inquired about fees.
Was it expensive to switch over?
No. When I initially looked into switching, I was quoted prices of $600-$800 for a complete switch and site redesign. Say wha???? I’m sure this is a fair price considering all the hours that go into a blog redesign but it was NOT in my budget. But at the time I didn’t know that there are programmers, designers, and designer/programmers out there for hire. A programmer will give you the elements you want on your site, but won’t make it look pretty for you. A designer will specialize in making it look cute with good graphics. If you’re able to do the graphics yourself, you can save a lot of money by just hiring a programmer. There are fellow savvy peer bloggers who can switch you over from blogger to wordpress for under $100. Ask around, do your homework, and have a very clear plan of exactly what you want and you’ll be able to switch affordably.
Is WordPress easy to use?
Uh…no. Blogger was incredibly simple for me to figure out. I could code in html and change anything around on my site on a whim. Now, I’m just trying not to delete my entire blog with a wrong keystroke! WordPress is not at all intuitive for me. But like all new things, there is a learning curve and it’s already getting easier. However, it’s still frustrating that I don’t “just know” how to do something on my own. Tony has been fantastic in answering all my questions and helping me figure things out and so have all of you!
I’m still having trouble getting my pictures right. On blogger, I was lazy and just uploaded a ginormous photo and then clicked the x-large button and was done. Now I have to fuss a bit more over the size of my photos before I upload them and then fuss a bit more once they’re uploaded. To get the little thumbnails to show up, I have to upload them in a different size. I’m lazy so many of the thumbnails look squashed :).
Are you happy you made the switch?
Yes! Blogger was definitely easier for me, but WordPress gives me so many more options for customization and organization. I have a very long way to go and I’ll be asking for some of you WordPress pros for help!
All of you can help me by letting me know if something isn’t working for you on my blog. Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to email to let me know of a glitch! I really appreciate it! Many are having trouble getting the blog to load and some of you have said the blog is freezing up your entire browsers. Not cool! I hopefully will have this resolved asap.
So how about some of you WordPress pros? Anything you’d add?