Wednesday December 2nd was D-Day for ladiesgamers.com: the Big Move. And a scary event too, I was quite nervous leaving my precious content in the hands of technology. Even felt as if I was leaving it in the hands of faith, that’s how it feels when you can’t quite comprehend what is going to happen under the hood.
A couple of weeks ago the seed of this plan to move began to take hold in my brain. The blog had existed on wordpress.com since 2013. WordPress.com is a perfect way to have a blog or a site, without all the hassle of making sure that you have the right versions, the right extra content in the sidebar, see the right statistics. Everything is done for you, and I can only say WordPress.com works well and user friendly. Lots of free choice in themes for your site, lots of useful widgets and some customizing option too. Blogging there can be totally free of cost, if you don’t mind the fact that WordPress puts adverts in your blog and that you use a generic www.wordpress.com link. And even putting in a little money to buy your own domain and make sure the adverts are turned off, it’s still very affordable.
Still I felt as if I wanted more control. I saw news of the most wonderful new themes and additions to make my blog more into a ‘more robust’ website. And upon research I found that hosting your own website wasn’t much more costly at all. In fact when you are a premium member of wordpress.com, so with a domain and no ads, the price for a self-hosted site is about the same. That’s because the companies that offer web hosting have some great deals to offer. I decided to take the plunge, and contacted one of them, in my case SiteGround. That was a week ago, and I’ve been on a roller coaster of learning and reading and tweaking ever since.
I entered a world where I had to obtain API keys, learn changing the DNS settings, IP hosts, moving subscribers,inputting HRML codes, ID tags for analytics and much more. Now I am a blonde, and although mine comes out of a bottle I frequently had to go at it from a blonde perspective. Just type the question in Google and see where it took me. Trying it out, seeing how it looked on the test site, and then change it all again. I downloaded several themes to see which would fit me best, and deleted lots of them again. Installed lots of plugins, only to find that they didn’t do it for me and de-active them again. Overall though I had a blast of a time, loved doing it. And when all else failed, I was so grateful for chat: SiteGround had a chat button, where I could get one of their helpdesk people on a direct line. WordPress themselves had chat too, and helped me enormously. Looking back on it, people are usually very friendly and helpful.
If you are thinking of making the move yourself too, and feel daunted at the prospect, I’ve got a few tips for you:
- Shop around for the hosting, there are huge differences in monthly cost. And there are some other things to take into consideration. I chose SiteGround mainly because they had a hosting server here in the Netherlands. Felt better to me, but I’ve heard good reviews about Bluehost too.
- Jetpack is an awesome plugin that allows a lot of the usual perks you get through WordPress.com. To use it, you have to connect your old wordpress.com blog address to the new one. It has very good functionality to offer, it makes moving your followers from your old blog to the new one easy. I think that you could even make your new site work fine just using Jetpack, but what’s the fun in that, right?
- I decided on some new plugins. MailChimp in WordPress is a perfect one, allowing you to build campaigns to your email subscribers in no time.
- To entice people to subscribe to reading the articles I’ve added a pop-up email form from PopupAlly so I can deliver new articles to them personally. The pop up ties in nicely with my MailChimp account, so all should pretty much go automatically. Still searching there to find the right frequency and such for the pop-up, don’t want it to be annoying.
- I’ve always been a big fan of statistics. I think I’ve mentioned before that I keep my stats updated in an excel spreadsheet with self-made graphs and all. The plugin Analytify, working based on Google Analytics, puts even more statistics on the dashboard for me to enjoy. Not sure yet if the statistics are all correct, I seem to be missing some views, but it’ll do for now. Am I weird for enjoying looking at them?
Themes and plugins always have a free starter option, for instance you can work fine with MailChimp as long as you have less then 2.000 subscribers. Well, I’m still a long, long way removed from that. So after the hosting cost and maybe the cost for a domain name, your wallet doesn’t have to take any more hits. Plus I’ve had a good time working on it, and still love doing little alterations and designs. The result looks good for now, but you can expect to see some more changes in future. Not done tweaking yet!
You are more tech savvy than me when it comes to webpages blondie 🙂 Glad to hear that the transfer went smoothly. Keep up the good work and you will surpass that 2000 followers cap.
Thank you for your nice praise…still had some issues today with queries not working but I swear I will get to the bottom of it!
Wow, I am impressed! I would love to do this and considering making the change. I don’t know if I have enough savvy to get through it, however, nothing much stops me when I really want to accomplish something. Your site looks fabulous.
Thank you. I think in that we are alike, if I want to accomplish something I will not be stopped. Almost all knowledge needed can be googled, and sometimes I just pester the help desk, lol.
Thanks for the info. I use google for everything.