I have had several people comment that they would like to hear how the transition went in my move from my WordPress.com hosted site to WordPress.org, a self-hosted site. So I decided that I would share my experience for any of you who are interested or might be considering this move.
First of all, you may be wondering why I wanted to move to a self-hosted site. My reasons are fairly simple in that I want to possibly pursue paid advertisers/sponsors and the flexibility to format my site however I choose with no limitations or restrictions.
Once I made the decision that I was going with the self-hosted site, I had to decide if I would make the move on my own – meaning I would have to create a new site from scratch myself and be sure that everything was configured and running correctly, or if I would pay the $129 fee and purchase the Guided Transfer that WordPress offers. The decision was not a difficult one for me as I know just enough to be dangerous….and this was VERY dangerous territory for me! So I hauled out the plastic card and handed my site over to the WordPress wizards….it was definitely the right decision!
Within the same day, I received an email instructing me on how to start the process. I first needed to choose a hosting site (I chose Go Daddy). Once my hosting site was purchased, I turned it over to the WordPress team to do their magic. In less than a 48 hour time frame, I was informed that my new site was up.
When I pulled up my site, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it all still looked and operated the same…not really sure what I was expecting but I was extremely happy that, from my point of view, it appeared to be a seamless transition.
As I maneuvered around a little more there were a few nuances that I noticed, as there are some differences between the hosted and self-hosted sites. The good news is that when you purchase the Guided Transfer, there is a two week support period to help you iron out any issues. I would highly encourage everyone who does this to really play around with your site during this two week period and fully utilize the support team’s knowledge and experience. I emailed the support team on a daily (if not hourly) basis with the questions I had and I was able to iron out a lot of my issues…..Michael (my WP wizard) and I are good friends now.
As with most decisions I make, this was a fairly spontaneous move on my part without 100% knowing what I was getting myself into. I didn’t really consider the fact that I have no HTML knowledge or experience in managing a self-hosted site. Luckily for me, WordPress has done an excellent job in creating plugins and widgets that compensate for all my inadequacies…”Plugins and Widgets for Dummies” if you will.
I had completely taken it for-granted that WordPress.com offers full service sites and a community that supports it. So I was thrilled to find out that some genius came up with the Jetpack plugin. This plugin covers many of the facets that WordPress.com offers, things I never even thought about such as comment boxes, sharing buttons, spell check, stats, photo galleries, and on and on. In general, it offers you all the conveniences of WordPress.com on your self-hosted site.
However, having said that, there are a few things that are different and, at this time, cannot be changed (and I hope all you wizards out there are working on new plugins for these issues). For one thing, all the “likes” on previous posts do not transfer over to the new format. Not really a big deal but it does make you feel a little bit like a loser since there are no likes on all the previous posts.
Another difference is that because technically you are not part of the WordPress.com community any longer, there is no “like” or “comment” box available in the Reader for people to quickly respond to your post. Someone actually has to open the post to like or comment on it….but isn’t that what you’re really trying to do anyway, is to get someone to visit your page. But I’m sure that not having this feature will impair the number of likes and comments you might get. I’m sure I will discover some other differences as I go along, but I have to say that as of right now, I am really happy with the move and features offered.
As an added challenge to moving my site, I also decided that I only wanted to manage one blog instead of the two I had going. I chose to continue with my SKEdaddle blog and to shut down SKEdazzles. This was a fairly big risk for me as the majority of my followers were on my SKEdazzles site. At the time, I did not know if my followers would be able to be redirected to my current blog. I was pleasantly surprised (and very grateful) to find out that my followers could be redirected and that I didn’t have to start from scratch again. On a side note, this is also true for Facebook pages if the pages are similar in nature.
To sum up my experience, I give it a thumbs-up. It’s been relatively painless and I am happy with the results so far. Now it’s up to me to play around and fine-tune things as I wish.
In true fashion for me, I have no idea where I’m going with this but I love knowing that I now have the freedom to do what I want to with this blog and that my options are limitless….because that’s just how I roll – living life serendipitously one day at a time!