Over a year ago, I started on a journey to switch my blog over to my own hosting. Before this switch I was using a free website builder called Weebly. They were great. They have easy to use designs, which was my big draw to them in the first place. So why did I want to leave them? There are a couple of big reasons. First off I wanted more flexibly with my design. I wanted to take my blog to the next level and make the website look more professional. The second reason was my ad revenue. Weebly takes 50% of my Google AdSense revenue. I know, I barely make any money from this blog but the little I was making was getting funneled over to this “free” website company.
Once I got to the point that now my website makes enough to cover the costs of hosting, I decided it was time to make the switch. I thought this was going to be a quick process. But to my dismay there is no magic button to switch your website content from Weebly to WordPress. I literally had to copy, paste and reinsert every single picture, word, and comment on my blog! Talk about driving a person nuts. I am just glad I started this now with only 43 posts.
I did read online that there are way to bring over all the text but none of the pictures or formatting come with that. I have a very photo heavy site so I had now choice then to do it all manually.
Along the way I have been learning how to use HTML and CSS. A huge thanks goes out to my husband for be amazing and helping me so much!
As for the website design we decided to start off with a free WordPress theme. I decided that Twenty Eleven was the closest to the look I was going for. From there we edited the CSS to make it what it is today. I don’t know if I will ever be done editing and tweaking this page.
The hosting company that I ended up going with was Blue Host. They are very affordable and it was very simple to set up a WordPress site through them.
I have to pass long things I learned along the way to any other poor souls that are starting on this same journey:
- Learn a little about HTML and CSS before starting.
- Keep notes that you can reference
- What headlines are for what.
- Useful code you use a lot.
- Add alternate text and title to photos before adding them to the page (this will save time)
- Make sure if you are copying the photos from your old site you open them to full size before doing so. If not you just get the file size that you see on the page.
- If you are going to make a big change to the CSS code, save a copy before doing so.
- Copying over all the comments is painful. Get comfortable, turn on your favorite tv show (me personally, I had a Friends marathon) and just go at it. One recommendation I have is copy them over without the email addresses added in. You can change this setting in discussion tab on WordPress so it does not require an email. Also open up an incognito tab or use a different browser so that you are not signed into WordPress. After you are done, copying over all the comments and editing the dates and times open up the Weebly dashboard (where you can see the recent comments) and the comments tab on WordPress. From there they will all be in order and adding the emails will be a lot less painful at this time. The only problem I ran into was Webbly only lets you see X number of comments, so some of the emails are lost in the process.
With this new website, I have added a few more ways to follow. Check out the follow me box on the sidebar to follow via social media.
Because of the new Facebook changes, very few of my followers actually see my posts. This is very sad but true. I will continue to post there but I am also giving you more options including getting an email when a new post is added. You can also follow on instagram, if you want to see some behind the scenes and sneak peaks at what I am working on / doing in real life (along with pictures of my pets). Let me know if there is another way you would like to follow! I am up for suggestions.
I hope everyone enjoys the new design. Please give me some feedback (good or bad). Also if you see anything that is off or a broken link, I would love to hear about it so I can make fixes.
Now that you know about the new design, here is a little bit about my new outlook for the site.
As most of you know, we now live in Norway. This has caused many big changes to this blog. The biggest one is not having a space to use tools like I used to back in Seattle. Also I don’t have a house anymore that I feel like I can throw money at with DIY projects. With that being said this blog is taking a little detour. I plan on writing more about our travels and life in Norway (please bare with my non-technical writing, I am trying to get better). We live in Europe now and we are taking so many exciting adventures!
I am not saying there will be no DIY but there just might be a little less and smaller scale projects. At least until we move into a space that will allow for me projects.
I foresee many changes for this blog in the new year and I hope everyone sticks around while we work out all the kinks of this new direction I am taking. I am excited to see where the blog goes!