I have been meaning to write about my experience in moving my WordPress-hosted blog to a self-hosted one, especially after I wrote about the Bright Spot’s new look. I think now is the best time to share it because I’ve been receiving inquiries on how I did it and if it’s more convenient to just pay an expert to do it.
Based on my experience, even if I have the money to spare for an expert to do the job, I’ll still opt to do it myself. Why? Because it’s cheaper and generally do-able!
- There’s a lot of cheap (but reliable) web hosting plans available now and once you purchase a plan, you will be guided all throughout the process until you go live. Patricia of Fancy Girl Designs (she who designed this beautiful new home for my blog) recommended GoDaddy.com for the website hosting not only because is it really cheap, but because I’m already using WordPress and GoDaddy is one of its affiliated web host partners. It also has an auto-install WordPress.org application so I no longer have to download this separately. Saved me a lot of time!
- Once I have purchased and activated my web host account, I was guided on how to get started with building my website: setting up my WordPress.org account and domain name. The process was pretty straightforward. The installation of my web host account and setting up of my WordPress.org account took only a little more than 30 minutes.
Now, just when I thought I can sit pretty while waiting for the website design to be finished, I was suddenly faced with a config problem involving my domain name.
You see, I bought my domain name (leahdeleon.com) from WordPress.com last year and I kept getting errors while trying to point my domain name to the new server. I know there’s a way to correct it so that the domain will point to the new webhost (meaning when you click or type my domain name, you will be directed to the new blog at WordPress.org and no longer at its old home in WordPress.com). And because I do not have the patience to understand all those stuff about DNS, IP address and nameservers, I figured that transferring my domain name to GoDaddy as well will fix the problem. And it did!
Transferring my domain name away from WordPress.com entailed some costs and additional waiting time for me as it has to be approved first and I waited for about 3 days for that. But the good news is that I actually saved money because it’s much cheaper to maintain a domain name here at GoDaddy! It cost me just $8.00 (discounted) for the domain transfer, registration and maintenance good for 1 year, whereas at WordPress.com I’m shelling out almost $28.00 a year for the same set of services.
The next challenge would be importing my blog contents from the old blog to the self-hosted one. This is supposed to be a one-click process at WordPress.org but because of the volume of the blog entries and the pictures that came with these, I have to go slow and do it in tranches. The beauty of WordPress is that you can customize the way you transfer your blog contents. You can do it either by archive dates or by type of contents. In my case, I imported all the blog posts first, leaving all comments behind. Then I transferred the comments. There was no problem doing this and the comments didn’t end up at wrong blog entries (whew!).
The last step was installing the website design. This is where Patricia came in (whew!). She was the one who set it up all up at WordPress and tweaked everything until I was fully satisfied hehe! This was perhaps the most fulfilling activity in this whole exercise.
Here are some tips for those who, like me, fell in love with blogging and wishes to develop it into something more than a personal blog:
- If you have the money, self-host your blog early on and invest in a domain name. You can purchase both at GoDaddy.com which offers ones of the cheapest rates for these services. You will eventually need both and having them at the onset of your blogging career will help you: (1) monetize your blog earlier, (2) maximize SEO plug-ins and become more visible and (3) gain more followers.
- Invest in a good website design. Do not do it in a piecemeal basis, like what I did. As you know, I had the blog logo customized first. then less than a year after it was full blog make-over. Know what you want and work your plan on it.
- Lastly, discover and learn the available plug-ins of your blog platform to maximize its potential! WordPress has lots of helpful plug-ins for your blog that can turn it into a fully functional website (commerce-type, informational or interactive) without you spending on a website developer! Who knows, you might also find a career in website design using WordPress tools!