How I Moved this Writing Blog Without Anxiety

I’d considered hosting my site for a while, but fear gripped me.  
Move my writing blog to a new self-hosted domain? By myself? Talk about anxiety; that was it for me.

I moved past that fear to a blog that is smarter and cleaner than before. Some folks have asked, “How did you do it?” This is my story…to the best of my recollection.

This blog started as a free blog at WordPress.com. I had been there for about 18 months. In that time, I learned about publishing posts, building relationships, and gaining traffic. Because of the limitations, I outgrew the free platform and decided I wanted to self-host my blog. I decided to approach this like a piece of writing. So the first step was research.

1. Research what’s necessary

I wanted to use the WordPress software for self-hosting. Confusingly enough, WordPress.com is the free format and WordPress.org has the self-hosting software, discussion forums and support.

When writing about a subject new to you, research is crucial. I read everything I could find about hosting companies – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I won’t give you a rundown of the ugly except to say, don’t go for the absolute lowest price because the service level will likely match the rock-bottom price.

Stack of research books

Do your research!

I checked out many services. One was InMotion Hosting. I looked at their website and pricing, then emailed them a couple of times. On their website, they listed WordPress under hosting tools. I found that they had heaps of free tutorials about WordPress software and moving a WordPress.com site.

I also looked through the extensive research that a fellow writer Lorraine Reguly did before moving her site. She gave them a high rating as well. We arrived at different decisions, but I appreciated all the details Lorraine put into the post. She saved me a lot of time. Being in Canada, she wanted to use a Canadian company. Similarly, living in the U.S., I opted to support InMotion Hosting; a completely U.S.-based company. One of their main offices is even in my state.

2. Decide to Act

I signed up online at their website.

The next day, I received a confirmation call from Jackie. I explained what I was doing and she sent me direct links by email to articles for getting started and about moving a WordPress site. She asked key questions and listened to mine. I later used their 24/7 tech support chat service to get some other questions answered (24/7 phone service is available too. I just prefer the online chat).

After I’d had my site set-up for about a month, they contacted me to let me know that my site was temporarily blocked because of a brute-force attack. They again sent me a link to a tutorial telling me how to get back into my site, advised me about a plug-in to install and told me two specific things I should change to make my site more secure. I’ve had no problems since then. I don’t think I’d be this far along without their support.

UPDATE: The day this post went live, I updated one of plug-ins. Immediately, I started getting an error message. After a few minutes, I was unable to even navigate to my site. I went to the InMotion Hosting‘s support chat service and Zach helped me. I learned about how to access my control panel, enter my WordPress file, and then edit the plug-in file. To disable the plug-in, I just had to rename it. I was able to log into my site again in about 10 minutes.  Thanks Zach!

3. Study, Learn and Improve

Having your own self-hosted site means there is always something new to learn. I found out that you can transfer followers from WordPress.com to a WordPress.org site Writing - Keys - Notepadusing a tool called Jetpack, which disappointingly doesn’t live up to the images I had of a James-Bond-like device (although it is quite handy).

There are special plug-in tools that can help you revive older posts, improve search ranking, and help with comments. I have learned how to set up email, a comments section, and sharing buttons. I’ve even messed up a few things and learned how to fix them. I discover and adjust the site in small ways each week to make it more helpful.

Please comment and let me know what you think below.         — Find out more about InMotion Hosting

Take a moment to sign-up for updates, top-left, or you can email me with thoughts or topic suggestions peter@peterdmallett.com

 

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7 comments on “How I Moved this Writing Blog Without Anxiety
  1. Aras Androck says:

    Me too. I’ve been planning to move my blog to .org. Any day now.
    Aras Androck recently posted…couponhuntr.comMy Profile

  2. KL Wagoner says:

    I’ve been thinking about moving to a self-hosted site — I know I’ll have to move eventually. Thanks for the information about InMotion Hosting. I hadn’t heard about them. I’ll put them on my list for the future.

    • It is work and there there is a lot to learn, but it’s worth it. There is something to be said for doing it yourself. Then you know what was done. InMotion Hosting is also listed on my tools of the trade page in case you forget the name. If you do decide to use them and you click through my page first, it would be appreciated. 🙂

  3. I forgot to mention that you need to update your sharing buttons. Don’t use the ones WordPress gives you; they are not the greatest since their last update. Get ones from Shareaholic, using their plugin. It’s free, too.

    You could also buy some, but the ones on my site work just fine. Just configure them (customize them) and you’ll be alright. 🙂

  4. Peter, I appreciate what you are going through, and have to commend you for finally making the move! Good for you!

    I’m happy my research helped you. It took me weeks to compile all that information!

    I can relate to your techie problems; I’ve had some of them, too. Not fun. But the good news is that you are learning, writing, and thriving. Yay for you!

    I wish you much success, and please, if you have any questions, ask me. I might be able to help. If I can’t, I can direct you to someone who can. 🙂

    Onward and upward!
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…Blind Men Don’t Need Help . . . do they?My Profile

    • Hi Lorraine, Thanks for all your suggestions and encouragement. I appreciate it. I actually made the move at the very end of March. I’ve tweaked a lot since then and just had the chance to write about it. I have looked at some sharing plug-ins, but I have not decided on any yet. Thanks for your suggestion. I noticed you are not using, the “about me” page and widget anymore. Thanks for offering to answer questions.

      • Peter, I am not using the about.me widget because I purchased a widget for social media follow buttons.

        However, it took me hours to set it up, and I had help from Tim Bonner on Twitter for how to do some (most?) of it. Tim has the same buttons on his site, and he is a helpful guy!

        A free option is the about.me buttons and widget, though.

        Good luck, and enjoy your site!
        Lorraine Reguly recently posted…Blind Men Don’t Need Help . . . do they?My Profile

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What is Writing?

"A writer looks at a screen or piece of paper like a canvas. They see a country unexplored, a picture unpainted, a tale not told. They dare to venture into the barren land, explore its dark corners, and paint its pictures. Then they unveil the epic with the goal of compelling people to visit their newly discovered territory.”
Peter D. Mallett

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