A few weeks ago, I transferred Olive and Clo from WordPress.com to the self-hosting provider, Siteground (backed by WordPress.org) and as a result, invested in a new domain name: http://OliveandClo.com.au.
I made this decision after realising that:
(a) I wanted to continue blogging (enough to invest money into the venture); and
(b) I wanted to own the content I created.
And after my post Olive & Clo has a New Domain, I realised that a lot of you guys were interested in the whole process. Whilst I am not an expert on this subject matter whatsoever, I thought I would share with you all the ..inconveniences I experienced throughout my transfer in hopes that it might help whomever else is looking to take the plunge.
When you see self-hosting services advertised for $4.95 a month in enticing, big, green font, it is probably worth noting that the advertised rate only applies when you purchase the 12 month membership up front (or in the case of Bluehost’s $2.95 per month deal, a minimum membership of 36 months).
A freebie that most self-hosting providers offer is a free domain name. However, this ‘freebie’ only remains a freebie as long as you renew your membership with the offering provider (for Siteground anyway). In the event that you choose to go elsewhere, a renewal fee will apply.
When exporting your existing posts from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – you are purely transferring comments, subscriptions, media files and content. Not your theme or plug-in(s). The key takeaway from this is that your posts will need to be completely re-formatted.
Personally, this proved to be a huge pain in the ass. For instance, all my photos in all of my 30-plus posts were turned into thumbnails and re-aligned from centre to left. I spent hours, and hours re-jigging all my posts and media files.
It’s important to note that when you change domain names you sacrifice any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you have built up under your previous site address.
For instance, it took weeks for my new domain name: http://www.OliveandClo.com.au to appear in Google, whilst http://www.OliveandClo.wordpress.com was still flagging, despite the shut down of the website.
You will find that for a while, your readers will still comment under your previous domain name. This can be frustrating as once you have ‘exported’ your content, in order to transfer the new comments over to your new address, you’ll need to re-export your ‘comment’ data again.
This sounds inoffensive enough – but trust me, it can get pretty old fairly quick.
Further on inconvenience 4, when changing domain names, all the ‘likes’ on your blog posts will reset. Which I found particularly annoying – considering that I used my ‘likes’ as positive/negative indicators for all the content I had created.
Now this point will prove redundant to most, but for a tech noblet like myself – I was caught off guard by this very simple notion.
WordPress.org is no where near as user friendly as WordPress.com. For instance, basic tasks such as creating a gallery requires 3 additional steps than the historical 1 step required for WordPress.com. Just make sure you have set aside additional time to explore and understand your new platform.
And that’s about it. None of the inconveniences I experienced were particularly troublesome. For the most part, Siteground were really helpful and were generous with their knowledge and time.
My only advice for those thinking of making the move, is to designate a good half a day to the process. Because once you get started, you will become obsessed with trying to get your website to where you want it to be.
I hope you guys found this post somewhat helpful. Should you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment below, I am happy to help where ever I can.
Until next time, stay safe.
Love Linda, xo