Moving to WordPress: Downton Abbey Style (Plus a Giveaway!)

You guys. Guess what? This blog is finally at WordPress!

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if anyone wants to fangirl with me about Downton Abbey, TWEET ME RIGHT NOW

To celebrate, I’m having a giveaway. But, of course I first have to tell you, in this outrageously long post, how my journey went moving from Blogger to WordPress. Feel free to skip if you’re just interested in the giveaway, cause this post is looooong. And very heavily GIFed with Downton Abbey, because I have maybe become completely, unnaturally, hopelessly over the top obsessed with that show, which you’ve probably noticed if you follow me on Twitter. You’ve been warned.

To start, my entry into the blogging world was kind of a weird one, because I originally started a free WordPress blog, gave up on it, and then a few months later started a Blogger blog. And that was the home of YA Booklover Blog (ugh, that name) for over two years.

When I started blogging in October 2010, I barely knew of any blogs that were on WordPress. Even big blogs like The Story Siren were on Blogger at that time. So it seemed like Blogger was the clear choice. Blogger is very user friendly, and I was happy with it for a long time.

But near the end of 2012, I found myself reading so many Moving To WordPress posts from other bloggers and wondering if maybe I should be moving to WordPress. SEO! Hosting! Plugins! Although I had pretty much no idea what any of this meant, WordPress just seemed to be calling my name. And then, I made it one of my 2013 resolutions to move to WordPress (though I didn’t share it on the blog in case I changed my mind). I was originally planning to make the move over summer vacation, but when March break rolled around last week, I just thought, why wait? I had a week off school and it seemed pretty easy. I think I skipped any moving to WP horror story posts and just read the ones where everything went perfect. Well, you guys, I can pretty much guarantee that if you do move to a self-hosted WP blog, it will not all be rainbows and sunshine.

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Okay, more on that later – back to my story. So March break started, and I just went for it. Well, actually, I first consulted Kelly from Radiant Shadows because I was having a bit of a panic attack. Am I making the right decision???? GAHHH!!! Thankfully, she calmed me down enough that I could think clearly!

So I decided to go for it. WordPress, here I come! The day I posted on the blog that I was moving to WP was the same day I decided to move. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl when it comes to the blog. That’s probably not a great thing overall, but in the end I know I’ll never do anything if I agonize over it forever. Sometimes you just gotta jump in. However: I strongly urge you to think about what you’re doing. Because although I’m so far pretty satisfied with my move, there are days when I just think WHAT HAVE I DONE. A lot of the time I miss the comfort of my orange and white Blogger dashboard, and the simplicity of Blogger.

However, I’m already becoming a bit more familiar with WP and hopefully I’ll learn more tricks with time. But again – back to my story! At this point, I decided I needed to find some tutorials. I knew there were lots out there, so with the help of my right hand man Google, I found everything I needed.

The main tutorial I used was this one from Beautifully Invisible. It pretty much got me from start to finish. I really recommend this tutorial if you’re looking for something completely comprehensive to take you from A to B. However, this tutorial was written in 2010, so a few things are out of date. For example – there’s no longer a way to move all your GFC subscribers to WP anymore. I learned this the hard way, already halfway through my move. There was stress. There was panic.

Another thing that’s out of date is that BlueHost, the hosting service recommended in that tutorial, no longer offers a free domain for life – after a year, you have to pay for it. That’s the one thing that I researched thoroughly when picking a host – price. Although I researched a few different hosting companies, it ultimately came down to WordPress’ top two recommended hosts: BlueHost and Dreamhost. BlueHost was my first choice because of the price and all the people who recommended it. However, their website? VERY unclear. I just had a simple question that I couldn’t find the answer to anywhere: do I get a free domain name for life? Listen, I’m a highschool student. I get my money from allowance and dog walking. Paying for a host plus paying for a domain name just wasn’t gonna work for me. I needed an all inclusive package. So I decided to test out BlueHost’s customer service (which is supposedly amazing). Through their handy online chat feature, a representative told me that you get a domain name for one year… and then it’s $13.99/year after that. Um, what?? That was not anywhere on your website people!

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From there the choice was obvious. Dreamhost is the same price per month and includes a free domain name FOR LIFE. Stated right there on the website. They got nothing to hide.

So Dreamhost it was! The hosting and creating a WordPress.org site was pretty simple, as Dreamhost sends you emails to guide you through it. (But if you’re like me, you’ll be contacting customer service within five minutes of getting your account because you can’t log in. Go back and read the first email: it takes about 30 minutes before you can log in. (Go outside, take a chill pill.)

Once my blog was all set up, I just followed the instructions to import my posts and comments from Blogger. I only lost one post (not really sure which post), which I’m considering a good number seeing as other people have lost 25+. So all was going well. Google and I were getting along great. He had all the answers to my questions. I really didn’t see why everyone made such a big deal about moving. But then. Oh, but then.

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Remember how before I mentioned my GFC followers? Well, I figured I would be fine without the actual widget on my blog, because I could still see the number of subscribers in my Feedburner account. Yeah, that lasted for about five days until I logged on to Feedburner only to see that my subscription count had dropped to, wait for it, 26. Down from 1000+ to 26. And, in Google Reader, it said I only had 4 subscribers!  Turning back to my trusty tutorial, I followed the instructions to go to my GFC admin site so I could just bring all my followers to WordPress. Guess what? That feature no longer exists. THANKS GOOGLE.

I felt like crap, because all my hard work building up a readership over the past 2 years had just vanished. I turned to Twitter and asked if people could still see my blog in their Google Reader. Turns out  they still could, but I just couldn’t see that they were subscribed to me. I contacted the lovely, oh so helpful Ashley from BookNook who explained this whole thing to me in detail, and answered all of my pesky questions.

Up until the a couple days ago, I thought it would be fine if I couldn’t see my subscribers – as long as you guys could see my blog posts. Of course, now Google Reader is going out of business in July. So no such luck. I noticed that if you click my RSS button now, there isn’t even an option for Google Reader :/ So, while you can still follow me through RSS, you can now also follow me on Bloglovin, which is my new reader of choice (the icon is under my About Me thingy).

After that, the only thing I was worried about was the design. I contacted the brilliant and beyond helpful Linna who designed my Blogger blog about moving everything over, and look around! It looks like nothing’s changed! Thank you LINNA!

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And now, after all that stress, I’m here. There are still things I have to tweak a bit, though. For some reason WordPress decided it would take out all of the spaces in most of my posts, and while we’re at it why don’t we just remove all of my blockquotes and Youtube embedded videos? Yeah, so those are things I still have to fix. But overall I’m happy with the move. I’m planning to do a Blogger/Wordpress comparison post soon, once I’m a bit more familiar with WP. The main upside so far are the plugins. There is literally a plugin for everything, and they make my life so much easier. The biggest downside for me is the way you add widgets and format the layout of your blog. It’s waaaaay more complicated than Blogger. I look at my dashboard and I’m just like…

But I’m slowly figuring things out, and I’m overall glad I made the move.

Okay, now that I’m done with the longest post ever, it’s time for a giveaway to celebrate the move!

One lucky winner will win one of the following new releases!

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) Prodigy (Legend, #2) Requiem (Delirium, #3) 17 & Gone Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

This giveaway is open internationally, and all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. I normally don’t give extra entries for following the blog, but since I lost all GFC subscribers in the move, I’m going to give extra entries this time if you subscribe through Bloglovin, RSS, or email. Even if you still get my posts in your Google Reader, you’re technically not subscribed – so feel free to unsubscribe in your Reader and then resubscribe now that we’re at WordPress! Keep in mind, it’s not mandatory that you follow the blog to enter the giveaway.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • http://thereadingvixens.blogspot.com/ Kait @ The Reading Vixens

    My blogmate and I recently changed our blog name and started all over on Blogger, so I definitely understand your struggle! I’ve been thinking about WordPress for a while because I love the layout and the way the comments work, but it does seem like an awful amount of work. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Also, those DA gifs make me want to watch that show. Haha.

    -Kait @ The Reading Vixens

  • http://randomreads7.blogspot.ca/ Annie

    What a journey! Seriously, I commend you for doing all that! I would never have the courage to make the move! I’d rather wimp and stay with blogger which is suiting me just fine…so far. I’m so glad your blog design stayed though. It’s gorgeous and I absolutely adore it! Again, congratulations on your move! 🙂

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      Oh thank you! I’m sure you could make the move too, I think anyone can do it once you just get your head around it!

  • http://effortlesslyreading.com Kelly L.

    Psst! There IS a way to move your GFC followers from Blogger to WordPress. It’s here. ;D

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      Woah! I tried the tutorial but unfortunately I’ve been having a few problems, hopefully I’ll be able to figure this out. Thank you so much for showing me this!!

  • http://www.radiantshadows.ca/ Kelly

    I’m glad you were able to make the move, with minimal collateral damages! Lol

    How are you liking WP so far? I’ll admit, the dashboard area took me ages to become comfortable with, but I can’t imagine going back to something as simple as Blogger now – I just have so many more options at my fingertips!!

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      I’m liking it so far, but ditto about the dashboard – it’s beyond confusing! But you’re right, there are so many more options than there were with Blogger… I think it’ll still take some getting used to but I’m glad I made the move 🙂 Thank you for all the help!

  • http://storiesaftertwelve.blogspot.com Dianna (Stories After Twelve)

    Yay! Congrats on the successful move! That looked like some complicated work but you made it just great! It seems really scary to do all this transition from Blogger to WP but more and more bloggers are doing it. I hope you’re satisfied with the ‘new’ blog! And the theme is just the same. SO PRETTY! 😀

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      Thank you!!! I’m pretty happy with it so far 🙂

  • http://thebookgalaxy.blogspot.com Megan @ Ink Skies

    Chri (my co-blogger) and I have also been thinking of moving to WordPress for numerous reasons. I had mostly the same experience with Blogger as you did: when I first started out, I was immensely satisfied with Blogger. I also tried WordPress, since lots of people had been saying that it was professional and good, too, but Blogger’s simplicity won out. Now, one year down the road, Blogger’s starting to show its “true colors.” We’ve been having lots of problems with it, and Blogger, though simple, is also quite limited. Hopefully we’ll be able to make the switch to WP and get our own domain name soon! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Chloe. Kelly and Ashley were nice to help you out – if we have any problems with WP, we can contact them too! 🙂

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      Go for it! Now that I’m past all the complicated stuff I’m really enjoying WP. I think it’s worth it 🙂 You can always ask if you have any questions! I’m no expert but I’ve picked up a few things here and there 🙂

  • http://rubysreads.com Ruby

    A lot of people are moving to WP these days. I have, and I really like it. That said, there are certain things I miss about Blogger and it’s a constant fear at the back of my mind that Something will Happen and my blog will Crash.

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      I guess I’m always scared a bit that something will happen to my blog, but I feel safer now that I’m at WP because I own my own content, and Google can’t randomly delete it!

  • http://mynotsorealife.blogspot.com Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    Yay for making the big jump!! It’s so excited that you were able to actually make it to WP without having any type of horror story. Although the GFC thing does kind of suck. :/ I’m resubscribing though, and I’m sure all your lovely followers will be doing the same! <3 The plugins on WP sound quite neat. I'm really looking forward to your comparison post to see if I should make the jump to WP or just stay with Blogger.

    Lovely post, Chloe!

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      I’m pretty lucky that it all worked out relatively okay! Yes, do come back to check out the comparison post! Hopefully it’ll be helpful 🙂

  • http://www.ohchrys.blogspot.com/ Christine

    Whoa, the site looks exactly the same! Well, except for this comment area of course! A couple days after I found your blog, you decided to move and I was like aaaaaahhhh.

    Nevertheless, I am so happy that you had an overall good experience with this switch. I get terrified reading other’s post about losing this and that, and having their blog down.

    Sometimes I think of making the big move, but then I get intimidated. My biggest worry is its effect on my readership. I mean, I am not a number hog, but I know many readers would leave my blog, especially those who only signed for giveaways. Sigh.

    Anyways, if I do make the switch, I will definitely be coming back here and bombarding you with questions!

    Woohoo!

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      I’m so glad it looks the same, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the same design on WordPress!

      Yeah, I’ve seen some pretty scary things happen to blogs on Blogger, but nothing ever happened to me so I really wasn’t too worried about it. I guess I just wanted the blog to grow, and this felt like the next step!

      And I totally know what you mean about the numbers thing. I’m learning to live with it I guess!

      Yes, ask me questions! Hopefully I’ll be able to help someone like so many people helped me! 🙂

  • http://sugarandsnark.co.za/ Sugar & Snark

    Glad you made the move! You won’t regret it 🙂

    And Downton Abbey fangirl over here!!

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      YAYA Downton! And I’m glad you think I made the right choice! A lot of people having been telling me I won’t regret it, so hopefully you guys are right! 🙂

  • http://booknook.me Ashley

    This is an awesome post Chloe! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sorry you had a few speed bumps along the way, but I hope you really come to love WordPress! It’s an incredibly powerful platform, it just takes a bit of getting used to. 🙂

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      Thank you! I guess everyone has some issues. Comes with the territory maybe. But I’ve heard so many great things about WP that I really do think it’ll be worth it!

  • miki

    i’m glad your move went quite well ( it could have been worse^^;;), i’m sorry for your followers though i understand how stressful it must be.
    i do follow you wia bloglovin i just hope i put the right username^^;; because i’m not used to it yet

    take care and i wish you a lot of happiness without your new blog host

    • http://www.yabookloverblog.com Chloe

      You’re right, it could have been so much worse! I’m not quite used to Bloglovin either, so no worries!

      And thank you 🙂

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