Blog migration wordpress.com to wordpress.org – lessons learned

You might have noticed a few changes on this site: new URL and new layout. Encouraged by a bunch of friends and readers, I finally decided to migrate this blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. In other words, Performance Ideas moved from a hosted to a self-hosted model. The tremendous feedback and support from you along with the fun this project has been, led me down this path. When I started this blog in November of 2010, I had no idea how much traffic this site would generate. It was more about capturing a few ideas here and there. Many thanks to all of you for reading the posts and providing comments via this blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

Not all that much on the surface. There is a new layout that will hopefully make it easier and more fun for you to follow the blog. Also, I am implementing better social media integration, analytics etc to enhance the overall experience. The URL is different as well. It is and easier to remember (nine characters less):

In case you have subscribed via email, you will have to sign-up again (sorry!!!). The old site will re-direct to the new site for a while.

WHY?

Running a blog in a hosted environment like wordpress.com or Blogger is really easy. But after a while, I found that the hosted environment is very restrictive. The possibilities to customize the blog are limited. You are pretty much dependent on the platform that you choose.

More options on the self-hosted blog

Think about the Facebook Like button: wordpress.com only added that feature about 2 months ago. The same is true for statistics: the ability to understand what works and why is also limited. If you are thinking about starting a serious blog, I would therefore recommend to consider a self-hosted model sooner than later. However, I do have to say that I was very happy with wordpress.com.

LESSONS LEARNED

The blog migration from wordpress.com to wordpress.org was a lot easier than I expected. It actually did not take that long. If it wasn’t for a few issues I had with my host, I could have completed the migration within an hour. Yes, it is that easy. But the devil is always in the details. And that’s where I spent a few hours fine-tuning the new site. Here are some of the lessons learned:

  • Get some help: My good friends @lermann and @wiemann have a lot of experience with WordPress.org, web development and blogging. It was extremely helpful to receive their input before and during the migration. It’s all about the team!
  • Effort: Establishing the blog in a self-hosted environment requires a lot more effort than I had anticipated. You will have to research and install a bunch of plug-ins to do ‘simple things’ like commentaries, ratings etc.. Getting the basics back up and running did take some time. Also, the on-going maintenance will require some effort here and there. But that’s part of the fun.
  • Pay: A self-hosted blog costs money: hosting space, templates, plug-ins, books etc.. I am also paying to re-route my old blog to the new one. The Euros quickly added up. You might want to anticipate this before jumping ship.
  • Migration tools: WordPress has an amazing export & import feature. All posts & comments were imported flawlessly. That process took less than 20 minutes to complete. I would highly recommend sticking to that.
  • Try: There are so many great WordPress templates. I spend some time customizing one that I initially liked. Later I found some other ones that looked much better. I therefore highly recommend downloading and trying a few before actually starting to put in the effort to customize everything.
  • Read: There are some great sites and ebooks that provide a ton of input. I highly recommend researching a few and scanning through these before actually starting the project. I especially found the migration pdf on www.blog-well.com helpful. The eBook ‘The WordPress Power Guide’ is a quick but effective read. If you are interested, I have some additional recommendations.

COMING UP

The initial blog migration is done. It’s been fun! But it’s not 100% done, yet. You can therefore expect additional changes in the next few months.

Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. When I get a chance, I will put a short white paper together that describes the entire migration process. Many thanks for your amazing support!