It’s been an insane week. Spring equals newborns and lots of family sessions. Work has been a little crazy. I had originally planned my blog transfer for two weeks prior to cherry blossom season, which is one of the busiest times of year for me. Well, the forecasters got the bloom dates WAY wrong, so I was trying to juggle the site being down and working with clients. I only had one minor freakout. I learned a few things along the way that may help one of you considering moving your blog. I migrated between two self hosted WordPress sites, so this is more geared for you WordPress to WordPress.org and Blogger to WordPress folks.
1. Get the best possible framework and theme in your budget prior to the transfer.
I switched to the Genesis Framework several years ago and have not looked back. The plugins rock, the support is awesome and things just run a lot smoother and faster for me. Being on the Genesis Framework also means that I have to use a theme made to work on Genesis. There are so many themes to choose from these days, so don’t think you need to spend anything on your theme. Look for themes with HTML markups and that are mobile responsive.
2. Finish designing prior to the transfer.
I had my new logo finished and all my design elements installed prior to the move. This may seem silly because transfers often mess up the design, but restoring design elements is easier and faster than trying to figure out what goes where the first time around. It took me several hours getting my design installed and customized the first time and less than 20 minutes of tweaking after the transfer was complete.
3. Back up EVERYTHING at least one day prior to the move.
I highly suggest using Vaultpress if you don’t already have it. Things can go very VERY wrong in a blog transfer. For me, all the images didn’t make it over the first attempt. It was nice to know that all my images, posts, comments, and design elements were safely stored in my Vaultpress archives. I had issues restoring my site and they had support contact me with directions on manually restoring the site and why it was not successful the first few attempts (duplicate database files). I backup all my personal pictures three times and I can’t believe I never backed up my blog besides the occasional DropBox backup. I’d be heartbroken if I lost posts like my birth stories or any of my family related posts. Get Vaultpress or any other dependable backup program.
4. Educate yourself. Plan ahead.
Do you know what your FTP user password is? Do you know what a 301 redirect is? What about mySQL? No? Better familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of hosting your own blog. Simply buying a hosting package and setting up your WordPress site will not be enough when it comes to transferring data from one site to another. I host two sites and know the basics to get me by, but not enough to fix anything should something go terribly wrong.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”- Benjamin Franklin
5. When in doubt, source it out.
I’ve used Tanya from Blogelina (<– referral link) twice now. Her prices are right and she knows significantly more than anyone I know about moving blogs. If you have doubts about your skills and would prefer to have someone else handle your move, I HIGHLY (I cannot stress this enough) suggest using her.
My original move from Blogger to WordPress several years ago took less than a couple hours without a hitch. This move was a little longer, but that’s only because it was a WordPress to WordPress (both self hosted) transfer and there was a glitch with the picture import. Plus, my host wasn’t being particularly helpful when I called their support line. She was able to troubleshoot the various issues I was having with the transfer and had everything up and running quickly. She’s great to work with and can’t say enough nice things about her. Seriously. I cried happy tears when she wrote me that the transfer was complete and the redirects were done. I have never wanted to hug someone I haven’t met in real life as much as I do right now. She is amazing.
If you have any questions about moving your blog or rebranding it, ask away! What do you think of the pretty new space? I’m pretty smitten and so happy the dreams I had of rebranding are finally a reality.