Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Part Two: To Wordpress or Not to Wordpress

More and more bloggers are abandoning the Google ship in favor of the foreign waters of Wordpress. I'm considering taking the plunge. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it.

Switching to Wordpress is a big step for any blogger to take. There's a risk that your content will get lost in the shuffle and most importantly, that your readers might get lost. But there are so many potential benefits - better SEO, more plug-ins, etc. I've been weighing the risks versus benefits for a long time. Danny of Bewitched Bookworms is the main person who swayed my opinion. When I visited her in August, we spent several hours staring at her Wordpress account as she showed me all the cool things she could do with it and how much it had helped her blog (although I think Danny, Pushy, and Heather's hard work helped more than anything).

I'm guessing I'm not alone in thinking about a Wordpress switch. Lots of blogs have fabulous posts about the pro's and con's of Wordpress and great technical information about switching. I wanted to collate the opinions of numerous bloggers who've already made the switch, so you can read multiple opinions in one post.

Thank you to all the bloggers who took the time to answer my Wordpress switch-over questions! There were so many of you that I am splitting this post into two.  Last week I featured the experiences of Rebecca of Kindle Fever, Mariya of Mystifying Paranormal Reviews, and Anna of Anna Reads.

This week, we'll be hearing from Danny of Bewitched Bookworms, Jenn of The Bawdy Book Blog, and Missie of The Unread Reader. Pay attention to Missie's responses. She is the only person I've spoken with who's had a bad experience with Wordpress. I'm going to bold her responses. I think it's important to consider the negative.

1. When did you switch to Wordpress? What prompted you to do it?


MissieI switched over in April. I had been wanting a new blog design, and since I'd been thinking of switching over for a while, it made sense to me to do it all at once, new design, new platform. Since I'd been blogging for over two years, I guess I thought switching over was the next step to take. 

Danny: I switched December 2011. But I wanted to switch for nearly a year before that. I was doing research and quite frankly, I was a little scared about moving which is why it too me so long. I was looking on how to do the switch and about what could happen. What made me finally take this step was after finishing my PhD in November I wanted somehow a new start. I didn't have much time 6 month before that and I saw my Pageviews getting lower, so I felt I needed a new start and that this finally was my time for Wordpress!

Jenn: I switched in June/July 2011. I had been blogging about six months when our little group of blogger buds (myself, My Shelf Confessions, Kindle Fever, Book Savvy Babe, Letters Inside Out, etc) decided that Blogger had become unreliable in losing posts, follower counts, and the like. Occasionally Blogger would go down, or would go into maintenance mode at a critical time when a post would need to go live, when we (or at least I) had committed to a post going up, and that was frustrating. Self-hosted Wordpress allowed me the control to schedule when I want, perform maintenance when I want, install the widgets and plugins I want (and more of them!) and really, the only thing I have to worry about is if my web-host goes down, which has only happened once that I can recall. I suppose I also have to worry about the Google services I rely on, like GFC and Feedburner going away, but it was my choice to rely on them, and it's my choice to use something different. It all comes down to choices, and with Blogger, you don't really have many.

2. Did you have any difficulties during the switch? What’s the best way to minimize problems?


MissieI encountered a ton of problems making the switch. The most devistating was that I lost all of my blog comments. Aside from that, most of my posts didn't carry over the same format, so they looked ugly, and a lot of the links I took the time to include in my posts broke. As for minimizing problems when making the switch, I'm not really sure what to suggest. It seemed like something that was just my bad luck because I hadn't heard of anyone else having such difficulties. One thing that helped me retrieve most of my comments was to upload my blog from Blogger to Wordpress.com, then save it, then transfer that file to Wordpress.org. I'm so not a techie person, so I had to ask for help from Felicia, Geeky Blogger's Book Blog. She was amazing and really helped me figure out what went wrong. 

Danny: Nope, it went over so smoothly it was wonderful! And the best decision was to hire someone to do this switch! I found Tanya and she had a great portfolio of switched and she seemed like she knew what she was doing. It was only $80 for moving my blog, including 1 year of hosting! She did everything from setting up hosting, setting up Wordpress and moving everything! I just had to sit there and wait till it was over! I can only recommend hiring someone doing it for you. Those people move blogs all the time and know what to do when something goes wrong!

Jenn: I think the biggest difficulty I had during the switch was moving feeds over, technical things like that. It was way over my head at the time, but I was fortunate to have Bex from Kindle Fever helping me when I needed it. At one point, I just gave her the admin log in to the site and told her to have fun LOL.

3. Did switching to Wordpress hurt your pageviews? How did you get them back up? Do you think that eventually you have more pageviews at least in part because of Wordpress?


MissieI have to admit, traffic monitoring features are much better on Wordpress, but the numbers are always different, depending on which plugin you're using, so I don't really pay attention to them. Since switching over to Wordpress, I haven't been as dedicated to blogging as I once was. Blogging just isn't as fun for me as it used to be, so I think that is the main reason why my stats went down. 

Danny: Actually I was surprise that it didn't affect my page views, I was prepared for a drop and ready to invest time to get them up. But honestly, it was also the time I spend more time with blogging and investing in my blog anyway so it was a smoothness transition. Even more, I think that eventually I got more page views. Also because I got a new layout, which is always something they helps enormously since people love to spend time on a pretty blog. So in the end my page views went up because if a combination of things, wordpress, time and a new professional layout.

Jenn: It didn't really hurt my page views. There's a handy plugin called Blogger to Wordpress Redirect that, if set up correctly, redirects anyone that goes to your old blogger domain to your new Wordpress domain, so no one really gets lost or thinks you've disappeared. Everything I've heard tells me it's easier to get page views on your own Wordpress domain, because SEO likes WP more....don't quote me on that though, others with more knowledge can tell you if that's accurate.

4. Is it harder to get attention from publishers / authors when you can’t rely on a GFC follower count?


MissieNot sure. I've never been one to actively try to contact publishers/authors, but I did notice an increase in those contacting me. 

Danny: Seriously, I have no idea. I know that a lot of publishers also check things like Alexa Ratings and there we do extremely well. Interestingly, I found that GFC numbers mean nothing in the end. When I compare our blog to well established blogs with more than 4000 GFC Followers, we have a much higher Alexa Rating. Then, there are Blogs with only 2000 GFC who have a much higher Alexa Rating than we have. So in the end, GFC means nothing in terms of page views in the end. To get back to the point, now I do not think that not having GFC follower numbers affects my relationship with publishers.

Jenn: Not at all. I've only received more attention from them. I don't have the highest unique follower counts and pageviews, but I get enough repeat visits, and I network enough that the pubs know me and GFC hasn't mattered a lick. And I'll tell you what....when Google walled off their little GFC garden to WP users, I was initially mad, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was relying on a number and not on networking to get The Bawdy Book Blog name out there. It forced me to network and mingle more. I think I've done better without GFC than I would have with it.

5. Do you think the SEO opportunities for Wordpress are better than for Blogger?


MissieYes, they are, but again, I don't really mess with that stuff. 

Danny: Oh hell yes! Even though it's funny considering that blogger is owned by google. But still there are plugins for SEO optimization and it works awesome! I can define keywords for each blog posts and I finally see my blog posts coming in Google searches up.

Jenn: I'm a really terrible person to ask about SEO, because I suck so horribly at it. I'll let one of the other ladies answer.

6. What’s the best thing about Wordpress?


MissieCan't think of anything I'd say is the "best".

Danny: The full control I have over my blog and the more professional look! With WP I can define my blog with plugins and have full control over my site. If you want a list of plugins that are unique for WP, I'd happy to provide them to you!

Jenn: The full control you have over your content, the timing of the content, the widgets and plugins, how it looks, absolutely everything is customizable to the experience YOU want to deliver.

7. What’s the worst thing about Wordpress?


MissieHaving to pay for hosting. The constant way links become disabled. The constant plugin updates that cause downtime on your blog. The constant Wordpress updates that make your posts disappear completely.

Danny: Well, if something goes wrong it's on you to fix it. for instance if you install a plugin that crashes your site (can happen) then you have to fix it on your own. But, with a great host you can rely on their service hotline to get help. So far, I got everything fixed pretty soon. Honestly? That is a price I pay happily for all the advantages I gain with WP!

Jenn: It's not free, but the cost is nominal. I pay $7.95 a month for my own domain. The learning curve can be a little rough if you've been with Blogger for awhile, and sometimes formatting posts is a pain, because what you see is not always what you get (but you learn how to work around that). But I say don't let that stop you.

Also, not everything will migrate. I had some problems with my link structures and had to manually fix those all. Plus, some posts will be lost in migration. You have to go in and figure out which ones were lost, repost them, etc. It was time-consuming!


Have you thought about switching to Wordpress? What concerns do you have?


If you've already switched to Wordpress, are you happy about it? Any tips to offer?


Stay tuned for the next batch of Wordpress switch-over advice!!!!

20 comments:

  1. Great post. I wish I would've had this information when I made the switch back in June. *knock on wood* I have loved going to WP and haven't had any issues. I love the freedom of WP, having more control of my site. And the plugins are great. Two weeks ago I started using a new email subscription plug in and it is wonderful.

    I did have the comment issue, my host said it was because of the number of comments I had, over 12k. I ended up importing blogger files into WP.com then importing into WP.org. My host actually babied it through because of the number of comments.

    I am in no way computer literate and was able to move my site but it took a couple of days and patience. I blame it on my ineptness and the number of comments holding up my transfer. If you can afford to pay someone to do it I highly recommend it, if not you can do it just be sure to talk to your host first because they can help you walk through it and don't be scared to ask them questions, some of the agents at my host recognized my voice by time my transfer was complete . Mine host actually emailed me their how to guide before I got started.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Blogger and Wordpress both use various technologies that I hate (Wordpress: PHP, Blogger: XHTML 1.0). So I'm choosing neither. i realized that as a Software Developer, why am I confining myself to these 2 services when I could take a simple blogging framework and basically roll my own that will fit my exacts needs. So that is what I'm doing instead.

    You definitely have more freedom with wordpress. Plugins, Plugins, and more Plugins but It cost more because you have to pay for web hosting in such which is a pain. But if I had to use betweeen Blogger and Wordpress I'd choose wordpress. Even if it involves PHP, a language that I wish would die in a fire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But PHP is so powerful! Haha I wanna quote you. You made LOL

      Delete
    2. Lolls. I'm a Ruby/Ruby on Rails person and detest PHP. It's a memory hog and performs worse than Ruby or python. Yet somehow PHP is the most popular server side scripting languages....

      Delete
  3. Thank you for this post! I am a new blogger and perhaps in the future I might want to switch to WP but I know NOTHING of this. I think right now what's stopping me from switching is the fees involved. Not only would I need to pay for a domain, but for someone to move my blog to WP and for a new, professional design. That's a lot of money for someone who makes peanuts.

    I'll be bookmarking this post and the next for future reference. Thanks!!

    Adria
    Breath of Life Reviews

    ReplyDelete
  4. I used Blogger when it appeared way back in the day, even before they got bought out by google. I find it to be extremely buggy and hard to maintain a beautiful blog. I'm definitely for WordPress all the way. So much easier and simpler to use. Yes there's a big learning curve but it's so much more worth it. Your page views will increase if you do SEO :) And if anyone is switching over to WordPress, make sure to back up all your files!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeaahh, Missie's is the only account I've heard of who had a negative experience in making the switch, but it still seems very significant to me because it sounds like she has had such a horrible time of it, which sucks big time for her. Ultimately, I don't think I'll ever make the switch personally because I don't really consider myself to be a "serious" blogger so I am less swayed by the SEO opportunities, and that seems to be the major advantage for Wordpress.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a wordpress account but I've never used it. Just wasn't a fan of it compared to the general blogger. I mean blogger still has its problems now and then but wordpress was too complicated for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I feel like wordpress would be way to stressful for me. Plus you have to pay more for hosting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Am sticking with Blogger! Thanks guys for this thread! Very informative :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm still with Blogger and I think I'm just going to stick with it because, like Missie, I'm not overly computer/tech savvy outside the graphic design programs, so the added stress of trying to switch the blog over is more than I want to deal with I think.

    I started the blog as a fun hobby and a way to immerse myself in a community of awesome people, and for me, I'm still able to do all of that with Blogger. Will I ever be one of those blogs with hundreds of thousands of page views? Nope. And maybe WordPress would help with that endeavor, but I'm honestly happy with the blog as it is so I'm thinking I'm going to stay. Also, I'm lazy. So there's that:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. The prospect of moving is simply too daunting for me right now..even though the benefits sound great. I'd love to have more control (Whatever that means...lol I've seen no examples, but I like control :p )and better SEO and therefore more exposure would be a huge improvement but also sounds like a lot of work. Blogger seems to work fine for my hobby and the blog already takes up so much of my time...not ready at this point for the added monetary and time outlay!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really like wordpress..it is so much easier to keep track of people and respond to comments!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aw, poor Missie! I didn't realize she had all those troubles and, really, that's why I'm afraid to switch over. I just don't have the patience to fiddle with all the links and the futsy stuff. Plus, Blogger's been pretty good to me *knocks on wood* so as my Gram always said, "Never trouble trouble 'til trouble troubles you!"

    Very informative post. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have debated switching over but honestly I think its really just because everyone else seems to be so I figure its better. But the cost is probably not worth it for me and the hassle terrifies me. Mostly though I hate change and I'm not technical AT ALL! I opened a wordpress blog just to tinker around and get familiar and it was just too confusing for me, I didn't like it at all!
    The one thing I would like is better exposure and those plugins sound good too. But I think I will stick with blogger for now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I switched over and I could not be happier. I know my blog is safe and won't just be deleted the one day and back the next (true story) by google!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Missie is the first person I know who had problems with WP ;) If you're not sure how to make the transfer you can always get someone with experience to do it for you. I've done it for more than 15 bloggers already--and they all love WP and now prefer WP than Blogger--, and none of them lost content, I always make sure I transfer all the posts and comments before I finish the job.

    Maeva
    Murphy's Library

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really like this post. I debated about switching a while back when I first started my blog but just haven't had the time to really tinker with wordpress. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing before switching.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Since Alison sent me these questions, I've begun trying to maximize SEO on my blog. We'll see if that works, but I do still love WP.org!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think it's just a "me" thing. Bad luck follows me everywhere. I hate to complain about the issues I've had with WP because it seems like I'm the only one that has had so many problems with it. If I could, I would move back to blogger. But I'm not sure how, and since I'm not blogging much anymore, it seems like too much trouble. Thanks for taking the time to put these posts together, Alison.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila