Today we have our first guest post in the blog birthday bash celebration to give Meryl almost a month off from blogging (well, someone has to post the entries and the prizes as I have no fingers). Yuwanda Black of Inkwell Editorial and Meryl have lightly crossed paths, but they finally connected when she interviewed Meryl for Yuwanda’s jam-packed newsletter for writers.
Since then, they’ve stayed in touch and read each other’s blogs. She’s the first contributor to meryl’s notes blog 8th birthday celebration.
This post’s prize: Two full copies of Magic Farm Game PC games from Oleg Kuznecov of Meridian’93. One copy for a reader and one copy for a guest blogger. My Magic Farm review. To win, post a comment in this entry of at least 30 words (to ensure they’re valuable to readers) by June 6.
All yours, Yuwanda!
I recently migrated my blog from Blogger to WordPress – with disastrous results. I’m now moving it again — to my own hosted domain. If you’re thinking about moving your blog from one spot to another, here are seven things to keep in mind.
1. Back Up Everything: This is obvious, but I wanted to state it and get it out of the way first. I usually save about a week’s worth of posts. But, this process has taught me to back up everything on my own system.
The chances of large blogging platforms like Blogger or WordPress losing your posts forever are nil. However, just recently, I was relaying my story to a new client who noticed my blog was down and she said that a few years ago, she’d lost about a year’s worth of posts from a large company — and they were never able to recover them.
Lesson Learned: Don’t rely on a blog hosting company not to lose your files. Back them up yourself.
2. Choose a Blogging Platform Wisely: I’m not slamming any platform – just relaying what happened to me that turned me off free blog hosts.
I migrated from Blogger to WordPress on 30 April 2008. On 19 May, I logged on to this notice from WordPress: “This blog is inactive.” And, nothing more -– just a white screen. I received a notice from WordPress when I logged into my control panel that said, “Confirmation required: Your blog is inactive. Please contact us to confirm your account details.”
After contacting them and waiting almost a full day for them to get back to me, the problem still wasn’t resolved. The next day, on 2- May, I received the following email (after two more interactions): “Hi, Your blog was made inactive because it broke the Terms of Service. One or more of the following apply: . . . ”
The email went on to list four different scenarios — none of which I thought applied to my blog. I wrote back asking if they could tell me EXACTLY which Terms of Service rule I had broken. As of this writing (20 May in the evening), I’m still waiting for a response.
Bottom line: I’ve been offline now for two full days — and still don’t know if my blog will ever be live again.
Lesson Learned: Read the terms of service diligently, and scour forums to see if you can find out more about how quick a company is to take you offline without giving you a chance to correct your mistake.
3. If You’re a Business, Act Like It: That means investing in your business. After this debacle, I decided to have a professionally designed blog hosted on my own domain.
My business is at the point where my blog is an integral part of how I relate to my audience — hence, produce certain streams of revenue. Therefore, I can’t afford to break a Terms of Service rule, be taken offline with no clue as to what I did wrong, then wait for someone to get back to me.
WordPress is a free blogging platform. So, I don’t blame them for not rushing to my rescue, so to speak. As an online freelance writing business though, my blog is crucial to ebook sales, my writing history, links to other sites and so on.
I blame myself for this mostly because I vacillated between going with another free blogging service or getting my own host. Trying to save a few dollars, I made the unwise choice.
Lesson Learned: Do it right the first time — especially if you can afford to (and I could have).
In short, if your blog is integral to successfully running your business, treat it like that and have it professionally designed and hosted on its own domain.
Two Things You Must Do to Hire a Professional to Design Your Blog
4. Research Blogs You Like: Spend some time scouring other blogs you like, then write down what you want. A design is only going to be as good as what you relay to your designer (I wish I could get some of my clients to understand this about writing, but I digress).
This is where most of small business owners go wrong (and I’m soooo included in this bunch). We just want to outsource a project and have it done. Then, when we’re unhappy, we blame the designer. This is partly our fault. I’d even go so far as to say largely our fault.
Get a good list of 5 or 10, then you can proceed to the next step, which is . . .
5. Write Out a Blog Design: It took me about an hour to write down what I wanted then forward it to the companies I targeted. Over about the course of a month, I had been bookmarking blogs I liked. I then went back to those to write out exactly what I wanted.
Some particulars I requested were a three-column design, a 10-point Arial font; a white background with navy (to match my website). I went column by column explaining to the designer exactly what I wanted and where. I also listed the plugins I wanted and even the graphics.
Note: As I had been thinking about getting my blog professionally designed for months, I was able to be pretty specific. If you are truly lost, your designer can make recommendations. But remember, they don’t know your business like you, the purpose your blog serves for you and how your customers relate to your site.
All of this information has to come from you. So, while it may take a while to figure it all out, it is well worth the investment. It is, after all, an investment in your business.
6. Get Bids: I contacted a few companies and ultimately decided to go with one whose work I had been familiar with for about a year, and whose business owners I knew to be fair and professional from our interactions online.
My hope is to be up and running by the end of the first week of June.
7. Keep Your Old Blog Updated: For a full quarter (three months) after your new blog is up and running, constantly update your old blog. You probably have some search engine recognition behind it, so continue to capitalize on that until your readers have gotten used to looking for you in your new home.
And, not for nothing, just in case there are glitches with your new blog, you’ll still have an active blog up and running until all is smooth sailing in your new home.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black is the voice of InkwellEditorial.com, a business portal for creative freelancers. She is the author of eight e-books, the most recent of which is How to Make $250+/Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles. She continues to blog at InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com until her new blog home has been established.