7 Things You Must Know Before Moving Your Blog

by Meryl Evans | Category: Blogging, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 12 comments

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!

7 Things You Must Know Before Moving Your Blog

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.

Good luck!

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.

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12 comments

  • Posted by The Freelance Writer's Blog on June 2nd, 2008, 1:43 PM

    Thanks for turning your space over to me — if only for a moment — Meryl. It was truly an honor to appear here.

    I hope that wherever you are, you’re enjoying your vacation.

    Best,
    Yuwanda

    The Freelance Writer’s Blogs last blog post..How to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic with Link Bait Articles

  • Posted by Meryl on June 2nd, 2008, 3:57 PM

    Thank you, Yuwanda. I appreciate your sharing original content outside of your blog home. And a valuable article, too, — many people find themselves in the same situation.

    Well, my blog meant well. The blog didn’t realize how much work it is (admin) to manage the prizes and entries. Whoa. Wish I could simplify it, but don’t see how. But at least, I hope to make the winners happy and am enjoying the break of not coming up with blog article ideas.

    Thank you again for contributing!

  • Posted by Janet Johnson on June 2nd, 2008, 7:36 PM

    Hi Yuwanda,

    You’ve just described a nightmare scenario, and provide sage advice for those businesses who are finally getting serious about blogging. (Back in 2005, when I was blogging for Marqui, we moved our blog and lost all inbound links and therefore, authority, etc.)

    When I advise businesses of any size about their blog, I always say, “Begin with the end in mind.” Start where you are going to end up. And do it as right as possible the first time.

    Bless your heart, I hope to visit your new blog later this week!

    Janet Johnsons last blog post..Best Pro-Blogging Sentence in 2008

  • Posted by The Freelance Writer's Blog on June 2nd, 2008, 9:57 PM

    @Janet:

    Thanks for the insight. It’s my own wicked fault — I knew better. BUT, it’s a lesson I’ll only have to learn once — especially as I’m not the most technologically advanced person around.

    FYI, the blog won’t be up until probably the end of next week. Not the designers’ fault — I’ve been too swamped to get them what they need. But, it’s coming — beleive me — it’s coming!

    Thanks for the cyber love — much appreciated.

    @Mery: Oh dear! At least your readers will be happy.

    Yuwanda

    The Freelance Writer’s Blogs last blog post..How to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic with Link Bait Articles

  • Posted by Ecommerce Newsletter on June 2nd, 2008, 10:18 PM

    Thank you for this post. Many people do not understand how important the issues you covered are when it comes to their blog decisions. Excellent!

  • Posted by Meryl on June 3rd, 2008, 8:32 AM

    @Janet You’re right — a lot of businesses begin blogging cheaply (understandable) since they’re not sure it will be a success. But since a business usually has a web host for the web site — why not blog on that web host instead of a free site?

    @Yuwanda, I appreciate that you shared something that not many would write about. It prevents others from learning the hard way. So I hope that you realize that you turned a difficult experience into a valuable one. Looking forward to the new blog.

    @Ecommerce, I guess I should blog about tech issues like these more often. Sometimes I forget I have experience in such issues and they’re worth sharing with others.

  • Posted by The Freelance Writer's Blog on June 3rd, 2008, 9:02 AM

    @Meryl: I understand where you’re coming from as far as forgetting how experienced you are in some areas. I do this a lot with freelance writing. I forget that there’s so much I know that others don’t. Just yesterday I was reading apost where somebody was saying they didn’t know about article directories. I was like “What!” I’ve been using them for over six years now.

    So yeah, if you know tech stuff, don’t forget, there area lot of us out there who don’t know a whole bunch!

    @Ecommerce: If I save just one person from the nightmarish mistake I made, then it will have been “almost” worth it. 🙂

    The Freelance Writer’s Blogs last blog post..$5,000 for a 500-Word Article: The Ultimate Article Writing Gig!

  • Posted by Karen Putz / DeafMom on June 3rd, 2008, 3:17 PM

    I just moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress on a hosted platform. It was somewhat painful to go through that– learning about plug-ins, theme editors (still learning on that!) and photo uploading. I still have more to learn to get my blog looking the way I want it to.

    Now, for a question about backing up the blog posts–what’s the best way to do that?

    Karen Putz / DeafMoms last blog post..What If Steak ‘n Shake Gave Customers the Red Carpet?

  • Posted by Meryl on June 3rd, 2008, 4:06 PM

    @Yuwanda, I wrote about article libraries a while ago, but it’s still amazing people don’t know about it… to us. There’s just so much out there!

    I’ve also moved from Blogger to MoveableType to WordPress. That last one was a pain, but I had help from a developer. I only went to WP because of him — I am still using MT for my Bionic Ear blog.

    @Karen, first… welcome back home! I look forward to hearing about your Hawaiian trip when you settle down. Regarding backups, someone recommended The WP-DB plugin, but I haven’t tried it yet. It’s here: http://skippy.net/wp-db-backup

  • Posted by Teresa on January 22nd, 2011, 10:23 PM

    I just made a similar costly mistake. My website made using the coffeecup editor had a page rank of 4 and all my old pages were cached, still getting people from the search engines and therefore making money.

    I switched to using wordpress theme, and therefore a blog format and dropped to a pagerank of ZERO, losing all cached pages. I only had 2 visitors today when I usually have 200.

    So very sad. And wondering if I uploaded the old coffeecup website if I’d get the old pagerank back.

  • Posted by Tips on Blogging for Freelance Writers: 33 Traffic-Generating Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Blogging in 2005 That Allow Me to Make My Living Completely Online : Inkwell Editorial on May 10th, 2011, 5:04 AM

    […] As I recount in the post, 7 Things You Must Know Before Moving Your Blog, you could one day log on to find all of your content – and your hard work – gone. This creates […]

  • Posted by Free Ebook: Starting Your Online Freelance (Writing) Business from Scratch | Inkwell Editorial : Inkwell Editorial on June 13th, 2013, 2:50 PM

    […] One thing I want to point out here is NOT to use a free wordpress site. And the reason is, you don’t have control over it.  I learned this lesson the real hard way when wordpress shut down my freelance writing blog – and I was never able to get them to put it back up. I recounted this all in the post, 7 Things You Must Know Before Moving Your Blog. […]

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