Makeover: Why I set up a new blog

Hi! Things look a little different, huh?

I have my own domain and I’m self-hosting this blog now!

Even though I’ve only had this blog for less than two months, I was feeling constrained by the limitations of WordPress.com. Basically, WordPress.com is a really easy way to start a blog if you don’t want to do a lot of tinkering with it. It’s pretty much all set up for you, and given that I’m new to WordPress, I went for it.

But you can’t add custom stuff at all, not even new fonts or colors. You can’t change the layout. You can’t add plugins to tailor your site’s behavior. In fact, you can’t get to the actual code, so your hands are tied in a lot of ways.

I registered my own domain name, byjenlawson.com, through GoDaddy last week, which was cool. And it was so easy — I did it real quick on my iPhone while getting ready for bed one night.

Yesterday, Mike and I found ourselves with a full day of absolutely no plans, which hardly ever happens. So I decided to see about moving my blog from WordPress.com onto GoDaddy and making it a truly self-hosted website. It wasn’t a quick and easy process — I had to call GoDaddy customer support, then I asked Mike to help me, we called GoDaddy again, and then finally it was set up.

GoDaddy has a new hosting product called Managed WordPress for GoDaddy, which means instead of backing up the site and dealing with security, performance optimization and other technical stuff manually, this does it for you, and I got it for only $1 per month for 12 months. (I think the regular price is $6 per month.)

I’m still using WordPress as my blogging software, but I’m using the open source version, WordPress.org, which something like 22 percent of all websites use on the back end. In theory, I could do whatever I want to here on now — there are no limitations! (Not that I know how to do very much at this point, but I’m learning.)

The first thing I did was install Yoast, an SEO plugin that makes it easier to figure out if you’re using the best keywords to make your site more visible to search engines. Then I installed Jetpack, which seems capable of doing all sorts of cool stuff.

If you’re using a hosted platform like WordPress.com or Blogger and want more freedom, make the leap and get your own site! Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t done it before — think of it as a fun challenge.

Once the site was established on GoDaddy’s servers, I did everything myself — I imported the file containing all of my content and activated it and all that jazz. I had a few issues, but there are resources out there with answers. It really helped me gain confidence because yesterday I was overwhelmed and clueless (XML? FTP? WTF?!) and today I took the thing and ran with it!

So, aside from having more freedom to customize the site, why else did I do this? I’m a full-time web content manager. Although my area is words, sentences, paragraphs and punctuation rather than the technical side of things — we use a content management system — I still want to know more about the back end, and all the sites we provide content for use WordPress. This might give me insight into that, particularly SEO strategy.

If you have any feedback or tips on how to run this thing, I’m all ears!

Gratuitous cat photo. My 15-year-old guy Magilla had an extensive dental procedure last week but he's doing fine!
Gratuitous cat photo. My 15-year-old guy Magilla had an extensive dental procedure last week but he’s doing fine!

One Comment

  1. I love it!! It looks fabulous. I can’t wait to see all of the changes and updates you make/discover you can make 🙂

    January 13, 2015
    Reply

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