Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Looking for Advice and Opinions

When Julie first discussed the possibility of switching to wordpress, I decided to check into it also. The easiest way to explore having a blog there was to actually set one up.

Blogger can handle most anything that I want to do on a blog, so I can't really explain why I would move except that I'm just ready for a change. In fact, the things that I can do fairly adeptly with blogger I have trouble accomplishing at wordpress. But hey, learning is good, right?

I set up a wordpress-hosted blog, which is my preference. So far, I have the theme and design arranged in a way that I like. One of my favorite features is the ability to have pages. But I haven't decided yet if I should pull the trigger and make the switch.

Here are the questions that you can help me with:

1. What are the things that will potentially frustrate me working with wordpress in comparison to blogger?

2. Should I make a clean break and a fresh start, or should I import everything from this blog to the new one?

3. Do I have anything else to say? Should I continue to write simply as a person trying to make sense of this journey? What can my voice contribute to the conversation?

4. Somewhat related to the first question, what are the limitations of wordpress that I might encounter?

5. Any style, design advice, opinions, favorite features, etc?

I'm all ears!

27 comments:

Jason said...

1. What are the things that will potentially frustrate me working with wordpress in comparison to blogger?

Wordpress.com doesn't let you edit the templates/css directly, although you don't see to have made many customizations to your Blogger theme anyway. Also, Wordpress.com doesn't let you use custom Javascript. Your "Blogrush" widget at the bottom of this page won't work at Wordpress.com unless the Wordpress people specifically add it to their limited list of approved widgets.

Otherwise, Wordpress.com seems to "get" blogging better than Blogger does. They sure do innovate more and faster.

lyn said...

I made the switch to wordpress about 18 months ago and I prefer it to blogger. I find it more efficient than blogger and like Jason wrote, there are lots of widgets etc. I'm not sure about the template/css as my husband designed my blog. I know he worked on one of their templates and then custom built it for me, but I'm afraid my web design knowledge is pretty grim!

Give it a go, I don't think you'll regret it.

Kay said...

I never blogged much through Blogger, so I can't compare the two.

Comparing a self hosted Wordpress site, though, with a Wordpress hosted Wordpress site is night and day. I can't imagine not being able to edit my own CSS (although you can pay extra to WP and get that option). I have a back up blog at kayparis.wordpress.com and it drives me nuts that I can't tweak the theme. I really like the flexibility a self hosted WP blog offers me.

Alex Fear said...

Grace,

I made the switch a while ago and don't regret it- here is my pre-switch analysis

Blogspot allows you to fully customise your blog and beats the Wordpress equivalent pants-down (since Wordpress doesn't let you modify the theme and only has a few select themes you can use).

Wordpress hosted however rivals Blogspot and beats Blogger hosted. It requires a bit more technical knowledge but you can edit the theme which is based on PHP and CSS. I'm a novice at PHP but it's not too difficult to get the hang of and you can still hard code widgets in (but no need if you get the right widgets).

There are tons more options with Wordpress, comment moderation, inline editing and ip logging. You feel you have more control.

The one thing that Blogger hosted does have going for it is that Blogger actually saves a copy of your post on it's internal servers as well as your host (which means you can do some interesting manipulation with multiple accounts and site maintenance- also FREE BACKUP if anything goes wrong).

Wordpress does seem to understand blogging better, Blogger is more user friendly but I just couldn't get to grips with the XHTML (XML is part of my new job now so my skillz have changed).

I covered everything in my HIDI article linked above, if you really want a good comparison and I did a follow up post step-by-step transfer guide too if you're interested.

(Not to blow my own trumpet, like)

Robin (the pensieve one) said...

Grace,

Before you make the change, I'd talk to Jules at Everyday Design (http://www.everydaymommy.net/) and Mike at Wilderness Voice (http://wildernessvoice.com/). Jules is a blog designer and Mike is a techie geek (he knows I hear white noise when he speaks), but both are Wordpress users and can tell you the strengths & limitations (Jules is familiar and conversant w/most "popular" formats and based on your needs she's good at guiding your analysis).

Look forward to your changes, whatever they may be.

Robin (the pensieve one) said...

btw, did you look at TypePad? Just curious.

Jeff Greathouse said...

I will let everyone else answer the tech questions. I just want to answer #3 ...

I think that you probably have a ton more to say and I look forward to reading where your journey is taking you.

I also think that you can have plenty of inut on the conversation and you have a ton to contribute.

I guess that I will also weigh in on #2. If you make the switch; make the import occur so those new to the story and those who have followed and go to he archives to gleen much valuable resources.

Erin said...

I can't really tell you...I have looked into WP a couple times and stuck with Blogger, mainly due to the customizations issue. That's big for me.

In any case, I vote that you use your real name on the new blog. Come out! I did it and it was the best blogging decision I made, because now I get credit for my writing.

(I'm just giving you a hard time. I understand why you are pseudo-nonymous ;-) But still...)

Jonathan Brink said...

Grace, I made the switch from blogger to Wordpress and loved it. Blogger is good but even non-hosted Wordpress was better. When I'm ready to tweak the look I switch to hosted. No biggy. Wordpress's admin is a lot more intuitive. I like the functionality better.

drm said...

Just a quick comment -

Grace, you're definitely a much-needed voice. I always appreciate your perspective.

Do make the import. It's fairly easy, from what I gather, and it'll be good for posterity's sake to have all your material in the same place.

Also, no matter what you do, keep your blogspot page alive. You can have it auto-redirect to your new site, but you don't want to close it down. Otherwise, some evil spammer will come and eat up the traffic you've built here.

Cheers, and good luck,
Daniel

Lyn H said...

LOL! I've just realized why mine is customized - we use bluehost as our hosting site and then use wordpress alonside, hence why we can edit CSS etc! I told you I wasn't into web design!

Jonny McCormick said...

don't do it! Blogger has been faithful to you over the years...plus I have a blog on blogger, two actually, and had one on wordpress and hated it! Loads of pants if you ask me.

Plus it will inconvenience me to update my RSS reader

Peace

Joel Frederick said...

I have been eavesdropping here for some time.

The biggest frustration that I have with wordpress is the $$ they want to charge for some of the nice features. Otherwise, it is an excellent system.

Steve Sensenig said...

My thoughts:

Switch to WordPress, but go ahead and get a hosting account where you can have your own domain and full control over your WP installation and customization.

When I first considered switching, I checked out wordpress.com (the free one you're looking at). It took me about a day to realize that it was more limiting in some ways than Blogger was.

But then I found out about hosting my own WP installation, and I fell in love with it!

HostMonster is who I have my account with, and you can get a domain and hosting for something like $5/month. It does require you to prepay a year or two, but it's completely worth it to me.

Installing WP on there was pretty much a one-click operation, and I have my own unique URL and full control over what plugins I install, what javascript I add in, etc. etc. etc.

Oh, and like someone else said, import this blog, but don't shut down your Blogger blog. Leave it up there for search engines, etc. Additionally, any links that you have in blogs to your own posts will import, but will not convert those link locations for you, so you will still need the Blogspot for people to be able to click those links and not get "page not found" messages.

grace said...

This is so helpful! I hope that some of you check back here, because I have more questions...

Jason,
I think I can live without blogrush. :)

Lyn,
I'm hoping not to have to edit, and my husband certainly wouldn't be any help in that department.

kay,
If I'm happy with the theme and the widgets, is there anything else I would need to tweak?

alex,
I read both of your posts, and they were very thorough (although they freaked me out a little). I'm hoping I can do a simplified version of what you've done.

On a wordpress-hosted blog, will I run into storage issues if I use image and videos, or does it not matter if they are externally linked?

Robin,
I haven't checked into typepad, because being a hobby blogger, I'm not really wanting to pay to blog. Thanks for the references. It's nice to know there's help available.

Jeff,
Thanks for the encouragement. I feel like I'm in kind of a transition. However, setting up the new blog has inspired me again.

erin,
I've been thinking about that issue. I'm definitely not ready to use my full name online, but I considered switching to my first name because I don't mind people knowing my first name.

However, I am somewhat attached to "grace" and it is a constant reminder to me about watching the tone of my writing.

jonathan,
So you're still on wordpress hosted? Do you know anything about storage issues, especially in regard to using pictures and video?

Daniel,
Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate the advice about importing and autodirecting. I hope it does turn out to be a simple procedure.

jonny,
I'm being pulled to the dark side! Tell me what you hated about wordpress, while there is yet a chance to save me.

joel,
I'm thinking that I don't need much beyond the basics. Do you know of any features I might wish for? I'm hoping not to have to customize the template.

steve,
I'm still leaning toward wordpress hosted with the possibility of switching to self hosted later if necessary. I really appreciate your specific advice about importing. Hopefully that will be a smooth procedure.

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to share your tips!

Jonny McCormick said...

to be honest, there was nothing i really despised about wordpress. But I am a blogger.com kinda guy at heart. I find its user friendliness second to none to be honest. and wordpress just isn't as easy to use. I have no reason to switch to wordpress, as I am more than elated with the service that blogger provide. Plus .blogspot is cool as heck...i mean .wordpress jsut isn't as hip!

Pam Hogeweide said...

i'm with erin - come out into the light of the free world with who you are! Especially if you switch and don't import your stuff.

The thing about blogging with your real name is that it likely will restrain you to some degree in what you write about (for example, i know my mom reads mine, so, um, well, there's things i will not write about, and yes, i have been tempted to start a separate blog under a psuedonym...) but the biggest reason i blog with my name is that i want attribution for what i say and name recognition. i am an emerging writer so all my words hinge on my name. keeps me thoughtful about what i say, that's for sure.

anyway, my desktop is up and running (after the thailand mishap i've been offline a lot) but expect to see me around more...and i will follow you if you go to wp. i mean as a reader, not as a blogger. blogger is too user friendly for a nearly illiterate computer user like me.

Robbymac said...

I attempted to switch but gave up in total frustration about ten days later because unless you're a skilled code-writer (or have access to someone who is), WordPress is terribly convoluted and was a miserable experience for me.

Blogger sometimes frustrates me at times, yes, but at least it WORKS.

I'm staying put, limitations and all! :)

Kay said...

Grace,

Nope, no other issues that I can think of, if you can find a theme you like. They've got some pretty good templates.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Of course maybe you should just sell. Do you know how much your blog is worth ???

WoWsie

http://www.business-opportunities.biz/

Alex Fear said...

Hey Grace,

With wordpress restricted blog they give you you're limited to an upload of 100mb I think.

With hosted you're only limited to whatever you're host provides.

For example I have an agreement with my host for 2gb (I've only used 10% of it so far in 3 years) but they'll probably give you plenty of warning if you were coming to your limit.

I also agree with other commenters- keep blogger and use a redirect on the index page that way if someone is coming to a specific page on your old blog they can still find it, but clicking on the header will take them to your new one.

As far as themes are concerned there are tons.

Also don't worry about the configuration as others have pointed out (being too complicated). For the first few weeks it might be overwhelming, but once you've got it set up exactly how you want it, you rarely need to go in and do any more configuring (and widgets are plenty)!

Brett said...

The main concern is your feet with painted toes. Will they transfer? And is it time for a new foot pic with metallic gold nail polish?

Amber(Homeschool Diva) said...

Grace,

I started my blog with word press after blogging for years with my husband on blogger.

You will have a learning curve, but learning is fun right:-) Also, I would say, pay the $50 bucks and host your own right away. You can add so many fun plugins by hosting your own site. You have total control!

Yes, import all of the content....and redirect people from this site.

Cindy said...

Grace, one more note,
http://register4less.com/
domain name and forward to any site is $14.95 per year. comes with a dummy email that connects to your domain name. in the 4 or 5 years i've had my domain, i'm only aware of one time when email forwarding was down. they have a good track record with me.

grace said...

Well, I guess it's a done deal!

jonny,
I really don't have any complaints with blogger. Actually, I think it's very user friendly. Maybe I'm just having a midlife blogging crisis. :)

pam,
No laptop still? I'm glad you will make the switch.

robby,
You do things with blogger that I can't figure out. Now that I have the site set up, if I can just manage to write posts, I should be fine. I love having pages and really like my resource page.

kay,
Yes, I'm happy with my template, and I think that they're fairly easy to change.

jeff,
Yes, it seems like kind of a foolish move. If there were someone who would actually pay me $170,000 for this blog, I would sell it in a heartbeat. The value of my new blog is zip!

Thanks Alex and Amber, I appreciate all of your help.

brett,
The feet stay here.

cindy,
I will keep that in mind for if I decide to switch to self-hosted at some point.

It's been fun!
See you on the other side.

Brett said...

Omgosh you're kidding me!! The feet aren't going to make the transfer? I think there should be a vote on it.

Brian said...

well in terms of numbers (if you want to increase your readership - go wordpress. In the two years I had a blogger site I had some 800 hits - in the one month since I switched to Wordpress I am nearing 1500 (not that that is alot, but it is a jump).