Previously, I wrote about Why I Chose WordPress. In this #bloggingedumacation Lesson, I’m going to talk about what it takes to make the switch to WordPress.
First, when I say making the switch to WordPress, I’m actually referring to WordPress.org and not WordPress.com
There is a difference. WordPress.org is a self-hosted blogging/website platform. WordPress.com is exactly like the Blogger Platform (well, not exactly but for these purposes, it is).
We are going to be discussing the self-hosted WordPress.org blogging/website platform. Because the goal is to own your content. Own your everything.
So, the first thing you are going to need to do in order to make the big move is to buy your domain name (URL) if you haven’t already done so. I use GoDaddy.com but there are many, many domain name sales sites out on the web. I personally trust GoDaddy. You can talk to them practically 24/7 and they have always been super nice and extremely helpful! (And if they see you’ve bought something and there’s a better/cheaper alternative, they will discuss it with you and credit you back the amount that you overpaid…yes, this happened to me, and I still have an account credit! They are AWESOME!!) Typically a Domain name is going to run you around $12.95/year without any additional add-ons like private registration, etc. Check out Retailmenot.com first though because sometimes you can find awesome coupons for GoDaddy services!
After you purchase your domain name, it’s time to find some hosting. You’ve got to have someone host your site (that’s why they call it self-hosted wordpress). I personally use RFE Hosting. And I will be their poster child of advertising. Aaron (the owner) has helped me at all times of the night. Like one time, I needed some help, I crossed my fingers and hoped he was online and sure enough…that little green light was lit up! He was there to answer my question/fix my problem/whatever it was that I was needing. He is like superman of hosting. Highly, highly recommend RFE Hosting! Hosting typically is going to run you about $6.95/month unless you buy it in bulk (like pay for 1 year of hosting at a time).
Once you have your hosting account all set up, you’ll need to adjust your Name Servers on your Domain Account. Not too hard to do. Basically you are just telling your domain that it needs to communicate to your host so that your host can actually host your domain. Make sense? 🙂
Sometimes it can take up to 48 hours for your name servers to redirect…but sometimes it’s instant. You can hop online with your host (me and Aaron are like BFFs) and they can tell you instantaneously when your ready to rock and roll…cause they have access to the back end and get reports and stuff about their clients domains…techy stuff, ya know. 😉
Okay, so you are ready to install the WordPress software to your domain. Now, please do not download the setup files directly from WordPress. I did that and that is totally the hard way to do it. 🙂
RFE Hosting and Blue Host (another recommended host) are both set up to install the WordPress platform directly from your C-Panel (stands for control panel…its where you can control all the behind the scenes stuff via your host) 🙂 You just click a few buttons, and wam-bam-thank-you-ma’am you’ve got wordpress ready to go!
Okay, so here’s where the big decisions come in (meaning some more money decisions). From this point, you can totally start creating your new site using one of WordPress’s built in templates (kind of like how Blogger has their ready to go templates). BUT….and this is big. And nothing to take away from WordPress templates…but they are free…and getting help with them isn’t the easiest.
I highly recommend going with the Genesis Framework and choosing a Child Theme that coincides with the Genesis Framework. StudioPress is the company behind the Genesis Framework and there are some really fabulous templates you can choose from! The cost: about $80 for the Genesis Framework and a Child Theme as a package deal. I have to say the support from the gu-rus and the forums within StudioPress are hands down some of the best info out there. If you encounter a problem, most likely someone else has too and someone already has an answer for you. If not, you make a post and you’ll have a response by the time it takes you to make Sweet Tea. Seriously. There are people hunting those forums, ready to answer us non-techy people’s problems!
So, all in all…to make the switch…you are looking at about $150 to make the switch to self-hosted WordPress. That’s a year of owning your own Domain name, a year of hosting services and purchasing the Genesis Framework with a Child Theme.
Now this does not include if you choose to hire someone to move you to WordPress or if you hire someone to design for you on WordPress.
But, you have to look at it like this: if you have thought about switching, you have obviously made a conscious choice that your blog is something important to you and/or you are wanting to make this a business. Think of all of these things as an investment in to you and your content. If you treat your blog as a business, this is the step you need to take.
You’ll have full control over your content. You won’t ever be shut down (barring your host doesn’t have any blackouts…which can happen, this is the technological age people…things do happen that are out of our control but they typically don’t last long!) You can do and say as you please without fear of losing all of your hard work.
Are you ready to make the switch??