There are many reasons why someone would want to move and there are many reasons why someone would stick with what they have but, personally, I’m a huge WordPress fan and would recommend that just about everyone moves over!
What I’d like to do today is take you through how Trey and I designed his new blog to give you some idea of what you are looking at if you decide to make the move.
First Things First
Once you’ve wisely decided to move to WP, you need to find someone to host your blog for you. I explained what hosting is here. There are many great hosting companies out there bu,t of course, I would always recommend newbloghosting.com (because it’s my company 🙂 )
Once you’ve found your host, you next need to think about what you want the basis of your new blog design to be. If you’re using a designer (like Nick or Gabe) they’ll walk you through all of this but if you’re going it alone then first you need to pick a basic framework.
Trey told me he wanted to keep his header image (the pictures across the top of the page) and that he liked his blue color scheme so I knew I had to find a way to incorporate those.
That’s where Themes come in. A theme incorporates all of the design elements of how the blog looks to the reader. There are thousands of free themes available to choose from plus a multitude of ‘premium’ themes that you have to pay to use. You can do a Google search for free or premium themes.
I searched for a theme which had a space at the top into which I could fit Trey’s header image and which would look good with a blue background.
I came up with two: Swift (which is free) and Standard Theme (which is not free). I started working with Swift and it quickly became obvious that it would do all we needed to do so we stuck with it and it became the basis of the blog design.
Once you’ve picked a theme, you are NOT stuck with that theme forever. You can install different themes and swap between them whenever you like. It’s one of the things I really love about WP!
Transferring Design Elements
The next phase of designing your new blog is deciding which visual elements to bring across from your current blog. Over time most people add a plethora of buttons and widgets to their blog design and they can become very cluttered and untidy.
One of the hardest things is working out which of those things you really need to incorporate into your new blog and which need to be left behind. This can be a struggle but it can also be refreshing and invigorating to take the time to bring only what is really beneficial to your design and purpose.
Trey listed a few key elements he wanted to keep and I set about incorporating them into the side bar. Each element goes into a separate widget, which can then be moved around to get the order on the page right.
If you want to do something and don’t see how it can be done, there’s probably a plugin for that! WordPress has thousands of plugins available which extend its functionality and possibilities.
Speaking of plugins, there are a few plugins that I always install:
- All In One SEO Pack – which helps with search engine rankings
- Feedburner Feedsmith – for allowing feedburner to control your RSS feeds
- Google Analyticator – so that Google can give you visitor statistics for you blog
- Google XML Sitemaps -helps search engines easily find their way around your site
- WPTouch iPhone Theme – which formats your blog to display nicely on cell phones
Importing Your Old Posts
Once you’ve done all that and your blog is looking shiny and new, WordPress has an import facility which will bring across all of your posts and comments from your current blog.
They should all import, pictures and all and look as if they’ve always been there.
Finally (and the process to this point can take many weeks) you’re ready to go live. I always recommend writing a post saying your blog is moving tomorrow (as Trey did) and then you can make the big move.
There’s a lot involved in the big move, redirecting rss feeds, changing the DNS on domain names etc etc. Maybe some time I’ll write a post about that process but it’s not all that hard, there’s just some things that need to be done to make sure you have a smooth transition.
Trey and I have brought his blog to this point and today his new blog has gone live. Check it out here: www.TreyMorgan.net and compare it to his old blog to see how we’ve brought across the elements he wanted to keep but also made the design fresh and new.