May 08 2007

The Pros and Cons of Moving a Blog

Following on from Moving from a Wordpress.com to a Self hosted Domain, below are a few of the pros and cons, and suggestions I have found when migrating blogs.

ADVANTAGES

Ownership

Ownership of your domain - it’s yours, nobody can take that away (well, unless you forget to renew your domain or pay your hosting bill). Stuff it or sell it, it’s totally up to you.

Flexibility

Pick a theme, any theme….or plugin for that matter.

dofollow One plugin I was keen to add was “dofollow“. Andy Beard is a strong advocate for dofollow (aka “no nofollow”) and has just awarded his monthly plugin prize to this plugin. Essentially what this means is that if you leave a comment on this blog, the link is indexable by Google and other search engines.

Another plugin I added was “subscribe to comments” - this one was for Duncan who requested it :) You also have more flexibility with widgets (like the one for blog catalog which I can now display)

There’s also the ability to add Google AdSense and other contextual based advertising, should one be so inclined, and more in-depth statistics like Google Analytics (well, more in-depth than those provided free with WordPress.com or via a plugin on self hosted domains).

You can even add a favicon - did you notice my <cough> expertly designed favicon? Blogpond favicon

The dot com dot au domain

Since I blog predominantly with Australian readers in mind, having a blog that shows up on “pages from Australia” in a search is considered an advantage. I discussed this about a century ago (ok a few months ago) in dot com vs dot com.au.

No Spam

Give it time!

DISADVANTAGES

Technorati

You loose your “authority” and “rank”. No ifs, buts or maybes. Start over. Do not make the Top 100 Australian Blogs Index! You should submit your new blog to Technorati as soon as it’s functional.

No Redirect

As mentioned previously, you cannot redirect a Wordpress.com blog (do you feel the pain?)

Alexa

Start from scratch - “No Data”. Make sure you update your details on Alexa as soon as you have your new blog set up.

Google PageRank

Google giveth and Google forgeteth about you ;) There goes a PR of 5. Not a thing you can do - until next update. There’s also the”getting out of the sandbox” issue.

Broken Bits

Having to go back through your blog and fix the bits that are missing like images and videos, or broken - images that are now too wide, dodgy formatting and punctuation. Not to forget all the internal links that are still directing to the old blog. At least there’s only a little over 100 posts to revisit ;) . And no, I haven’t gone there yet - they’re not even indexed!

No More Crutch

That’s it you’re on your own. If it’s broken - YOU have to fix it. If it needs to be added - YOU have to add it. No more WordPress category searches, no more Blog of the Day, no more Tag Surfers.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER

Just like when you move house, you should leave a forwarding address (unless you have debt collectors)! Obviously an ideal situation would be to add a permanent redirect so that anyone visiting a post on your domain would automatically be redirected to the corresponding post on your new domain (I’ll get over it).

A suggestion I read was to remove EVERYTHING in your sidebar, and just leave a link to your new blog. I thought about that, but it does have a PR5 - so I’m assuming that the links are beneficial to the blogs I added to my blogroll. No need to take that away.

Blog directories, Blog Communities and Blog Search Engines

In Australia, you should update your blog URL at gnoos, the Australian Index, Australian Blogs and Blogs.com.au. If you’ve submitted your blog elsewhere then you should update there as well. Don’t forget social/networking sites like MySpace, Whooiz, Linkedin, Twitter and Stumbleupon.

In terms of blogging communities, MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog are really easy to change (blogcatalog require authorisation, but this is quick - although not sure how to get the page preview to update).

It’s probably a good idea to submit your site to the major search engines like Google, Live and Yahoo.

If you have a Google Account you could also consider adding Google Analytics and Google Webmaster.

You may well have links to your site seeded all over the place. Some readers will notice that you’ve switched domains and quietly update their blogrolls or link/s to your site - which is really nice. You could think about approaching others with a request to update your link/s.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment - I’m sure there’s more. Any suggestions are extremely welcome :)

At the end of the day, what I’ve learned is that you really should get it right in the first place. I’m really kicking myself because I’ve had this domain since last year - two months before I started blogging at WordPress. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had the skills to do it back then, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. It really IS a lot of work to make the move.

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10 Responses to “The Pros and Cons of Moving a Blog”

  1. Craigon 09 May 2007 at 2:26 am

    Are you exhausted yet? :o)
    One more plugin I always try to install (not sure if it comes with Wordpress now) is the database backup plugin. Just in case…
    Also a rewrite rule such that any www.example.com is redirected to example.com.
    On Wordpress the upgrade process when you have a lot of plugins sometimes isn’t fun either…

    ps. Just noticed your “Notify me of follow up comments” checkbox appears at the bottom of the column in Firefox 2, a long ways away from where I is typing now.

  2. Megon 09 May 2007 at 9:37 am

    Hi Craig

    Absolutely exhausted! Ah yes, backup thanks for the reminder. I didn’t know about the comments check box, will have to see what I can do about that.

    Thanks for the tips.

  3. Mickon 09 May 2007 at 4:47 pm

    In the google webmaster tools you can set the preferred domain (with or without WW) which is supposed to improve the indexing issue.

    Also with redirecting from the wordpress.com to your current domain, did you have a play with the domain option in the dashboard? It’s meant to be able to forward requests from your wordpress.com subdomain to a set domain name. But i don’t know if you can use it with externally hosted site, worth a shot though. I’ve not used wordpress.com before, so i could be very wrong.

  4. Vanessaon 09 May 2007 at 9:52 pm

    What a job!

    I have no suggestions, but I’m exhausted just thinking about the ‘to-do’ list… and there were a few useful links for myself, to boot.

    Cheers, m’dear!

    (I got an ‘incoming link’ for this post… weird..)

  5. Megon 09 May 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Mick

    Yep I tinkered with the domain option. Definitely no go :(

    Hi Vanessa

    Hover over the word “blogroll” in the third last paragraph! There’s your link.

  6. Vanessaon 09 May 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Haha!

    You sneaky bugger.. ;)

  7. Matt Vaporon 10 May 2007 at 12:48 am

    What a pain! Especially with your rankings gone…

    But at least the move is done and complete, so once you get out of the Sand Box you shall have complete freedom…. yay!!!! :)

  8. Steven Smethurston 19 Jun 2007 at 8:38 am

    The sooner you switch the better.

    You could go thou each and every post you have on wordpress and edit the post and replace it with a link to the post on your new site… LOTS of work but people would start to update there links after a while and you would have lots of incoming links to your site.

    Also i found this post because i was doing a search for people with the Dofollow plugin and i wanted to share my own two cents abluestar.com/blog/removing-the-nofollow-link

  9. Moving house...on 21 Nov 2007 at 2:55 pm

    […] The Pros and Cons of Moving a Blog […]

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