5 reasons I’m moving from Blogger to WordPress and how I did it

It is official, I’m moving from Blogger to WordPress. It has taken almost 4 months but it is as ready as it is going to get. I’ve powered up the wordpress over at coolcatteacher.com and made the jump from weebly. (nothing against weebly, it is a great place for static sites.)

I thought some of you might want to know why I am moving and also how I did it:

Why am I moving from Blogger to WordPress?

First of all, the decision to move is a very hard decision for many reasons. The time it has taken and the learning curve are two big reasons. Plus, it is very easy to really mess up the old site I’ve spent so much time building.

1. WordPress has more add ins and flexibility.

I reached the point several years a go that I was having to do a lot of hand coding in HTML on Blogger just to get it do the basics. I even bought 2 different Blogger themes and installed them only to have one break and the other never even work. So, I settled on a standard theme, but I still wasn’t pleased with my blogger blog. Images were running off blog post and I found myself fighting at the code level with many posts instead of focusing on good writing. I appreciate all that Google has done with the Blogger platform – it is very stable and has so many great features that are wonderful for beginners. I just got tired of trying to write everything in HTML.

2. I’m concerned about Google’s new Terms of Service

Google’s new Terms of service   is pretty questionable as it relates to claiming ownership to what you write on your blog. I have a sign by my bed cross stiched by my high school guidance counselor:

“A good name is to be had before great riches.”

While it is an easy way to be poor, I guess, it is good advice. With the new terms of service anything written on Google plus (or on the blogger blog as I interpret the TOS) can be used in an advertisement that Google shares using my photo and what I said.

Right now, I’m leaving my content here, but I’ve imported every post to the new site and if Google makes me take everything down but this post because of some crazy endorsements or something, that is what will happen. To take our faces and “endorsements” and turn them into ads without our consent or fair compensation is over the line and is a slippery slope which Facebook first started when they started showing friends who liked a page. (You can turn off Google’s shared endorsements by following these instructions.)

I’ve been using blogger since 2005. This is a hard move to make, but is one that needed to happen. Moving from blogger to wordpress was challenging but I will show you how I did it.

3. Free can cost you everything: pay for valuable services

Every March, Google pares down on products that don’t make them money.  Blogger is free. But there is no such thing is free.

But more importantly, every March, I’ve started wondering, “when is it going to be Blogger.” While it is one of the top blogging platforms – it is free (unless you purchase a domain name) and I have little or no control over outages or problems. There have been times a blog post did extremely well where you might have had trouble getting to the site. Now, I pay for my site and all of that is under my control. Yes, it is costing me money and I’m going to have to hoof it to do some more freelance writing and a tad more advertising, perhaps (not a big fan of ads, just a few).

Free is free. I’m convinced that “free” is an excuse for no customer service and I’m willing to pay for any service I depend upon. I would have paid for Google Reader to stay around as well. But the fact is that if I have a problem on blogger, it is my problem. Google is required to give no customer service and can always argue back “but you’re not paying for it – we’re giving it to you (wait for it, breathe in) FOR FREE.” Gifts don’t happen and free doesn’t either. Services always cost you something – they always do.

4. Time to move on

I’ve always resisted the pressure to move “because that is what real bloggers do” just because the traffic on blogspot is so incredibly high. But, there are times you just have to make the move because it is the right thing to do.

5. Coolcatteacher.com won’t be blocked in schools like Blogspot

Blogspot blogs are blocked in many schools. Hopefully I can reach more teachers where they are every day instead of having to be read at night or on weekends. That said, many schools depend on the “white list” approach which means someone has to ask for a blog to be read. I’d appreciate if you are one of those people who recommends my blog to others, if you’ll check and ask for it to be available at school. Many of you tell me that you do recommend my blog, and for that, I”m very grateful for your trust.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress in just a few steps

Step A: Purchase domain name and establish ranking in search engines (2-3 years a go)

Several years a go, when I realized I’d have to move at some point, I bought coolcatteacher.com and put a site there with a plan to move it. I just set the site up on weebly with my information. That site already has many of you linking there and I’ve tried put that as my main link in articles and in my conference bio, etc. whenever I freelanced so it isn’t like it is a new domain name fresh out of the can. I’ve been using it at conferences and many people use that as a way to find me.

Step B: Set up wordpress (but don’t move domain yet) (4 months a go)

About four months a go, I set up wordpress on BlueHost. (Steve Dembo says they are great.) I didn’t move my domain name as I tinkered with design (I bought the “Get Noticed Theme” from Michael Hyatt and Andrew Buckman), I reread ProBlogger andPlatform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, and worked on broken links and content. I thought I was lost in the vortex of blogging hell as I tried to learn new things. I was ready NOW but I had to get it right.

Step B1: Import all posts from blogger to WordPress All the posts from here have been moved over there.

So many links come to coolcatteacher.blogspot.com that there will be a lot of traffic here for time to come. I’ve imported all of the posts and will be updating those posts. When they are updated on the new site, I’ll put a corresponding link on the top of the blog post on the old one so those visitors can find the new post.

Step B2: Move my eMailing List to Mailchimp (2 months a go)

The old mailing list system I used was a bit cumbersome. Julie and I used Mailchimp for the book club for Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time  and I was very impressed with how easy it was to use and how much better the e-newsletters that came out of it are. It also has a lot of features built in.

My email list has over 1500 subscribers and growing – that will automatically receive the new content. I’ve also moved from Feedblitz to Mailchimp within the past month and reached the limit for free mailing, so I do pay to send the emails to you- but this is a great way to get the content here. I am also planning to do some other cool things for those who receive my email list as I improve everything about my blog.

I cut over Mailchimp to the RSS feed from my new blog yesterday. I’ll be watching and tinkering to get it like I want it, but they’ve been moved, there is nothing for them to do. As always, I welcome your feedback.

Step B3: RSS is Moved (yesterday)

I moved the RSS feed yesterday. While I lost a lot of RSS subscribers when Google Reader became defunct (as did most bloggers), there are still many of them. I’ll be tinkering with this as well and make sure it is the quality RSS that people need. There is nothing for RSS subscribers to do, I made this change “under the hood.” You’ll keep getting this blog.

Step B4: Set up Diigo autoposting (2 days a go)

I have Diigo help generate my Daily Education and Technology News for Schools, but instead of autoposting, I have it creating a draft so I can add a quick summary at the top and a nice photo relating to the content and then post it manually. I’ll see how this goes and am still working with it. I turned off autoposting to Blogger yesterday. It was hard, but I did it.

One Unresolved Issue as I move from Blogger to WordPress

What about the 1600 who “follow” using Google?

These are the one group I’m not entirely sure about because I don’t know what following on Google means any more since they got rid of iGoogle and Google Reader. I see some blogs inside my blogger account and don’t know if it means that my blog posts go there or where. I have no idea but am researching this.

There are really 2 options for them. I could, for a while, put a shortened version of my full posts over at coolcatteacher.com here with a link to the post – which is something I may try to do to help that traffic move over. I’m just not really sure so for now, until I hear from some of them, I’ll stay put.

What is next?

Step C: Updating awesome older posts and putting links on them

I’ve stopped putting dates on the blog posts as part of the title of the post so I can update the posts with fresh new content. As I update posts on coolcatteacher.com, I’ll go back on blogspot and add the link so that eventually all of those people who have built me into their course management systems will have the new content without breaking their links.

I want the content on my blog to be more evergreen and removing the date from the header will let me do that. Expect to see some awesome older posts get a face lift and updated information so when you send anyone to my blog, you know you’ll find the most current information.

Step D: Enhancing the emailing list

I plan to add some special behind the scenes things for those who get my blog over email. (You can sign up on the right of my new blog.)

Why couldn’t I just use a domain name on blogger instead of moving?

Why didn’t I just rename from coolcatteacher.blogspot.com to coolcatteacher.com. Well, I learned a lesson the VERY HARD WAY by basically losing all the traffic and work on an older blog that I had created.

I had a small Christian site at a blogspot address (unnamed because someone is there now that is not writing good stuff) – when I renamed the blog coolcatchristian.com — someone else grabbed my old domain and took advantage of the traffic. I learned the hard way that was a bad idea. No rename for me on blogspot. Not happening.

How does this impact advertisers?

For the time being, I’ll be putting advertising on both sites. I’ve been paring down advertisers for some time, because as soon as some advertisers have an ad on the side of my blog, they then think that gives them a right over editorial content on my blog and it doesn’t. I’ll refund their money and take the ad down before they tell me what to write about their company. Don’t go looking, those advertisers are no longer advertisers. Those who I allow to advertise on my site have products I use, like, and would recommend anyway. In fact, Spelling City found me because I love their app and use it with my dyslexic son to learn spelling. That is my litmus test and while it costs me money – I’m not going to litter my site with tons of advertisers – I’d rather those who advertise with me shine and let me focus on writing and being helpful.

I adhere strictly to FTC guidelines by disclosing every relationship – that means every. I don’t sell contextual links within blog posts. So, I will put ads on both places for now and do everything I can to promote the products of those who help me defray the costs of my blog – and there are always costs. I appreciate my advertisers: Spelling City, Letterpop, Wiziq, and Redlands College of Education. These ads will be up on the new site soon after I process renewals. (If you are interested in advertising contact me.)

Why you might want to update your links

Will you take a look at my new site: www.coolcatteacher.com – I’d appreciate if you’d contact me with any links or problems you see. I have thousands of posts and it will be hard to find all of the glitches that may have happened. I really appreciate your time, feedback, and thoughts as I work to try to serve you better and be more informative.

Moving on…

I hope that this transparent post will help you make the move if you want to. This has been a very hard thing to do. I’ll be writing some epic new posts in order to get people to link to this new site and if I make mistakes while tinkering under the hood, I hope you’ll let me know and let me figure it out. Thanks for reading!

Vicki Davis has moved to coolcatteacher.com — thanks for spreading the word (and letting me know when you find problems over there.)

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