My WordPress Love
I am one of the new WordPress bloggers fresh from a Blogger migration. Early 2013, I was a key player in creating my husband’s website in a whole new arena: the self hosted blog world. I found the first week to be a challenge because of the major differences between Blogger and WordPress, but quickly found my niche.
I would also like to make note of the fact that this is my opinion. I am not a programmer, nor am I a code genius. I simply enjoy the nuts and bolts of the blogging world and want to share the small knowledge I have gained through this process with others. I mention certain plugins and themes without making any profit from it. I don’t have sponsors, none of the plugins or themes I mention are giving me any kickback for sharing their product. I used it, found it helpful, and I believe that others will as well.
The commenting system
- I really like the ease and simplicity of the commenting system on WP. You don’t have to log in to any particular system to leave a comment. In fact, it has made commenting by my non-blogging family and friends easier.
- Comment Luv is one of the reasons I chose to make the dive to WP. I currently use the free Comment Luv plugin, but would love to have the premium paid version (maybe someday).
- This plugin allows folks who comment to set a link to a blog post of their choice right in their comment box. I found this to be encouraging when I would stop by other blogs because not only was I engaging with them, but they were engaging with me. They were offering encouragement for me to spend time and leave a comment with them.
- So I wanted to give that back to folks willing to leave a comment with me.
The plugins are just fun and easy to install. With Blogger, I had to do a lot of coding and searching the internet for someone who had already pre-configured a code to make the widget look pretty. With WP, the plugins get plugged in and do their own job.
- My favorite plugins are:
- Blogger Importer. I did some research concerning migration and several of the plugins wanted to run to simply redirect the reader to land on the new WP page when seeking the old Blogger page. I thought this would be confusing and a bit scary for someone to be looking for my Blogger look and suddenly landing on what would be a totally foreign WP page. I just wanted my content moved and this was the plugin to move it. You will want to note that WP will migrate your tags into categories in WP. For purposes of creating custom menus to tags, this would be awesome. However, I wanted to use categories differently. I was able to use the importer to transfer the tags into WP tags, but that proved to be a bit of a headache. Probably the old dog and a new trick/new decision 😉
- Reftagger: recognizes Scripture references and allows Scripture to be viewed on hover.
- Recipe Card. I happen to find this useful simply because it gives my readers the ability to print of a recipe they find that they like. You can also customize the total layout of the recipe card that shows in your posts.
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- Slimstat: very detailed tracking for visitors and such. In fact, almost too much detail.
- Editorial Calendar. This is a new find, but a necessary one for me! This calendar will allow you to look at your pending posts and drafts in a calender format. You can drag and drop drafts into the calendar to schedule their publish date. I love this organization!! It helpe me to find the holes in my schedule and allows me to fill it by dragging a draft or creating a new post.
Did you know that within WP, you can read and comment on blog posts without leaving that screen? I am going to use “Two in the Bush” for this example (I hope that’s ok).
In the reader, you can read the post and comment right in the reading screen. I happen to love that!! I just click on ‘comment’, the lightbox shows up with the whole post in it, and I can comment right away. No screen hopping, just that easy. Of course, my self-hosted blog won’t work that way, but hey, it is a perk to the WP thing 😉
Themes, and themes, and themes
There are literally hundreds of thousands of themes you could choose to put on your self-hosted WP blog. Just roll over to wordpress.org and scroll through the themes. The only catch here coming from Blogger is that you can’t really tweak where things go and what size things are unless you choose that sort of theme. Some are exactly the way they look with no option for personalization. Others offer several customization options and they are very easy to do!!
I chose a custom theme that I paid good money for, but the backgrounds, fonts, slideshows, and portfolio stuff was already in the theme. My control panel is extremely easy to manipulate and the header is highly customizable. If you are curious, I use Striking theme available from ThemeForest. Another beautiful theme system is Genesis. One fee will give you unlimited changability with their numerous themes. I also found several inexpensive themes that are worth considering at Creative Market. Creative Market had so many fun things to play with that I became a member. And that was FREE!
It seems to be easier finding community with WP users. The developers of WP seem to want to help a blogger learn the ropes and excel at using it. I really love that!! WP.org offers forums for your questions to be answered by people who want you to succeed. You aren’t trying to pry obscure information out of a blogging expert, all information is readily available by people who have gone before.
I chose to go with BlueHost because one of the most influential and helpful bloggers I know uses it. Unknown Mami, even though a mega blogger, has always answered my questions and given me her honest opinion about my blogging progress. She pointed me to BlueHost because of their customer service in the blogging world. Not 24 hours after getting my blog transferred, I tweaked just enough to have the ‘white screen of death’ appear where my blog should have been. I contacted BlueHost and they had it fixed within a day. They also have many Youtube videos on how to use their product, C panel, and to customize your website. I find them very helpful and I thank Claudya Martinez for pointing me in that direction!!!
If you are interested in looking into BlueHost, I will warn you that clicking on the button in my sidebar does provide me compensation. It is the only link in this post that does anything for me.
During my online theme wanderings, I bumped into a fun group that offers freebies. Creative Market doesn’t send out junk email, just a weekly freebie offering in case you want banners, fonts, or a free blog layout. I find their themes to be a bit on the high end of pricy, but the freebies of the week are fantastic!! One small word of caution, before you buy make sure you are getting something that will work on your WP blog!!! They offer creative aspects for several different blogging platforms!! Just look twice, eh?
Last week I grabbed the free fonts and the free crest images. Not sure what I want to do with them yet, but they look cool 😉
This has a positive side and a negative side. The positive side is that I am getting triple the unique visitors that I was when I was on Blogger. The sad thing is that I know how many folks are visiting and don’t leave comments. So I guess it’s great that my reach is so much farther now, but it does make me sad to compare that with comments received. I have to remind myself that I blog because I enjoy it. I could chase comments and numbers, but that would defeat the purpose of Kay’s Little Korner.
I hope you found this useful. I would love to answer any questions you may have about migration or specific Blogger vs. WordPress issues you would like to understand.