Well… I’ve done it and I wish I wouldn’t have put it off for so long! I’ve finally migrated my entire website from the Blogger platform to WordPress. It has been on my someday list for years now and it finally made it on my today list a little over a month ago when I pulled the plug and paid for hosting. It still took nearly a month to get my content migrated, figure out plugins and go live but it’s here now and I have been excited every day since. I feel like I am no longer limited by my platform but only by my imagination and skills.
I’m still working through some of the newer features of my website but here’s a brief list of what I’ve added:
- A complete Tool List
- I’ve always wanted to provide a list of the major tools I use in my shop but the previous platform just wasn’t flexible enough to make it reasonable. Now I can quickly answer any question about what tools I use with a complete list of clickable pictures/links.
- Dynamic and Flexible Homepage
- The old home page was pretty much a list of my last few posts along with a pretty sad-looking sidebar and navigation. The new one has better side bar widgets, flexible categorization of posts, multiple columns with dynamic layouts and much more.
- Nested Navigation
- I could create pages on the old platform but they all got their own link from the navigation bar. On top of that, I couldn’t split my posts into different categories and nest them under a single Projects menu item.
- Online Store & Shopping Cart
- I had something that resembled a store in the past but it was really just a few images that had PayPal links to purchase. I now have a fully integrated store with shopping cart that even supports digital downloads. Oh.. and now I can do DISCOUNTS!
- Better Plans & Designs
- My old site had a page with links to SketchUp but it was cumbersome to update and the only format I could get it to work right in made the page really long. With the addition of my integrated store, I have added all my plugins to my product catalog but keep all of the old stuff free.
- It might cost me some money to pay for the trusted certificate but if I’m going to be taking personal information down in my online shopping cart, of course I need to protect you guys. There’s no way I could ever get away from the cheesy PayPal “store” on my old page without going SSL.
- Email Subscription with Newsletter Support
- My old site had something like an email subscription but I had absolutely no control over anything. Now I am focused on getting subscriber’s emails and plan on starting at least a monthly newsletter. I don’t think I will ever do more than weekly but sure do hope that one day I can get enough content out to move up to that. I’ve also been testing out different plugins to try to gain more subscribers without being too in your face.
I moved my domain name over on Thanksgiving day 2015 and have been making minor changes/fixes since. I decided to do a sort of silent release to give me time to really figure stuff out with it live and I’m glad I did. Lots of images didn’t come over and I had to manually download and relocate TONS of stuff. (In hind site, maybe Thanksgiving day wasn’t the best time.. Things didn’t go as smooth and I didn’t have the time to work with support and attend my family.. woops)
I’m still fighting a redirection battle of the mobile version of my website. Blogger appended a variable at the end of the URL to indicate mobile users where WordPress doesn’t and I’ve been taking care of that in something called a htaccess file which basically re-writes your request. However, for some reason either my hosting provider or WordPress randomly decides to re-write my re-direction script but I’ve got my eye on it for now and have a good idea of how to fix it for good next time it happens.
Overall, I think I’ve got most everything taken care of and am only running into minor issues that are generally easy to resolve.
Still in the Works
I still have a few things on my list to get done in the immediate future but that’s probably always going to be the case. I plan on adding an additional check out method to my store so you don’t have to go through Paypal in the final steps. Paypal has been fine but now that my site has SSL, why not complete the transaction without making people leave my site?
***UPDATE – 10/29/2015 – I added SimplyCommerce as a new check out method and it really only took a half hour..
Some of my older articles are formatted a little funky but at least the content is there even if the pictures don’t show up in a very pleasing format. I’ve put a decent amount of work into getting everything here and spent some time making the old format not look awful on the new site. Where I’m really spending my time is focusing on making all of the recent and new stuff look great in the new format.
I also plan to make detailed plans in the future that will be added to my store but will still have plenty of free stuff available as well. The biggest benefit of moving my designs and plans into my store’s product catalog is that I have an easy place to add and maintain my plans as well as keep the format of the free and paid ones the same.
As I’ve said, I’m still working on some stuff but have finally decided to make my new websites debut public with this article. I also plan on using this post to try to track any issues that readers have found so please, If you find any issues around my site, please leave a comment on this post!