Smooth Transition: Transferring WordPress.com to WordPress.org
When you’re first starting out with web publishing, one of the first questions you have to answer is whether you want to use a hosted service, like Blogger or WordPress.com, or go self-hosted with a hosting provider like helpfulwebhosting. We obviously have an interest in you opting for the latter but, given that transferring can be a bit of a hassle and we’re here to handle any of the technical stuff that might be giving you the heebie jeebies about going self-hosted, we’d suggest that starting out as an independent is easier in the long-run.
That said, even we concede that hosted services can have their place. It might be a good option if you just want to put a toe in the water to try out an idea or see if running a website suits you, for instance. You can sign up, log in and get posting without having to gain much (if any) technical expertise or spend much (if any) cash, but bear in mind that after a while the limitations of what you can do with a hosted site might get frustrating. You might want a more professional web presence or decide you want to monetize your site by selling space to advertisers relevant to your audience. You might find your site doesn’t do exactly what you want it to do because you’re limited in the changes you can make to its look or functionality. You could just be running out of space or have concerns about a service provider switching your site off because they deem it to be against their terms of service. What then?
Luckily, assuming you can get your data out of the platform you originally set up on, WordPress makes it fairly easy to transfer your content over. There might be some hiccups along the way, some odd lumps and bumps that need ironing out with a bit of manual work, but there’s a lot of information provided on WordPress.org about importing content and there are scripts available to help automate the process for the most popular platforms. Alternatively, you could sign up with helpfulwebhosting and ask us to help smooth the way for you.
We recently worked with new client East London Art Tours to do just that. Hymie wanted to move to a self-hosted website from WordPress.com and asked us to help with the transition. She was happy with the look of her old site so we advised on a theme that would closely replicate that – in this instance the minimal, clean lines of the standard (and free!) WordPress Twenty Twelve theme did the trick with a few light customisations. We installed WordPress, set up the theme and then undertook the data transfer on Hymie’s behalf. Once all of her posts, pages and images were in the new installation, we structured them so potential customers visiting her site can find the information they need to make a purchasing decision easily. We also picked out and added a couple of plugins to add functionality to the site that was missing on the old one.
Nothing sells your product or service better than a glowing recommendation, and East London Art Tours had lots of feedback from happy customers, but we thought their reviews were a bit lost on the old site.We picked Testimonials by WooThemes to keep all of this information stored neatly in one place in the back end and to display it proudly for all to see. Now a widget shows a random review on the sidebar and there is also a Testimonials page listing all of the latest feedback Hymie’s tours has received. Which a little bit of geek code magic from Ian, we even managed to automagically alternate the formatting of each review so they’ll always be distinct from each other. Have a look.
The other vital piece of information that we thought wasn’t prominent enough on the old site was details about Hymie’s upcoming events. We’ve used the pro version of Modern Tribe’s Events Calendar with other customers but in this case felt that the free version would be more than adequate for the time being. This allows Hymie to display her events to potential customers in a clear fashion, and it can be extended with an e-commerce upgrade in the future if that’s a path she wants to go down.
I was introduced to helpfulwebhosting through an art world contact and cannot stress how helpful, kind, thoughtful and insightful they are with their truly invaluable one-to-one service. They re-designed my website, moved all the data over to the new one and give me advice when asked, talking me (painstakingly) through every step. I belong to the generation known as ‘digital immigrants’ and am a hopeless technophobe but I’m never made to feel ignorant or as if I’m time-wasting: they simply help me with everything from the most minor detail through to bigger issues. I’m also so relieved to know that there is going to be someone (a real human!) I can talk to whenever I need help and that is the biggest reassurance I can have. I never feel as if I’m talking to ‘an IT person’ but, rather, to a very informed and clever personal aide.