I’m going to be honest – it took me a long time to move to WordPress. There were a few reasons why I waited the 4.5 years to do it. First of all, I had a full time job in marketing, and blogging was always just a hobby to me. Even when I quit my professional career in January of 2012, I still didn’t move until October of 2012 (it took me awhile to decide if I was officially going to make a go of this blogging thing). Secondly, I had convinced myself that Blogger was “good enough” and I was used to it. I didn’t need to move. Finally, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to manage the technical side of moving. It seemed like WordPress had a bunch of extra “stuff” to deal with and, could I handle it?
Let me shortcut the story a little bit and tell you that I’m writing this blog post from inside WordPress, and I’m more than happy with it – and happy that I moved my other blogs to WordPress as well. So obviously the concerns I had were overcome by other factors. And that’s what I want to share with you today. Despite my fears in moving, there were were reasons to do it . . . reasons that ultimately caused me to overcome those fears. Here they are, and perhaps some of these apply to you.
Your design needs have gone beyond those available on other platforms. This was a big one for me. I had paid someone several times to make Blogger templates for me that would work like those fancy WordPress templates I was seeing everyone else using: slideshows, rotating sidebars, etc. I needed certain functionality and wanted a particular layout. And while the Blogger template that was developed was okay, the designer himself even told me he just couldn’t do what I wanted on Google’s platform. My site was loading slower and slower, and it became clear what I needed to do. Aesthetics are pretty important to me, as is site experience.
You want to get serious about SEO. You would think that being on Blogger (since it’s owned by Google) means that you’re “plugged in” to the search engines. And it’s not like you don’t get ranked in search engines just because you’re on Blogger. But over and over again, people told me that SEO improved for them when they moved to WordPress. And I experienced the same thing. I can’t tell you all of the technical reasons why SEO improves, but one thing that helps is that you can use a plugin called Yoast that helps you hone in on and refine your SEO strategy.
You need to extend the functionality of your site (ie, plugins). This goes beyond design needs. On one of my blogs, there is a newsletter sign up form that loads when someone is going to exit the site (called exit intent). It’s one of my favorite plugins, called OptinMonster. You just won’t believe how easy it is to add things like comment forms, related content widgets, and integrate social icons. WordPress has a library of over 36,000 plugins, a lot of them free, that let you do/add whatever you want to your site in a matter of seconds, without coding. It’s kind of amazing. If you can imagine it, there’s likely a plugin that does it.
Your site needs to be scalable (images, comments, ads). I ran into issues with image sizing, comment limitations (it wouldn’t allow more than 200 per post) and ad placement when I was on Blogger. As my site got bigger and bigger, I needed to make changes that could accommodate more users on the site. Now I don’t have to worry that my site won’t load, or that people won’t be able to add comments, or that I can’t switch an ad around on a moments notice. As your site grows, WordPress can grow with you.
You can afford server and design costs. Money is always a consideration. I have spent
hundreds thousands of dollars on hosting and design. My hosting of all of my blogs runs about $150 a month, and when I get something designed, it can range from $200 for plugin customization to $1,000 or more for a completely new design. When I was on Blogger, pretty much everything was free. I did pay a bit for new templates here and there, but it wasn’t much. To me it’s worth the initial investment to move to WordPress, even if you have to pay a little bit out of pocket and your blog funds aren’t quite covering it yet. Your hosting costs won’t be that much at the beginning, and as you grow and need a bigger hosting plan, your advertising and sponsored post opportunities will grow too.
You want multiple users. I’m not sure if Blogger will change this, but as of this writing, you can’t have multiple users log in to your Blogger blog. On WordPress, you can – and they can have different roles. Which is nice when you don’t want anyone to be able to access your Admin panel (and be able to make major changes) except for you.
I’d say there’s one major thing to think about if you move to WordPress. Your traffic is probably going to drop for a little bit. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happened to me and most people that I know. It’s especially an issue if you go from a http://amyamyamy.blogspot.com to an http://amyamyamy.com custom domain. However, you’ll bounce back, and then you’ll be better than ever. I moved in October, but I’d probably pick a lower traffic time of year to do it (like right after Christmas for most craft bloggers) if I had it to do over.
So what do you think – are you ready to move to WordPress? Does any of this apply to you?