Big Girl Blog – I’m Self Hosted

I did it.  I made the plunge. I guess plunge isn’t really the right word for it since it’s taken me weeks to go from purchasing a self hosted domain (I don’t even know if that’s how you phrase that) to actually writing my first post on my very own site.  No more .wordpress.com for this girl.  I literally have, like, butterflies, really.  It’s quite exciting.

You should know that I’m not super technical.  I was in college in the late nineties when almost no one had a computer of their own in their dorm room or apartment.  I would go to the computer lab to write a paper, but I was not very great at it.  I knew about the internet and I thought it sounded pretty cool, but I did’t really *get it*.  I had a vague understanding of what “MIS” meant, but html and all of the rest of the acronyms, were way beyond me.  And, for the most part, still are.  It was definitely a vastly different technical world as compared to the one my kids are growing up in with laptops and tablets and our phones (which are really just super mini computers) at their fingertips at all times.

So making this switch for me was scary.  I kept reading things about how awesome it would be to have creative control and to be able to customize and it just made me think that it didn’t sound awesome at all.  I wanted to stay in my safe wordpress.com cocoon and let the scary stuff be taken care of by them.  BUT… I also really wanted to try to monetize and that’s just not possible it seems with that wordpress.com stuck after your cute blog name.  Which brings me here.  To undercoverdiyer.com, which was by some miracle available to me.

It all began with this post on Pro Blog School.  Please hop on over there and check it out.  It is an amazing source of information and I love the story of the wifes blog taking off and the husband digging in and figuring out this whole background blog world.  I took Jason’s advice and chose Media Temple to host my domain (seriously, is that even what you call it?  Yes, I think it is).  It’s not the least expensive, but I read a couple of cautionary tales of crashing sites on that glorious day when a post went viral and I thought I would put out some good vibes and assume that day IS going to happen for me and I would be ready for it.

I am not going to sugar coat this.  There were many times after I purchased the hosting that I thought I  would cancel and quit and stick with wordpress.com.  Looking back,  the things that were tripping me up were small and fixed easily.  For instance:

  • It is super simple to export all of your information from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  It’s basically a few clicks and done. Except! there is a limit to the size of the file you can successfully export and I think this is where I got tripped up.  I ended doing three separate exports, sort of.  The first export I chose “All” and it took all of my media (A LOT) to the new site, but not, any of my posts.  Weird. So I exported again, this time just posts (that’s an option you can click on) and I got the posts over to the new site.  Finally, I did one more export of “All” and this time, because it recognized that I had already added the media and the posts, it brought over things like categories, pages and comments.  I’m sure this is not the best way to do this, but it worked for non-techie me. This took me several hours over several days to figure out.  I read LOTS of how to’s, but they all kind of scared me and suggested making phone calls and I have an aversion to the phone, so I wanted to figure it out on my own.  And, so I did!
  • So, somewhere in between figuring out how to get all of my stuff on the new domain, I got stuck on something else.  For some reason, (well not *some* reason, I know the reason now, but at the time I was thinking it was a curse that had been placed on me.  There was no other explanation).  My hosting place was telling me my blog was blog.undercoverdiyer.com.  Dude, no, it’s not.  That’s so not what I wanted!  I struggled with this for days, I emailed the hosting company for help on how to change (there are directions that would have worked, had they actually applied to my dumb problem), I asked techie people at work for help.  No one could figure it out.  Until.  I downloaded wordpress.org for the third time from the easy 1 click process on Media Temple and realized that the address (blog.undercoverdiyer.com) that they autopopulated during the process was just a “suggestion” and that I had to change it to what I wanted.  Days, people.  Days I spent trying to fix this.
  • Then there’s finding a theme. Oh. My. God.  That also took me several hours over several days and I didn’t want anything fancy. I wanted plain and simple and everything I saw was fancy pants.  I would have totally stuck with Adelle, except for the pink polka dots.  Technically, this part was easy, it was just going through the masses of different options that is time consuming. I’m like, 99% happy with what I chose, Galaxie.  I have a scary feeling though that I will be a serial theme changer.

Those were my struggles.  But, I also want to share something that was SO easy.  The social media icons.  I had no idea how to get those cute social media icons.  I vaguely understood that it was going to require the dreaded html.  But, I found the greatest tutorial on how to add them to your site AND this magical blogger who wrote the tutorial also provided FREE cute icons.  You can find the tutorial and the free download here on the amazing blog, I Gotta Create.

So, welcome to my new little corner of the blog world.  I would truly LOVE any feedback/constructive criticism on the new site.

My Journey from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

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    4 COMMENTS

  • Marie | August 14, 2014 | Reply

    Hey there! Congrats! 🙂 Everything looks great! I must say that I’m a bit sad though because you and I were once Adelle Twins! HAHA! I love your blog and I read every post of yours….in a non creepy way. HAHA! I just changed my theme a few days ago, but have yet to go self hosted. This is encouraging. Thank you soooo much for posting. Congrats, again. Your blog is wonderful! -Marie

    • Undercoverdiyer | August 14, 2014 | Reply

      Oh, thank you!! I will miss Adelle, but the pink dots clashed with the pic I knew I wanted in my header (it’s of my dining room wall paper, haha!) Thank you so much for following along and if you ever make the leap to self hosted, I would be happy to a) answer questions if I can or, more likely, b) say things like, I have no idea, that’s really weird.. In hindsight, it wasn’t too bad, but with every step I take forward, I have new things to figure out, like right now something about permalinks?? Google is my best friend.

  • So first off– yay! I’m excited for you.

    Second — I love the backstory. “Days, people.” Such good stuff. 🙂

    I spent way too long trying to understand code when doing up my page, too. It got to the point where by 3am I was starting to actually kinda sorta understand it and I knew that meant I had gone too far 😉

    It looks great! Your hard semi painful work paid off.

    • Undercoverdiyer | August 14, 2014 | Reply

      Thanks Carole! It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m excited about it. Every new thing I try to implement is a challenge, but I kind of like that!

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