I’m linking up to Feel Good Friday this week because I’m feeling REALLY good about switching my blog over to WordPress, complete with total redesign and rebranding! And believe it or not, I am NOT posting this from a padded room, typing with my toes.
I have known ever since attending Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore last March that I needed to switch to WordPress, and that I hadn’t thought enough (OK, AT ALL) about branding before starting my blog. I was dreading it, though, after hearing horror stories about switching over, learning a new platform, etc. However, I took the plunge and my new blog is now going live! How did I get through this transition so easily and happily? Seven easy steps:
1.) Think about your “brand”. What are you blogging about and who are your readers? Is that what you are going to continue blogging about? Are there other readers you want to reach? Does your blog have a recognizable and memorable name and header? What about your Twitter handle, your Facebook page, and your profile pictures everywhere?
2.) Look at other blogs and decide what you like. What colors do you find appealing? Do you want intricately detailed or clean and simple? Are you drawn to headers with pictures? Caricatures? Elaborate or unusual fonts? Scroll down and look at footers. Compare social media buttons.
3.) Once you have a pretty clear idea of what you want HIRE HELP. Unless you are absolutely sure you can do this because you have successfully done it before DON’T risk your blog and your sanity. Pick sites you like the look of and scroll to the bottom to see who designed them – great way to pick a designer. But if you’re switching platforms as well as redesigning ask around. Find out who’s got experience with the platform you want to use, who’s done exactly what you want done tech-wise. I used the brilliant and creative Sharon of Good, True, and Beautiful, and her technical experience and impeccable taste made all the difference.
4.) Research plug-ins if you’re going to be using WordPress. There are great articles by Mama Kat, Amy, and many others listing their favorites. If you see something cool on a blog, email them and ask how they did it. Odds are it’s a nifty plug-in. When it’s time to start trying them out, though, show some restraint. If you install twelve plug-ins and then your site is all screwed up you don’t know which of the twelve is the problem. I limited myself to three a day just to be safe.
5.) Follow the #savvyblogging hashtag on Twitter. Lots of good plug-in suggestions, troubleshooting, links to helpful articles, and nice people to meet.
6.) Pick a friend’s brain. If at all possible , pick the brain of a friend who’s recently been through this. It’s like when you’ve got a newborn and your friend has a six-month-old. If you have a question, call her! Odds are she just figured out the solution to the exact problem you’re having and she’d love to share her new-found knowledge. I’ve picked Dianna‘s brain so thoroughly I doubt she remembers her own children’s names.
7.) Finally, think of it as a journey, not a destination. Enjoy your cool new blog, but be ready to let it evolve naturally. Blogs, unlike poorly chosen tattoos, are easy to change.