Why I Didn’t Move To WordPress (Even Though I REALLY Wanted To)

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I, like many bloggers before me, started blogging using Blogger, a free website/blog tool offered by Google that makes it easy for anyone to start a blog. It was great for a while, but then I started reading some pretty scary stuff, like how Google owns your content and can shut you down. Woof.

I also was feeling creatively trapped with Blogger. I wanted drop down menu items and a photo gallery and things I just didn’t know how to code. After seeing how happy my other blog friends were on WordPress, I knew it was time to make the switch. Or was it?

Is moving to a self-hosted WordPress blog the right decision for you? This is why I didn't move to WordPress, even though I REALLY wanted to | Blogging Tips | Blogging as a Business | Tips for new bloggers | Mompreneur | Mom Makes Joy

WHY WORDPRESS IS AWESOME

WordPress kicks serious behind as far as blogging platforms go. Here are just a few ways in which it does so:

1) COMPLETE CREATIVE CONTROL. Want to create a completely custom theme for your site? Okay. Want a specific image to pop up when you hover over a specific link? No problem. Want to create a lovely, easy to use photo gallery to categorize and display your previous posts? Go for it! Want to be able to choose from thousands of plugins for your site? They’re at your fingertips.

As a full content management system, WordPress gives you the flexibility to make your blog virtually whatever you want it to be. This freedom is a HUGE deal for me, so much so that in my mind, this one bullet point carries the weight of about 20 bullet points in favor of WordPress.

2) CONTENT OWNERSHIP. Per their terms, Google has the right to “add or remove functionalities or features [from your blog]” and may “suspend or stop a Service altogether.” {Insert theme music from Psycho here} Scary. It makes me want to back up my blog in five different places just reading that! Amanda at A Royal Daughter explains the issue clearly and in greater detail here, if you’re interested.

3) SUPPORT. There are literally hundreds of people all over the world working on the WordPress software, more than most commercial platforms, and the support forums are surprisingly helpful!

4) EASE OF USE. It helps to have a basic understand of blogging terms (“sidebar,” “theme,” “widget,” etc.), but once you understand these simple blog components, you should have no problem navigating your dashboard and producing great posts.

Sample view of WordPress Dashboard

I know what you’re thinking.

IF WORDPRESS IS SO GREAT, THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU MOVE??

Well, I started to. I had purchased web hosting service and a domain name through Bluehost, which was quick and easy. Bluehost’s website has some excellent videos featuring a delightful dude named Paul who walks you through all the steps involved in installing the WordPress software, so I did that as well without any problems. Everything was up, running, and working smoothly, and I couldn’t have been happier. And that’s when things got dicey.

I have a confession to make:

Sample html code

I really don’t know how to code. If you need to add a line break, change a font size or color, or put a space between paragraphs, then I’m your girl. But that’s about all I can do for you. I do, however, know a bit of CSS, at least enough to customize my previous (and current) Blogger blog template. Given that, I thought what little knowledge I had would be sufficient to make the changes I wanted. But boy was I wrong! I was able to customize my blog to a small degree, but for some reason when I would refresh the page I would get a flash of the way my theme looked before customization:

This is so ugly my eyes are burning. Also, it’s the old blog name…

It was UGLY.  After all the time I spent working on the design of my blog, watching this horridness appear–even if only for a moment–instead of my beautiful page made me want to implode in on myself like a dying star.

At this point, I knew I would need professional help getting this site looking the way I want. I must’ve been doing something wrong. But I didn’t know what! I was so frustrated that in a brief moment of weakness (and insanity), I considered giving up blogging altogether! That’s when I took a step back and thought hard about my decision.

WHY I DIDN’T MOVE TO WORDPRESS (EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANTED TO)

1) COMPLETE CREATIVE CONTROL. I know, I know, this was one of the reasons WordPress was supposed to be awesome. However, the point at which I would need to hire someone to make my blog look the way I want is the point at which I don’t really have the complete creative control I so strongly desired. And even if I paid someone to create exactly what I wanted for my blog—what if I got bored with it? What if I wanted to change something?

I didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to create the look I want, and I didn’t have the time to learn the code I would need to know to create what I want design-wise by myself.

2) COST. Hosting your own website can be expensive! A year of hosting your site on Bluehost will run you about $5ish a month (that’s $60 a year on the low end), plus potentially another $30-$60+ a year for programs that will back up your site and scan it for malware (and other kind of internet-related buggies). I was able to get my domain name through Bluehost for free for the first year, but after that it would cost me about $12 a year.

Then there is the cost of your framework. I purchased the Genesis framework after reading some great reviews on it, and it was about $60. So before my website was even up and running, it was costing me about $200, not including the cost of paying someone to add a custom design to my site, which on the low end would probably run around $150 and might not even be exactly what I wanted.

I wasn’t prepared to part with that much money, especially considering the audience (or lack thereof) I was reaching. In contrast, Blogger is free, and my new domain name costs about $10 a year. End of story.

3) BLOGGER WORKED. I realized that, in the end, what I wanted to get out of moving to WordPress was a fresh start and a chance to grow my blog from the ground up, and I wanted to do this so I could be better equipped to make connections with my readers. These connections are what ultimately makes blogging so worthwhile for me. If I am not connecting to anyone, why am I writing? Why am I doing any of this?

In the end, a beautiful WordPress site won’t bring my blog new visitors or help me forge new connections with them—only good, quality content will do that. To grow as a blogger, content—not aesthetics—is what I should be focusing on right now. And I really, really want to grow as a blogger.

SO NOW WHAT? WILL YOU EVER MOVE TO WORDPRESS?

Yes! And I look forward to it! I don’t have a specific timetable as to when I plan to do this, but I can say that I am confident that both I and my blog will be totally ready the next time around! WordPress is the right choice for many blogs out there; for my blog, it was just the right choice at the wrong time.

For now, I will continue to use the Blogger blogging platform. It’s free, it’s easy to use, I already understand very well how it works, and I am able to use it to create a design I’m pleased with and a blog I’m proud of. Plus, with my new domain name and set-up here, I still have the opportunity to grow my blog from the ground up like I wanted to begin with. So in the end, Blogger ain’t all that bad!

If you are thinking of making the switch from Blogger to WordPress but are still on the fence, Marie at Coding it Pretty wrote a great post on making the move and the cons nobody ever talks about. I am a big fan of WordPress, but these are some important things to think about!

UPDATE November 2013 – Since writing this post, I have finally made the transition to a self-hosted WordPress site! Learn more about what prompted the decision here.

Have any blog moving stories to share? How did you learn html or CSS? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below! Or just say hello if you liked the post :)

Love,
Gabby