I spent much of last year fretting about whether and how to make the move from my old blog to WordPress. A couple of months into my new blog … I don’t regret it for one second and only wish I’d made the move more quickly.
You’ve probably heard that you should host your own blog, rather than use a free hosting service. But you might not really know what that means or you might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to understand the whole new language that comes with such a decision.
But in case you haven’t heard about this … building up your SEO, links, traffic, and other assorted mojo on your OWN site, rather than on a free site, is so much better for your blog and business.
I was more than a little worried about losing my carefully built over years (years!) piece of real estate on blogger, but am happy to share that my search traffic has increased exponentially since making the change. Of course, so has the spam comments, but – thankfully – WordPress has tools that prevent the spam from being published.
I am by no means a web designer and am still learning every day about something I need to do with my site that I didn’t know about (dns name servers? addon domains? eeps!). However, I now have nearly infinite flexibility in how I want to do set up my blog, website, etc.
I highly, highly recommend the following resources and services if you’re considering make the move to your own blog on your own site:
Tara Gentile’s WordPress Tips – Seriously, Tara is giving away the best free content (tips, tutorials, etc.) about how to use WordPress. And while you’re at it, strongly consider enrolling in her Website Kickstarters program (affiliate link), which is exactly how I learned to set up my own WordPress site from start to finish (and still refer to every week as I continue to develop my site).
Akismet – I cannot imagine online life without this fabulous resource. Akismet is a simple plug in for your WordPress site that stops spam comments cold. Absolutely free for your personal blog. I think I pay $5/month for my blog, which is the best $5 investment I’ve made. No more time spent wading through comments to delete all the spam!
Google Analytics – I’m sure you’re already using analytics (right?), but just in case you’re not … super easy to set up and absolutely essential for tracking visitors on your site. (p.s., you should be using this resource for any site, self-hosted or fee, it’s just that essential)
WordPress Stats – In a glance, I can see nearly real-time stats for my blog, including page visits for the day, referrers (how people found my blog), search engine terms, which links visitors clicked, etc. This is another simple WordPress plug in that integrates into my site.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, just a few of the top resources I’ve found essential to working with WordPress. I’ll share additional resources in the near future!