Thirteen Things I learned about upgrading to WordPress
10 min read
The Theory is Simple, The Practice is not
You want to move from site A (in this case WordPress.Com), which has been good to you and your readers but you’ve outgrown, and move to site B (WordPress.Org) which is bigger, better and offers more bells and whistles. It’s just simply a case of “It’s not you, It’s Me !”
The Practice …..
Bloggers Ego is dangerous
Hey, you’ve dabbled in WordPress.Com for a while now, there’s not much that you can’t do with it – you’re sure you can do yourself myself, no need for a developer or designer! You know what you want and, you’ve watched a few YouTube videos, and it looks quite easy ! Here’s my story on moving from WordPress.Com to WordPress.Org.
And there is where it all starts to do down hill – actually it’s more than that the actual feeling is that this ego trip feels like a jump off an Olympic Height Ski Jump the highest you can imagine, with the problem being that part way down the slope you discover that you have two left feet, have never really learnt to ski, aside from the nursery slopes, a long time ago which really doesn’t’ count and actually you never thought about how to land after the jump !
Your ego continues and you feel like the little snowball that you first started working on is growing momentum and at every turn it’s getting bigger and bigger. Upwards and onwards (in my case spiralling downards.. ) you carry on with plenty of lessons and new skills being learned as you find yourself on a unintentional Self taught Fastrack WordPress 101 BootCamp.
Be Ready Willing And Able to Multitask
You will spend a lot of time waiting for the progress bar to move along and for something to do something, anything, anything at all whilst you wait, and watch and wait a bit more, then of course, and you should have know this and planned for it really, your internet will no doubt drop out, usually at 98% complete when you were oh so close, and you will have to reload and start the process of watching and waiting all over again. During this time it’s useful to have something else to do, have multiple windows open on your laptop so you can multitask and do the day job, play a game, do your social media updates etc, heck I was even working on two laptops at one stage as it was taking so long. During this time your site will be ‘inactively active’ for quite a lot of the time when you are supposedly working on it but actually you are just watching a screen and hoping it will do something.
When WordPress says “Have Fun”it doesn’t mean Have Fun !
What it means is “I’ve finished the import, all of it ! yes wasn’t I good to you” (actually you don’t see this very often) now you have to go make it work.When it doesn’t say have fun, you definitely won’t have fun as it means the import has fallen over somewhere along the line and you will have to gear up and resuscitate it, or ignore it and move on, coz hey this is about the tenth time it’s fallen over and frankly you need a cup of coffee and you’ve forgotten to load the pesky thing again.
Be Prepared to make friends with strangers
When things start going wrong, as they inevitably will, because you’ve shunned the experts due to that darn Bloggers Ego, you will now need to find some new expert friends who can help you along, theme administrators are a good source of help, as are people on Twitter who you may or may not know but have responded to your ‘SOS need help, please Re Tweet’ Tweet, various virtual support forums will be your new nightly read, and if you’ve really got time on your hands you can log a call with your on-line hosting company, be prepared for this one though as I’m fairly sure they are working on a different time reference point to us, a 31 minute call waiting time can easy stretch out to 45 minutes before you are able to ‘chat’ to the person who can help you, but as they are managing multiple chats expect to be held up for a long time before either they resolve the issue or you resolve to never chat to them again and vow to find the solution on your own.
Think of a Number, a big number and then multiply it many times
Get your calculator out and start doing some sums, start with the web developer and designer who told you it would take X amounts of days and weeks, use X number and multiply it by your shoe size, the number of biscuits in a full pack, the number of raisons in your cereal bowl, your great Aunt’s year of birth and any other random number, you probably still haven’t got a figure high enough to equate to the amount of time you are working on this simple ‘move A to B’ project.
Google and Youtube will become your new best friends
In the dark hours when your new virtual support team are A) Having a life or B) Asleep you will turn to the dark web of constant Google or YouTube. Searches usually starting with “how do I …” resulting in multiple open tabs each suggesting that they hold the answer and invariably they don’t. Youtube is particularly good for making something really complicated seem like a doddle as you watch it and into a fiend as you try and do it yourself, anyway it’s now 3 am in the morning and you are desperately trying to figure out which countries are still awake so you can tap into them via Twitter and find an awake human helper ….
Your Second Best Friend will be Coffee
Oh yes, copious amounts of the strong stuff will keep you going and even when you are sleeping, will keep your mind fully active and alert meaning that you never feel completely rested throughout the whole process, oh the irony when I’m setting up a site called CoffeeCakesAndRunning, I need the coffee, want the cakes and simply have no time for running or am running out of time !
You discover the power of Snapchat !
Snapchatting your experience (narrating your story should I say) not only helps while away the hours, and days that you are at your laptop, but also scares the hell out of a whole bunch of people thinking they will make the change themselves. You suddenly feel like the brave explorer out there trying to find the Holy Grail of self transfer so that you can pass on your secrets to others, when really you are the mad one who turned down export support (at a cost of course) partly due to budget and partly due to your Bloggers Ego which we will now rename as Bloggers Quest to learn and develop new skills through a process of experiential learning – sounds so much more positive now do you think?
You Become the IT literate (or illiterate) version of Sherlock Holmes (if he was a woman)
As you search for the ever elusive answer to what seems like an innocent question :
why can’t ALL my posts be transferred along with ALL my image, ALL my tags, ALL my categories and ALL my images and, (just for the hell of it, actually it’s quite essential) is it possible that the images could be attached to the posts? Seriously, that’s all I want to be able to do, I can figure out the rest myself.
You will become an auditor and a number person
You are constantly checking numbers of Posts, Images, Comments etc between one site and the other, and trying to work out why the heck they aren’t the same when you Exported ALL information and imported ALL information, where do all the bits of missing data etc go ….
You become an ‘expert’ in tech talk
Gone are discussions with your pals about great places to eat and new finds, or travels to far away places, instead you will be talking CPanel, HTML, SQL Databases, XML files and CSS Code until the cows come home – even more worrying you now start understanding it and knowing what it all means and does. You will know your way around WordPress Admin Panel like a demon on speed (.com and .org) you know how to Import, Export, Bulk Delete (you will be doing that a lot) as well as Link, UnLink, DeLink, Install PlugIns etc, heck you forget to eat and tweet as you lose yourself down a rabbit hole of new techie geek knowledge that you never knew you needed to know until now.
You become an eternal optimist and have great respect for the professionals
finally, as the end is near and you can see a glimpse of what site B will look like in all it’s glory, you start to feel jubilant and almost give out a little cheer, until you remember that you now have to figure out how to make the hidden site live. It’s the ski jumpers equivalent of having to land safely before reaching the end of the run, and as you do this you have a decision to make, should you retire gracefully at the end moping your brow and vowing never to jump again, or do the “I’m invincible” endorphins kick in as you climb to the top and start all over again.
And Finally :
Debbie is the web designer and web developer behind CoffeeCakesAndRunning.Com – her new WordPress site which she can finally announce is launched !! the still to be launched new website that she is designing and developing in her spare time. In the meantime she’s Editor at CoffeeCakesAndRunning.Me the website she has actually mastered and which is now switched off having moved to WordPress.Org hurrah !! .
In her spare time, Debbie is fuelled by Speciality Coffee and the hope that one day her dot com website will go live when she will then be available to design and develop yours too having gained a wealth of new skills !
Debbie cannot, ski nor has she ever ski jumped, but she imagines it’s pretty difficult and only for those with real skill and experience.
PS Debbie wrote this post whilst waiting for the pesky percentage bar to move as she is building the WordPress dot com site.
Psssss …. All image credits go to John Atkinson who it seems has done this journey with me with his super relevant cartoons. You can find John’s work at John Atkinson, Wrong Hands Ps John is you ever need a web designer …. LOL