Moved from Self Hosted to WordPress.com

Early 2021, still in COVID-19 lockdown, saw Hairy1Travels migrate from a self hosted site to WordPress.org. Read on for details of how and, more importantly, why.

The effects of Lockdown

Lockdown in 2020 meant many changes for most people, not excluding me. Work became hugely busy, trying to set users up to work from home, and re-hash ongoing projects. along with trying to maintain the blog and write posts.

Stay-at-home weekends provided time to try a few new things and check on existing efforts.

For me it was time to re-vitalise my photography. As a result I actually managed to sell a few photos. At last! That has taken a while!

The Blog is Not working

On the other side, a close look at Hairy1Travels showed clearly that it was going nowhere. And costing a fair amount! To be fair the site was set up in 2013 as an experiment and a bit of a “place to play”. I have learned a lot. About SEO. About writing. About the web. About WordPress.

Auditing the site, here is what I found:

  • Not many people reading my posts. With one exception – a post about setting yourself up comfortably to work from home.
  • Google search console showing good click-through rates on search. For the keywords I was using! But not many people searching for those keywords!
  • The site had bcome very complex, with few views of many pages of photo galleries, all using an expensive plugin. More than one blog post was sidetracked by the need to carry out maintenance.
  • For all this the site was costing in excess of £300 per annum to maintain.

Actually, it took a bit of soul searching to finally decide to make the move.

What to Move? – My Solution.

Ultimately the solution I chose was to migrate the site to WordPress.org, using the WordPress export / import tools. Once that was complete, the unwanted pages were simply deleted. The effect of that has been to maintain the blog posts, and keep all of the media, photos, etc.

This method does not come without some downsides. I chose to use the WordPress.com “Personal” plan for £36 per annum. That best suits where I want Hairy1Travels to be right now. Id does mean that I lose all of the plugins I was using, and Google Analytics. The analytics doesn’t worry me, but the loss of the plugins does mean that some of the posts are broken. With the limited audience, that will probably no be an issue, as I audit and delete or fix the posts.

Behind the scenes there was one more exercise to do. That was to download all my assets from the self-hosted site, including a database backup. I did create a local server to run a local version of my original site, so I can refer back if necessary. That takes a bit of tech skill, an is well covered online. Drop me a comment if that’s something you want to do.

So What Next

My plan is to have a simpler blog, focused on what I do every day. In the theme of “Life is journey…” there has been a big gap between the solutions I work on daily and what I have been blogging, particularly where travel planning, food (sourdough!), photography and tech are concerned.

Watch this space!

And, my apologies if you find a boken page – please let me know!

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