Moving from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site
I came across a site owner stuck on some issues involved in moving from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site. Her main concern was having her new site still searchable from the wordpress.com reader. It’s easy to see why, as she has built a loyal tribe of over 5000 followers. After writing a quick caveat about cheap web hosting, I didn’t think much more about it. But a follow-up comment from her the next day prompted a revisit and some more investigation on my part. And I’m glad I did.
As it turns out, she can migrate to her own hosted site and take her current followers with her. Her site and posts will be available to her current followers. Unfortunately, no one else will find her posts in a WordPress Reader search. It’s not the perfect solution, but much of what she wants is possible using the Jetpack plugin.
I used Jetpack several years ago, but haven’t checked out its current functionality. It’s jam-packed with tools to make managing and promoting your blog a snap. Features available just on the free version are enough for most niche-interest bloggers.
The free-version features that stand out are:
- Free photo CDN – A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a great way to speed up your site. All your images are hosted on the WordPress CDN. That means less bandwidth and space used on your server, and faster download times for your site visitors.
- Lazy image loading – Lazy loading improves site speed and bandwidth, as images load only when a user scrolls to that position on a page. This is a huge deal to anyone using lots of images on their site.
- Brute force attack protection – You have to actually see server logs to appreciate this. Automated bots are pounding on your site, trying to gain access. I don’t care if your site only gets ten visitors per year: it’s still a target for a mindless bot. Your site needs security, and Jetpack functionality provides a great starting point.
- Downtime monitoring – You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. Downtime alerts let you know if something is wrong with your site. I know of several sites that were experiencing daily outages—sometimes up to ten minutes—and had no idea they were happening. And it was right when most of their users were trying to access the site! Their server was starved for memory due to a cheap hosting account (more on that in another post, perhaps).
- Related post links – Everyone wants to keep visitors on their site longer. If you offer related content just after they’ve read one of your posts, you have a better chance of keeping them engaged. Jetpack makes this effortless.
- Automated social media posting – This feature allows you to connect your blog to major social media outlets. Your connected accounts receive new content pushed automatically from your site. You can even schedule when this happens to target prime viewing times for each social medium.
The Jetpack premium versions offer even more benefits. Check out the Jetpack pricing page for a full rundown.
To move or not to move…
If you’re a wordpress.com blogger and you’re thinking of moving from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site, you can find plenty of resources among the WordPress community. There are folks out there who have already made the leap, and they’re willing to let you know the ups and downs of their decision. You can also check in with me by commenting here or contacting me directly and I’ll be glad to help out.