If you’ve stopped by in the last week, you’ve noticed that I have a whole new look on this blog! But, not only have I done a new design, I’ve also migrated over to WordPress from Blogger! I thought I’d share what the process was like for me since I’ve been afraid to make this big switch for awhile now!
The first step I took was to find a design company that could give my blog a new design, but also move my blog over to WordPress. This costs more than a new design on Blogger or a new design on WordPress (if you’re already on WordPress), because they need to move everything over from Blogger to WordPress for you. Finding a design company was easy for me because I decided to use the same company that did my last design (in 2013!). I think I even had the same designer, but I’m not 100% sure on that. The design company I used was Smitten Designs and my designer was Brooke.
I knew I wanted my blog to have a cleaner design, with more options for my readers. The old Curly Crafty Mom blog was exactly what I had envisioned for my blog back when it was more of a mom and crafts blog. But, now my blog tends to be more lifestyle and I even do fashion posts! The old design was… too cute. I wanted something clean, to the point and also neutral. I decided to go with my favorite decor colors right now: white, black and a metallic (gold). I also had a drop down menu added, where I can add different categories of posts. I can tag posts right into these folders with a check box. It is SO nice!
Here is an example of my menu bar. You’ll see under Lifestyle, I’ve selected Food.
Under Food, you’ll see all of the posts that I’ve tagged to be under the ‘Food’ category . I can do this for many of my posts, such as 12 Months of Goals, my fashion posts (I split it up by season) and more!
My husband was a huge help through this entire process, too! He helped create a server that my blog could go onto, since Blogger stores your blog for you (we now use Siteground’s WordPress hosting), and he copied and converted all of my posts (over 2,000!) and photos. I was uploading all of my photos to Flickr for storage, but now I am storing my own photos. This is nice because I had a problem with the photos for my old posts when Photobucket decided to charge $200 a month to let you use their photo storage service when it used to be free! Brian uploaded all of my Photobucket photos from my old posts to Amazon’s S3 Cloud Storage Service and now I have my photos back (they were black boxes!). You have to think long term, because you can’t trust a company to stay around or to continue to let you use something for free. We will move my old Flickr images there at some point, too.
Also, as part of this redesign, my husband put Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) in front of our server. Cloudflare stores a copy of every page and image from my blog at over 100 sites all over the world. So when you hit www.curlycraftymom.com you are seamlessly redirected to the site closest to you so that your browser loads the page and all the images super fast. We have readers from all over the world, even as far away as Australia and Singapore. Using a CDN helped me to speed up the site and offer a fun experience no matter where in the world you’re located. We were able to reduce the time to load the page from 35 seconds on Blogger to under five seconds. The content that actually shows in the window (before you scroll) usually loads in less than a second or two. This is a big improvement!
Finally, moving to WordPress allowed me to start displaying larger and better-looking photos. I like to take a lot of pictures (And my kids just LOVE posing for them! Not!). The new design makes room for wider and larger photos. My husband added retina image support to WordPress so that if you have an Apple device with a retina screen, you will load a version of each photo that’s a higher resolution and will be clearer and sharper on your device. Not all of my old photos have retina versions, but we are trying to do that for all of the new ones going forward.
We did run into some problems when I first went live with my WordPress site. For some reason, the <br> or break was NOT working in my posts, so everything was running together (this seems to be a WordPress thing). Brian was able to fix that, but it was something weird with the template I was using. Also, at first Cloudflare stored a copy of some of my posts that made it look like everyone was signed onto my site as an administrator! Brian fixed that, and it was really just a bad copy. If anyone had tried to click on anything, it wouldn’t have worked.
As for creating posts, it is really no different than Blogger… just a lot more options, but they aren’t confusing. The first week was the hardest, just getting familiar with WordPress and working out the kinks, but I must say I am on my second week of using WordPress and I am really loving it! If you’re thinking about moving to WordPress and have any questions, be sure to let me know!