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Hello WordPress

So I finally took the plunge.

Instead of hosting my blog on Blogger, I’ve decided to move it over to a self-hosted WordPress blog which not only gives me a whole lot more control over content and styling (and has vastly more versatile plugins and themes), but allows me to start consolidating my online presence into, hopefully, a coherent presence. [This will also hopefully finally get Serena and Teresa to stop with their “Wordpress is so much better than Blogger” comments everytime they talk to me about my blog :-)]

The process, while complicated, was not as painful as I expected:

image

1. Design – With the help of my lovely girlfriend, I picked out the Berita theme from BizzArctic. It presents a very cool landing page with a slider and a sophisticated menu-ing system across the top. I then did some simple copy & paste to create a CV page (from an existing resume) and an About page (borrowed heavily from my LinkedIn profile). A quick scan of my Google Reader and some of my friend’s blogs helped me fill out the Links page, and a quick scan of my hard drive put together the various pieces of my Portfolio.

2.  LifeStream – Through WordPress’s plugin directory, I found LifeStream which makes it easy to embed a LifeStream page and sidebar widget which aggregates my activities on Google Reader, Twitter, and my blogging life in one place.

3. Import – WordPress comes with a powerful import tool which made the actual moving of posts from Blogger to WordPress painless. Handling the URL’s (steps below) proved to be a bit more challenging…

4. Maintaining permalinks – Oddly, I discovered that WordPress and Blogger use a completely different mechanism for defining their permalink URLs (the web address that lets you visit the page for an individual post). Thankfully, Justinsomnia maintains a very helpful plugin which helps convert the much more rational WordPress permalink naming system into the peculiar Blogger URL naming system (and because WordPress’s plugins are basically combinations of PHP and Javascript/CSS, it turns out that it’s just a simple regular expression!)

5. Setting up a URL re-direct on Blogger – This too, thankfully, was very simple (just follow the steps after “Update your Blogger settings” as it sets up the Blogger URL re-direct – the playing around with the DNS is needed for it to be completely seamless, but I don’t think its necessary) and step #4 above makes it so that the URL re-directs from Blogger go to the correct WordPress page.

6. Correcting internal links – While steps #4 and #5 fix most of the URL issues, I wanted to fix the internal links so that people who read my blog wouldn’t have to deal with the ugly Blogger re-directs everytime they clicked on the many internal links I have in my blog. Thankfully, because WordPress relies on a SQL database to store all of the post content, a simple SQL command in phpMyAdmin was all that was needed to fix all the internal links.

7. RSS feed – Because most of the regular traffic I get on the blog comes through RSS readers, I wanted to make the transition seamless. Thankfully, I’ve been using Feedburner for quite some time so all I needed to do was switch out the source feed, and then I used the FeedSmith plugin to re-assign my blog’s RSS feed <META> tags to point to my Feedburner feed so that new subscribers would get the right one. So, most of you RSS readers won’t see any difference unless you actually click over to the page itself.

And voila! While I’m sure there are still a few kinks to work out (i.e. alas I’ve lost all the old Disqus comments from my Blogger days and the pictures on my blog are subject to the whims of Picasa/Google hosting), the new blog has been set up. So, please, check it out, let me know what you think, and for those of you with your own blogrolls or who haven’t yet figured out how to use RSS, please update your bookmarks & links!

(Image credit)

Published in Blog

  • you can ask Disqus to import your comments for you (but since your permalinks have changed…or they haven't?) I'm not sure how that works…

  • AndrewG

    Nice Ben! This is an impressively professional site.

  • Ben

    I couldn't find a way to export my old Disqus comments and then re-import them. So I just gave up…

  • Ben

    Thanks, Andrew!

  • I think you'll have to email Jason or Daniel 😛 (which I've embarrassingly done many times…)

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  • iconoclastiac

    Nice! When I set up my blog, I went with WordPress over Blogger. The customization and control when you install on your own domain is just enormous. Despite the effort and time it takes to tweak things, I think it's worth it.

    Great job on the site so far. I'm updating your site on my LJ links. I should probably import my LJ over to WordPress, but the music blog takes enough time to tweak as it is, that I can relinquish my control-freak instincts on that one.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the props (and for the link update)! 🙂 Switch to WordPress! Switch to WordPress! Switch to WordPress!

  • iconoclastiac

    Nice! When I set up my blog, I went with WordPress over Blogger. The customization and control when you install on your own domain is just enormous. Despite the effort and time it takes to tweak things, I think it's worth it.

    Great job on the site so far. I'm updating your site on my LJ links. I should probably import my LJ over to WordPress, but the music blog takes enough time to tweak as it is, that I can relinquish my control-freak instincts on that one.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the props (and for the link update)! 🙂 Switch to WordPress! Switch to WordPress! Switch to WordPress!

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