Migrating websites for the timid, clueless, and confused

Thinking of migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Are you crazy?

I’m the age that we learned typing on electric typewriters. We certainly had computer classes as well, just not so many computers in the building we could just learn to type on them willy-nilly.

They were for serious stuff like Number Munchers and, be still my heart, Oregon Trail. I went on from my public school education to not become an IT whiz, though I’m sometimes mistaken for one, being a big white nerd who wears glasses. And knowing “things.” I, however, am not good with technology. So, when I wanted a new site for myself and my writing, I found a good free solution: WordPress.com. It was basically free. But then I found out it had a lot of limitations, like not being able to do Google Analytics, and mailing list integration and other boring stuff I’m learning about and wanting to do.

How I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

So, I found out I’d need to buy new hosting. I went to BlueHost and with a coupon or two managed to get 3 years of hosting for not much money. They’re one of the good ones specifically for the WordPress.org platform. I followed their tutorial and at least one other on YouTube to get things going and got stuck. Big time stuck. Everything seemed to be in limbo except my homepage image. I tried a couple things to get my content back and … nothing. I could tell I was making it worse. So, I got some help. Lucky for me, my city has a public tech lab where there are volunteer mentors. The thing is, they’re busy, so to schedule time with a mentor, I’d need to wait a couple weeks.

I followed their tutorial and at least one other on youtube to get things going and got stuck. Big time stuck. Everything seemed to be in limbo except my homepage image. I tried a couple things to get my content back and … nothing. I could tell I was making it worse. So, I got some help. Lucky for me, my city has a public tech lab where there are volunteer mentors. The thing is, they’re busy, so to schedule time with a mentor, I’d need to wait a couple weeks.

A couple weeks of toe-tapping and VOILA, my mentor from Do Space in Omaha gets me back on the straight and narrow in about 5 minutes and shows me where I strayed and fixed me up. Then he showed me a few more cool things I can now do with my improved platform. “This looks way more professional,” he said.

DIY Website Migration: Not So Bad

Thank you to the couple people who noticed things went wrong and missed me (it was very encouraging), and thank you to anyone who comes back. Remember: ASK FOR HELP when you’ve no idea what you’re doing. But don’t be afraid to dive in and try. I got 97% there with only the confidence to give it a shot, and knowing the University of Youtube could be all the education I needed. It was close.

About the Author: Benjamin L. Clark writes historical mysteries and works as a history museum curator.

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Originally published at benjaminlclark.com on February 24, 2017.