I know there is a lot of angst in the knitter-blogger world this weekend, at least if you are a Typepad user. It seems that I’m not the only one that hit that wall going ninety miles an hour yesterday. I don’t make decisions lightly, but once I’ve made up my mind, I tend to head forward full steam without a look back. This was no different. From glimmer of idea to “maybe I should go to the bookstore and get a WordPress For Dummies book”, to registering the name and moving the major part of the posts, it was done within a few hours yesterday.
For those of you thinking of doing the same thing, it’s not as difficult as I thought it might be. Moving is definitely a pain in the ass, but this one is going relatively well. Here are my beginning findings, for those of you dithering about it.
Get your domain name registered, now. If you sign up with a hosting service, it’s often free, but even if you’re not ready to sign up, it’s generally under $10 to do so, and it saves the spot. “knittingdoctor.com” was already taken (it takes you to a Lion Brand page! What’s up with that? They’re not doctors!), but “theknittingdoctor.com” was available. If all else fails, pick something close, perhaps with a number. Though that esthetically makes me itchy, it’s just the domain name, not the name you actually give the blog. Go here to find out if your heart’s desire is still available.
Find yourself a blog host. Before you do this, pick your software. This was a no-brainer for me. I just decided without a lot of consideration that I’d do a self-hosted WordPress blog, meaning you sign up with a host site to have server space to put the whole thing, then install WordPress as the actual blogging software. The WordPress site has several suggestions, and I went with Bluehost. They have way more capabilities than I’ll ever use, but it’s relatively cheap (cheaper than Typepad, people!) and has enough storage space and bandwidth than a sporadic knitter-blogger will ever need.
The actual sign up was easy. You fill out a few boxes, give Bluehost your credit card number, download the WP software and install, and you’re ready to blog. I just used a ready-made template from their website, though I shifted around stuff on the sidebar. Importing old posts from Typepad was a bit interesting. First you go to Typepad and sign in, and in your settings pages there is a page to export everything. It sends it to a separate webpage, which you then import relatively easily from the “Tools” section of WP. The only problem is that it is a big enough file that it won’t import it all at once. It imports a bunch of posts, then gives you a “fatal error” message. Just keep importing the same file over and over till it’s done. WP is smart enough to not import the same post twice, so it just skips the ones you’ve already imported and moves on to the next part.
The links came along with the import, for the most part. So did the photos, though they are still linked to the TP server. As I have no intention of paying TP forever just to store my blog photos, I’ll move them eventually, but it will be easier, since I can go to each individual post and see what the photos are. It should be a simple matter, albeit a tedious one, of saving them to a folder on my desktop one at a time, then uploading them back into the correct post from the Bluehost server.
I still haven’t figured out all the whistles and bells. And I haven’t figured out how to get my second page, “Finished Projects” to look right. If any of you WP users out there know how to import a whack of posts into a second page of a WP blog, let me know. I’d appreciate it. Maybe I do need that WP For Dummies book, after all. However, I’m far from a computer genius, so if I can do this, so can you.
I’m off to look around under the hood some more. Have a good rest-of-the-holiday-weekend!