Transition from Blogger to WordPress
My personal blog has been relatively stale over the past few years. Partially that has had to do with being so busy working at IBM and completing my graduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. However, now that I've finished my graduate studies, I'm hoping to reconnect to personal blogging in order to be able to have a place to write about big picture things about life, career, leisure, etc. beyond the sorts of technical posts I write for the Millennial Mainframer blog.
One of the first actions I took was opening a Wordpress.com blog and porting over my old posts from Blogger. At this point, I've got quite a spread-out porfolio of web content, and I'm looking to try to consolidate. Given the flexibility of Wordpress, I'm particularly thinking about phasing out my custom HTML site currently hosted at SPMCB.com and rehosting the content on a Wordpress-based site. This could either be a Wordpress.com pro account or a custom hosted Wordpress site.
I'm sure that I must some friends that have gone through these sorts of decision points before, so I would really appreciate your feedback. In my mind, here are the most compelling reasons to move to WordPress:
- It's the lingua franca of blogging, giving it a strong community of plug-ins and themes
- It offers a far greater degree of customization, even to the point that many commercial websites use the software
- The blogs are relatively portable due to the open-source nature of the WordPress software. This means that I could rehost the blog between different providers quite easily.
- It seems to offer greater integration with things like Facebook and Twitter, rather than Blogger, which is predominantly focused on propping up Google+
Update One (July 6, 2013):
Shortly after writing this last post, I was inspired to do some hands-on experimentation with WordPress' capabilities. I went ahead and created a Wordpress.com account to understand the features and economics of using WordPress' commercial offerings. Essentially WordPress.com is the closest equivalent of Blogger. A new user signs up on the site and can start blogging for free. The blog is hosted on WordPress servers, and the administration is handled through a simplified subset of the WordPress open-source software. This helps with ease of use, which makes it a good solution for bloggers less interested in administering their own IT infrastructure. The downsides of this are that the software does not have all of the options available in the free open-source software. If you want to have advanced features like having your own domain name (e.g. spmcb.com instead of spmcb.wordpress.com) or altering the cascading style sheets (CSS) of a WordPress theme, then you essentially are pushed to purchase the WordPress Premium package for $99 per year.
After doing some experimentations with WordPress.com, I came to the conclusion that I would really prefer to be able to have my own hosted web server running WordPress software. This would allow me complete access to the web stack, including scripting languages, which would allow me to achieve the full functionality that I achieved through my hand-built personal website. Since I was ideally looking for a way to combine the ease of use of a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface and prebuilt themes with the ability to drill down and write custom code for web apps, WordPress on my own hosted web server seemed to make really good sense. This value proposition clearly appeals to a wide variety of folks as well, as a 2012 Forbes article cited that WordPress now runs over 60 million websites.
Until recently, I have been running two personal web sites. The first was a HTML5 page that I created for scratch during a Web Technology class that I took at Illinois Tech. Over time, this site evolved into an online resume, a portfolio of work, and an HTML playground for demonstrating that I actually was able to develop web sites and basic web apps. Over the past few years, the site has had Java web applets, a JEE message board, a photo board that automatically resized and rotated photos. It lived on spmcb.com and was hosted via godaddy.com. The second was a Blogger blog that lived at http://spmcbride1201.blogspot.com. This blog predated the creation of the custom site, and was most active in 2011 when I was unemployed following my resignation from a Georgetown PhD program and posting career reflection exercises from books such as What Color is your Parachute and The Pathfinder.