I know this seems like a silly post but humor me, okay? A couple weeks ago I decided to move my other blog, The Well-Appointed Desk, from Tumblr to WordPress.
First, let me explain my rationale for moving the site. First, Tumblr stores all your content on their servers. So, if they ever changed their policies, went out of business or some other strategic move, I could theoretically lose all 1500+ posts. Second, the service can be a bit sketchy. Have you ever visited Tumblr to get a “service temporarily unavailable” message? Yeah, annoying. And finally, I wanted to have more control over the design and content of the overall site. For example, Tumblr’s search feature is terrible and I need to be able to look up old posts as well as provide a way for readers to look for posts that actually worked. So…
It doesn’t seem like it should be all that big of a deal to switch services, right? Wrong. First, I’m not a web guru. My experience with CSS and all the other facets of building a blog are rudimentary at best so I needed to find a template that got me at 75-85% of the way to where I wanted to be. I purchased a template from one of the myriad of online services (type in “WordPress templates” into your favorite search engine to get what I mean) and plopped down about $35 or so for a template. Then I needed to figure out how to export the content from Tumblr to WordPress while maintaining all links and photographs. Let’s just say that’s not as easy as it sounds. After several days and multiple attempts, I got all the posts moved and probably 75% of the images. Some, I’ve discovered, have come in enormous so my next challenge will be to go back through all 1500+ posts and try to remedy that. Cry….
Then there is a few features that are imbedded into Tumblr by default that I needed to recreate over on WordPress, specifically the queue for future and the auto-post to Twitter/Facebook. Thus far, I have had to manually schedule posts to queue which is a bit of a challenge since I often bulk post on the weekend and then trickle the content out throughout the week. I do this so there aren’t 40 posts on Monday and nothing the rest of the week and also because my day job often leaves me no time to generate posts during the day, and no energy to try to do posts every evening. Then the other hurdle was the ability to have the posts automagically publish a tweet and status update on Facebook for those who choose to follow The Well-Appointed Desk through their favorite media stream. I don’t auto-tweet to be an ass, but to provide a quick clue that a new post is available. I actually appreciate it when other sites I love do that so I wanted to provide the same courtesy. So far, finding a solution for auto-tweeting from within WordPress has proven to be an utter failure and I have tried a bevvy of plug-ins. None of which will play nicely with scheduled posts.I’ve ended up resorting to an online service called su.pr, a division of Stumble Upon which has the added bonus of shortening my URL, scheduling my tweet AND letting me know how many people actually click through to the site so that’s been very handy.
Finally, I wanted to be able to back-post to Tumblr for people who prefer to read The Well-Appointed Desk there. This was one instance where there was a plug-in that works fairly well called Tumblrize. I just have to make sure that the right Tumblr blog is selected when I save my posts and schedule them, otherwise the post gets sent to the wrong feed and the almost 1000 people following on Tumblr don’t get their daily post.
A week or so after picking a template, the vendor decided it would be a fine time to upgrade the template and that more or less ate my blog. SO…. it was back to the digital drawing board. In the end, I settled on a “vanilla template” that was pre-installed with WordPress and its met most of my criteria, most importantly, it has not made me cry in frustration. Yet.
In the end, moving a blog is a challenging, convoluted process and I can’t honestly say that I am happier on WordPress for The Well-Appointed Desk than I was with Tumblr. I just have fewer outages. If I had it to do all over again, would I move the site? I don’t really know. Its certainly resulted in more work for me which is making maintaining the blog more time-consuming. For something that I do “for fun” that’s not necessarily good news.
If anyone has tips for streamlining or improving my one-woman blogging factory, please leave a comment. I could clearly use all the help I can get.