When I first launched this blog in 2010, I automatically set it up via Blogger. My first blog was on the same platform, and I had more creative control with the layout than with WordPress. Or so I thought.
Fast forward 2 years and I find out I’m running out of space for media. As a fashion blogger, you cannot NOT have images on your site, so before I started paying Google for more space (and after consulting with a friend that owned a web design and marketing firm), I decided to take the leap and self-host via WordPress. While Blogger is a fantastic starting point, if you would like to one day blog professionally, I highly suggest switching to a self-hosted WordPress site as soon as you can. I will probably be tweaking my blog’s layout forever BUT, there were some backend things that I wish I’d known before I made the switch. While WordPress isn’t as user friendly as Blogger, it’s better where it counts: layout design, SEO, and ownership.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR THOSE WHO ARE PLANNING TO TAKE THE LEAP:
First things first: if you’ve decided to switch from Blogger to WordPress but think it will take forever to do OR you’d like to but don’t want to lose any of your comments, use the Blogger Importer Converter Plugin. Once you have your blog set up on the WordPress platform, use this to import posts, categories, comments, etc. It took all of 5 minutes to do. One thing to note: it WON’T import all images properly. The images will appear but they will still be linked to the blogspot posts so that will need to be corrected. More on that later.
Set Up Google Analytics + Google Webmaster Tools
If you haven’t already, setup a google analytics account. While Blogger has a built in analytics tool, Google Analytics is much more accurate. Set this up ASAP so that it will be truly reflective of your blog stats. I lost months of true data bc I initially only relied on Blogger’s stats. I also think that Blogger’s numbers are a little inflated as well (but I may be wrong).
With Google being the search engine that most people use, Webmaster Tools gives you a little more detail about how your site appears to them. In the bigger scheme of things? This will help you find out if your blog has any broken permalinks, double indexing, etc. I learned about 6 months ago I had broken permalinks on my site (because of the switch from Blogger!). I’m STILL getting them corrected, but once I saw what the problem was and learned which plugin I needed, I was definitely able to see an improvement in traffic.
Install the Permalink Finder Plugin
If you decide to leave Blogger for WordPress, You HAVE to install this plugin. The broken permalinks I mentioned above? This is what’s correcting them for me. When blogger indexes, it uses an html extension. WordPress does not. But if you’ve converted from Blogger to WordPress, more than likely your site is still is indexed with html which will cause 301 or 401 errors; you DON’T want this. Install this plugin immediately-I swear it will change your life!
Rename All of Your Images
Before you upload any new images, make sure you rename them. Google web crawlers can’t read images, but if you rename them ( from “DA012” to “nyx-matte-lipstick” for ex.), they will show up when searched. This helps with SEO. If you’ve been blogging for awhile and don’t have time to go back to re-do all of your images, make sure you that you use the alt-images tag and/or find a plug-in for it.
Install All in One SEO Pack Plugin
Install this. USE IT. This plugin basically creates the blog snippet (and not just a link) that will show up anytime you share content on FB (or similar platforms). This is also where you want to add your keywords and key terms that you want the post to show up for. Be thorough, but don’t go crazy with it.
Refine Your Tags + Post Categories
While it may seem like the best thing in the world to add 15,000 tags to a post and have it under 50 categories, it’s actually the opposite. Google’s indexing algorithm constantly changes, and if you overstuff your post with irrelevant tags, you run the risk of cancelling a few out. The same with Categories. Narrow down both listings (no more than 25 tags; categories will vary depending on your content). It makes similar content easier to find for readers.
While I’m someone that enjoys doing research and testing things out, the tips and plugins above are things I wish I’d known about before I started blogging and/or made the switch. I hope they help some of you guys, and feel free to ask me questions!