September 11, 2013 • Cee • Blog News

Well, you guys. It didn’t take long. Here it is.

Like the title says, The Novel Hermit is officially a self-hosted blog. CELEBRATION TIME!

MOVING ON UP

I decided to go the self-hosting route because – 1. I wanted freedom that WordPress.com did not allow me + 2. I was jealous of people who had made the move (I wholeheartedly admit this). I was so frustrated that I couldn’t fix my layout. I had to make do with what I had, which meant making extremely minor fixes. (Not a fan.) And I was getting irritated with my blog URL. I wanted to own my name and my site, but being on a free blogging platform did not give me that. The URL addresses got extremely long, especially for my discussion posts, and that made it difficult to submit links.

Every time somebody that I knew or followed announced to the internet world that they decided to move their blogs to WordPress.org, I hissed in envy because I wanted to do that too. My first thought was always, “Aww man, I want to self-host my blog too!” and then I would debate with myself whether I should make the move. I wanted that happiness in actually owning my blog. However, with a heavy heart, I usually talked myself out of buying a domain and a web host.

MY INITIAL WORRY

I talked myself out of self-hosting my blog because of my anxiety about money (which I got over fast when I realized the amount I would pay wasn’t as bad as I had expected), and about not having a clear idea of how to set-up everything. I had no idea how I would transfer my blog and didn’t have the money to get somebody to do it. I would be going into the whole self-hosting thing blind, something I did not want to do (because I get stressed out easily). I feared that I would mess everything up. So I put it off.

D.I.Y.

I always knew I was going to transfer all the content on The Novel Hermit by myself. I just didn’t know how. So, when Ashley at Nose Graze, wrote an extremely thorough DIY blog transfer walkthrough, I nearly screamed in joy. It was a total gift/sign from the heavens or wherever. This walkthrough was perfect for me. Yeah, her post is about a Blogger to WordPress.org transfer (even though my blog is on WordPress.com), but it still worked. I was extremely thrilled that Ashley used RFE Hosting as the example web host for her walkthrough because I had decided early-on that I wanted them to be my web host provider. My anxiety continued to ease as my questions were answered by Ashley and I familiarized myself with her post to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

With the help of that handy walkthrough, I went through the process of buying my domain and then my web host, and transferring my content over. It was surprisingly easy. For those who want to go the self-hosting route, but are not savvy at technology or great at DIY, Ashley’s walkthrough is extremely helpful. She lays it out on the table for you, so all you have to do is follow the steps.

THE WAIT

I had to wait a few hours for RFE Hosting to finish setting up my account. That was the only thing that took a few hours. I was extremely antsy because I wanted to get a move on things. It took me under an hour to get everything transferred over to the new blog, which is fairly fast, but that’s probably because I didn’t have a lot of content to transfer to the new self-hosted blog.

LAYOUT

I am not CSS-savvy. Not at all. I had so many issues trying to figure out what each code meant. It took me so many frustrating hours. I fiddled around with the CSS coding. Sometimes, I fixed what I wanted, and other times, I didn’t. It was like having to turn off the lights but you realize that there are a bunch of light switches. When you push one down, another one turns on. You pushed another, a different turns off and another turns on. I tweaked so many layouts, trying to find the best one for my blog. I wanted to keep using the one that I had been using on WordPress.com, but the layout was funky (sidebars were too thin and I couldn’t figure out how to make the width bigger, and I didn’t how to get rid of the header text). I was sooo tempted to purchase a theme, but I knew that was not an option.

I somehow managed to fix the theme that you see in front of you to the best of my abilities and I am 88% happy with the layout. I feel it’s a bit impersonal and that bothers me. There are some things I want to add, but like I said earlier, my CSS abilities is limited. So, to CSS-savvy people, I have a question – how can I insert borders (like the blue ones you see in the sidebar) in-between posts? I don’t know the coding of that and Google isn’t helping me. :(

 AT THIS MOMENT

I am still working on this blog. I’m trying to understand the whole SEO thing and Google Analytics. I will get used to it. I just need to fiddle with things. That’s how I learned how to use InDesign. :D

If you have questions about transferring blogs from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, feel free to ask me questions. But if you don’t, tell me what you think about my layout and plugins you think I must install. (To name a few, I have CommentLuv, Askimet, Editorial Calendar, and WordPress SEO by Yoast.) I know the Ultimate Book Plugin is what I should get, but MONNNEYYYY. :( I’m pretty excited for this new adventure as a self-hosted blog.


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16 Responses to “VOILÀ! THE NOVEL HERMIT IS OFFICIALLY A SELF-HOSTED BLOG!”

  1. It’s so exciting to transfer to self-hosting, isn’t it? I wish Ashley’s post had been around when I switched, since I ended up spending a little extra $ for a guided transfer(but a lot less than what some host offer them for), and I can’t complain, because I felt the money was well-worth it.

    I still haven’t been brave enough to actually venture into CSS or change any of the CSS on my blog. I feel fairy comfortable with HTML, so I can do HTML for each post if needed, but it’s the theme CSS that gets me. There’s a few things I hope to eventually tweak on my theme. I’m pretty happy with the theme overall, so it’s not a big deal to me to not figure it all out right away. I also have RFEhosting and I’ve had a good experience so far!

    As far as plug-ins, I recommend Better WordPress Security for sure. I definitely limit login attempts on my blog so hopefully no one can hack in. I can also see when people try to log-in, and there’s a lot more people who try than you might think. Also, broken link checker is helpful too! And I have tweetily connected to my twitter account to randomly tweet old post.

  2. Ashley says:

    Congratulations on the move!! :D I’m so thrilled to see you go through with this successfully!! *high five*

    By the way, to fix your divider problem, add this to the CSS:

    .type-post {
    background: url(‘http://www.thenovelhermit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/bordersmall.png’) no-repeat center bottom !important;
    margin-bottom: 60px !important;
    padding-bottom: 60px !important;
    }

    Hope that helps. :)

    • Cee says:

      Yeeeeeee. *high fives back*

      I put the coding in, but it isn’t working. :\ Do I just add it anywhere? Or is there a specific place I need to place it for it to work?

      Thanks for all the help!

      • Ashley says:

        Well where did you put it and I’ll check? It needs to be in a place where you’d put in custom CSS.

        • Cee says:

          I tried to put it at the end, but it didn’t do anything. And then I moved it to the “Type Post” section in the CSS, but nada.

          I was working in the theme editor, but when that didn’t do anything, I tried CSS Stylesheet Editor in the appearance section. Still nothing.

          • Ashley says:

            If you want to email me admin access to your blog I could definitely sort it out for you. :)

          • Cee says:

            No need! I finally figured out what was wrong. I had to retype the apostrophe. :D

            Another question. I’ve been putting the border images in the text box widget (if that makes any sense), but it’s such a hassle so I was wondering if you would know the CSS coding for putting the blue border in between the widgets.

          • Ashley says:

            I’m glad you got it figured out! :D

            To add it to the widgets, you’d do something really similar like this:

            .widget {
            background: url(‘http://www.thenovelhermit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/bordersmall.png’) no-repeat center bottom !important;
            margin-bottom: 60px !important;
            padding-bottom: 60px !important;
            }

            You’ll probably want to remove all your manually put in dividers first though!

          • Cee says:

            Awesome. It works! Sort of? The border keeps repeating at the end of the sidebar. IDK why that’s happening. :\ Do you know how to fix that? And when I don’t have the borders, the widgets tend to run too close to each other (ie. there isn’t enough space between the Bloglovin button and the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” widget). However, with the borders, there’s a lot of space at the top of the widgets. I want it to be equal spacing for top and bottom.

          • Ashley says:

            I think the problem is that you have a lot of unclosed (or improperly closed) HTML elements in your widgets. Like in your social media images widget you have it starting out as:

            <div align=”center”>

            then the images inside

            but then you close it like this:

            </p>

            instead of:

            </div>

            So that div is technically still open and that screws it up.

            You do that several times and that’s why you’re having some weird problems! You need to go through all your text widgets and clean up your HTML so that the tags are right.

          • Cee says:

            Ahhh, okay. Fixed it! Thank you so much! :D

  3. This is definitely a great step that you’ve taken! I’m all for it. I so want to take this step myself but I cannot at the moment, I’ve yet to get ready for it.

    So congrats on the blog and I love the blue hexagonal shapes in the sidebar! I hope you figure out everything to your liking!

  4. Stacie C. says:

    Woohoo Congratulations Cee!!! You did a great job and can’t even tell a difference that you changed it. I would do self hosting myself, but I don’t have the patience or the money to do it lol. Keep up the good work and stay funny! :D Sorry I can’t give any advice. I am technologically challenged.

  5. Arial says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to see all the new goodies that will come with this change.

  6. Annie says:

    I am way less tech savvy than you! I wish I do something like this and get a better blog out of it – wordpress definitely frustrates me sometimes – but I just don’t have the confidence I would be able to do that and ultimately I want a blog that I can maintain, not that my friends have to maintain for me. Anyway, good luck honey! You’re 88% home and it’s looking great already! :-)

  7. Congratulations! I moved last month and I’m still fiddling around with things and adding plugins. I love it!


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