An Update On Switching Away From WordPress.com’s Free Hosting

Posted by on Aug 27, 2007 in SEO

I blogged a little over a month ago about moving from a wordpress.com hosted blog to your own hosting on your own domain. In that post I outlined a plan Kreah and I would follow to move the Kreah Craze Korean Dramas and Movies blog out of wordpress.com on onto its own domain and hosting over time. Although we are still working on improving the blog, we have now moved completely away from wordpress.com, so I asked Kreah to give us an update of her experience. I have also added my comments in blue. We will be going into more detail and giving further updates as time goes on to help you learn from our experience and hopefully avoid any mistakes we have made or apply anything we have learned.

In October of last year, I got hooked on watching Korean Dramas and Movies, and last April I decided to put up a blog dedicated to my obsession. I had managed a friendster blog for two years, but it was a personal blog, and I knew only a few of my friends would be interested reading my posts on my current obsession. So I decided to sign up for a blog in WordPress.com and started blogging April 7th, 2007.

From a meager start of just 5 page views per day, KreahCraze.Wordpress.Com started having 50, 100, 1000, and eventually up to an average of 2500 page views a day. This was all before moving to my own paid web-hosting service. I even got around 3,500 page views a few days before I moved out of worpdress.com. This high traffic made me decide to monetize my blog. WordPress.com has a policy of forbidding ads on their free hosted blogs, so in order to monetize my blog but also not lose a large amount of traffic, Chris and I came up with a plan last July to slowly migrate away from wordpress.com to my own hosting. I still have lost a lot of traffic(around 1,000 pageviews per day), but I am now making money with my blog, which I could have never done while still using wordpress’s free hosting.

I expected her traffic to drop a little, so there was no surprises there. I think this may have been minimized if we had done some more linkbuilding early on. From now on we are going to do link building to try to gain back any search engine ranking we have lost.

LINKS

Right now, it is almost two weeks after the switch, and I am trying to get back the traffic I have lost. Chris suggested link building. Well…the age of most of my visitors range from 12 to 30 years old, and I guess only a few of them would mind linking my site, so I really have to work on getting natural links or putting up the links on my own.

Good thing, though, I am still being redirected by wordpress because I haven’t deleted my blog, even though I changed my domain name to Kreah-Craze.com.

WordPress.com maintaining our redirect from the old domain to the new one after we had started hosting the blog with another host was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t count on it lasting, but we are grateful as long as it is still up.

THEME and LAYOUT

I was bored with my old theme so when we made the switch I changed my theme. Aside from having only a few backlinks, I am thinking that the current theme and lay-out for my blog caused my visitors to move away, but Chris didn’t agree on this matter because my direct traffic is doing fine. Only the search engine traffic is declining. He also noticed that my bounce rate is doing well too. I guess I have to get my visitors’ opinion, or give them time to get used to the new theme. The new theme I chose works better with Firefox than with Internet Explorer.

ADSENSE

Monetizing my blog was the big reason I moved away from WordPress.com. In the first week, it averaged around 3 dollars per day but now the revenue from the ads barely reaches a dollar per day. I am also disappointed that the Google ads appearing in the site seemed uninteresting to click on. I installed the Adsense for referrals but the products I chose are not appearing in the site after installing the code. Is this because there are ads that will not appear on a certain country? I chose any country on the options though.

So now, I am applying for Affiliate Programs to monetize my blog.

I think the drop in adsense earnings after the first week could be due to the fact that we added too many ad blocs and thus increased the amount of low paying ads that would show up. I could be wrong though. There is still a lot I think we could do to optimize adsense earnings, and I don’t think it would be too hard to start earning around $5 per day in a short period of time, by working on both earning more per visitor and increasing the amount of visitors to the site. There are also many things we can do to further monetize the site such as sell text link ads, blogger reviews, and even banner ads, in the future.

ERRORS

There were errors after moving out WordPress.com

1. CDATA error – I really freaked out when the author’s name in comments does not appear, and the comments in Pages were totally gone. At the time of the switch, I had 877 comments. I asked Chris to work on it, after finding the solution to this problem. But Chris seemed to be busy so I ended up manually editing 877 CDATA entries.

Yes, I admit I am busy/lazy. Sorry.

2. Youtube Videos and Slideshows – I used youtube videos in most of my posts, like 100 out of 180 posts I had before the switch. And seeing the code instead of the video itself also freaked me out. Well, Chris easily solved this. I don’t know though what he did but good job. At least, now I know that the codes that I am using in WordPress.com do not apply if another hosting provider is hosting your blog.

And now, I can easily embed javascripts in my posts. Yehey! (Well, this statement doesn’t have anything to do with the error.)

I just did a find and replace in notepad to replace the old code in every instance with the appropriate new code. It was a little time consuming since every instance of a youtube video had a ] which had to be replaced by some code, but not every ] was an instance of a video, but it was a lot more efficient that editing every instance by hand.

3. Korean / Hangul / Asian Fonts – Aside from posting lyrics that are Romanized (from Korean Characters to Roman Letters), I also put the original lyrics in the few posts I had. Sadly, Korean Characters or any language that doesn’t have Roman letters, do not appear correctly in the blog. These characters are replaced with question marks. According to my research, this has something to do with the ‘encoding for pages and feeds’, and specifically the wp-config.php file.

PLUG-INS

I don’t have to worry about Plug-ins in WordPress.com but I want to install plug-ins though like Sociable and Top Commentator plug-ins.

At first, I thought installing the plug-ins was easy, like just putting some code in text widgets or widgets will be readily available after activation. But I realized it wasn’t. Some plug-in codes need to be installed using the theme editor. It is still a good thing because I am learning CSS slowly. All I have to do, I guess, is to apply logic. There are instructions I can follow, and I can do the “trial and error” method until I succeed. Right?

Kreah has done quit a bit of installing plugins and editing her theme without my help. I am proud of her.

5 Comments

  1. 8-28-2007

    Well done, great blog and great posts!!!!

  2. 9-2-2007

    Good informations on Internet Marketing Strategies. Keep it up.

  3. 9-2-2007

    Very good blog!!!

  4. 2-10-2008

    Real time feedback over the topic! This is the way a great blog is built.

  5. 8-1-2009

    You just saved me a whole lotta time and energy. I’m just going to figure out where to host my blog and use my domain name from the gate instead of working off free wordpress and having to go through this later.

    thank you!!!

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