As I have previously blogged, the introduction of adverts on Edublogs was enough to make me finally move out and set up on my own. This proved to be both a simple and satisfying process.
Eggs in 2 baskets: After reading up a little around the web about hosting your own blog it became apparent that registering your domain with a different company to where you host is a pretty good idea. That way if there are problems with your hosting you can take your domain name off with you. With that in mind the first thing I did was find the cheapest / most kosher looking place to register my domains.
Domains: I think it’s important to have a managed and thought out presence on the web, and this blog is mine. If employers, prospective employers, parents or pupils want to Google me then this is what I want them to find. With that in mind it made sense to be at www.mrstucke.com. I was tempted to just stick with a .co.uk domain, but what if someone else registered mrstucke.com in the future? I couldn’t have that so I decided to register mrstucke.com and mrstucke.co.uk. At this point I got a little carried away, I also decided to register danielstucke.com and danielstucke.co.uk. One day in the future I might use these for more personal stuff rather than professional. But again I felt that while I was sorting this out I wanted to ‘bag’ my name on the Web while I could.
I scoped out a number of registration companies and ended up registering the .com domains with GoDaddy. I registered these for 5 years at a cost of £50. I registered the .co.uk domains with 123-reg at a cost of around £13 for 2 years (the maximum you can register a .co.uk for). All of these companies will let you quickly check the availability of your potential domain names.
Forwarding Domains: It was a relatively simple process to log in to these two accounts and forward all of them to mrstucke.com. If you try any of those domains they will all point straight to this blog.
Hosting: I took some advice from some friends who host their own blogs, Doug Belshaw recommended that I check out Bluehost as a place to actually host the content of mrstucke.com. Doug has hosted numerous blogs over recent years so that was a good enough recommendation for me! I signed up for 12 months, this came in at around $8 a month or £50 a year, it would have been cheaper if I’d chosen a longer contract but I opted for a short one initially. Registration was pretty simple. I told them the domain name I would be using and everything was set up almost instantly. (I have just noticed that Doug’s blog is currently moving hosts – I hope this isn’t a bad sign about Bluehost!!!)
WordPress: The dashboard that you are faced with at Bluehost is a little daunting at first but after a little playing about I found my way to the Software/Services section and clicked on Simple Scripts. This loaded up a menu of things that I could install on my space at the click of a button. A few clicks later and a blank WordPress blog was succesfully installed and showing up at mrstucke.com – fantastic!
Migrating Edublogs: Edublogs is a WordPress installation so migrating from one to the other couldn’t be simpler. Log in to Edublogs, click on ‘Manage’ and then on ‘Export’, your whole blog will be saved to your machine as a surprisingly small .xml file. It is as simple an operation on your new blog to ‘Import’ the file, make sure to import all your comments with it.
Themes/Widgets/Plugins: The whole process above took a couple of hours, I then spent the best part of a day customising this blog to look as it does now. There are a staggering array of Themes (the general look and feel of your blog), Widgets (the things you see on the right hand menu bar) and Plugins (little snipets of code that tailor the blog, such as the bookmarking buttons at the end of each post). WordPress.com is a good place to start for ideas, after this a Google search for “Top WordPress Themes” or something similar will bring up a wealth of options.
Easy Peasy: I couldn’t be happier with the move, there is a sense of satisfaction of knowing that I own my very own piece of the Web. The process was really quite easy, I could have probably done it for a little less money if I’d not got carried away with domains and if I’d gone for an all in one hosting/domain package. But I think it’s a small price to pay for the network I have developed thanks to this blog. I hope that through my career this becomes something of an advert for Mr Stucke!
6 Quick Steps:
- Pick a domain name
- Check availability and register
- Buy a hosting package
- Install WordPress
- Export/Import old blog
If you want any further advice feel free to ask and I’ll try to help!