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Starting a Blog Over

I have recently decided that my current personal blog does not fit my personality, needs, or requirements anymore. The domain, and design felt limiting and unprofessional, and so I decided I was going to move.
Some big questions that came up once I chose this path were:

  • What domain should I use?
  • What software will I want to use to power the site?
  • When do I move from the old blog to the new blog?
  • What do I bring with me to the new site? Everything, nothing, or only some of the posts and comments?

There are so many factors involved in moving a blog. My main concern was not maintaining my current readership, or traffic, or Google Page rank, or any such things. The motivation was purely personal. I wanted to start fresh, and the domain I was using, was such that I felt trapped by the name, instead of the feeling of empowerment that I used to feel.
What Domain Should I Use?
This is one of those personal questions. I knew I wanted something easy to spell, and reasonably easy to remember. I did not want it too long, and so this made it easy to know that I couldn’t use my last name, which happens to be Peralty by the way.
I had made it as high as the fourth page on Google for the search term “David”, but had fallen down to the ninth page in recent days. I would love to be more like Matt Mullenweg, in that when you search Matt on Google, you find his site. That is real presence online, and if nothing else, a great conversation starter. Being that my current domain did not contain my name at all, I wasn’t surprised that Google wasn’t ranking me in the top five pages.
So having my name be part of the domain was key. So, David what? I wanted something short, easy to remember, something a bit geeky, or sci-fi related, without being too unprofessional. I played around on the Instant Domain Search for about twenty minutes. What I came up with, DavidCubed, might not be the most professional name in the world, but it satisfied all the criteria I had.
Lastly, I had to think which extension I wanted to use. Being Canadian, I heavily considered going to a .ca, and while I am a proud Canadian, I just didn’t think that it was the right time for me to move into the .ca world, especially since its more expensive to register one, and slightly more restrictive. I can’t just go to Godaddy or something.
So it was.
What Software Will I Want to Use to Power the Site?
For me there really was not option in this. I had so much time and energy devoted to knowing WordPress, and really nothing has struck me as great competition to the popular blogging package. I could already think what plugins I wanted to use, and a designer friend I have at DesignDisease was willing to help me with the new site.
I did briefly consider other tools, like writing it myself, which seems like an increasingly popular option again, or ExpressionEngine, or the new Drupal CMS.
I stuck to WordPress though, and uploaded the latest version. As usual it was a snap to set up and get running.
When Do I Move from the Old Blog to the New Blog?
You would not think this would be much of a concern, but when you are moving a blog, considering the timing should be one of your most important focuses. Between the announcement that you are moving, and the actual moving day has to be enough time that most of your daily, weekly, and monthly readership has a chance to find out the information, and change their bookmarks, links or whatever.
This also brings up the important part of contacting a few of the people that link to you, and asking them to change the links, even before the final move is done. It is a good reminder to them that you are moving, and it might get you a small established readerbase right off the batt on the new site if your traffic comes from said referrers.
I decided to launch the new blog on my twenty-fourth birthday, November 14th. I announced the possibility of a change in late September though, making sure to post about it again every few weeks, to remind people it was coming up. Near the end of October I started posting about it more and more.
I don’t want to lose the readers that actually like reading my stuff. I just don’t want any more comments on Pimp My Ride UK. Oh why did I ever write that post?
What Do I Bring With Me to the New Site?
This was the hardest part of the whole process. Bringing all my posts with me isn’t really an option as I would be bringing posts that I did not want to have anymore. Also, bringing nothing, while liberating, meant getting rid of everything I had written for the last two years of my life. I did not like that option either. So I decided to go through and bring with me around 100 of my best posts. Out of a list of nearly 900 posts, this was quite a job.
Cutting it down to 100 meant deciding how much of my personal life, opinions, ideas, and professional based entries I wanted to bring with me. I did not want the blog to be all business, but I wanted a good mix of all the different facets of my life represented in the new site, especially if it had to do with my transition into problogging.
The posts that I bring with me will be content that the search engines can index to hopefully start to bring life back to the blog as I work on new entries. It also gives me a good guideline of what kind of posts I want to write on the new blog once it starts.
This might seem a little limiting, but agian, starting from scratch is a scary proposition. Knowing that the full weight of the blog’s success is dependant on fresh new content, without stealing anything from the archives of the past site. As much as I almost want to make a clean break from the old site, I think I have written some decent posts that will stand the test of time.
Am I an Idiot?
Moving a blog like I am is not the ideal, nor would I even recommend it. But if you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe reading what I have gone through will help you decide how you want to proceed.
Don’t forget to consider the domain you want to move to, what software you want to use, the timing of the move, and giving due notice. Also, don’t forget to consider what you want to bring with you to the new blog.
Wish me luck. I am hoping to launch the site in seven days, and I still have to categorize over one hundred posts, change an xhtml/css template into a WordPress theme, and get the plugins I need/want running.