I’ve been on the domain petewarden.typepad.com since I started blogging in 2006. At the time I knew that the sensible thing to do was to set up a custom domain that pointed to the typepad.com one, but since I didn’t expect I’d keep it up, it didn’t seem that important. A thousand posts later, I’ve had plenty of time to regret that shortcut!
Plenty of friends have tried to stage interventions, especially those with any design sense. I would half-heartedly muttered “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” and plead lack of time, but the truth is my blog was broken. I post because I want people to read what I write, and the aging design and structure drove readers away. When Matt Mullenweg called me out on it, I knew I had to upgrade.
The obvious choice was WordPress.com. Much as I love open source, I hate dealing with upgrades, dependencies, and spam, and I’m happy to pay a few dollars a month not to worry about any of those. Here’s what I had to do:
Purchased a premium WordPress domain at https://petewarden.wordpress.com. I wanted paid hosting, just like I had at Typepad, partly for the extra features (custom domains in particular) but also because I want to pay for anything that’s this important to me.
Bought the Elemin design template created by Automattic. I wanted something clean, and not too common, and I haven’t seen this minimal design in too many places, unlike a lot of other themes.
Exported my old posts as a text file, and then uploaded them to my new WordPress blog. The biggest downside to this is that none of the images are transferred, so I’ll need to keep the old typepad.com blog up until I can figure out some scripted way to move those too. The good news is that all of the posts seem to have transfered without any problems.
Set up a custom domain in the WordPress settings to point to petewarden.com. This involved changing my nameservers through my DNS provider, and then using a custom settings language to duplicate the MX records. This was the scariest part, since I’m using Google Apps for my email and I really didn’t want to mess their settings up. The only hitch I hit was trying to duplicate the www CNAME, I couldn’t get an entry working until I realized that it was handled automatically, so I just had to leave it out! With that all set up, I made petewarden.com my primary domain, so that petewarden.wordpress.com links would redirect to it.
Updated my Feedburner settings to point to the WordPress RSS feed. I was worried about this step too, but other than duplicating the last ten posts when I checked in my RSS reader, it just seemed to work.
Matt kindly offered to help me with the transfer, but so far I haven’t hit anything I can’t figure out for myself. Using a modern CMS after wrestling with Typepad’s neglected interface for years is like slipping into a warm bath, I’m so glad I took the leap – thanks to everyone who pushed me!