My Site Migration Experience Wasn’t Great

Ok. I think I finally got everything back up and running after attempting my site migration from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. If so, then I’m completely self-hosted! Woo! And I’m NEVER going through that again folks, so this is it.

None of the WordPress migrator plugins worked for me. Because I was originally on WordPress.com Premium, which doesn’t allow plugins. So wherever you read that there is a special migrator plugin that makes moving-over your site super-easy… it doesn’t apply to you unless you are on WordPress.com Business or WordPress.org already. I’m kinda upset they never clarified that. The wording always implied that the plugin works for WordPress. Period.

I feel tricked, bc I didn’t find out about that criteria until AFTER I already paid and started the installation process.

I even contacted SiteGround support about it, and they didn’t help me. They explained that the plugin wouldn’t apply to me and referred me to WordPress support. So now I don’t even believe what they say about excellent customer support either.

Anyhow, so I had to move over everything using the exporter / importer tool, which I actually don’t have any complaints over. THAT was super easy. But I’m still upset that the original path I had intended and planned for was denied to me. AND I’m still upset that I had to figure out my new course of action completely on my own. SiteGround support didn’t help me figure that out.

So after exporting everything, I did have to setup my theme, widgets, menus, categories, etc all over again. None of that stuff got transferred over. Also, none of my followers carried over either. That matter became another engagement with SiteGround support and they again referred me to WordPress. Didn’t help me at all.

I had to spend alot of time Googling that solution on my own, and finally installed the JetPack plugin for it. So far, it seems to have worked, but I’m not 100% sure.

Anyhow, I think I’ve gotten to a stopping point. I’m tired of working on it. Still kinda sour over the whole thing too. But will you all please let me know if something isn’t working for you anymore? I’m still in fix-it mode over this whole thing.

And I’m especially worried about Comments. They weren’t working last night, and I’m not sure if they’re fixed yet. I’m guessing the problem might originate with comments from Reader, but I’m not sure. I’ve reached out to WordPress support about this more than 8 hours ago, and I finally received an email response back from them saying they don’t know what my problem is. So I’m on my own. Again.

I’m not doing anything crazy with my site, so the fact that 3 separate instances of reaching out to support for basic needs have gone unmet, have left a poor impression with me. Because any direction at all from them, would have saved me HOURS of Google research and trial-and-error on my own.

I hope you all have been enjoying a better weekend than I have.

Easily Change Your Blog URL and Domain Name

Change Your Blog URL and Domain Name

I was worried earlier today about how big of a problem it would be to change your blog url and domain name. I wanted all my posts and followers to stay unaffected, but I was scared they would all be wiped out instead.

But it was literally the easiest thing possible.

I am a newbie to Blogging, so I had to Google how to do this.

I found a single menu item in my WordPress.com that did it all. I took a screenshot below of what to do. Just go to “My Site” > “Manage” > “Domains” (Step 1) and you’re on the right page to do it all. If you don’t already have your new url / domain, then select “Add a Domain to this Site” (Step2). And once you have your new url / domain, then select “Change Primary Domain” (Step 3) and you are done with the swap!

How to Change Your Blog URL and Domain Name / Image Source: Pepper V.

And I checked everything out afterwards and I believe it worked! I was still able to access all my followers and they were able to see my next post in their WordPress Reader. Going to my original site now even re-directs to the new site, which is even better than I expected!

So far, I’m happy.

But now I have to change my name on all my social media accounts next. THAT may be where all the hard work comes in. Wish me luck!

How to use Excel to Randomly Pick a Contest Winner

Use Excel to Randomly Pick a Contest Winner

I wanted to share with you all how to use Excel to randomly pick a contest winner. Apparently there are several ways to do this, as I discovered when I did a Google search for it. For those of you that have done this before, what did you use?

I used good ol’ fashioned Excel. I’m on Excel 70% of my day anyway for work so I didn’t want to learn anything new. And, there’s something really comfortable about that spreadsheet view for me. Makes me naturally trust it, for some weirdo reason.

So, I just created a list of all the eligible entries in my spreadsheet. And used the following formula…

Use Excel to Randomly Pick a Contest Winner
Use Excel to Randomly Pick a Contest Winner / Image Source: Pepper V.

For a copy/paste version of it you can use…

=INDEX(B6:B13, RANDBETWEEN(1,COUNTA(B6:B13)),1)

The only thing you need to customize, is where you see the “B6:B13” – it appears twice in the formula and those are the fields where MY list is in the spreadsheet. You just change those fields to match where YOUR list is. And that’s it. You can now use Excel to randomly pick a contest winner.

Super simple, right? If you give it a try, let me know how my steps worked out for you… If I need to include more info or details, etc.

Have a great day!

How to Create Blog Menus in WordPress, and Use Categories to Feed Pages

Create Blog Menus in Wordpress

I finally got time this weekend to try to fix up some things that have been bugging me on my blog. I was stumped about how to create blog menus in WordPress, as well as how to use categories to feed posts to specific pages. So once I figured it out, I decided to document it here and share in case it can help anyone else with the same problem.

I also had an issue with my default posts not showing up correctly on my home page. Only the 2 latest posts would ever appear, regardless of the number of posts settings I had saved. The solution for that specific issue is at the end of this post.

I am on WordPress.com so these tips would be applicable to that platform specifically.

I figured out how to create a new page and feed certain posts to it. This one was tricky and took ALOT of Googling to figure out, and even more trial-and-error. But I finally made it work using Categories.

If you’re a newbie like me, then Categories can be difficult to figure out. There are basically 3 locations you need to make Categories feed certain posts to a specific page. All 3 locations are in your WordPress Dashboard. You can access your Dashboard by going to “My Site” > “WP Admin”.

Image Source: Me

Once you are in your Dashboard…

  • Dashboard > Posts > Categories
    • This is where you create your Category and describe it
Image Source: Me
  • Dashboard > Pages
    • This is where you create your new Page
    • I used “Use Blank Layout” for mine and it worked ok
    • If you’d like to Copy an existing Page, be sure to use the “Copy” link available
Image Source: Me
  • Dashboard > Appearance > Menus
    • This is where you assign a Category to a Page, so that certain posts (labelled with that specific Category) will automatically feed to that Page.
    • You use the “Add Menu Item” section, and double-check that when your Page gets added to the “Menu Structure” section, that it is labelled as “Category” instead of “Page”.
Image Source: Me

I have a sneaking suspicion that different templates can react differently to this, so just keep double-checking on your live site that you’re happy with it.

One problem I ran into that took an extreme amount of Googling to resolve, was my issue with my Home page not displaying more than 2 of my latest posts, despite all my settings everywhere setting it to 10 posts per page.

The solution was a weird one, but it worked! So I’m sharing it here as well in case anyone else is having a similar problem.

  • Dashboard > Appearance > Menus
    • In the “Add Menu Items” section, you will expand the option for “Custom Links”
    • Enter “/” (right slash) into the “URL” field
    • Enter “Home” into the “Link Text” field
    • Select the “Add to Menu” button
    • You will notice that a new “Home” item appear in the “Menu Structure” section with “Custom Link” as it’s type. Drag it to the correct order where you’d like it.
    • Then, in the same “Menu Structure” section, and you will remove the original “Home” item that appears there as a “Page”.

Image Source: Me