If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’ve changed it several times over. As I changed content and developed as a human being, I first made content and branding changes. The more I developed as a person, I also developed as an entrepreneur, which lead to BIG technical changes on my site.
Because intentional living includes work, and spiritual creatives need ways to share their creative outlets with the world as well as make money, I felt it was important to share my website journey.
Note: This post contains affiliate links which when you purchase something through the link, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral. I’ve only recommended products and services I have used and align with me.
If You Want to Have a Business Site
For a long time, I blogged on the Blogger platform. I had no idea what I was doing as a blogger, what I wanted to do with it, or really how any of it could be a business. The platform worked well for me in that space because it was easy to use and required no serious commitment from me.
In 2015 however, I realized I needed to get more serious about my website and so I made my first major change. That is when I purchased a domain name and hosting through Wix.
Wix gets a bad rep because it is not a very good choice for businesses. Having used the platform for over a year, I agree. It is NOT good for businesses. This is because you cannot make changes to the code of your site limiting possibilities for making money. During the time I used Wix, there was a sharp increase in companies building plug-ins for the platform (YAY!). The company DID make a lot of feature changes that were positive from a business perspective. That said, it still wasn’t enough for someone who wants to use their site for business purposes. There were search engine optimization and external app compatibility issues, just for starters. It was frustrating to work on a site for months to have very little traffic and very few paths for easily accessing more traffic.
If you have ANY REMOTE intention of turning your site into a business, Wix is not a good idea.
An Awesome Website Platform for the Hobbyist
That said, if all you want is a hobby site to share your art and writing, or a way for family and friends to keep in touch, Wix is a GREAT option. It’s SUPER easy to make a beautiful customizable site. I loved the easy way I could make changes to my fonts and color palette. I could change the configuration of any page easily. The market place had all the widgets a hobbyist could want (and some beyond that!) which made it easy to put things together in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor.
I didn’t need to learn ANY code. Zero. For someone who breaks electronics on the regular (I even broke my friend’s Wii once by being in the room… don’t ask!) and has a rocky relationship with tech, this was a GOD SEND.
The platform is SO easy, I didn’t have any questions about regular use stuff. It was only when I got into the complicated “I-want-to-make-this-into-a-business” time that I started having questions. When I had questions or concerns, the knowledge base was extensive and the support was responsive.
For all these reasons, I DO recommend Wix for hobby bloggers who just want an easy way to share their art, pictures, and thoughts online on their own site.
Websites For the Intermediate and Advanced Entrepreneur
Some time in 2016 I realized I’d capped out at Wix and needed something new. I wanted to be able to create no-follow links (something you need to be able to do when you want to have affiliate links and create sponsored posts). I wanted to make sure I was able to continue sharing my work with the world and provide for my family.
To be completely honest, I dragged my feet. I was scared to leave Wix because I liked how much I didn’t have to know. I liked how pretty my site was. Thinking about migrating all my content to a new web host was frightening.
Still, I knew if I wanted to use my website for business and wanted any scalability at all, I needed to make the switch.
I started doing CRAZY research about how to switch over (I followed the process in this post here).
First, I researched hosts. I went back and forth between a few different top tier web hosts, and in the end settled with Siteground. Oh. My. God. I am SOOOOO glad I went with Siteground. They are AH-MAZING.
I seriously can’t sing their praises enough.
First, when I signed up, all their plans included managed hosting for no extra fee. This means they include backups of your site (yes – they do daily backups of your site which they hold on their servers for 30 days!).
Second, they have a one click install of WordPress – which made my life a whole lot easier. I didn’t want to have to figure out HOW to put WordPress on my site. I wanted it to just work (remember – I’m code challenged).
Third, their support is AH-MAZING! If I was in walking distance, their support staff may have brought me a chai, they are SO helpful. I had questions about pretty much every step of the transition process and every time I reached out they were polite, responsive, and offered to go the extra mile. I’ve never felt so comfortable talking with support staff as I have with Siteground’s. If you have ANY expectation of needing help with your site, it’s worth going with Siteground JUST for their support. Seriously. I. Love. Them.
I can’t recommend Siteground enough.
So I bought their hosting, and installed WordPress, got a theme set up, and began downloading all the plug-ins I thought I might need before migrating my content.
Migrating Your Blog Content
Once I bought my hosting, I needed to get all my pages and content from Wix to Siteground. I had a few options to migrate my content over (I could have done it manually or used my RSS feed). In the end, I chose to have someone else do it for me – namely, CMS2CMS.
Paying someone else to move my content gave me several things:
- A sense of calm about the process
- Ensured everything would get moved over
- And the whole process would go quickly.
There aren’t a lot of options to migrate content from different platforms, but fortunately the one that gets recommended often also works really well! I used CMS2CMS to migrate my content from Wix to Siteground. Let me tell you – it was a lot easier and cheaper than I expected it would be. The way CMS2CMS has it set up, you can estimate what your cost will be in advance and select the services you want as part of moving your content (which honestly, it was so fricking cheap it’s crazy!).
I had over 200 posts and pages to move, and paid around $50 for the whole thing (around 0.25 per post…which felt like peanuts to me!). There were MANY options to secure the content move, including insurance for the content migration, setting up redirect links, and more. From what I recall, I didn’t get migration insurance, but I did get the redirect link thing and a few other little bits and bobs.
The way CMS2CMS has it set up, you can estimate the cost of your content migration and go through a test migration. If it looks good to you, you select your payment method and confirm your migration options.
I started the migration and I think checked back a couple hours later to see everything was over to my new site. I started tinkering with the content the following day.
This saved me SO. MUCH. TIME. It saved me sleepless nights and prevented me from pulling out my hair (and all manner of other stressed out reactions). If you’re like me and your sanity is worth more than $50, it’s totally worth it to have CMS2CMS migrate your content for you.
Once the migration was done, I transfered my domain name from Wix to Siteground, which – FYI can take up to 7 days (and did for me!). Be sure to plan your blog posts around the domain transfer if you blog weekly, and let your audience know what’s happening through the transition.
Don’t Forget Your Email!
One of the things I didn’t realize would be an issue was my email. Friends, when you switch hosts, it impacts emails with that domain!
When I was with Wix, I chose to purchase G Suite and get an email with my domain name. I liked the idea of having access to all the different Google applications separately as well as having access to my work email easily in my phone.
Though Siteground includes an email account as part of their plan (so nice of them!), I wanted to keep my G Suite and so I’ve maintained that account.
Needless to say, when you switch your web host, you need to update your MX record so that any emails sent to that domain address actually GO to the address, as opposed to bouncing. This is pretty easy to do with Siteground and involves a few setting changes in the members area under your account settings.
Do make that change if you have purchased a G Suite email account – otherwise you can send emails but not receive them (which trust me, leads to some pretty awkward situations!).
Last Minute Things
After migrating your content to a new host, there’s still backend stuff that needs to be done. You need to get Google Analytics set up to track how your posts are doing with traffic. If you set it up on your old site, you’ll have to set it up again.
You want to make sure you have an SEO plug-in (I really like Yoast) to make your posts friendly to search engines.
Along those lines, you’ll also want to register your site with the different webmaster tools (like Bing and Google) to make sure your site gets picked up by them.
And even though you migrated all those lovely posts, you’re going to have to go back and make sure all the links are correct (a link checker plug-in will do you a lot of good here). You also need to adjust your images to make sure you have one featured. If you don’t, when your post shows up on social sites etc, it won’t have a relevant picture (double ugh!).
It’s important to be intentional about your online platform, whether you’re a hobbyist or business. If you are a creative person and just want to host a hobby site with zero coding required, Wix is great. If however, you want your site to make money, then self-hosting is great, and I can’t recommend going with Siteground enough.