3 Ways to Avoid Falling Off the Face of the Earth

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
–Mark Twain

Last fall, this blog went through a lot changes.

A 2-week break to move and settle into my new home in real life turned into almost a month and a half of no updates on my blog. I was using that time to decompress from stress I didn’t even realize I was going through. I also took a hard look at what my blog was and could be, and I knew I had to make some changes.

I did a ton of research about blogging and realized that blogging can be incredibly easy or incredibly complex. I took several Webinars about improving content, branding your blog, and getting paid to blog. I agree with most of the advice from the so-called experts, but some of the tactics just don’t line up with my morals.

So, what was I supposed to do with my sweet little blog?

I made a bunch of changes:

  • Got my own URL
  • Changed blogging platforms
  • Updated the design slightly
  • Ditched columns that weren’t working
  • Spent days brainstorming ideas about what I want to share with my readers

When I finally jumped back into the world of blogging last month, I realized I had made some mistakes.

Er, make that many mistakes.

If I were to do it again, I would treat my blog move as if it were an actual real-life move—something I’ve done twice in the past year!

1. Ask for help when moving.

All the resources, videos, and tutorials I watched and read said that moving a blog from one platform to another was easy peasy and anyone could do it. I still felt nervous about doing it myself, but I moved forward anyway. I was worried I might lose content, and unfortunately, I did. My first 2 months of posts disappeared, and all my readers’ comments were gone.

I should have sucked it up and hired a professional to help me move my blog from its old platform to my new self-hosted one. I was worried about looking like a fuddy duddy old lady who doesn’t understand computers. My pride got in the way, and my blog suffered.

In real life, if you don’t ask for help or hire professional movers, you run the risk of having your possessions damaged. Carrying a piano up a flight of stairs might seem doable at first, but when you actually try to do it yourself, you’ll soon realize how wrong you were.

2. Leave a forwarding address.

I was so over my old blogging platform that after the transfer, I deleted my old blog. Big mistake. My blog feed didn’t transfer so all my old subscribers thought I had given up blogging. There was no way for them to find me.

In real life, you’d have your mail forwarded to your new address. You’d probably also send a mass e-mail to everyone you know telling them where to find you. You wouldn’t want to fall off the face of the Earth, would you?

3. Don’t invite people over until you’re finished unpacking.

I was so excited about blogging again that I just dove right in. I made the new blog public before I had finished some very basic things, such as updating my About page or getting the design colors right. My blog looks OK, but there are still a few things I’m embarrassed I let my readers see.

In real life, you’d unpack all the boxes, vacuum up the dust, fill the pantry with food, and make the bed before inviting your friends over for game night. Everyone wants to see your new place, but no one expects to sit on the floor eating pizza off paper plates.

One of my favorite bloggers just did a big blog move, but unfortunately, she did it after my move, otherwise I would have grilled her for advice. She left a message on her old blog inviting her readers to visit her new blog, and she didn’t start blogging until her new blog looked clean and presentable. I don’t know if she hired help, but I think she did it on her own. She’s a savvy college student and not a dinosaur like me.

Lesson learned: sometimes you’ll mess up even if you do your homework and make a plan. But now I can learn from my rocky blog move and be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Have you ever messed up even though you thought you had everything under control? How did you rebound from your mistake?

Have you ever avoided asking for help because you didn’t want to look stupid?

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  2. Jennifer Delle Fave on January 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Do you realize how worried I was about you!?!? I seriously think about you from time to time and check just to see if you were back…and now you are!!! 😀 I am glad to see you’re back to blogging. Love the new format. Simply fa

    • Sage on January 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Hey Jenn! Yeah, I dropped off for a while, but I’m back (and hopefully better than ever!). Thanks for visiting. Your blog always makes me smile. 🙂

  3. Shybiker on January 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

    We learn from our mistakes. Your advice here is sound.

    A year ago I migrated from my initial blog on LiveJournal (a relic from the 19th Century), primarily because the pictures I posted there looked terrible. The switch wasn’t without incident. So I sympathize with what you went through.

    More interesting in this post is your psychological relation to blogging. Blogging, especially when done frequently, can be a source of great joy or great stress. It depends on why we’re doing it and what we hope to get out of it. I hope you’ve worked that out for yourself. It sounds like you have.

  4. Anna on January 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    All your research definitely paid off because the new layout is down right intelligent. Every graphic and space serve a purpose – just how I like it.

    I haven’t made any changes/expanded because my blog’s current readership is far too small for such an investment. It might be that it works both ways – invest first and see results later but I’m just not ready for the time commitment. I’m trying to find a job in Big Pharma so all my free times goes to resume building, job searching, and graduating college.

    I’ve been around sine last June and how much blogging sucks out of me is still daunting. Oh well, it’ll last as long as I want it 🙂

    • Sage on January 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks, Anna. I hope my blog looks good!

      That’s funny that you think you’re readership is too small–you have 4 times the subscribers that I have! It’s too early to tell if my investment in time/energy will get me more readers, but I have my fingers crossed.

      I’m in health care too! But I’m on the publishing side (textbooks, Web sites). Good luck on your job search!

  5. Megan Gann on January 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I love the analogies here. As someone who didn’t change platforms, but did some of the same changes, I am grateful for a couple of things. Since I’m still hosted through blogspot/google my old address automatically forwards to my new one. I’m still unhappy with my layout, but I keep hoping the Hubs will get around to designing me one. If not, I’ll probably keep using templates because at least I can’t (mostly) break them. I am computer-stupid most of the time, so he does a lot of the technical side to my blog.

    I admit I screw up a lot because I don’t ask for help, but growing up I didn’t get to make many of the mistakes most people do. I grew up with guardians who believed in the “learn from what I did” method and so missed out on flubbing myself. And sometimes you just gotta make your own mistakes.

    I’m glad you didn’t quit blogging. I was so worried you had when your blog link didn’t redirect!

    • Sage on January 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks, Megan. A few of my blogging friends e-mailed me messages like “Are you dead???” so you weren’t the only one who was worried. This was a tough transition, and I’ve learned my lesson about asking for help.

  6. xvavaveganx on January 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I really appreciate this advice because I know transferring blogs can be so daunting! I was trying to move my tumblr blog over to blogger and no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t figure it out. Now I have two blogs. It is exhausting! I don’t think I even posted on my tumblr about the existence of my blogger space. Oops, I should do that!

    You may have hit a few bumps in the road but the important thing is that you are back and your page looks beautiful and your posts are inspiring. Yay!

    • Sage on January 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Aw, thanks, Sarah!