I recently attempted a move from hosted WordPress sites to my current sites–most notably realsuddenlike.com. I did not anticipate how hard it would be to make the transition. I expected that I would be able to backup my WordPress.com blog and then hide it. After some uploading of posts into the new site I thought it would all work out wonderfully. I was so wrong.
I also thought that my new self-hosted WordPress.org blog would be easy to alter/customize. Since I could handle everything, issues would be easy to address. Again, I was wrong.
Since I’m on a budget, I wanted to make sure that I used as many free plugins to move from hosted WordPress blogs that I was using to my self-hosted ones. Every plugin that I’m going to discuss is free.
With lots of Google searches and visits to sites like 20 Must Have Plugins for 2015, I think I’ve got my blog moving. Here are the top 8 plugins that I’ve found to be helpful as I effected a move from hosted WordPress.
Top Plugins to Move from Hosted WordPress
- Broken Link Checker. In a matter of minutes, this plugin scoured my blog and found almost 700 links contained therein (including profiles of those who had commented, etc.). What was awesome is that it categorized my links into “broken”, “warnings” based upon load time or server problems, and “redirects”. So far, I’ve worked to fix all the broken links. The redirected links were mainly from images on my old blog. I have been able to retrieve the image, save it to my current blog, and fix the link.
- Google Adsense. Most of us need to monetize our blogs so we can pay for them. We love blogging, but it doesn’t pay the bills. To this end, plugins that help us do this are worthwhile and this plugin is a.maz.ing. I was going through and putting WordPress text boxes all over so I could drop Adsense code–until I found this plugin. This plugin lets the user visually choose where he/she wants the ads to be placed. Seriously.
- Google Analytics by Yoast. This plugin, in use by more than 1 million users, testifies to its usefulness. It integrates with your Google Analytics account (which you need to create before using it) and displays statistics and traffics. Especially useful to me so far has been the display of 404s due to broken links because of the WordPress.com styles on the “Popular Pages” drop-down.
- Google XML Sitemaps. Although I originally used the sitemaps in the “Yoast SEO” plugin, many sites reported redirected links from the Yoast-generated sitemaps to sites other than their own. While this was only unproven commentary, what I did notice was the number of sitemaps generated and the number of errors that I was not able to simply repair. The Google XML sitemaps tool has been easy to install and use.
- SEO Redirection. The URLs to blog posts on my hosted WordPress site included a date code of the form “/month/year/post-name”. When I moved to my self-hosted blog, I did not want to follow that naming convention. But, making that change proved problematic in that my redirected blog still used those date-encoded URLs. With this plugin, I was able to redirect those blog pages to my current URLs and thereby work to recollect my SEO for those posts. So far, this has been my favorite plugin.
- Simple Subscribe. (Not able to find it currently.) You can see people who sign up to your blog in the “Users” section, but there is no generic tool to get them to sign up. This plugin creates a simple, clean form through which people can subscribe to your blog. Then, it also coordinates sending out messages to those who have subscribed with snippets of the blog post. How cool is that?
- W3 Total Cache. This is a plugin that minimizes the site downloaded to the browser and caches other components to make your blog as quick as it can be. Enable it and then disable it; use a stopwatch and time the site as it loads each way. There is a discernible difference in times.
- Yoast SEO. This plugin in exceptionally helpful in that it teaches you to make your own blog posts optimized. The expectation is that it directs you in the processes to make your posts search engine optimal, but it taught me how to do that on my own. Now, in practice, after only 10-15 posts, I write my posts in ways that are generally best practices by Yoast standards. Of course, the ability to alter the metadata on each post is also exceptionally useful for SEO.
Not everyone will love these plugins and most people will be frustrated by the features (or lack thereof). Sometimes settings in these plugins aren’t laid out ergonomically. However, in the end, your blog will be better, more accurate, and more aligned with SEO guidelines.
Feel free to leave statements for other plugins in the comment section. If I’m intrigued, I’ll try them out. If they’re good, I’ll write about them.