It’s finally ready! After weeks of web hosting and WordPress research, watching tutorials, choosing a premium theme, testing plugins, importing content, editing photos, creating social media accounts, having a new logo designed, updating pages, setting up my favicons and gravatar, and countless web searches of “How do you ____ in WordPress?”, Kaffee und Kuchen has a brand new look!
I don’t usually blog about blogging, but I feel like I’ve run a metaphorical marathon when it comes to learning about setting up a blog on self-hosted WordPress. I started my blog on Weebly and I think I took for granted how easy it was to use: a What-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface with drag and drop functionality. I could focus on blogging and not worry too much about the look and features of my site. For beginners or those who want a straight-forward, easy-peasy blogging or website-building experience, Weebly is fantastic. But I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out on some customizability and design freedom that you can achieve with WordPress.
I had been toying with the idea of rebranding my blog for a few months. I was thinking about having a customized logo designed and I finally decided to go for it. I am really happy with how my logo turned out and I have to give my sincere thanks to Milli at Millis Grafik und Fotografie for her openness, unique ideas, and hard work with designing the logo. If you are looking for an English or German-speaking graphic designer or photographer based in Germany, I can highly recommend Milli.
Once the logo was ready, I set about picking my theme. I knew nothing about themes and had a hard time visualizing what my blog could look like with any particular theme since you can customize so much with virtually any theme. I really liked the fresh and uncluttered look of the premium WordPress themes from 17th Avenue Design and decided to go with my gut and pick one that would compliment my new logo. I had a colour palette in mind in soft grey, light blue, and navy that I thought would be feminine, clean, and cozy.
Next came importing my Weebly blog to WordPress. Unfortunately there is no simple solution for this since the two platforms run very differently. After reading a number of tutorials on how to do a Weebly to WordPress transition, I ended up purchasing a premium Weebly to WordPress import plugin to move my content, images, categories, and comments over to WordPress.
The next struggle was dealing with all my images. I hadn’t realized how many photos and galleries I had on my blog. I had to import all of those photos, rename them, optimize their size and create the galleries anew. I spent days looking for a gallery plugin and working out the kinks with the images.
Once the bare bones of the posts was looking alright, I had to deal with formatting. When I was researching how to use WordPress, I became aware of CSS. I naively thought I could get away with not knowing CSS and thought surely I could get around it. Nope. Sometimes there are just little things you need to change, like a margin, font size or link colour. This is where CSS is your friend. I can recommend the CSS tutorials on W3Schools and the Firefox Firebug extension to help with making real time edits.
Next up: plugins. Holy moly, there are a lot of plugins out there. I have read so many “10 best plugins for ______” articles and installed/unistalled so many different ones, there are times when I accidentally reinstalled a plugin that I’d already tried and dismissed because I’d forgotten I’d already tried it. I’m still trying out different plugins and you may see some changes on this little blog of mine over the next few weeks as I figure out the wonderful world of plugins.
So here I am, on self-hosted WordPress. I’ll admit there were a few times when I almost threw up my hands and said, “Forget it, I’m going back to Weebly”. So many days I woke up thinking, “Today’s the day I’m going to launch my new site”. But that day kept getting pushed back when I encountered a new problem, a plugin wasn’t working correctly, I wasn’t finished editing and formatting, and so on and so on. I had this impression that everything had to be ‘ready to go’ before I published my new site, but the truth is, blogs are so dynamic, it’s not realistic to set it up one way and leave it that way forever.
I really have to thank my husband for his patience and input while I’ve been building my new blog. I can’t even remember how many times I asked for his opinion on tiny details like hyperlink colours or the spacing of a widget. It’s always nice to hear a second opinion!
Lastly, I’d like to invite you to check out Kaffee und Kuchen’s new social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow my blog on Bloglovin. I always love to hear from readers so feel free to leave me a note in the comments or send me a message from my Contact page.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If something looks weird on your web browser or a link redirects you to the wrong place, please let me know in the comments. I’m still trying to work out all the kinks with my new blog. Thanks!