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The Challenge – Changing Your Blogs Domain

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February 4th, 2013 marks a day that will live in infamy. (At least in my mind). After agonizing over my blogs name, TheFindependent.com, I decided that I needed to change the name. Readers of personal finance blogs are probably looking for blogs with names that have “money”, “dollar”, “finance” or other financial terms. Thefindependent was an OK name, but it was too ambiguous and kind of reminded me of “Free Fish”. Having a site with “Independent Fins” embedded in the name probably didn’t draw much attention from the readers I wanted to bring here. Since my blog is relatively young (+/- 6 weeks old) this was the right time to do it.

After much searching I found a name that was available, WiseDollar.org, although not perfect, it was a lot better than TheFindependent. I went ahead and got the new domain and then started the process of moving everything over. After a bit of research I decide to use the “WordPress Move” plugin to move my blog over to its new domain. I have to say that wordpress move did a pretty decent job of getting everything moved over. The directory structure and database went over without a hitch and WordPress Move changed all the database entries from the old URL to the new URL flawlessly.

If I have one criticism about wordress move is that the instructions are unintuitive when restoring the site to the new domain. Everything in the plugin and on their support site will lead you to believe that those files have to be in an ftp subdirectory. In reality, you just have to make sure that those files are in the default directory structure where wordpress move expects them to be. In case you’re contemplating doing this to your site, here is where they need to be (In context to your new domains directory structure) /var/www/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-move/backup/

It took me hours to figure that out but once I found exactly where the backup files needed to be, the new site downloaded and restored everything! Having finished that, I began the process of changing all my settings for WordPress, Feedburner and Jetpack to make sure the right URL and emails were there. That’s when I found out that all of my plugins had inoperable settings. So I’m dealing with that now and hope to have it resolved fairly soon. In the interim, I’ve manually put in some code to get around the limitations the bug has introduced. All in all I’m pleased with the move and look towards the bright side, “It could’ve been a lot worse”!

Two big props to fellow bloggers Joe at TimelessFinance and Jeremy at ModestMoney. They were both willing to take time out from a busy and hectic schedule to give me advise on whether to change the name and what to do if i did change the domain. Francine at ReachFinancialIndependence helped as well and gave me her take on the name change. Joe gets special thanks since he’s been spending an inordinate amount of time coaching a new blogger (me) through the maze of trying to create a successful blog! A big Thank You to all of you!

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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14 comments

  1. No problem, happy to pay it forward as I have also been the recipient of a lot of great info / advice from more established bloggers!

  2. But still, it’s much appreciated and I hope to be able to pay it forwards some day as well!

  3. Glad the move was smooth, good luck with the new name, I like it!

  4. I can see the reason for your change, I just hoep I never have to go through it! Sounds crappy! Good work though, man 🙂

    • Overall it was not too bad. As with all things tech, I hit a few blocks that were crappy though. I’m still seeing a few remnants of the old name popping up here and there and I imagine I’ll be seeing that for some time but I’m glad I did it. I don’t think you’ll ever have to as you have a pretty awesome domain name!

  5. Good to hear your move went smoothly. I think you made the right choice, I like the new name. I moved my blog to a new URL last month as well, its certainly a nerve-wracking process but it feels so good once it’s done!

    • IT was nerve racking! But it’s done and I’m glad. Thanks for liking the new name :). I’m still seeing a few “findpendent” artifacts here in there, mostly with the social sites but hopefully those will be cleaned up soon, either by aging out or me digging and rooting them out.

  6. I spent several hours this week attempting to move my blog host from WordPress to Blue Host so I could start to think about having ads on my site (this is just an idea in my head because I average less than 200 views each day).

    It was frustrating and I did not accomplish anything and I am getting a refund from Blue Host (the billing department is full of lovely people). I was very worried about everything on my blog disappearing.

    Good for you to accomplish such a giant techy thing all on your own. I only read and write on my computer. The rest is a mystery.

  7. Even with many years of IT behind me I was intimidated by the move. The “WordPress Move” plugin made it extremely easy to get the move done. WordPress move also makes backups and restored extremely easy. At first I thought the plugin corrupted a few things but as it turned out, it didn’t, my Alexa-Internet plugin was the culprit and once I deleted it and most of the problems went away. The one thing that was probably corrupted by the move was my jetpack plugin. I simply deleted it and re-installed it to fix that problem. I did lose my stats but I can live with that. I would say that if you want to move your site to another host you should do so. If you want, contact me via email (use the contact form) and I can walk you through what I believe would be the best way to move the site. Jose

  8. Huzzah! Glad it went well. I changed from eemusings.wordpress.com to nzmuse.com and that went quite smoothly, and a few weeks later I moved the back end all to self hosting. You sure learn a lot during the process. Only wish I’d thought of a good domain earlier and switched earlier – having to build up those stats again sucked.

    • Thanks! You can bet that I’m glad it went well too! You do learn a lot. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had what are really two successful moves. Sounds like your getting to be an old hat at it :). Your right, losing stats sucks, I’m glad I got this done early rather then later. Still, having a good name from the start would have been a lot easier!

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