Migrating an active website is like switching horses in the middle of the stream.
Well, I finally gut the guts to do it. I wasn’t exactly eager to transfer my Minneapolis real estate site along with several hundred pages and probably thousands of photos to another server. I had been putting this off for a long time. There was about two hours where I couldn’t see my site. Then I called my good friend Loretta Holscher who said she could see it on her computer. Sometimes it takes 24-72 hours for a change like this to propagate through the internet. I am thankful I did not have to wait to long. I may still be missing a few pictures. I apologize if you are looking for listing photos and cannot find them. Hopefully, they will be back soon.
Previously, my site was hosted at Jim Messenger’s Famous Agents, which cost me $100 per month. I know his servers and recovery systems are second to none, so it was probably a good value. Also, I learned a lot from Jim Messenger, especially to declutter, minimize links on the home page, and get rid of all kinds of heavy graphics and gadgets, and to avoid goofy widgets. Jim was good for me because he is sort of a no-nonsense guy. Jim who was the one who introduced me to this platform. My traffic has skyrocketed, and I am now enjoying helping fellow agents set up their own blogsites. If you are more interested in results than flashy gimmicks, this is the way to go. If you want to find out more, go to http://agentblogbuzz.com. OK, so that is a shameless plug. But it is a product that I believe in, gets results, and I use it for my own site.
I transferred to BlueHost, and cut my expenses to $6.95 per month. I have been helping sites for other agents at BlueHost, and have had no trouble wth them. It is one of the few companies in that price range that offers 24/7 phone support. Sometimes, you might have to listen to music for a few minutes before you get to talk to a geek, but the wait is always worth it. They are extremely helpful and friendly. Beats the heck out of that “live chat” or “email support” that many companies offer.
I upgraded to WordPress 2.3.3. at the same time. Upgrades always makes me nervous because sometimes new versions are full of bugs. If you discover something that does not work, please let me know about it.
Also, I switched to a minimalistic, stripped down theme called Copyblogger, which I find easier to read. This is a good SEO friendly theme, partly because the content loads first. My big concern is that it will be fully compatible with WP 2.3.3. There are no photos on the front page, and it is the sort of page where a visitor can just focus on getting down to business. It is a rather drastic style change, and some people have commented that they miss the colors. I am considering finding another theme that is even more minimalistic, because I think that strong styles sometimes distract from the content. There is plenty of whitespace, and I like the typography. Also, I am starting to believe that more and more people are coming to the web to read, and not just click at photos. Sometimes a format can make reading difficult. At some point I may go to a theme that is just black and white.
A nice fellow from Boston named Austin Matzko helped me migrate the site. If you need any technical help with this sort of thing, give him a call. Austin has developed some plug-ins that might be worth checking out.