Welcome back / Bienvenidos de nuevo

I have been busy for the last few days migrating my blogs to a new platform, as you can see. In this post I will summarize what I have discovered in the process.

Warning for the Spanish-speaking visitors: He migrado blog en español SPBlogEdin.blogspot.com a mi blog principal EdinKapic.com. Aquí publicaré posts en los dos idiomas, según el tema a tratar. Para facilitar la navegación, todos los posts en español/castellano tienen la categoría Español y los posts del antiguo blog se redireccionarán aquí automáticamente. ¡Bienvenidos! 

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My blogging infancy: Blogger

My blogging adventure began with a small personal blog in Spanish on Blogger, called the Midnight Bard” (Bardo de medianoche) where I wrote about my everyday musings and ramblings. It seemed natural to me to start my own professional blog when I started working with SharePoint back in the mid-2000s.

So, a new blog was born. I struggled with a name but I named it “Res Cogitans” with the URL edinkapic.blogspot.com, for the famous Descartes motto of “I think, therefore I am”. I started to write more or less regularly each month about the things I’ve learned or come across in my job as a SharePoint consultant. Over time, I gained some visits and references.

In 2009 I thought of adding a local voice to by blogging. I started another blog, called SPBlogEdin where I wrote about the Spanish SharePoint scene and about the topics I found that the Spanish-speaking bloggers weren’t writing about. It was always meant to be a complement to the main, English-speaking blog, which had a more diverse and dispersed audience.

I also added my personal domain, EdinKapic.com, to the main blog to make things easier when moving to my own hosted blog in the future.

My failed attempt: Orchard

In the last years I was thinking about unifying the two blogs into the main one. I installed Orchard CMS in one of my websites in Azure and started playing with it. It looked very promising, and it allowed me to actually write some code in ASP.NET MVC if I had to. But, the more I used it to toy around and trying to migrate my blogs from Blogger to Orchard, the more I saw that the Orchard platform is failing in the same fashion as the Windows Phone: a disengaged ecosystem. The CMS is very sleek but there are just so many plugins and themes for it. It can’t compete with the mature WordPress ecosystem.

So, few weeks ago I finally decided for WordPress as my final platform. I provisioned a website in Azure and I installed WordPress from the app gallery. It was a charm! The setup was effortless and the default settings are just right for a WordPress newbie like me. I still have to brush up the design and other goodies but it looks to me like a very solid foundation to build upon.

Migrating the posts from Blogger to WordPress without losing SEO rankings

I had hundreds of posts in the two blog accounts and I didn’t want to manually migrate them, as I was doing with Orchard BlogML import plugin. I also wanted to keep my SEO ranking by redirecting the posts from Blogger to WordPress without misdirection.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a very helpful couple of posts about migrating from Blogger to WordPress and I followed the instructions: https://rtcamp.com/blogger-to-wordpress/tutorials/permalink-seo-migration/, http://john.do/migrate-blogger-wordpress/ and http://www.mypregnancybaby.com/moving-blogger-wordpress/.

  • I added the Blogger Importer plugin to my WordPress. It authenticated with no problems to Blogger and pulled all my posts, tags and images to my WordPress. I was amazed. I set WordPress permalinks to the same schema that Blogger uses (year, month and title) and I run a quick fix (a PHP file uploaded to WordPress by FTP) that truncated the permalinks in the same fashion Blogger does it. I did this in order to keep my EdinKapic.com links for the main Blogger blog intact and to ease the redirection from SPBlogEdin to EdinKapic, too.
  • I edited my DNS settings for EdinKapic.com and I redirected them from Blogger to my Azure instance, then I disabled custom domain for my Blogger blog.

The only error I has was that the posts from Blogger weren’t redirected properly to the new WordPress blog. I did a couple of tricks from these blogs, but finally I decided to try Blogger 301 Redirect Plugin and it did the trick. I had to copy-paste the Blogger template from the plugin to both Blogger blog settings and that was it. Flawlessly!

As an icing on the cake, I categorized my Spanish-language posts coming from SPBlogEdin into Español category and the English-language posts into English category for easier navigation.

Lessons learned

First, and the most painful lesson, was to open my eyes and see that Orchard is not end-user ready yet. Technically it is, even the interface is very nice but the ecosystem is not.

Second, I always preach that one has to step out of his/her own comfort zone. I did it with WordPress and PHP. Not my cup of tea, yet, but a nice little challenge for the coming weeks.

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