What We Learned While Migrating our Blog
In early February, we at StartBlox decided it was time to bring our blog, affectionately named StartBlog, into our own website rather than having it hosted elsewhere. This decision was several months in the making, and (we thought) we had everything in place to do so quickly.
On that day, rather than keeping up with our typical Sunday blog post, we simply posted a short update: "StartBlog will be back soon!" The post mentioned that we would be working to migrate the blog, but that our content would remain live until that day.
Why did we choose to make the move?
StartBlox is an extensive resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and we can see the impact that we're making for users already signed up on the site. However, we're not helping people who don't know about us. By migrating StartBlog to StartBlox.com, we had high hopes of being able to more easily market the posts we write, have more control over the presentation of content on our platform, and more directly connect to our product that we see as so beneficial.
There are all kinds of trade-offs between publishing on a well-known blogging site that may increase your chances of being found, but then the search engine optimization (SEO) kind of gets "shared" between you two rather than being all yours. Plus, by using another's blogging platform, you're restricted to their format. Maybe you'd like to do something more creative! Lots of choices, indeed, but having our blog closer to home seemed like the best choice for us.
What did the process entail?
The easiest and most common way to get your blog up on your own site is to use WordPress, and that was the route we chose. Normally it would be a simple matter of performing the install, choosing a template, and get going from there. Well... not so easy for us in this case.
We want to protect our users' information if they ever submit any emails or other information to us, so we installed an SSL certificate (issued by internet authorities to verify that we are who we are and to enable encrypted data transmission). While that was definitely the right decision business-wise, it actually created some technical issues on our WordPress install which delayed us a few weeks - thus, why we took so long to return!
But once we got the back-end technical stuff figured out, it was a breeze from there. Our domain host had a simple installer that did all the heavy lifting for us to get the code on our site, then all we had to do was choose a template, customize it, and begin posting. Voilà! We're back.
What did we do with our content?
While the technical glitches were being ironed out, our marketing team stayed busy. It was important for us to take a two-sided approach to deal with our low-output phase.
First, we used this time to delve into the details that were previously missing from our content strategy. The break in our content production meant that we could spend plenty of time going back through the statistics of our previous work. This included blog posts, social media, and website content. Once we had a better understanding of our previous work, we took on the task of planning. Rather than sitting and waiting, we decided to build up a pool of blog posts ready to go after the StartBlog launch.
Second, we continued to share our previous blog posts. With an eye on how this phase would impact conversions to our site and the credibility of what we share through social channels, we decided the best option would be to keep our content circulating. After all, we were proud of the work we did. In the end, one of our posts had significantly higher readership in the month after our content production efforts paused than during its first several weeks live.
Finally, we coupled the migration of our content on StartBlog with an update of our content on StartBlox. In the past month, we moved from a single-page website to a multi-page, thought-through user experience. We've introduced our first "About Us" page, customized pages for different buyer personas, and updated "how it works" visuals.
What did we learn?
Past content remains relevant: During the two months that we put a halt on publishing our own new content, we've seen our social media followers "like", "share", and "retweet" our previous blog posts, and we've gotten to know how we can be increasingly relevant moving forward.
Expect delays, and be flexible when they present themselves: As in any startup with a small team, a hiccup in any team member's plan affects the entire team. From an impromptu flight to California to a cross-country move, things come up. We learned quickly in this process to be communicative, and to have backup plans!
Bring in help: Our founder is passionate about entrepreneurs being able to pull in help when needed, and that was the key to our success with the StartBlog migration. Whether asking the team for a second opinion, reaching out to advisors for a vote on content, or consulting a partner on the best way to move forward, the new StartBlog embodies the phrase, "Many hands make light work."
It was worth it!
Beginning or even migrating a blog should be a relatively easy task for anyone, as long as you do your homework. If you have SSL on your site - do *extra* homework! It requires flexibility, quick learning, and thinking on your feet. We're certain that our blog will continue to shape itself in the coming months as our small team masters the art of our new content tools and design. However, we're thrilled to have our new website, our new blog, and our new content live for the public!