Despite the fact that I haven’t posted to this site since November of last year, I do actually maintain this blog. It’s part of who I am, it is a collection of my thoughts and reactions at the time, and it’s a record of me on the internet, even though I am a completely insignificant speck on the massive blogosphere. I want to keep posting here, and have been meaning to do so for a while, but there has been a reason for this delay: I’ve migrated the blog from Blogger to WordPress, which took longer than I’d anticipated and still has a few glitches (the various workarounds to forward Blogger links to the WordPress versions of the same posts were not working properly; there are still a few issues), and I’ve used that as an excuse not to post. Today, I try to rectify that.
I’ve been using Blogger since 2002, when I first discovered blogs and the ability to communicate ideas with anyone around the world. I used it privately at first, then wrote a blog open to the world where I collated thoughts and links in the style of the time, but which deservedly no longer exists.
I wouldn’t commit to Clandestine Critic until January 2006, but I would at least continue it and post regularly (including a particularly epic year where I was posting daily for most of it), becoming a tiny and insignificant part of the wonderful comic book blogosphere that bloomed at the time. The comic book blogosphere has changed – group sites became the dominant force, although there are still prominent holdouts who continue to maintain their own blog and do so in style – and I am no longer part of it, but I have kept this blog irregularly since then, buying the domain name but keeping on Blogger even when the other cool kids in the blogosphere were moving on to WordPress.
Being on Blogger was easy – the whole point of Blogger was to make it extremely simple for anybody to publish online – and free (unless you buy the domain name), and there was no reason for me to switch to anything else: I could continue to cast out my thoughts to nobody in particular, just for the enjoyment of doing it. So this raises the question: why am I posting this now on a blog that is now self-hosted on WordPress?
The answer concerns my site for my day job as a freelance medical editor – David Norman Editing – which I originally created with Weebly. The experience of making the site with Weebly was fine, and I’ve got nothing against Weebly: the drag-and-drop system works well to create a fully functional website in no time that looks impressive without having any kind of web design skills, plus they look after all the backend stuff so you don’t have to worry about it. However, there are limitations to the designs on Weebly, and inserting an image requires Flash to be installed on your computer, a program I want no part of because of its problems with security (which have led to it being blocked by many big names). Plus the cost of having a site on Weebly is more than a simple hosting plan with a WordPress install, so it seemed like perfect opportunity to teach myself WordPress and have a bit more control at the same time.
If you can use Blogger, you can use WordPress – creating pages and posts, inserting images and links are all pretty similar for starters – it’s just that you have to learn about other stuff you hadn’t considered before. This includes: security (I got fed up with the notifications about bots trying to login to the work website using various usernames, such as ‘admin’ and ‘test’), backing up the site, updating WordPress and plugins, redirecting from the Blogger links that still appear on searches (a particularly tricky problem for me that extended the delay) – with great power comes great responsibility, if I may take the moment to remind you that this is a blog about comic books. There are plenty of useful articles out there, but you have to find them and read them and then implement them, and finding answers to problems is not always easy, so it’s a bit of a learning curve but I think it was worth it in the end.
So, having created a new site for my freelance work on WordPress, it made sense to migrate the blog to WordPress as well, if only for the practice: I hope to help my partner, Kim, to eventually migrate her more successful Blogger site across so that she has greater control and the room to expand her business, and it was easier to make the mistakes on this blog rather than hers. Anyway, I’m too cheap to pay for someone to do it (although TSO Host, the company I use for hosting, do offer free migration, but I didn’t use that option because I wouldn’t have learned anything), so I’d prefer using my spare time to do it).
I’m no expert (and I’m not going to set myself up as a WordPress guru who will migrate your site for you, which is what quite a lot of people do) but I think I know my way around the program and I’ve enjoyed learning new things as well as making the site look pretty. It’s also been motivational in that, when going through things and checking them (such as checking on categories/tags versus labels), it’s been rather nice to read my old blog posts and feel, if not happy, then a sense of achievement in having something at the end of all these years of blogging and something near to pride. This blog should probably have been shut down a long time ago, like the many other comic book blogs that saw the writing on the wall (or onscreen, if we’re updating the metaphor) and moved onto Twitter or wherever; however, migrating the site has given me an impetus to continue the blog and try to keep to a schedule, even if it’s only one or two posts a week.