Pick the Right Blogging Platform From the Start

Everyone expects everyone to have an online presence these days, whether it's on social media, a personal website, or at the bare minimum, a LinkedIn account. It's even more true for a marketer who can't escape the basic expectation that he or she should be internet-marketing-literate, especially if the person's under 35. I'm 25.

As a millennial marketer, I get the expectation. I grew up blogging... Remember Xanga in middle/high school where you would post all your angsty "What I'm reading" or "What I'm listening" to updates? (My Xanga probably still exists somewhere on the interweb with my embarrassing username.) Or remember Friendster, the more tactful version of Tinder waaay before Facebook's time? Many social and blogging platforms have come and gone within the span of my formative years, and those basic internet skills have inherently stuck.

When I was in college, I decided to start this blog as a way to document all the interesting foods I encountered or cooked. Over the years, it has transformed from a food blog into more of an "everything-about-Connie" blog (woops). At the time when I started it, micro-blogging was all the rage. This was only five years ago in 2010. Tumblr, the most popular micro-blogging platform, was home to many food bloggers I followed; it was (and still is) super simple to use; and there was no way to resist a sexy syrup meme reblog. I did consider the more traditional blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger, but I was young and hip, so I opted for Tumblr, the cool, trendy-sounding one.

Fast forward five years... blogging on Tumblr was a huge mistake. As a professional marketer now, I finally understand the value of blogging on traditional platforms like WordPress and Blogger. Tumblr was so easy to use because it never required anything more than adding a photo or writing a few words. On the back end, however, that meant no headers or tags were being generated with my posts. Unfortunately, SEO wasn't an important topic in school yet, so I continued blogging that way for four more years.

Once I got out into the real world, I built my own online portfolio to assist with my job search. I wanted to feature my blog to show off some of my internet skills, but pulling/embedding it from Tumblr was such a headache. I ended up using Tint, which embeds almost anything with a RSS feed, but still, my blog wasn't native to my site. After landing a job, I decided to give up on the personal portfolio blog and returned to blogging ignorantly on Tumblr.

I knew I couldn't continue to be a professional marketer without a formal online presence, so I bit the bullet and tried to build my website again. This time, I tried Squarespace and WordPress. Again, migrating my Tumblr blog was the hardest part. When migrating into Squarespace, none of the tags came through. WordPress impressively grabbed all the content from Tumblr, but my god, was it hard to customize the look and feel of my site. I then tried migrating the new WordPress blog to Squarespace, but none of my photos came through. With 5 years of content, there was no way I was going to upload each picture again. When you're someone who can't code like me, you're at the mercy of templates or boyfriends, and both seem like bad options.

In the end, my best-case way was to migrate my blog from Tumblr to Squarespace, and then go back to each post and re-tag/re-categorize everything. I'm not even close to done with this task, don't know if I will ever finish, but I was tired of working on the back end stuff and wanted to get back to my favorite part, blogging.

Why not just start a new blog altogether? Well, having history and keywords in posts help with SEO, so it's not something I want to give up entirely. I'm going to give this Squarespace blog every bit of effort I've got to get it where I want it to be. So what's the lesson after a 7-paragraph rant?

If you're starting a blog, think about how it will fit into your online portfolio or website. It might dictate or help you choose which web platform to use if you cannot code. Get it right from the start and you'll avoid all the future headaches.