When you have written a post about looking back at 2016, I thought I will write about things I look forward to in 2017.
Mummy’s 70th Birthday
I am the 5th child and my parents are elderly. This year I am looking forward to celebrating mummy’s 70th birthday with the whole family. We are planning to have a small get-together including extended families. My mummy’s siblings are older; most of the able-bodied ones are outside India.But we hope that can get few of them to be with her on her special day.
Chotu starts school
Come June, my son will start his formal education starting with nursery. We have already enrolled him in a pre-school from yesterday. The experience has been quite incident-free for the first 2 days, but we are expecting him to bring down the school one day soon. As of now, he is enthralled with all the toys at the pre-school and has even stayed there till noon from 9 am.
I have decided to read just 25 books in 2017 as a part of Goodreads Reading Challenge. This is quite less compared to the target of 35 which I completed in 2016. The reason behind the lesser number is that I want to read a few big books towards the Classics Club challenge in 2017. If I don’t make a dent in the reading list, I may miss the target of reading 50 classics between 2014-2019 by a long way.
Bluehost has hiked the hosting charges quite high that it is forcing me to rethink the hosting. If I am not making any progress in keeping up this blog, I may very well move it to a free wordpress site. Personally I prefer spending time on reading books that use it for writing reviews. There are only very few books that inspire me to write a review and I really don’t want to force myself to write review for the sake of it. Anyway I have decided to give another year to this self-hosted site and will make some decisions by end of the year.
That is all dears. I will try to be more regular here. Do follow me on instagram for better updates regarding my life.
Writing good reviews is an art and that doesn’t come effortlessly to me. I read many reviews and marvel at the beauty of the words and wish I could write like many of them, but I understand that writing comes effortlessly to many though it is perfected by practice.
I have been writing few book reviews on this blog which was started way back in 2009. The idea of writing book reviews regularly was and is still appealing to me, but the materialization of that idea requires a lot of effort and time. And I seem to not have much time. I do have time ( no one can really blame lack of time for not doing anything that they really want to do), but then I realized that I do not want to write reviews when I get some time.
There is also the question of who is reading these reviews. I get a handful of page views each day and I suck at promoting myself. I am doing the whole social media wrong. That is a different story for another day.
I read somewhere that people don’t read reviews. They barely scan through the review and get the jist of what the writer wants to say. I believe it is correct considering that I do the same for most of the reviews that I read.I read full blog posts of a handful of people though I scan through many RSS feeds.
Guess it is a time for change on this blog. I realized that I do not want to write a review of every single book that I read and that could be the reason why I have mostly stopped accepting review copies. Sometimes it takes months for me to write down the review even though I enjoyed the book. Then the effort spent on writing the review may not be worth if no one is reading it.
I do want to keep this blog alive. So I will start bombarding all of you with more trivial things around my life. Hope I will not bore you guys and drive away all those people who visit here only for reviews.
Let me know your thoughts if you are reading this post.
Fellow bloggers, do you think that many people actually read book reviews, even the ones of famous bloggers?
It has been three weeks since I moved my blog which had a custom domain name on Blogger to a self-hosted wordpress site, hosted on bluehost. I don’t want to write a big story about the movement, but I do want to write few points for anyone contemplating a move to self hosted WordPress.
Overall, I am loving the WordPress experience, but do want to write down a few fine points about what are the things involved. For detailed steps, I have kept three links under essential reads in the end of this post which are good enough for you to make the move and much more.
1. Why Did I Move?
- I had heard a lot about WordPress being more powerful, but was shying away because of the work and complexity involved.
- The best reason for anyone to move to a self-hosted WordPress site will be SEO. If are serious about blogging and want to rank higher in search engine results, you will need to be more serious about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and WordPress makes it so easy.
- I had already purchased my custom domain name two years back from enom through Blogger, which costs me around 10-11 US$ every year. If you do not have a domain name, you will need to invest around US$11 for the domain registration.
- I decided to go with a bluehost hosting as it was known as the best hosting service provider around here in terms of value for money and support. The hosting for the basic hosting plan for a year cost me 60 US$.
- I need to shell out around 70-75 US$ every year if I need to keep this blog up and running.
3. Installing WordPress
- The whole exercise was to install WordPress on the blog, so I let bluehost take care of installing the latest stable version of WordPress on the blog. That is 4.1. That is quite easy. Bluehost will take care of all that.
Remember to create an admin user name and password during the WordPress installation and please keep something other than ‘admin’ as user name.
4. Moving the Posts and Comments
- I used the inbuilt tool provided by WordPress to move my posts, images and comments over to the new site. It will take few minutes depending on the number of posts you have on your blog. I have just 260 odd posts and very few comments, so it was done in a matter of few minutes.
- You have to set up the Permalinks so that your existing posts are intact.
5. Changing the DNS Records
- Since I already had a custom domain which I wanted to reuse or rather I wanted to move my blog from Blogger to bluehost, I had to go and manually edit the DNS entries in the eNom account so that the domain name points to the one bluehost has.
- If you are buying a domain name from bluehost or your hosting service provider, they will take care of the domain name related activities. This is applicable when you want to keep a different url for your blog/site or you are moving from a Blogspot blog to self-hosted WordPress site.
- I had kept the domain-renewal for auto-renewal out of laziness, and then I had to reset my Google apps password to get the domain name registration details(try user name firstname.lastname@example.org – it works )
- I have an option to transfer my domain registration to bluehost and keep everything under a single umbrella. But this is optional. My domain is still under eNom and I will transfer it later.
Custom Blogger to WordPress – Change DNS Records on eNom
Note: If you are not in the habit of remembering all your passwords, you will have to look through your Google apps account carefully to find out your domain-registration user name and password.
- Once you have updated your DNS records, you may have to wait 1-2 hours before your blog actually comes up. I had the urge to move to WordPress at midnight and I got things up and running in few hours, which meant that not many people may have noticed that my blog went out of radar for a few hours (Google would have obviously noticed). Plan your move based on your site stats.
7. Installing Theme
- While I was waiting for my DNS records to be perpetrated across the different servers, I decided to try out few free themes. Unlike Blogger, you will have to download the theme to your site directory, before trying out the theme. It is easy and can be done with a few clicks.
- I am going to use the free themes available and will not invest in buying a customized theme for some time.
- I faced issues with my urls and Google webmaster cribbed for a long time before the sitemap submitted had urls with missing ‘the’, ‘a’ etc. I had urls like ‘/the-citadel-a-j-cronin.html’. What will happen if someone tells Google that the page url is ‘/citadel-cronin.html’.
- You should be careful about these problems before submitting sitemaps to Google through Google Webmasters.
- I had to re-submit my sitemaps to Google Webmasters again to solve some of the problems, but I have still few ‘Page Not Found’ issues to resolve.
The only thing I would say to all who want to move to self hosted WordPress site is that – There are lots of tutorials, blogs, sites etc telling you how to do each thing, so there is no way you can do a irreparable damage to your site because of lack of information. Information is all available on the internet.
Before you take this step you will need only three things – money for buying domain/hosting, lots of time and the dedication to see through the change.
Trust me, you will not regret it….I LOVE IT.
Essential Reads Before You Move
This may be news to many of you Google bloggers that Google has been redirecting your blogpost blog to different urls (web address) based on your country. For eg: If a visitor is accessing this blog from india, the url will have blogspot.in, and if you are accessing this blog from United Kingdom, then it is redirected to blogspot.uk. Currently this is applicable to 15 countries and it is said that this url redirection is to take care of content censorship in case if the government of these countries come up with content censorship for blogs. ok, this is my understand. Amit Agarwal has written a great article on why Google is redirecting Blogger blogs.
I have often contemplated taking up a domain for this blog, but some how I have postponed that big step for some other time. A look into my website traffic maintained by statcounter told me that my blog traffic stats have gone hay-ware due to this url redirection. Suddenly the count of hits on posts get divided into different country specific urls. Somehow I believe that complicates things for the time. So what do I do? I found this useful article on Amit’s website on Prevent your Blogger Blog from Redirecting to Country-Specific URLs. It was so easy to implement and took barely 5 minutes. Now I am waiting to see my blog traffic go back to normal.