Changes Coming to Runblogger

Runblogger Logo WhiteThings have been a bit quiet here on the blog for the past few weeks. Despite the seeming lack of activity, I’ve been hammering away in the background at a furious rate on a few projects that have been nagging me.

For the past week or so I’ve been working almost non-stop on an academic journal article on foot strike patterns from the 2011 New York City Barefoot Run – I didn’t think I’d be writing an academic paper so soon after leaving my professorship, but I was invited to submit to a special edition of a journal and finally got my act together and got it done. I submitted the initial draft yesterday – I won’t reveal the results yet, but it’s a pretty interesting dataset.

In addition to the research article, I also spent some time last week developing a website for a local nonprofit that I belong to (the Concord Area Wellness Coalition). It’s still a work in progress, but in a nutshell it required that I learn how to use WordPress to a much greater extent than I have in the past so that I could recreate a site that was previously built on the Joomla platform (which none of the current coalition members, including myself, knew how to use). I’ve been meaning to play with WordPress for a long time, and this gave me the motivation to dig in. I’m building the site using the Genesis framework and the Dynamik Website Builder and so far have had a blast – although I’m far from a pro, tinkering with websites is something that I really enjoy doing.

In the process of building the CAWC site, I found that WordPress offers functionality that is sorely missing in Blogger. I created Runblogger back in early 2009 on the Blogger platform, and have used it continuously since then. One of the benefits of using Blogger is that it has forced me to learn basic HTML and CSS coding in order to modify the site template to suit my needs. Blogger has served me well, but I’ve come to realize that if I want to grow the site, I need to make the jump to WordPress.

In particular, the following needs have precipitated this move:

1. I need flexibility to create pages with different templates. Blogger allows you to create static pages (pages are different than posts and don’t show up in the blog feed), but you can’t alter page layouts without some cumbersome modification of the site template.

2. I wanted to be able to create sub-blogs for off-topic posts and gear deal announcements. I don’t want these to show up in my main site feed so that people can opt in or out of viewing/subscribing to them. Some people really appreciate getting notified of shoe sales, others consider it spam, so I wanted this to be isolated in its own spot. Similarly, I’d like to add more non-running content so having a more personal sub-blog is appealing (e.g., I’d like to post more often about the business/practice of blogging). I got this idea from DC Rainmaker’s Paris Blog.

3. I want to bring my forum under the Runblogger domain, can’t do this in Blogger.

4. The blogger post editor is awful, and I haven’t used it in a long time (I use Windows Live Writer). Working in WordPress is much easier.

5. WordPress plugins offer an incredible variety of functionality not available in Blogger.

6. I wanted to move my commenting system from Disqus to something else. I get a lot of complaints about Disqus eating comments before they are posted, and it seems to really slow down site load times. It’s time for a change.

7. Greater flexibility in mobile site design. I really want a usable site for smartphones that allows more functionality than the Blogger mobile options. The move should allow this.

There are more reasons, but these are the big ones. My biggest hesitation in moving the site was that I was afraid I might screw things up and lose my existing links if I tried to do it myself (since this blog is my main source of income now, I couldn’t risk losing my Google juice). Given this, I contracted with a web design firm to handle the job for me. Foliovision is a company based in Slovakia, and they migrated DC Rainmaker’s site from Blogger to WordPress without a hitch. Foliovision began the migration process for me within 24 hours of paying my deposit and have been incredibly professional and efficient so far. I’m very impressed.

Foliovision is rebuilding my site in WordPress, and I’ve asked them to use Genesis + the Dynamik child theme since I used them to build the site mentioned above. This should allow me to modify the site as needed once it is up and running. Apparently migrating Disqus comments is a bit of a pain, but they are going to handle that as well for an additional fee. I’m hoping that all will be settled within the next three weeks. Fingers crossed!

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Ashwyn Gray says:

    Best of luck with the migration, Pete! I can’t wait to see the results!

  2. Good luck with the migration. You are doing the right thing owning your own content rather than having it live on blogger, disqus, etc. Just be careful with WordPress, as it is notorious for getting hacked. Keep all those plugins up to date.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yeah, that was a big worry. I’m paying for premium hosting from Foliovision that should assist with security and backups.
      Sent from my iPad

  3. Brian Hazard says:

    Good stuff Pete! I use WordPress for my two blogs (colortheory.com, passivepromotion.com) and switched from Discus to Facebook Comments a couple years ago. I was actually thinking about switching back, but you’ve dissuaded me. Facebook Comments is cool for the viral aspects, but if you don’t have a Facebook, Yahoo, or AOL account (maybe they added more?), you can’t comment.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’ve avoided Facebook comment system since I know a lot of people who don’t use FB at all. Don’t want that limitation. I’m going to try a commenting system that Folivision built for WordPress, we’ll see how it goes!
      I like some things about Disqus (email comment moderation is great), but dislike some things as well. Slow load times are an issue, and have gotten messages from people who have lost long comments that they wrote.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Brian Hazard says:

        I’m mostly dealing with musicians, who had better have Facebook accounts if they want to be effective promoters! I look forward to seeing your new system. Another system I like is Kinja, which I think may be just on Gawker sites.

  4. Brian Martin says:

    Good luck with the migration Pete … think testing, all the combinations and permutations just to make sure it gets across the way you intended. My IT training coming out!

  5. 278toBoston says:

    I’m glad you are going to WordPress. I use it and it is user friendly. I’ve helped my wife with Blogger and it seem much more technical than it needs to be.

  6. Kurt Russell says:

    I hope you write more about the coalition. I would love for something like that to exist around my town.

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