Posted by darren on Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last year I began a blog about technology and education called West Linn Tutor. Obviously, there was a local aspect about it. After six months, I decided to ditch the local part and rebrand it, focusing on how to use technology to be a more productive student.

Since the original blog was hosted on, I wanted something more flexible. Blogger has been my goto free blogging solution for some time now. I've found it superior to in terms of flexibility, customization and growth potential. But since I had been fooling around with hosting the blog elsewhere I started trying other software.

I had already been working with the Wordpress software installed on my computer (running locally with XAMPP installed). I'd thought I'd try something else out before making a decision.

So, I gave Joomla a spin. Joomla is an open source Content Management System (CMS) for websites that produce lots of content. I installed Joomla and gave it a try. I wrote a few test posts, tried some free templates. It seemed great, but I soon realized that my blog would not be producing enough content to justify Joomla. Also, there are some really beautiful templates, but the best ones all seem to cost $30 - $50 and I wasn't willing to spend any money just yet. On the plus side, everything is completely customizable with html and CSS. My CSS knowledge, however, is shaky at this point, so I need some training wheels to start out.

That took me back to Wordpress.

After the installation, it became a matter of looking for a template and choosing plugins that were needed. I ultimately decided on the Atahualpa Theme because of it's elegance and the ease of customization. I installed plugins to allow 125x125 ads (just in case), Google Analytics and Feedburner.

Next, I exported all the posts and comments from WestLinnTutor and imported them all to the new blog. Once everything looked kosher, it was time to get my hosting plan ($5/month at GoDaddy), by my domain (, ftp all of the files and "Bob's your Uncle," a new blog is born.

OK, so maybe it wasn't quite that fast.

This whole process took the better part of a Saturday. The good thing was my wife left in the morning and didn't come back until 10:00 at night.

I'm still working on some of the finer points. I need to customize the photos, change the favicon and a few other tweaks. But in the next few weeks, it should look like I want it.