What I Did During My Blogging Break

Part One – What I Planned to Do

One of the first things that I had planned to do during my break was to ditch WordPress.org and switch to WordPress.com. During the past year, my self-hosting frustrations had escalated, and I was OVER IT!

I didn’t want to risk making the switch on my own (way too much room for irreversible error here). I had a small window of opportunity with someone who was willing to help. An IT Guru (from my previous school in Beijing) returns to Vancouver Island for a few weeks each summer He agreed to guide me through the process. Perfect. Except….

Before our meet-up, I started researching. Big mistake. Huge!

I began by casually typing “switching from wp.org to wp.com’ into my computer. No matter how I phrased (and rephrased this), Google continually reversed my search. I started reading the articles that it laid out in front of me. Thus began my descent down that slippery slope.

Quickly, I was lulled into a false sense of security. Since I wanted the same domain name and needed extra site storage space, the costs of a .com site and my current .org site would be roughly the same. And there was that Comparison Chart listing the advantages of self-hosting. (This is the same comparison chart that caused me to choose self-hosting in the first place.) Shiny, shiny!

Then the ‘Bad Boyfriend Theory’ took over. You know…. “He’s not that bad.” “Other girls think he’s cute!” “And come to think of it, he hasn’t misbehaved at all lately.” Duh! Of course, he hadn’t misbehaved! I neglected to consider the fact that due to my technology break, there was little room for technology error. Dumb oversight. Painstakingly stupid!)

First thing in the morning on August 2, my IT Guru friend returned to Beijing with no plans of returning to Vancouver Island until next summer. On the VERY. SAME. DAY. My Blogging Break ended. To insert here that this was bad timing would be a horrible understatement.

Twenty-four hours after my return post published, I had received three comments and a handful of readers. I am not much of a blog stat watcher, but this change spoke loud and clear. Donna who? Gulp!

Then I received a couple of emails from blogging friends saying that they had been mysteriously unsubscribed from my blog. They also noted that my ‘Subscribe to this Blog’ button was nowhere to be found. So, on my first day back after my six-week-long, very restful break, there I was down the Technology Rabbit Hole desperately trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it (and why in the heck I hadn’t switched to wp.com when I had the chance)!

If you’ve been unsubscribed from this blog, my sincere apologies. It wasn’t me (honest, I was nowhere near my site during my break). I have no explanation at all other than to humbly hope that you will re-subscribe.

If there are any other Tech Gurus out there with sage advice for me, I am all ears and eyes!

Up Next Week – What I did during my Technology/Blogging Break – The F Words: Family, Friends, Fiction, Fitness, Food, Fun and Francigena.

Feature Photo Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash. (https://unsplash.com/@glenncarstenspeters)

Hiking on Newcastle Island with Beijing (IT Guru) friends. They brought the disco-ball drinks. Fun touch!

101 Replies to “What I Did During My Blogging Break”

  1. Hi Donna! I’m on your list no problems from me. And congratulations for taking the plunge regardless of how scary it is. I do think it gets easier…after having my site crash and burn a couple of times (completely) and getting it back online along with other ongoing glitches…I think I am learning to detach, breathe and know that it will work okay. And trust me…no one that is truly your follower will ever leave you…your fans will always seek you out even if something does happen again. Looking forward to the “F” post! ~Kathy

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  2. Hi, Kathy – Thank you for your reassuring comment that my blog is working well for you. I have no idea why it has acted up for some readers and not others. Most importantly, thank you for your incredible support and friendship. The one thing that I have never been able to successfully explain to IRL friends (who do not blog) is how amazing it is to connect to someone else from across the country/continent/world and feel as though you have known them forever. You are definitely on that list. I look forward to our (second) meet-up in October!

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  3. Oh my! This post gave me the shivers, Donna. I can’t imagine self-hosting as I’m the most non-technical person you’ll meet. I get overwhelmed easily with all of the changes in our technology. I’m still receiving your posts, so all is well on my end. Yay!

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    1. Hi, Jill – Thanks for your feedback and kind words. I’m glad that you are still receiving my posts without difficulty. Fingers crossed that all is working now. Perhaps last week my site thought that it was still on a break! 🙂

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  4. Hi Donna, I don’t think I received your email so perhaps I’m not on the list. PM me if you would sill like some help. In the meantime I will subscribe again 🙂
    I’m so glad you are back as I’ve missed you xx

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    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for your kind offer to help. I will definitely take you up on this! One thing that I cannot figure out is why your comments always go into my Moderation Folder (they have been going in there for a few months now). I’ve asked the folks in my WordPress Meet-Up group. So far, no one has been able to figure it out!

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      1. Hi Donna, I just saw your message so will check it out and see if I can come up with an answer for you. Also, it is so lovely to have you join us again at #MLSTL. Great to have you back, my friend xx

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      2. Thanks, Sue – It’s nice to be back to #MLSTL. I greatly enjoy this linkup. Yes, for some reason your comments (and Hugh Roberts’ and Grammy Dee’s) all regularly end up in my moderation folder. So far, no other regular bloggers end up in there. I have had the tech gurus from my WordPress Group check this out, but so far, no one has found a solution. I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, I’ll continue to regularly check my moderation and spam folders.

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      1. I like Feedly because you can group into subjects, bookmark, swipe as read, unfollow inactive blogs etc very easily. Eg I follow some political blogs that I don’t always feel like reading so I can just mark the whole politics list as read and they vanish, usually improving my mental health at the same time!

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      2. Thank you for including this detail, Anabel. Feedly sounds awesome. I like the thought of being able to group blogs into categories. There are some blogs that I read all of the time, but others (like blogs about the Camino) that I only read when time allows. I will definitely check this out!

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      1. I really haven’t written anything in it for a while now. I have been concentrating on writing my memoir and even that hasn’t been that active. Care for our house in the summer is more time consuming as is completing our new kitchen and exercise. Maybe that is something worth writing about!

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      2. You’re right! I just came back from visiting your site and I had read all posts prior to my break. I would love to read about your kitchen renovations (and see photos). So far, that is something that I have not been brave enough to do!

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    1. Hi, Antoinette – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I look forward to visiting your site and catching up. Funny about WordPress.org. In the first year that I used it, everything seemed to work fine. But this past year it either became more complicated…or I became ‘less smart.’ I’m not sure if I want to know the answer to this! 🙂

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    1. I know, right?! As much as I espouse life-long learning, when it comes to technology… the ‘new learning spirit’ often leaves me!
      I’m glad that I appeared in your inbox. I look forward to catching up with Mollie, Morgan, Hazel, Gracie….and their waitstaff!

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  5. Hi Donna – I re-subscribed to your blog and got the notification for this post. Love the smiles in your Hiking with friends photo. Look forward to reading Part 2.

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  6. I can imagine your stress. I’ve thought about switching to a .org platform but fear I’d get in over my head. So I’ve decided to stick with .com but upgrade to a premium site (which I will need to do eventually because of all the photographs I post). Good luck with whichever direction you choose!

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    1. Thanks, Ingrid – Ironically, it is the fear of the process of switching that has been the most significant deterrent for me from going to .com. The two different platforms are very distinct from each other and are a very personal choice. If I had it to do all over again, I would have started with .com. Funny how crystal clear hindsight can be!
      I greatly appreciate you stopping by.

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  7. You showed up in my email too so I guess I’m still on your list. Were you away during the time that the new regulations went into effect about the cookies? Maybe that has something to do with it. I know I had to resubscribe to some of my favorites because of that. At any rate, welcome back!

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    1. Thanks, Janet – It’s great to be back and reconnect with so many great people (like you!). The GDPR regulations went into effect prior to my break. As there have been many spin-off changes resulting from these regulations, that definitely could have been a factor. Or WordPress was simply having a bad day when I posted. 🙂 Either way, I’m glad that you received my email. I’m off to visit your site now.

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    1. Hmmm, this should be my second post since returning from my blogging break (I published a small return post this past Wednesday). Hopefully, the bugs are now out of my WP system and I am up and running (she says with fingers tightly crossed). Good luck with your break. I look forward to seeing you and Mark on Vancouver Island. Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help!

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    1. Don’t worry my friend. I will definitely intervene if you ever mention entertaining such a crazy notion. Thank you for resubscribing. As you bear the title of being the first blogger whom I ever followed, blogging would not be the same without you!

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  8. The funny thing with all this is that I’m on good old Blogger – it’s never cost me a cent and it has never (touch wood) in nearly 4 years crashed, hiccup-ed or even coughed on me. I’ve had so many people poo-poo Blogger and yet all of us who are on it love it dearly. I hope your run of bad luck has finally come to an end and it’s lovely to have you back again after your wonderful Summer break.

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  9. Hi, Leanne – I have heard great things about Blogger (especially their excellent security). What you’ve listed above makes it even more appealing. No technology failures in four years?! And all completely free?! You have definitely won the blogging lottery!

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    1. I’ve been reading bits and pieces on the new Gutenburg (?) dashboard that’s coming out for WP soon and was relieved to know that I didn’t have something else new to learn – I guess all this keeps you on your toes!
      Lovely to have you back at #MLSTL – and I’ve shared this on my SM xx

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      1. Ah, yes, WP Guttenburg. Regardless of whether I remain self-hosted, or switch to wp.com, I cannot avoid this change either way. Actually, the roll-out of Guttenburg is a month later for self-hosted users so there’s finally a plus! #MLSTL

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  10. This sounds like the same law of nature that says when you are totally fed up with your hair and finally make an appointment to have it cut off, it will miraculously look perfect the day of your appointment.

    Glad to hear your blogging break was otherwise a good one 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Joanne – I know that theory well. It also happens to me when, after what seems like A VERY LONG time in pain, I finally make a doctor’s appointment. Then, on the day of the appointment, voila, nothing hurts! 🙂

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  11. You’re showing up in my Feedly account so something is working right somewhere on your blog. I’m getting your posts. Ditto what Joanne said. Looking forward to reading about your F-words.

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    1. Thanks, Ally – I’ve heard good things about Feedly and will definitely check it out. I will need to put some extra thought into my ‘F Words’ post. Once I wrote down the title — that really was the full summary of my break! 🙂

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  12. Oh dear, Donna. Sorry to hear about the frustrations of moving over to self-hosted.

    As you know, I was one of the people who had been unsubscribed from your blog. Trying to work out why, I went to the dashboard of my blog and found you on my ‘follow’ list. I clicked ‘unfollow’ and then ‘follow again.’ I also resubscribed to your blog (once you got the subscribed button back), but it told me I was already subscribed! Anyway, the good news is, is that I got an email for this post, so it looks as if it’s all working again. Phew!

    There is something else I need to make you aware about, but I’ll email the details to you.

    Welcome back! Glad to hear you had an enjoyable break away from the world of blogging. Looking forward to reading the next part.

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    1. Hi, Hugh – I am always incredibly impressed by the extra time that you take to support other bloggers. It is exceptionally generous of you.
      Your second last line was quite ominous and had me a bit worried…until I received your prompt email. Phew!
      I initially had my blog set-up so that email subscribers would get just the first paragraph of my post in their inbox, and could click on my site to read more. Then, prior to my break, when I was having numerous difficulties with some readers not being able to access my full posts, or leave a comment, I switched to having WP send them the whole post in their inbox. Now that everything seems to be working (she says with confidence, hoping not to tempt fate), I will switch back.
      If any other email subscribers are reading this comment – do you have a preference of the way the email posts come into your inbox (e.g., part post with click to read more, or full post)?

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      1. You’re very welcome, Donna. Sorry to have scared you. I didn’t want to have rumbled on in my comment.
        Go with whatever works best for you. The important thing is that those gremlins are moving on. Hopefully, they won’t come back.

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  13. Oh no! I know how frustrating this can be. I have been tempted to move to a self hosted site, but in the end just don’t want to deal with the hassle. I hope you get the right site for you💕😊

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    1. If only there was a magic (and free) button that allowed us to instantly change website platforms, try them out, and painlessly switch back if we did not like what we saw. If this ever exists, there are a couple different website platforms that I would love to check out!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Dee Dee. I greatly appreciate it.

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  14. I feel your frustrations, Donna! Have you every approached the WP dot com happiness engineers? I know they migrate from hosted to self-hosted, but they were very helpful when I switched back. I kept losing all my images three years ago while I was self-hosted with Blue Host. WordPress folks didn’t know why but one of the HE’s spent hours fixing the images. It was actually trouble free to go to hosted, but if you asked me I wouldn’t begin to know how I did it. I was never unsubscribed from your posts either 🙂 Hang in there, perhaps meet up with someone in your WP meetup group?

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  15. Hi, Terri -Nice to hear from you! I remember that you switched from Hosted to Self-Hosted and back again. I also remember that the WP Happiness Engineers were very helpful for you. Unfortunately, since I pay Blue Host, not WordPress, I do not have access to the WP Happiness Engineers. I do have access to the WP Forum, which I tried, but they simply sent me the DIY Sheet which I was too afraid to try on my own. WP does offer a service where you can pay them to help you move from WP.com to WP.org. Unfortunately, they do not offer this service in reverse. I did also try my Meet Up Group, but no one there had attempted this move before. Fingers crossed that all will remain working. If not, it will be back to the drawing board! Thinking of you and hoping that all is well.

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  16. Oh I feel your pain. It’s awful isn’t it when the technology gremlin bites. I’ve been there a few times & you spend/waste so much time trying to sort it out. So glad it’s sorted Donna, glad you had s great break & nice to see you back 😊🌸

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    1. Hi, Sam – Thanks so much for dropping by. As blogging time is precious, I want to spend it writing, reading and connecting….not chasing technology gremlins down long rabbit holes! Fingers crossed that things are now working on my site and stay that way. If I remain self-hosted, I have no temptations to add any new plugins or even make a theme change. But there is Guttenberg to now learn regardless of whether I stay or go! 🙂

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  17. I found you in my reader just fine, Donna. But I can relate to your dilemma about technology woes and how upsetting they are. And I have also debated the switch to wordpress from self hosting. So far I’m like you. I’m not going to do anything without someone with expertise to help me along the path, so for now, I’m staying where I am. There is always a greener pasture. I remember when I switched from PC to Mac. I had unrealistic expectations about how ‘wonderful’ apple was and it is wonderful. But there are things I miss about the PC and frustrations with Mac that I hadn’t anticipated. Welcome back! May your technology behave and your path be smooth!

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    1. Thanks, Molly – I am glad to hear that I am not alone in not wanting to make the switch on my own. The good news is that the organizer of my WordPress group has offered to help. Just knowing that there is someone close by willing to help, takes the pressure off. I’ll keep you posted on what happens from here.

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  18. Hi Donna. I am sorry to hear that the WP technology is still giving you trouble. As you know, rather than subscribing via email, I just go directly to your website and comment there. I did notice that the website no longer remembered my info on your August 2 blog post, but I entered it there and your site remembers me now.

    Like Leanne, I use Blogger. Although it is clunky and limited, it almost NEVER gives me technological trouble in terms of subscriptions and people trying to comment (as long as I don’t go in and change the settings). Or, at least as far as I have heard from readers. My biggest complaint is that Google doesn’t play well with Apple. I would like to be able to write blog posts from my iPad and iPhone, but Blogger will not let me upload photos via the iPad or iPhone. Even though the photos are on my phone, I have to send them to my computer, and then use my computer to upload the photos into the blog post. It is annoying.

    Jude

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    1. Hi, Jude – I agree that there are limitations no matter which blogging platform we use. It just depends what limitations we can best live with. I now have a solution for if I want to leave self-hosted, so that is a huge relief. Let’s make plans to catch up when you are free.

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  19. I’m learning my way around wp.org right now (and Mailchimp, etc.). It’s a steep learning curve, but after watching enough youtube tutorials, I think I’m finally getting it. Hope you get everything sorted out. Tech problems can be stressful! #MLSTL

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    1. Hi, Kristin – Thank you so much for stopping by from #MLSTL. I agree that Youtube tutorials can be very helpful for tech questions. That’s exactly how I got started with blogging. Ironically, I had very few tech difficulties in my first year of blogging …. and a steady increase in tech errors this past year. Fingers crossed that it will be smooth sailing ahead!

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  20. Welcome back Donna! I’ve missed you during your well-deserved break. I understand your frustration with all things tech. I have found a happy medium that seems to be working for me (knock on wood) with self-hosting and using the services of MaAnna at BlogAid. I look forward to Part 2–what you did do on your blogging break.

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  21. What a frustrating situation to return to after what I assume was a wonderful blogging break (can’t wait to read your upcoming post).Scanning through the comments I am surprised how many bloggers are sharing your difficulties with WordPress.org. I’ve always been self hosted without issue and only just realizing how lucky I am. I hope you have a smooth transition back to WordPress.com. I think Terri’s suggestion to reach out to the Happiness Engineers is a good one.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa – Your comment is very helpful. It is great to be reminded that self-hosting can work well. Ironically, in my first year of blogging, I experienced little tech difficulty. All of my self-hosting frustrations have come in the past year. I now have a solution to switch to WP.com which takes the pressure off. As I want to be 99% confident when making the switch, for now, I’ll stay as is and see how my blog behaves from here. I’ll keep you posted!

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  22. Trying this as a change has its problems as you soon found out. I am not a techie person at all but when I began my blog back in 2010 I knew I wanted it to be a wordpress one but self-hosted. In 2012 I made much better changes (I can only do basics that work for me ‘in the back end’) via a tech person and since then bar a few hiccups it has gone well.
    Glad things are working better for you now (I hope)
    Denyse #MLSTL

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    1. Hi, Denyse – Thank you so much for stopping by. Your comment is an excellent reminder that there is a huge variety of platform/hosting options for bloggers and we each need to find the one that works best for us. I’m glad to hear that when you made a new plan for your site in 2012, it has gone well since then. That is very encouraging!

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  23. O Donna I understand your pain. I am going to move my blog and change the name so I know it will be like starting over but my site now is cost prohibitive. I will end up hiring some one I am sure.

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    1. Hi, Victoria – I agree that many sites (and add-ons that go with them) are becoming more and more expensive. What hosting platform are you using now? What one are you planning to move to? The organizer of my WordPress Meet-Up group read my post and emailed me to say that he could help. That was a huge relief. And suddenly, with that stress taken away (and my site currently working fine), I feel much less pressure to make an immediate decision.
      Your writing always resonates deeply for me. I look forward to seeing what changes you decide to make.

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  24. KUDOS for persevering and doing this yourself. About six months ago I decided to move from Blogger (where I had an account since 2009) to WP.org (and now after reading your post I wonder if I made a mistake…). I was not brave enough to tackle this on my own however, and hired someone to help. I don’t regret spending the money as I know I avoided plenty of headaches. So far, I’m happy with the switch.

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    1. Hi, Molly – Thank you for stopping by and sharing this. I agree that hiring an expert makes good sense…and can avoid a potential headache in the long run. Because you did, I am sure that WordPress will work well for you. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  25. Welcome back Donna, you have been missed! Good luck with all your technical issues, I do hope they can be resolved to your satisfaction soon 🙂 You definitely should not be ignored my friend 🙂

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  26. I’m so sorry and I totally relate to your tech horrors, but I’m smiling here thinking of you cursing yourself for letting your IT friend escape before he worked his magic. I know I would be 🙂
    Still here. Still reading 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Aimer – That’s exactly what I thought — “how could I have let Ray escape before switching my site?” But then, the organizer of my WordPress Meet Up group read this post and offered to help. Suddenly, I don’t feel the same pressure to change.It’s amazing how that works!

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    1. Hi, Brenda – Thanks so much!! It is awesome to have WordPress Gurus that we can go to when stuck. For most issues, I usually really on the folks in my WordPress Meet Up Group — and they have been fantastic. I had assumed that switching to WP.com would be too big of an ask. But when I published this post, the organizer of that group responded that he would be happy to help. I love the blogging community and always find them to be incredibly generous. Ironically, once I received the offer for help, I felt less pressure to actually make the move. 🙂

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  27. Hi Donna, oh I know just what you mean about the slippery slope and the bad boyfriend syndrome. I do it all the time, particularly when it’s related to blogging. I hope your site is playing nice at the moment. Switching either way will have its own headaches. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi, Johanna – You are absolutely right. I hadn’t thought of WordPress.com coming with its own headaches. But I am sure that it does, especially since I am used to a completely different platform. Thanks for stopping by from #MLSTL.

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  28. Donna, I self-host and am grateful to have found MaAnna at BlogAid. She knows her stuff and will get your site running securely for you and your readers. As I’m still catching up from being away myself, I am having to access your blog myself as I do not get emails that a new post published 😦

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    1. Hi, Dee – It’s good to know about MaAnna at BlogAid. She sounds like an awesome resource. Mysteriously, and quite randomly, several regular readers were unsubscribed to my site during my break. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fix anything from my end (my site said that they were still subscribed). Many of them went into Word Press – Sites I Follow – and resubscribed. Hopefully that will work for you. I look forward to remaining connected.

      Like

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