|I kid you not, on the morning of the hack, this is what I found on my kitchen table|
It all started with an email. "You have been hacked."
I certainly was. My site was gone. Blank screen, fatal error message, bye, bye. Done. The mysterious intruders had gained access though a plug in and destroyed my theme, my files and my posts.
"You can probably restore it," they said, "it's easy."
Um, yeah...it's not.
WordPress was a giant mystery to me.
In Blogger, I was able to add HTML code and alter css to change my website. I moved gadgets around with ease and stylized my font.
In WordPress, I couldn't even find the code.
I was told that it was in my Cpanel, with my host...but be careful, if you touch the wrong thing, your whole site will come down. You can pretty it up with plug ins, but be careful, if you used too many it will slow down your site and the wrong one can crash your blog.
Just back up and you'll be fine!
I have to be honest, I never felt fine.
I am not a stupid girl, but I am a creative type, not a techie. WordPress code was seriously technical and I was lost from the get go.
Back it up? How?
Which plug in is best for that?
Like everything else in WordPress, I was told to leave it to the pros, "Pay for it."
Ugh. Not the words a compulsive DIYer wants to hear.
It was, however, the best advice I received during this whole mess. I did back up, for a fee, and after many hours waiting for emails (it's all email customer service...and waiting), I ~ well, not me, my new friend Phyllis ~ was able to access the files and get Exquisitely Unremarkable going again.
Something my host was unable to do, because their files were now corrupt, too. Seems that many of my links had been hijacked and redirected to an overseas shopping website.
It was a total mess, photos were gone, links didn't work, there was a lot of time spent on the phone, on Facebook messenger and on Google.
I just wanted to go back home to Blogger. Why did I ever leave?
I'll tell you why ~ hype.
I was told that if I wanted to be serious, I had to get off Blogger. It was a limited platform for design and SEO. I was told that I would never get the kind of traffic I needed to get noticed as a writer if I stayed with Blogger and I needed to get to WordPress, fast, because everyone ends up there eventually anyway and I was just wasting time.
I was told that Google could in fact take my site down for no reason whatsoever and my blog, all the pretty posts I spent two years creating, would be gone. (Kind of ironic, don't you think?)
That is not true, by the way, but I drank the Kool-Aid.
So last September, as the kids went back to school, I got down to business and moved to WordPress. I got a good deal and for about a hundred bucks, I moved over. I was given hosting for a year, a pretty theme that replicated my Blogger site and hearty pat on the back, wishing me luck.
I regretted it immediately.
There were things I didn't like about my set up, things I could not fix on my own. Plus, since my theme came with my package, I did not own it and therefore, I could not get support in the forums.
There were security issues and hosting malfunctions, especially when my traffic spiked, that I had to tend to and a lot of time was spent figuring out how I could communicate with my old friends.
You see in WordPress, there is no way to directly email your commenters back.
NONE. On WordPress, everyone is essential no reply.
You want to respond and keep the conversation going, well, it has to be in public on your blog and how will your readers know that you have responded to their comment? Well, they don't...unless they come back...or you have a plug in that lets them know and believe it or not, there aren't a lot of them.
I made a big deal about this lack of communication in a few forums and no one seemed to care. I was told, "Wow, you keep bringing this up, it must be a big deal for you."
Um, yeah!! It was a really big deal for me.
I loved the interactions and friendships I built on Blogger. I had built a community of active and engaged readers in the comments.
I answered all of them, struck up friendships with people, gave tips on my projects and chatted about ideas. That was the best part of blogging and now it was gone.
On WordPress, I was relegated to talking at people instead of to them.
Then I found the greatest plug in, called Thank Me Later. It would at least email my commenters letting them know that there was a response on the blog. It was kind of annoying, but it was the best I could find for free, because at the time my blog was just a hobby. At least, now there was a chance for conversation.
Things were looking up. Until...
It was through Thank Me Later that I was hacked.
The funny thing about the whole situation is that it was an actual relief. Now I had a reason to go back to Blogger. I hated WordPress. I found it constricting, austere and lonely.
I know that a lot to people love the platform and I say more power to them. I am not a judgmental person at all, I think you have to choose what's best for you and your business.
Here is what no one told me about WordPress:
Sites get hacked. A lot - regardless of the security you have and it's all up to you to mind that security.
It is expensive. I got a great deal for the first year, but next year, I would've paid over $150 for my hosting alone...and that was only if my blog remained tiny. If my traffic grew and my hosting needs grew, I would have to pay up.
That wouldn't include any of the technical help I would be paying for, if I had an issue, or the $60 for back up (which was worth every penny, btw) and if I got tired of blogging and wanted to take a break, or quit, I would still have to pay for hosting forever, if I wanted my site to stay up for posterity sake.
Nope, none of this was for me. I was ready to go home.
Unfortunately, getting back to Blogger is not something most people do, so the how to information on Google is limited at best and when you ask others about it, they laugh.
Apparently, Brenda from Cozy Little House and I are the only two people in the whole world who have ever done it.
Of course, I'm just kidding.
A few people commented on Facebook that they had gone back and actually, lots of people quietly emailed me saying that they too missed Blogger, regretted their move and would love to go back, but couldn't.
I get it.
Once you spend the money and make the commitment to go, it's hard to turn around. I don't care. I look at it as a learning experience.
I can say that I went, I saw and I didn't like it.
|Same tulips with a little water. I was able to revive my site, too. Do you believe in signs?|
She got me un-hacked!
She walked me through all of it to get my site up and running again, and trust me, it was not easy. There were a ton of roadblocks in the way and Phyllis navigated around all of them with grace and kindness. She was awesome.
If you need a tech girl, blogging help, a virtual assistant, you want to move to WordPress (no judgement!) or back, like me, I highly recommend her.
I also want to thank Brenda, who not surprisingly, answered my email call for help right away and held my virtual hand throughout the hacking.
Thanks to these ladies and a lot of Googling on my own part, I am a Blogger blogger again.
Some things are still a bit fuzzy...like I said, the how to on moving back, a little sketchy!
Of course, if you don't have a Google account, it is harder to comment here. You will come up as no reply and I won't be able to email you back, but rest assured, your comment will be answered here on the blog.
And you can always reply to my emails, many, many people do.
Well, it's been a long week and I have bored you with my Exquisitely Unremarkable tale long enough. I am off to putter around my site and make myself comfortable again.
I told you I was the ultimate homebody...
...and it's good to be home!
~ Update ~
I have been back on Blogger for about two years now.
In that time, I have been featured in The Huffington Post seven times, I have written for major publications (check my sidebar), been approached by and worked with many major brands.
I work with ad networks, private advertisers and I am a member of several affiliate programs.
I was nominated for an international blogging award twice and placed in the top five in 2015, became a contributor to a local paper and my crafts have ranked among the Top 100 of 2015 and 2016 at All Free Christmas Crafts and All Free Holiday Crafts.
I'd say that's some pretty serious blogging.
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