When real life takes over (in a good way!)

So you may have been wondering where I am – and that’d be a fair question.  My hosting renews every August, and this year, I really debated whether to continue paying for self-hosted, or indeed, to keep blogging at all.  I’m in a very different place from where I was when I started this blog more than 5 years ago as a student with ~20 hours of lectures a week.  I’ve talked before about having less free time to spare, and feeling like blogging and reading have taken over my other hobbies.  I feel like I’ve got into a rut with my post types, and I miss the “I-just-had-an-awesome-blog-idea-and-I-can’t-wait-to-write-it” feeling I got with posts like seeking originality, increasing your NetGalley ratio, using a filofax for studying or anything to do with Harry Potter Month!  I guess generally I’ve been feeling a little lost with blogging which is why I wasn’t sure whether renewing my hosting was the right decision.

On top of all of that, some big (and good and exciting!) offline stuff has been going on too.  I deliberately keep my personal life and my blogging very separate – no one from my offline life knows this blog exists and I like to keep it that way! – but since all of this is having a big impact on the blog, I’m sharing a few personal life details for a change.  The first thing is that I got engaged (!) and we’re now planning our wedding (which will be next summer, so plenty to organise in a fairly short time).  The second thing is that I’m contemplating a total career change, which would involve going back to study and a truly massive workload for a while.  Finally, we’re looking at hopefully trying to buy our first house too, so things are unsurprisingly fairly mad around here right now, which means that I’ve been away from my keyboard and my books a bit more than usual [By all means, if you’d like to know any more details on the personal stuff, I’m happy to discuss by DM on twitter or email!]

Now given that you’re reading this on my blog, which is still here, you can tell I obviously did decide to renew my hosting (which I hope makes somebody out there happy, but it certainly makes me happy!).  I love connecting with other bloggers, I love sharing our passion for books and I just generally love having this little space on the internet.  I want to keep posting, keep connecting, keep commenting, and of course keep reading. Sure I want to diversify my blogging a bit, mix some new stuff in with the books, maybe give instagram a proper go (who knows, there’ll be some experimenting).  It’ll probably take me a little while to figure out all the details, but I still love blogging, I still love connecting with you guys, and I’m really hoping you’ll bear with me while I figure everything out!

The move to WordPress.org!

So you might have noticed, but StudentSpyglass has officially been reborn as Geeky Zoo Girl 😉

I’ve wanted to move from wordpress.com to self-hosted for ages, but I’ve always wimped out! With a lot of help from Adam of Safe Shark Hosting, I finally took the plunge this weekend!

Why I wanted to move:

There are admittedly quite a lot of reasons I wanted to move, but here are three of the biggest ones!

  1. Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin – I’ve wanted this since I first saw it, but it would only work on WordPress.org blogs, not wordpress.com.  I still have so much figuring out to do, but there are so many features and options I’m excited to get using!
  2. Adverts – it drove me crazy that I had to have adverts on my blog (that were benefitting WordPress no less!) or pay for the no ads upgrade. Now adverts are all mine to decide about!
  3. Javascript- It’s a silly thing, but not being able to add things like Rafflecopter or the goodreads widget was really frustrating!

Why I chose Safe Shark:

I can’t remember where I originally saw a referral for Safe Shark Hosting, but they’ve been on my radar for ages!  When I really seriously started looking at hosting, I read around looking for stories and I read great things from Anya, Jessica & Kelley about Adam, and the fact that my decisiveness happened to coincide with the Shark Week 2014 deal they were running certainly didn’t help!

I knew Adam would do the move for me (a HUGE plus), that everyone raved about Safe Shark Hosting’s customer service, and that the pricing seemed really reasonable, so I was pretty much sold.

The Process:

Well, StudentSpyglass was a name that didn’t really fit – it was okay, but it didn’t feel very ‘me’, and I figured if I was going to go through the move anyway, that was a perfect time to change my name too! So the process went something like this:

  • I spent a week brainstorming names, going backwards and forwards, texting Matt with ‘What about ….com?’ a LOT.
  • I’d narrowed it down to two or three I liked and if I wanted to get the deal (which let’s be honest, of course I did!), I needed to make a decision.
  • I took a deep breath, picked one, & paid – I paid for one year’s hosting up front which was slightly cheaper than paying monthly and also included my domain name for free.
  • I included in my sign up a message to Adam that basically said I was tech incompetent and would be sending him an email regarding migration help
  • Adam emailed me before I got the chance (speedy service!), talked me through what we’d need to do, and we agreed on a date.
  • While I waited for moving day I played around secretly with things like my header, my new email address and getting the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin installed.
  • On moving day, I sat back and relaxed (actually the time difference meant I was barely awake!) and Adam took care of it all!

What’s next?

The new name doesn’t mean a whole new blog, you can still look forward to all the usual bookish fare!  I just wanted a name with a little flexibility to share some of my other passions too!

I’ll still be taking part in things like Top Ten Tuesdays and HP Motw occasionally as I do now.  I’ll still be writing reviews, weekly recaps and some discussion posts.  There will be a few changes though – I loved hosting Harry Potter Month and taking part in Sci-fi month, posting more unusual content and discussions, and sharing more of me.  I’d really like to focus on those things a little more, so look out for some new types of posts on the blog – they probably won’t all work out, but hopefully a few will!

On the technical side, my posts have been moved over, and hopefully so have my email subscribers, but there’s still plenty left on my to do list! I need to configure old reviews with UBB so I can set up the archives etc – honestly, don’t really know what I’m doing here, any tips hugely appreciated?!  I also need to set up UBB so my new reviews will be formatted right – again, going to be some trial and error here 😉

So for the next week or so I’ll be trying to keep up with any technical problems that come up, as well as get scheduling and commenting (since I spent way too much time playing with graphics this week!).  Please bear with me if anything looks funky, but hopefully (hopefully!) things should be pretty much back to normal from now on!