From wordpress to cucumbertown and why I made the move
The post on my experience on moving from Wordpress to Cucumbertown and why as a food blogger, cucumbertown is the place to be
Honestly this is a long overdue post, The online address changed months ago and the post has been sitting in drafts since November. But whenever I looked at the post, I thought it needs it due time and energy and kept pushing it to next week. Yes I can be extremely lazy in some things, this being one of them. Coming back to the topic, I have been blogging for a good ten years, most of which have been on wordpress. I was so comfortable with wordpress that I even did the blunder of not moving to my own domain, typical case of who moved my cheese.
But then some time last year, I decided that enough is enough and I should move to the domain. I started with the confusion in my head on whether I want to merge all blogs into one (general + travel, food and photography). I battled long enough with myself on whether on not to club these and in the end decided that food and travel will be clubbed since my travel also involves a lot of food and history and ties up at a larger level with the blog. The instinct and the obvious choice was to move to the paid wordpress.org. Buy a domain and move to the same (ok similar) platform, how tough can it be I told myself but yet I kept sitting on it. Yes I told you I tend to get lazy, you didn't believe me then.
And then one day in a casual chat Archana mentioned Cucumbertown and how she thinks it is a great platform for food blogging. It got me curious about the platform and post a couple of email exchanges, Cherian patiently explained how the whole process works on a cross continental close to 2 hour long google hangout.
It gave me a lot to think about, but some of the things that stood out personally for me were :
1. Recipe Editor : I hadn't used it but the concept sounded so good, it's funny how we take lightly what actually is the single most powerful thing in a food blog. The recipe. A text is what it is usually but the recipe editor could change a lot of that and for good. It works on schemas and can do magic for your SEO without you having to think on every word you are typing.
Read here about it here if you are interested in the technical details
2. Having a tech team for the blog : I have blogged in wordpress long enough to know that though being with larger platforms like that has it's advantages, you are pretty much on your own when it comes to managing it. And that thought was getting increasingly scary considering how both blog and the consulting work have been picking up. Inspite of being a ex-nerd, I just didn't have the time and energy to focus on the technical parts of the blog. Could I do it, yes but would I want to do it considering I could spend the same time creating content. I prefer the later clearly and that is probably for the second strongest reason that I was convinced to move. Cherian convinced me that the whole team will be like a backend support to the blog and three months later while writing this post, I can safely say they have been that and more. I mail them, ping them whenever I have the smallest of the issues with the blog and around it and they are always happy to help and sort it out while I focus on giving you awesome content
3. CookPad association : That makes them international one, two makes it everything more accountable and no that doesn't mean I don't trust you Cherian and team ;)
Once the decision to move was made, the move itself was super smooth (albeit a bit slow, I think I had exhausted all my laziness by now and was in super hurry). The team namely : Roli, Basil, Anand and Shriniwas worked really hard to make sure I had what I wanted in terms of the look of the blog (a template they has freshly created for Nandita was modified a bit for me), the header you see currently, posts from two blogs were migrated making surely the categories and tags (wordpress does both, being the only platform that does both I think. Making it a pain for migration) made sense in the new scheme of work, the comments were migrated and all this for close to 500 posts. Commendable and very professional I thought and the amount I have bugged those folks on FB messages, sometimes I feel I must be like that stubborn client everyone hates.
Once the move was made, I had so many people messaging and telling me how clean and nice the new website looks and I have Anand and the cucumber team to thank for.
Another question that I have been asked many times by bloggers is that do you miss wordpress? Does Cucumbertown match up to wordpress. I have to admit here, now and then I do miss wordpress but then it is one of the oldest and the most powerful blogging platforms. It does take a lot to match up to it feature by feature but what I like is that the CT team listens to you, like I have been bugging them with a scheduling feature from the day I moved. It is probably one of the features that I miss the most but guess what it is coming in the next release of the editor. So whether cucumbertown can match up to wordpress is probably a wrong question, the question should be the features it provides you as a food blogger are those substantial enough to leave the luxuries of wordpress. I think that I can confidently say yes to specially now, almost 3 months from the move.
Cucumbertown is really focused on some of the things that a food blogger needs by the virtue of being an exclusive food blogging network, the monetisation both by ads and by affiliate tie-ups are great. They have in pipeline a Recipe Index , a mobile app, better food blogging commenting and more.
If you are a food blogger and still in doubt whether you need to make that move, go on and read this. I love the fact that these guys are out there to build a community at large. And in the meanwhile, hit follow blog button and get Sin-A-Mon Tales in your inbox.