Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition – Planning

April 15, 2015

After a two month hiatus, welcome to the second edition of Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition!  About 1.5 years ago I started Run Jenny Run on Tumblr. Why Tumblr?  At that time it was newly acquired by Yahoo and I wanted to keep up with the latest social media trend…plus it was billed as easy to use (it is). 

Image: Tumblr

I signed up for an account without researching other options such as Blogger or WordPress.  After a few months of blogging I started to learn more about the other blog publishing services.  Through the blogging community I learned the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (here is an explanation by WordPress), what self-hosted meant, and what plugins were.  While I had no issues with Tumblr, I wanted to own my content + incorporate features that were available on WordPress.  Today I am going to share my planning process that went into selecting my domain name, web-hosting service, and theme.

Domain Name

When I first started my blog, I knew I wanted to purchase my own domain name, Run Jenny Run (I could have linked to Tumblr).  I checked if runjennyrun.com was available and it was!  I did not purchase the domain right away thinking I would get to it later (MISTAKE).  Fast forward to Fall 2014 and I learned that the domain name was purchased in July 2014…NOOOOOO!! I started looking into my options:

  1. Purchase the website from the current owner
  2. Hope the domain expires and purchase it then
  3. Choose a new domain name

I started with option #1.  I would email the other Jenny and ask if I could purchase the site from her (she was fundraising for another marathon at the time and I thought maybe she would be willing to sell it after she completed her 26.2).  Unfortunately there was no contact information on her page.  After some research, I learned you could look up domain owners through the Better Who Is website. I emailed the domain owner (it was her father) and he politely declined my offer…bummer.  I did not want to go with option #2 since there was no guarantee that it would expire + I did not want to wait that long.  Option #3 it was – coming up with another domain name.  Surprisingly, runjenniferrun.com was available and knew I would need to move along in the process or risk losing this domain as well. 

Web Hosting

Image: Bluehost

After deciding on a domain name I chose Bluehost for my web hosting service (that was an easy decision since several bloggers  recommended them).  I referenced two of Courtney’s posts on self hosting:

I selected the three year package (lower monthly cost) and chose my domain name – it was an easy peasy process. 


I signed up for Bluehost in January, but did not build my new blog right away.  Why? I wanted to choose the perfect Theme (I know I know… no such thing as perfect).  Themes provide the front end look and feel to a blog.  Why was it so difficult to choose? There were thousands of Themes available (free and premium), how would I start?

Image: WordPress Theme Directory

I knew I wanted to use a Theme that was mobile responsive…so many people (myself included) read blogs on their smartphones or tablets.  I decided to narrow my options by researching the “Best Mobile Responsive Themes for WordPress”.  Here were some sites that I referenced:

After a few weeks of research I selected Yosemite (Genesis was a runner-up).  I liked the look and feel of the Theme (the layout was similar to my Tumblr site).  If I wasn’t happy with it, I could always change the Theme in the future. 

Image: My Theme Shop

Next Week: Part 2: Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition – Tumblr to WordPress
How did you select your blog/website Theme?
What your  domain your first choice?
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    1. Oh Jenny this is so useful! I’m bookmarking. I’ve been wanting to switch over and self host but I have no idea where to start. Looking forward to the next installments. Thanks for sharing!
      Jill recently posted…Step by StepMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Your welcome, Jill! If you have any questions feel free to email me 🙂

    1. Love the new changes to your blog! I was wondering why you went to Run Jennifer Run! Sorry the original domain name you wanted wasn’t available. But the new one works!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Mindy! I was surprised Run Jennifer Run wasn’t already taken.

    1. Jenny, I think your blog changes/updates are wonderful; it has such a nice, clean feel to it and you’ve done a great job! I can only imagine how much work this was for you; I remember setting mine up for the first time and thinking why did I decide to do this? HA! Thankfully, my first choice for a domain name was available; are there not many people running and reading? 😉
      Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Blueberry MuffinsMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Haha exactly! It took awhile for me to realize…it is not going to be perfect! I still have some housecleaning to do (tidy up old posts, find a font plugin). Glad you got the domain you wanted 🙂

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I didn’t even think of the dashes (funny since I see it in your URL whenever I type in your address) haha.. good to know!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Glad you were able to get similar addresses for all of your social media accounts. There are a couple of URLs I am thinking of purchasing, but haven’t done it yet. Perhaps I should get a move on it before it is taken.

    1. Switching from blogger to word press seem so overwhelming to me! I know that eventually I should switch because it’s more professional looking, but blogger does seem to be working for me for now. Your blog looks so clean and nice! The changes are definitely for the best!
      Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…A Happy CamperMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Ali! If it works for you, great 🙂 Let me know if you ever have any questions.

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