When I first started blogging 18 months ago I thought Blogger was the best option for me; it was easy to use, was easy to add a customizable template to and fitted. I bought my own domain straight away and only blogged for a few weeks without one which is something I am so happy I did so I didn’t have to worry about pesky re-directs and issues with losing my DA score all again. Moving over from Blogger to WordPress wasn’t even a thought in the back of my mind at the time.
Last year I immersed myself into the blogging world more and became members of various Facebook groups where all the options kind of poured out. By using WordPress at both work and within the music website I edited I knew quite a bit about WordPress and the Plugins, and knew from then that I wanted to move over. But there was little point in moving over without going self-hosted as the customizable side of WordPress is far more on the .org version than the .com version which doesn’t require you to be self-hosted.
I spent ages worrying about making the change and I kept putting it off. Would I lose my comments? Would my blog experience down-time? Fortunately due to research and planning both of these questions were a no.
The first thing I did before anything was to download Disqus to my Blogger blog as this is the easiest way to transfer over comments from Blogger to WordPress (More on that later). Next up was to buy my hosting. I chose TSOhost as almost all bloggers I spoke to unanimously said that they used they/ they were good/ they helped with migration etc.
As soon as I signed up I contacted their support team and said I needed some help but I wanted to firstly have my site on a temporary URL so I could work on my layout etc and make it look nice before people saw it. Their customer service team were amazing and sent me a temporary URL (it was something like rhianwestbury.gridhost.com) and login details. For the next few days I worked behind the scenes creating the site you can see now while all my readers and fellow bloggers could see my old Blogger site.
The first thing I did was to export all of my posts from Blogger to WordPress. You can export your content (including links/ images etc) from Blogger through the settings options and then on WordPress click tools and import. It’s as simple as that. During this time when I was uploading new content I just re-uploaded it to WordPress as well as Blogger so I didn’t need to import. I quickly downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin to ensure that I could optimise my blog as much as possible going forward.
Once my content was on the site I checked through each post to ensure that the images appeared (some of them I had to re-upload), checked the formatting to add line breaks/ edit out blank lines etc and make sure it visually looked good. With WordPress you get a featured image option which is the image which appears on your homepage and is the top image on your page so for my posts I had to get rid of the image at the top of the page and upload it as a featured image.
When I went into each post I then added a focus keyword for the post and then a meta description as sadly these don’t transfer over from previous blogs. If you need more information about meta descriptions I did a whole post on it here.
Now the posts were all good I needed to ensure that my new URL’s had the same format as the blogger ones did. This was super simple and done through the settings > permalinks option. Once there you need to click custom structure and type in ‘/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html’ as this means the UL’s will follow the same formatting as your old ones.
While this was all being done I had chosen a layout I liked and had a development guy I knew making some edits to it because there were a few bits I wanted changed (centering titles/ sidebars etc). Mine was purchased through Etsy where there are loads of amazing and quite cheap layouts, otherwise you can use free layouts through WordPress. This was essentially the biggest thing to be done before pointing to my site as the rest can be done behind the scenes without affecting the readers experiences. Once this was complete it was time to contact TSOHost and tell them I was happy for the site to be pointed to my WordPress site. They quickly responded and told me what to do (which was super easy) and we were done. I did this in the evening so if there was downtime it should be fine by the morning but it seemed to happen straight away *yay*
When the site was live I then downloaded the Blogger to WordPress Plugin which helped with re-directions. I checked a few links which I had posted in Blogger groups and some transferred through to the new pages while showed 404 errors. The plugin basically sorts this out so there are no 404 error’s *hooray* Then I also downloaded the Disqus Plugin which once set up (which only took a few minutes) transferred over pretty much all of my comments.
After that it was just time to optimise my images by adding alt-text (as again this doesn’t transfer over) but this is an on-going task which I do as and when I have time and doesn’t affect the use of the site just SEO bits. I also wrote a post about this if you need more information.
I’ve just realised how lengthy this post is and while it might seem like there is a lot to do there really isn’t. I was a lot less worried and stressed doing my blog transfer than I thought I would and this was partially down to prior research and partially down to the great team at TSOHost.