OK. Now that I have made the move from blogger.com to a self hosted platform, I will guide you through how exactly I did it and what problems (just two minor ones really) I faced during this process. But first, let me tell you why I did this move (note: this is not moving to WordPress.com, the free WordPress blogging platform).
Why I Moved To WordPress?
Commenting system and plugins were my main reasons. I was using a commenting system (not blogger.com default) that was not at all too popular amongst bloggers. You had to register or sign up with something and that ticked off many people. You should make your commenting system as easy as possible to build a conversation. Apart from that, I had serious synchronization problems with blogger.com and when I imported all of my posts and comments to WP, I lost nearly 70% of my comments. For those who have made comments here, I am very sorry for this. Not intentional and I wish I really had a way to have prevented this. Those comments were precious to me.
Plugins on blogger.com do not exist and although I found my way to solve everything I needed, it was always a timely task to perform. In WP, this task is done in a jiffy. All you need to do is find one (there is almost everything for everyone), install and activate. Really simple. Note that I am not a WP guru and I do not think I will ever be. But the simplicity of its use, coupled with a “killer” theme, makes it all a breeze:) Enough blah, blah, lol.
The Most Important Part Of The Migration
The single most important part of the process is to plan ahead. Be convinced that it is time to make the migration. Don’t do it because you read somewhere (including here) that you should use WP because of this and because of that. Use what you have read from other people to guide you and gather their opinion, that is valuable, and then decide. Think of it as moving to a new home. You look for houses or apartments, choose a good location, analyze the amount of investment required, etc. Once you move, the “back” button will not be there and you are in it for good, at least for a while.
What should you include in your plan?
1. Take a piece of blank paper for you to take down your notes.
2. Analyze carefully your blogger blog. Design, layout, your links, ads, widgets, etc.. Picture which of those current “stuff” you will want to take with you. Some you will be able to take with you, some you won’t.
3. As much as possible, copy all your meta verification tags and your Google Analytics code if you have them. It will be much easier when you have all those codes handy and simply copy and paste them later.
4. Get yourself familiarized with WordPress. While it is simple, it is not a “given”. Google for tutorials and read, then read, and then read some more. Learn how widgets works (similar to blogger’s gadgets), how to install and activate plugins, etc..
5. Register your own domain if you do not have one. There is no way around this and it is not at all expensive, unless you buy an existing one. When looking for your own domain name, be creative, be as unique as possible and remember that this will be a part of your brand. Sure, if you can stick in some keywords in there the better. But don’t bang your head against the wall to find that perfect keyword rich domain name. It probably already exist:)
NOTE: Important. This is where I encountered my first problem. If you already have a domain name and are using blogger.com’s custom domain feature, you will need to reset your blog back to its blogspot sub-domain name first, before you can import your posts and comments to WP. Importing from Blogger to WordPress function will not work if you do not do this first. More details later.
6. Search for a theme. There are free and paid ones. Trust me, do this until you are comfortable which theme you will want to use. There are millions of free themes out there with awesome reviews. You can start with Jaypee’s blog for some good reviews of WordPress themes. Obviously, I will later and shamelessly point you to an affiliate link of my chosen theme, but that’s up for you to decide:)
7. Find the place where you will host your blog. A good hosting plan is required to complete this process and the prices can vary a lot. Just bear in mind that it is also not easy which plan you should choose, but as I said before, do your research and then decide. For the record, I have chosen Bluehost to be my partner. There are probably other plans that are more economical, but beware of what you are buying. The plan I chose cost $6,95 per month and I get “unlimited” everything. Unlimited domains, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, lots of free stuff, Adwords credit, the whole hoolahbalooh (really). Also, if you choose BlueHost as your partner, you get two things immediately for free. The first is a free domain name for life (sign up and keep hosting with them). That alone saves your $10 give or take. Second, if you do it from my link, then you get to bug me for some help, privately, until you are up and running. How cool is that? Get familiarized with BlueHost and then decide. Enough sales pitch.
8. Budget for something between $0 to $15 for domain registration (depends where you register), $50 – $90 for a hosting plan and $0 to $90 for a theme.
Whew! Not so easy is it? Well, this is what I have been trying to tell everyone since day one. Serious blogging is not an easy task, specially if you are also in it for business. Get those notes on the role. Prepare your plan, drink your coffee or whatever. While you’re doing that, it should give me some time to write the second part of this tutorial. Until then!
UPDATE: Now for part 2 of How To Move From Blogger To WordPress 2/3