Making the Change from Blogger to WordPress – Part 2

March 9, 2009 — 6 Comments
Posts in this series
Part 1 – Why Make the Change?
Part 2 – How I Moved the Blog

I recently switched from the free Blogger.com service to a self-hosted WordPress Blog.  In part 1 of this series, I covered the advantages and disadvantages of each platform.  To summarize, Blogger is a great free service if you don’t mind having limited options for themes and customization.  For family blogs or low-traffic blogs it is a good choice.  But if you really have something you want to share with a wide audience, or if you want to actually make money from your blog, then wordpress is the way to go.  I want to share how I switched and kept all the links to each post, called permalinks, the same.  By doing this, I didn’t loose any traffic from search engines and all my old links from other blogs and web pages remained intact.  I searched through many different blogs and tutorials and the best instructions I found were here(this link works intermittently).  Most of what I did was based on their help.  I did skip the part about installing a dummy wordpress blog on your own computer to test everything out.  I think it is an unnecessary step for most people.

So let’s get started, this is just a quick summary of the steps that I took.  These instructions were based on installing WordPress 2.7.1.  If messing around with ftp programs, databases,, and templates scares you, then you might want to consider getting some help.  It’s not all that difficult, but it does help to have previous web design experience.

Step 0 – Using a Custom Domain in Blogger

I was already using a custom domain on blogger.  By paying around $10 a year, I had the benefit of having my own domain.  If you have a custom domain your web address will look like www.mywebsite.com  instead of mywebsite.blogspot.com.   Because of having my own domain, I was able to switch to wordpress and keep all links the same.  If you don’t have a custom domain, then you can still follow these instructions, but obviously, your links will be different.  You may want to consider upgrading to a custom domain on blogger and making your switch at a later time, or you can just make the change now, knowing that it will take a while for your search engine traffic to be restored.

Step 1 – Picking a Hosting company

Now you’re ready to start making the next step.  You will need a host company to host your blog for you.  I have previously used Godaddy, but because of their recent advertising, I wanted to switch.   As a Christian pastor, I really didn’t feel comfortable supporting their business.  I ended up looking at Dreamhost, MediaTemple, and BlueHost.  Based on the recommendations of several other bloggers I respect, I went with BlueHost.  They offer unlimited storage space and data transfer for $6.95 per month.  If you have a super high traffic blog, then for speed reasons, you will need to do more checking on web hosts. Most of these companies offer cheap plans where you share server space with other websites, and then they offer more expensive dedicated hosting accounts where you have a server all to yourself.  For me, Bluehost offers a good value.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I did sign up for an affiliate account with them, if you signup with them from a link on my site, I do get money back.  But so far, I can honestly say that I like and recommend their service. If I ever have reason not to endorse them, you can be sure that I will update this post and let you know.

If you have a custom domain, you will have to decide if you want to move ownership of the domain name to the new hosting company.   If you don’t, you will have to change the nameservers used in your domain name.

Step 2 – Set the Nameservers for your domain

Your hosting company will let you know the nameservers for your new site.   This information will need to be changed for your domain name if you are paying another company for the domain name registration.  Don’t get confused here.  The hosting company is where your actual files reside, and the domain registrar is the company that controls your domain name, i.e. www.mywebsite.com.  These can be the same, but they don’t have to be.

Step 3 – Install WordPress

Most hosting companies have the option of automatically installing wordpress for you.  That’s the easy way to get up and running in just a few minutes.  If your hosting company doesn’t offer this, then you can use the official detailed instructions on installing wordpress.  It is seriously easy

Step 4 – Change the default permalink structure

From wordpress dashboard, go to Settings >> Permalinks and select Custom Structure option. Paste following value next to it and save changes.

/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html

Step 5 – Import your comments and posts from blogger

Here is where the magic begins.  WordPress offers a great importer for blogger.  In your wordpress dashboard, go to Tools >> Import and select Blogger

Once you click on the Authorize button you will be taken to a page on Blogger.com so you can Grant access to your Blogger account. You may be prompted to log into your Google account if you are not already logged in.

Now the fun begins – it’s time to import.  If you have more that one blog on your Blogger account, you will see all listed there. Just click on “import” button next to the one you want to import into wordpress.  All your comments and posts will start importing.  It may take a while if you have a large blog. When it finishes, you are almost done, but not quite.

Here’s an important tip.  Don’t delete your blogger blog.  All your images will still be hosted there, so you can’t get rid of it.

Step 6 – Fix the permalinks to match the old site

When we fixed our permalink structure in step 4, we got the wordpress links to each post to closely resemble the blogger links.  But they don’t match exactly.  There is one more step to get them to be identical.  This is important so that any links from other sites don’t break, and so that you don’t lose all the built up page ranking from the search engines.  To make them match exactly, I used Step 5 from this page.  I created a fix.php script file and then executed it.  It sounds much tougher than it really is.  It worked great for WordPress 2.7.1, but I’m not sure how it will work for future versions.

Step 7 – Install WordPress themes and plugins that you will use

The hard part has been completed, now it’s time to make everything look the way you want.  I want go into detail about installing themes and plugins. You can find information on that all over the internet.  You can start at the wordpress site.

Step 8 – Enter all the important info for the blog

Finish up the setup by going to settings and adding all your profile info.  You will also need to setup your theme and any plugins you install.  Again, you can find out instructions from wordpress.

Step 9 – Change settings your old blogger blog

Now you will need to go back to blogger and change some settings.  If you had a custom domain, you will need to go to blogger.com and change back to the blogspot adress.   The next step is most important.  Under the basic settings in your blogger dashboard, make sure that you instruct it to not allow search engines to crawl the page.  You don’t want duplicate copies showing up in search engines.  You also don’t want to delete the blog unless you have transferred all your pictures and links to wordpress. There isn’t an easy way to accomplish this yet, but hopefully someone will come up with a cool script or plugin to get this done.

Step 10 – Change your feed settings

And finally, if you are using a feed service like feedburner, you will need to update your feed from the blogger feed to the new wordpress feed.  If you aren’t using feedburner, then you will need to let everyone know that they need to resubscribe to your blog.  I suggest putting one last post in blogger to let everyone know that you have moved.

I hope these instructions help you out.  If you have read this far, then you are pretty serious about figuring this out. Thanks for checking it out.

Mike

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I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 18 years, and we have three awesome kids, Emma, Luke, and Drew.

6 responses to Making the Change from Blogger to WordPress – Part 2

  1. Congrats on the switch! Glad it went well.

    • I'm very happy with the switch – just wish I had made it much sooner. I've been reading through your site picking up wordpress tips. You have some great stuff. Thanks for the help.

  2. Nice post, Pastor Ron wants me to do a website for his church, I was thinking of going the Word Press route so he could update it on a fairly frequent basis.

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