I know many of my friends are curious about how my move from Blogger to WordPress has gone.
Many of you seem to have considered the move yourself but are unsure where to begin and have many of the same questions I did such as:
Why do it? Where to begin? Is it expensive? But what about all my old Blogger posts? What impact will it have on my traffic?
What could go wrong?
So I thought that for today’s “Share it Saturday” I would share some of my feedback. (Otherwise I bet in about a week it will gone out of this brain of mine as a great memory is not one of my best assets! -Why do you think I write so many tutorials… they are for me as much as you 😉 ).
Some of my friends have written about this topic too. In fact if you don’t follow my friend Jennifer over at Ellison Lane Quilts I’d highly recommend you take a look at her “How to start a blog” series for tips.
But read further for my take. Mine will be a nuts and bolts series on specifically how to move from Blogger to a self hosted WordPress blog…
There are various ways to do the switch… The most common being:
1) Hire a web designer to do it all for you and
2) Do it yourself…
Well, my budget at the moment doesn’t run to getting a professional. So my options were to do it myself or to do it myself.
(Although to be perfectly honest I think I would have done it myself even if that wasn’t the case, because that’s how I roll.)
It would have been incredibly helpful to me to have someone talk me through the entire process before I started though,
So, I thought I’d share my journey for you you can know all the meat and do it yourself if you are that way inclined.
It really is so much easier once you have instructions in front of you!
Here is what I thought I’d cover in a nutshell:
1. Why move from Blogger to WordPress anyway?
Some questions about moving answered.
2. How to get started & all about themes
Who I use to host and get my theme from and why.
3. All about Plugins
What are they, which ones I like and use.
4. How to combat Spam (because they will come after you!)
My “spambots” of choice.
5. Moving your followers with you & making the transition smoothly.
How to set up your new feeds, email subscription etc.
E.g. How to submit a sitemap to google, about google analytics,
Today I will start with installment 1 – Why move?! and we will go from there…
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1. Why move from Blogger to WordPress anyway?
Well I’m not suggesting you have to. Blogger has lots of advantages and it is a great option for many bloggers. I will share why I moved and that might give you some direction as to what you’d like to do. But first of all lets define “WordPress”…
There are two different kinds of WordPress blogs, so lets explore what they are:
WordPress.com – if you start a blog using this host service then it is hosted on the WP.com server. You would get a domain name like flutterkat.wordpress.com. It’s free, but you get the wordpress.com framework, their rules, their limitations. Essentially I see this option to be a direct competitor to Blogger, with the exception that you can monetize blogger but not wordpress.com. So personally I can’t see the point in moving if you have a flourishing Blogger blog because I don’t see what value it would add to you and why go through the effort of moving over?! However, if you are in the stages of setting up a blog for the first time, then you may decide this is a better option than Blogger. Up to you.
WordPress.org – this is where you get your own domain name and “self host” your site. So you either need to use your own host server or you can pay a service to host it for you. There is much more involved in setting up a blog on wordpress.org and you are responsibly for all of the maintenance. You will need to have reasonable computer knowledge because it’s not “paint by numbers” as Blogger is. But if you are “serious” about blogging or have a business attached to your blog then the facilities it offers you are huge.
It’s completely customisable.
But mainly it’s so popular because you are entirely in control…
So that being said, when I talk about “wordpress” in this series I am talking about using a self hosted wordpress.org site with your own domain name.
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The main reasons that I wanted to move on from Blogger were:
a) My url was all wrong for me. When I originally started blogging I named myself “Mummastimetocreate” without really giving it much thought. 9 months later I started to get more “serious” and regular with my blogging and decided that “Diary of a Flutter.Kat” was a better name for myself so I “rebranded” my blog. Ever since I wanted to change my url but didn’t really do anything about it. Then as my blog got bigger I started wanting to even more. At this point I could have paid for my own url and redirected it to my Blogger blog but there were a few other compelling reasons to move so ultimately I decided to move.
b) There are questions from the google terms of service about who owns your blog content. After researching their terms and reading them for myself they didn’t worry me as much as they seem to some people. But you can read them here and make up your own mind. Scroll to the heading “your content in our services”. It wasn’t a major concern of mine but with the direction I would like my business to head I don’t want there to be any question marks about who owns my content or can use it and “modify” it without my ok.
c) There are way more limitations on Blogger about how your blog looks and what you can do with it. While there were a lot of Blogger features that I liked, there were a lot of fundamentals I didn’t like as well. Ultimately you are working with someone else’s framework and can only change so much within that. WordPress is completely customisable. You also more or less set your own rules.
d) With wordpress I can create a shop right within my website not just link to a third party one. I haven’t set it up yet but that gives huge options. Basically my site then becomes a 1 stop shop and I no longer need to have my shop hosted by big cartel. I love the fact that I only have to have 1 simple-to-remember url name for all purposes! Win win for everyone but certainly a win for me not having to pay for a separate shop.
e) And the main biggy… With Blogger essentially Google has control over your blog. It’s not unheard of (I know of over a handful – maybe over two handfuls) for blogs to disappear at some point or other. Seriously uncool and I would HATE that to happen to me (or you!). If you haven’t backed up your Blogger blog recently then may I recommend you go and follow my tutorial of how to back up so that if you blog disappears then at least you have your data in your possession. Otherwise it will all be lost in the wind… What a tragedy.
Who knows – maybe one day Google might decide to retire Blogger. It’s unlikely but not impossible. They seem to like to retire stuff.
With a self-hosted wordpress blog you retain more control of your content. Backing up is still essential (because I’ve already lost mine once *sob) but at least it’s at your own hands and you won’t arrive one day to find Google has lost your blog…
Anyway those are my main reasons for the shift. Hopefully they should give you something to work with to decide what you want.
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Other things you need to know about moving:
What is the cost?
Possibly not as much as you think… These are the costs involved:
1) Unless you have your own host server at your disposal then you will need to pay someone to host your site. I’ll go into more detail on this next time but this usually costs from $2.95-5.95 US per month and you usually pay for this in advance for at least 12 months at a time.
2) You will need to pay for your domain registration/website URL name. This is usually around $9-15 US per year depending on who you use. Many host providers include the domain registration in their fees and can take care of all of that for you.
3) You will have a design cost….
If you use a web designer then you will obviously have that cost. They can range from the hundreds to the thousands. Mostly I’ve seen them $800-$2500 US for a good one.
That wasn’t in my budget so I opted to do mine myself. But there are still a few costs. Obviously your time for one – it did take me a few days of long hours. I also bought an e-book which I’ll detail next time for $24.95 US and a website packaged theme which was $140 (it could have been less but I ended up buying two – I really should have gone with my first instinct!). Neither of those are strictly necessary. You can do without the book if you are prepared to spend even more hours on google and there are plenty of free themes available. But I would highly recommend both if you can afford them because they both make life sooooo much easier!
But what about all my old Blogger content?
Moving your blogger content across is really easy. In fact it takes about 5 different clicks and 10 minutes of your time or less (depending on how much content you have) to move all your posts and comments over to your new blog. You do lose some post formatting but overall I decided my old posts looked acceptable enough without me needing to go back and make any changes.
You will however need to move over any pages and side bar information manually because that information won’t automatically import. It’s pretty much just a case of copy and pasting all the html code though. It’s quite straight forward.
But what about all my traffic and followers?
Traffic – Well, the really great news is that with a bit of messing around you can get your old blog to redirect to the relevant post at your new blog. So any pins on Pinterest or links anywhere on the web that link to your old blog will then automatically redirect to your new blog. That’s easy.
Followers Bloglovin – In regards to followers I’m still partly figuring that out. Email followers are easy to move across and I will give you some hints on that further in the series. Bloglovin followers are also easy to move across… I contacted the support staff at Bloglovin and they kindly took care of that for me (and very promptly too I might add). As of a few days ago I only have 1 blog assigned to my Bloglovin profile as my old blog has been removed from Bloglovin and therefore it’s much less confusing for me.
Followers GFC – You will not be able to bring your Google Friend Connect Followers along with you because GFC only works with Blogger. But I suspect that’s going to be phased out in time anyway because it’s no secret Google has been shutting that down. So the best thing I can recommend there is to give them lots of warning you are moving and give them a chance to follow you in other ways (unlike me who just up and moves all of a sudden one day 😉 )
Feedly – don’t get me started on that as I have not had a good time with feedly. For some reason I am not showing up on it and I have tried to contact them on 3 separate occasions about this to no avail. They have not responded and it’s been well over a week since first contact. I have also spent hours tried to google how to fix it myself and there is next to nothing available there either. I’ve officially given up. Not a fan of feedy whatsoever! So I just hope you have better success there than me.
Google Downtime – One of the things I had no idea about and I wish I did was that you will have some downtime on Google and other search engines. You will also lose your rankings, although mine have already started to improve so I guess as long as you are putting quality content out there regularly this will eventually sort itself out. It takes about a week to appear back on google and you have to submit a sitemap and ask google to “crawl” your new site before that happens. Again. I’ll give full details of specifically how to do all this further along in the series as today is just an overview, but just be aware that this will happen.
What could go wrong?
Well, I’m still figuring that out to be honest. But I can tell you that in the beginning I lost my entire new wordpress blog, locked myself out of the dashboard and had to go back into my host dashboard, delete my few days work (*Sob sob) and start all over again. Oh the frustration.
But I’m through it now and smiling and that won’t happen to you because I’ll tell you what not to touch so you don’t break yours 🙂
I can also tell you that you will get a LOT of spam if you don’t set up good spam filters. Been there done that as well. Think 60-100 spam comments an hour. It was CRAZY! But I haven’t had a single one get through since I put two great spam bots on and I bet you all didn’t even notice a change so it’s really no big deal once you know about it. I’ll tell you what those are when we talk plugins.
Let me know if you have any further questions and I’ll try and address them over the series.
If you find this helpful I’d appreciate if you could share my post.
Hope it helps!
Thanks for sharing this Kat. While I’m not intending to move to my own domain name, I love learning about this kind of stuff! (And, I did back up my blog – I had no idea that was even possible!)
Fascinating stuff, Kat. I’ve no plans to move from blogger – basically because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered ;o) – but it was interesting to read the hows and whys of your move. :o)
Drat! Forgot to put the year in – again! :oD
I will be reading with interest. So dumb question, but what does that mean share my post and then all the buttons.
PS, Feedly just found your blog and I have added it in. Which is good as despite it all it is now my favourite reader.