I finally caved and made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. And I documented the steps here for anyone in the same situation as I. Just before that, I transferred my domain away from Google (enom) to Bluehost and migrated my blog posts from Blogger to WordPress. (If you’re in need of domain transfer, you may want to follow my article Transferring Your Domain: How to Switch from enom to Bluehost first, then follow this one.).
I successfully kept all my Feedburner subscribers and mostly successfully moved my comments over. While many HowTo articles exist, none seemed to cover my particular situation:
1. I already had my own domain (nannygoatsinpanties.com, purchased through Blogger from GoDaddy which at some point moved to enom)
2. I had already signed up for a domain hosting account (Bluehost) and started a practice WordPress blog so I could be familiar with it before moving Nanny Goats in Panties over)
When I say WordPress, I mean self-hosted WordPress, the one you pay for, not the free version which provides a URL with the node “wordpress” in it. wordpress.com is for free blogs, whereas wordpress.org is your reference for creating self-hosted (and non-free) blogs.
This article has the following sections:
- Setup your blog on WordPress (including transfer from Blogger)
- Other Things You May Need to do (such as adding Disqus or Feedburner)
- Lessons Learned (things for YOU to watch out for)
1. Setting Up Your Blog on WordPress
This article assumes you’ve already signed up with Bluehost as your domain hosting service. If you haven’t already signed up with Bluehost, consider using my Bluehost affiliate link below, as I get a few pennies for referring you. CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP FOR BLUEHOST.COM
Install WordPress on your domain.
Install the WordPress software onto your domain in Bluehost. You may need to pull it in from Simple Scripts first.
In your Bluehost cPanel, install WordPress by clicking on the WordPress icon from the Software Service section on the right-hand side:
If WordPress does not appear (and it won’t if this is your first time installing WordPress on Bluehost), then you must install WordPress by selecting Simple Scripts. Select WordPress from the list, and click the green Install Now button (under Install on an existing server). Follow the directions until WordPress has been installed successfully.
The URL for your WordPress blog login page should be:
Now let’s change a few WordPress settings before migrating your blog posts over from Blogger.
You can use the default theme provided or pick another. If you know you don’t want the default, plan to spend some time shopping around. You can change your theme at any time with minimal impact on your blog, so you can pick a theme ahead of time, before you go through this process, or just change it after the fact.
Configure WordPress permalink structure
Login to your WordPress Admin page (http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin)
Go to Settings|Permalinks.
Click the Custom Structure radio button and enter the following:
Click Save Changes.
This will format your permalinks (the URLs for your individual blog posts) with the above designated format, which many agree is better than the default naming convention: a simple default page number, e.g. “p=99″ .
Personalize your WordPress General Settings
Go to Settings|General.
Fill in the Title, Tagline, URLs, and E-mail address. Pick a Timezone.
The tagline is the thing that bloggers add that says something like, “Laughing and vomiting since 2007“, or “Bringing you the news that spews, one post at a time“. You may, however, wish to avoid taglines that promote barfing. I’m just saying.
Other WordPress admin settings
Go to Settings|Reading - Change the Syndication Feeds to display the last 20 posts.
Go to Users|Your Profile - At minimum, add your first name and select it as the display name in the pull-down box under Display Name.
You may also wish to delete the default Blogroll links and Mr WordPress comment.
Transfer your blog posts (and comments) from Blogger to WordPress
Oddly, this is the scariest-sounding part, yet it’s the easiest part.
Go to Tools|Import. Select Blogger. Enter your login information. All of your Blogger posts and Blogger system comments will transfer across. They are not “moving” from Blogger to WordPress. There will still be a copy of all your posts over on Blogger (which is why there is a step later to help prevent potential Google penalties for duplicate content, if you care about that sort of thing.)
Please note this step only moves Blogger system comments. If you use a different commenting system (such as Disqus, like me) you will have to install the Disqus commenting system to pick up your comments from the Disqus server.
So now all your posts are sitting in WordPress. The problem is, WordPress created Post titles for each of the incoming posts from Blogger using a slightly different naming convention than Blogger. We tried to get close when we defined a custom permalink structure, but Blogger omits words like “a” and “the” from permalinks and truncates at a different spot.
Maintain Blogger Permalinks
Maybe this doesn’t bother you, but boy it sure bothers me, because now if anybody ever linked to my fabulous post called “The Lions, The Tigers, The Bears, Oh My”, that link is now broken because in Blogger it had a permalink like:
but in WordPress it might now be:
See the difference?
What you need is a magic pill that will convert all your new WordPress permalinks back to what they were in Blogger. And that magic pill comes from a thing called a plug-in. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. You should install that plug-in now. The one I used is called Maintain Blogger Permalinks. In fact, let’s just all thank our personal object of worship for Justin Watt, the plug-in author. Go to the Maintain Blogger Permalinks page and follow the Instructions outlined in the first column.
All I did was download the zip file to my computer, go to Plugins|Add New on my WP Admin page, upload the zip file, then “Activate the plug-in”. Under Tools on the Admin page, you’ll find “Maintain Blogger Permalinks”. Run the plug-in and that’s it. You’ll want to double-check a couple of posts to make sure the permalinks changed.
Turn off redirect from WordPress blog to Blogger blog
If you set up a temporary redirect in Bluehost because of a domain transfer (as described in my article Transferring Your Domain: How to Switch from enom to Bluehost), remove it now: Go to cPanel|Domains|Redirects. Click on the Red X to remove the temporary redirect to your Blogger blog.
Redirect traffic from Blogger blog to WordPress blog
If you removed the Blogger redirect in an earlier step, back when the domain transfer first happened, you need to go put the redirect back in. Or if you never set up a redirect in Blogger, you need to set it up now:
Point to custom domain
Login to your Blogger dashboard. Select your old blog and go to Settings|Publishing.
Click the top link, “Custom domain.” and enter your custom domain, www.yourcustomdomain.com.
Be sure to replace yourcustomdomain with your domain. For example, mine would look like this:
Now any references to your “blogspot.com” links will get redirected to your custom domain, although visitors may be prompted to confirm being redirected.
This following is an additional step that helps makes your redirection search engine friendly by preventing them from seeing duplicate content and possibly penalizing you SEO-wise.
Bypass old blog and avoid dupe content
In the Blogger dashboard, go to Template|Edit HTML|Proceed. Place the following code immediately after the line beginning with <head> (should be near the top in the first few lines):
<meta content='0; url=http://yourcustomdomain.com/' http-equiv='refresh'/>
Be sure to replace yourcustomdomain with your domain. For example, mine would look like this:
And that’s it. You now have a fabulous new blog in WordPress. Yay!
2. Other Things You May Need To Do
Some other steps you may need to perform are:
Change Feedburner Details
If you do have a Feedburner account, you’ll need to go over there and change your Feed Details to reflect your new WordPress feed URL. Login to FeedBurner, select your blog, and click on Edit Feed Details. Change Original Feed to:
Also, if you have MyBrand set up, you’ll need to add a CNAME record according to the MyBrand set up page.
Adding Disqus commenting system to your site.
This simply requires installing the Disqus plug-in. It may take a few hours for your comments to appear, so be patient about that. Warning: Not all your comments may come across. Mine didn’t, particularly some of the ones whose permalinks were converted. And I’m still bleeping mad about it.
Adding Redirects to avoid losing Feedburner subscribers.
I wrote another article to remedy that called How To Reclaim lost Feedburner Subscribers. I lost 75% of my Feedburner subscribers until I added this redirect. This article can be used as a tutorial for creating any redirect, not just for saving Feedburner subscribers.
Adding Google Analytics or other Statistics code
Depending on your theme, there may be a designated place for you to add this type of code. Otherwise, you can add it to the end of your footer.php file. (Go to Appearance|Editor and click on footer.php on the right-hand side to edit the file.)
3. Lessons Learned
The Urban Giraffe Redirect Plug-in sounds nice, but it currently doesn’t work with WP 3.0. In fact, it wreaks havoc on your blog creating infinite looping and redirection and 404 errors and your blog can go down and I’d stay away from it until it’s proven to work properly.
Using the Maintain Blogger Permalinks plug-in helps resolve broken links, but somewhere in the WP database not all links are getting converted because when someone leaves a comment on a post whose permalink was converted, the email notification that goes out uses the original WP-generated permalink as a reference in the email, so that when you click on it, you get a 404 error and are not taken to the post. So THAT’s annoying.
Using Bluehost as your domain hosting service
If you wish use Bluehost as your domain hosting service, consider using my Bluehost affiliate link below, as I get a few pennies for referring you.
By the way…
I have a whole new blogging tutorial site called Sticky Readers.
Also? I wrote a book called Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better. It’s an entertaining and educational guide on how to write more engaging blog posts.
For info about the book or where to buy it, go to the Sticky Readers Book Page.