So, you’ve decided to move your blog from Blogger to WordPress and you’re not sure what to do? I’m here to help. I just went through this process with my own blog and want to share what I’ve learned.
While the process may seem daunting, it’s really quite manageable. Just six simple steps will get you there. You may find that the toughest part is deciding which theme you like best!
1. Choose the Right WordPress Hosting Company
Now, there are a lot of different choices when it comes to hosting companies for your blog. WordPress suggests you go with Bluehost and I agree with this recommendation. Bluehost has hosting plans as low as $2.75 per month. The kicker is that you’ll have to sign on for a 3-year plan in order to get that price. Still, it’s probably worth it.
You don’t need a “WordPress Optimized” hosting plan, which is much more expensive. A standard “shared” plan is plenty for most bloggers. The “shared” part of the plan just means that other blogs use the same computer hardware as your blog even though you have a space that is all your own.
You will want to be mindful of the storage space that is allowed with some Bluehost plans. Their most basic plan includes 50GB of storage. Many of the other plans come with unlimited storage. I transferred an 8-year-old blog with over 700 posts and I was well under 50 GB.
Entering your domain name with your new hosting company will not prevent users from getting to your existing blog.
If your existing Blogger blog is using a custom domain name, you will enter it when signing up for your hosting plan. Entering your domain name with your new hosting company will not prevent users from getting to your existing blog. (More on this later.) Everything on your existing blog will continue to function until you’re ready to switch to the new WordPress blog.
If your existing Blogger blog does not have a domain name, you will want to pick a domain name when signing up for Bluehost.
One of the reasons I really like Bluehost is because they assign your new blog a temporary domain that you can use while you’re developing your new site. This makes it very easy to continue to manage your existing blog while you’re perfecting your design on the new one.
I originally went with HostGator for my hosting company and they did not have this feature to use a temporary domain name while my site was being developed. Luckily, there is a workaround for that, which I will explain later.
You also need to be mindful of what level of access you have to your blog and its file system. The hosting package that I got from HostGator did not have cPanel access. CPanel is basically the tool that you can use to access the file system and database for your blog.
With HostGator, I needed to make a simple change to my blog related to the domain name and they wanted to charge me $75 for one of their technicians to make the change. That told me that staying with HostGator was going to be an expensive proposition and I immediately started looking at other hosting companies. I’m so glad I got away from that situation before my new blog went live.
2. Backup Your Blogger Blog
All the hard work you’ve put into your Blogger blog is important and you don’t want to lose that just because you’re moving to WordPress.
There are two things that you will need to backup – your theme and your blog posts.
1. Backing up your theme
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to transfer over your theme to WordPress but you will be able to reuse some of the contents, such as the background image or your header image.
In your Blogger dashboard, go to the Theme tab. Up on the top right is a Backup/Restore button. Click this then choose Download Theme. Choose a location on your computer where you’ll be able to find the files later.
2. Backing up your Blog Posts
To back up your Blogger posts, go to Settings on your Blogger Dashboard then choose Other. Click the Backup Content button at the top, then choose a location to save your file.
3. Design Your New WordPress Blog Using the Best Theme and Plugins
WordPress themes and plugins are a hotly debated topic. Everyone had their own opinion about what’s the best. First let’s talk about plugins – what even is a plugin? Think about a plugin like a tool for your website. Some of the tools are important and some are just nice to have.
These are my top 3 must-have WordPress Plugins when transferring from Blogger
- Yoast SEO – The cream of the crop when it comes to search engine optimization. This will help users find your website through Google and other search engines.\
- Jetpack by Wordpress.com – A hard-working widget that helps with stat statistics, security, and performance.
- Blogger Importer Extended – Connects to your Blogger account to import blog posts, images, pages, links, tags, and formatting.
4. Import Your Blogger Blog Into WordPress … and fix a few issues
The best plugin I’ve found for importing a Blogger blog into WordPress is called Blogger Importer Extended. Blogger Importer Extended connects to your Blogger account to pull in your blog posts and images, among other things. While not perfect, it’s much better than the other importer plugins I’ve tried.
One of the most annoying issues I had after importing my Blogger blog posts was that the images all went into the current month’s media folder and it was very difficult to find the specific photo I needed.
The other annoying thing was that some of my post Permalinks lost the last letter or two of the post name in the transfer so some of my links were broken. They worked fine in the new WordPress blog; however, some of the links to old posts on social media were not working. You have a couple of options to fix the issue – either find and fix the Permalinks that have changed or set up Redirects to the new address.
Also, the spacing between paragraphs was messed up in a lot of my old posts. It was no easy process to fix the spacing. I had to go into the text editor and add code between the paragraphs to correct the spacing.
5. Set the Format of Permalinks for Your WordPress Blog
I’ve mentioned Permalinks a couple of times now. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, Permalinks are the full address to your blog posts. It’s what someone would see in a browser’s “address bar” when they were visiting your blog post.
Before you write a new post on your WordPress blog, you’ll want to make sure the Permalinks for your new posts match the Permalinks from your old blog.
From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings then Permalinks. For my Blogger blog, the Permalinks were /YEAR/Month-number/post-title.html (for example, /2018/04/my-blog-post.html) so I had to set up a custom permalink format.
I put my custom permalink format as follows: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html
You’ll need to look at you Blogger blog to make sure yours is the same. This setting will ensure that all your future blog posts have the same Permalink formatting as your existing posts.
6. Take Your WordPress Site Live!
When you’re happy with the design of your new WordPress blog, it’s time to take your site live.
1. Update the Name Servers with your domain’s current registrar
You can find Bluehosts’s Name Servers here. If your domain name is registered with Bluehost, you can find the instructions for changing your name servers here. Otherwise, use the search feature on the domain name registrar’s website to find instructions on changing the name servers.
If your Blogger blog used the same domain name as your new WordPress blog, changing the Name Servers will cause your Blogger blog to become inaccessible … sometimes. It takes 48-72 hours for your domain name to fully switch over. During that time, you’ll sometimes hit the old blog and sometimes hit the new blog.
There’s really no way around this instability during the switch so you’ll want to time your Name Server change carefully.
2. Switch your URL with Bluehost
In your Bluehost Dashboard, go to My Sites then Settings. Find where it says Site URL and replace the temporary URL with your real URL/domain name.
3. Check your WordPress Address
From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings then General. You’ll see two boxes – WordPress Address and Site Address. Generally, both of these should contain the URL to your WordPress blog.
Also, at the bottom of this screen is a toggle button for Bluehost Coming Soon Page. Make sure Enable is set to OFF.
Keep in mind the 48-72 hour wait time for Name Server propagation. I had a lot of page errors and slow loading during that time period. It worried me that I’d missed something, but it eventually resolved.
I hope this list has helped you with your move to WordPress. If you have any questions that come up, please leave a comment and I will try to help.