I’d been thinking for a while about moving my blog over to WordPress as a step towards getting my own domain and having a more professional-looking site. But I worried about losing my posts, comments, and tags. It would have taken days to migrate the posts one-by-one. And I certainly didn’t want to start with a blank slate.
But a fellow-blogger encouraged me to see if it’d really be that hard. Turns out the move was easier than I expected. In fact, migrating my blog took all of 5-10 minutes. I’ll outline the steps here, along with some more time-consuming steps to take with widgets, feeds, and the like.
Step 1 – Create a WordPress account and set up the basic blog.
Pretty self-explanatory. Go to WordPress. Try to get a name as similar to your original one as possible. Preferably from “myawesomeblog.blogspot.com” to “myawesomeblog.wordpress.com.” If you want to go straight to your own domain (which costs $15/year and has some extra perks), try to get “myawesomeblog.com.”
You don’t want people to think this is an entirely new blog. You want them to recognize you. Because even if your old posts are transferred, they might not recognize your new face.
Step 2 – Import everything.
Now that you’ve got your basic blog, go to My Dashboard and click Manage then Import. You can import from Blogger, Livejournal, Moveable Type, Typepad, and another WordPress blog. I had Blogger.
Just follow the instructions. They made it insanely easy and explain it well. You’ll have to log into your blog through their screen to allow the migration and then just click a couple buttons.
Once you’re done, go to your new home page and see if they migrated right. If not, contact tech support because I can’t help you on this. If it worked-congrats, you’ve migrated. Read on for suggestions on how to get your new blog up and running.
Step 3 – Announce your move.
Always important to let your readers know what’s up. Leave a short post with a link to your new blog and explain that you’ll be posting there from now on and hope they’ll join you. It might also be a good idea to post on your new blog that you’ve just moved here and it’s still under construction.
Another way to reinforce this is to go through your RSS Reader and leave (relevant!) comments on your favorite blogs with the link to your new site. You know, in the place where you put in your name, e-mail, and site. Maybe at the bottom of your comment, if you’re bolder. Don’t just comment to tell them you moved, because that’s spam. Unless they’re posting about their move or something which makes it relevant.
Step 4 – Fix your feeds/sitemeter and other related accounts.
What accounts do you have for your blog? Feedburner? Sitemeter? Go into each of those and change the site feed. WordPress feeds are at http://your-blog-name.wordpress.com/feed. On feedburner, it’s under Edit Feed Details.
On sitemeter, you can change your site’s address in the Manager section. (Note: I’ve had some trouble with sitemeter since migrating. It reports many fewer visits than it used to. But WordPress reports about the same amount. You can get your WordPress reports in your Dashboard under Dashboard, Blog Stats.
I also had accounts, which linked to my blog page and needed to be changed. Try to hit up all the ones you remember at once, but if you took step 3, it won’t be a tragedy if you forget to update them for a while. This is another reason why it’s important not to delete the old blog (see step 6).
Step 5 – Move your Sidebar and widgets.
To edit widgets, go through My Dashboard into Presentation and then Widgets. Their FAQ has a good section on widgets, if you’re not familiar with the way WordPress does some of them. One thing it took me a minute to realize was that the blue lines in the widget boxes mean “click here to edit this widget.”
In my case, the biggest thing was moving my blogroll. I had it in a webpage, not a link list. The My Dashboard, Blogroll section has a way to Import Links which may make your transition easier. The blogroll shows up as “Links” in the widget section.
Step 6 – Leave your old blog up.
At least for now. Probably for the next 3 months or more. You want to make sure everybody knows where you went. If you want to delete it sooner, give it at least 2 weeks.
Doing all this took one evening. It probably would have been much less had I not had to import my entire blogroll one link at a time. I’m very satisfied with the transition and looking forward to buying my own domain soon.
The WordPress FAQ page has lots of good tips for figuring out the parts you aren’t used to. Happy blogging!