First, don’t do this. It was a bad idea. I had been thinking about migrating my blog for years. Then one Sunday I got a wild hair and decided to go for it. I spent the next 12 grueling hours reading articles, watching YouTube tutorials, and yo-yoing between moments of glorious triumph and abject frustration.
You can migrate your blog slowly (and actually keep your Blogger site active and running), but I am a stubborn, instant gratification kind of girl. And if someone had told me this I would have ignored them. So, if you’re like me, I figured I could at least share some insight into the process and what resources helped me figure things out. The new site is still a work in progress by the way.
BUY YOUR DOMAIN & HOST
The first thing you need to get is a domain name and a hosting site. I had purchased mine ages ago and had trouble using it securely on Blogger. This was one of my driving forces to migrate. But while Blogger is a host and platform, WordPress is not. So you need to purchase a hosting plan. After reading lots of reviews, I went with SiteGround.
I encountered my first issue out of the gate. I had purchased my domain ages ago through GoDaddy, but I wanted to use SiteGround for my hosting (you can use GoDaddy for hosting, I decided not to for cost reasons). I couldn’t get my domain to transfer from GoDaddy to SiteGround (and I am still having some residual RSS issues because of this). I found this video which helped me get SiteGround to recognize my domain, but I still think it hasn’t been officially transferred (I probably need to call GoDaddy). One note, this youtube tutorial will only “half work” if you are setting up your first domain in SiteGround. I found one of the comments to the video that explained this. Just know if you hit a wall halfway through, go back and check your SiteGround account, it probably worked.
SELECT OR PURCHASE A THEME
With my domain and host purchased, I installed WordPress on my SiteGround admin site (easy to do, there is a button you press). Once installed, you can access WordPress and begin building your site. There are free themes, but you probably want to purchase something cuter and designed for blogging. I have had great results with Georgia Lou Studios, and highly recommend their products. Each theme comes with step by step set up instructions and they have a wonderful online help desk with lots of trouble shooting tutorials. They are also incredibly responsive to questions.
Once you have purchased and installed your theme you can begin the migration process.
SAVING & EXPORTING YOUR BLOG
Before you begin anything, you need to export all of the data from your old blog. My biggest fear about migrating my blog was losing my current internet presence. I worked hard to come up in Google when you search Italy travel tips and I didn’t want all of my pins on Pinterest to become dead ends. I found this step-by-step guide for exporting and importing your blog data without losing comments, search rankings, and old urls so helpful. I will warn you, however, this article alone might not be enough. I had to do further research on several topics mentioned within the article to fully understand what I needed to do. But it is a good start.
This article will walk you through the import things — all the steps to exporting and importing your blog, but most importantly setting up permalinks and redirects. The permalinks will ensure that if someone clicks on my 44 Tips for Traveling in Italy pin on Pinterest, they will go to that same exact post, but on my new site, thus I don’t lose any of that traffic. Equally important are the redirects, which will take visitors from your old site to your new site.
Sadly this super important step of setting up permalinks and redirects involves a bit of html coding know-how. Make sure you read carefully how to copy and paste code. You can really mess up your site if you do it wrong.
Despite carefully following the article’s instructions, my permalinks and redirects were not working correctly for the first couple of hours. Old links would take you to my new blog, but not the specific post. I was about to abandon ship becuase of this, when I found some articles problem solving this issue and suggested I install a 301 redirect plugin and format my parent theme as well as my child theme for permalinks. Parent and child you say? Yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either. I kind of mistakenly purchased a “Genesis” theme for my new blog. Genesis is a responsive framework/theme for WordPress and lots of companies, like Georgia Lou Studios, have created child themes that go with this main framework. So not only did I have to purchase the Genesis theme, I also needed to make sure I was correctly setting up both. This turned out to be a happy accident becuase the Genesis theme is great.
FORMATTING YOUR BLOG
Once you migrate everything over and set up your permalinks and redirects you will need to format everything. This is where purchasing from Georgia Lou is a game changer. They make this processes super easy and understandable. But a warning, it will be time consuming and at first I struggled to figure out where everything lived in WordPress. Eventually, I started to understand how everything was set up and functioning. Just be prepared to Google a lot of things!
While my formatting went pretty smoothly, I had an issue with my blog images. I guess when you migrate sometimes not all of your images or media gallery will transfer (you will notice lots of my older posts are still lacking images). I guess this doesn’t happy always, but of course it happen to me. This short article suggested a plug in that worked well, but not perfectly. I think I just have to bite the bullet and go back and edit lots of old posts.
One last tip/note. When you download these WordPress plug ins the files might automatically “unzip.” I couldn’t figure out what to upload and install when article instructions kept saying to select the “zip file,” I was like “there is no zip file!” But, you can compress or zip the file folder after it downloads (just right click and select compress) and the problem is instantly solved!
So, was it worth it? Yes! And I knew it would be. Honestly, I should have migrated much sooner. The SEO options on my new site are amazing, I have better analytics, and I can finally use my domain lol. While I don’t recommend trying to do it overnight like I did, I do recommend do it.
Have you migrated your blog? Any tips or resources to share?