Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for WordPress?

Beautifully Invisible started off as a very small idea. I knew I wanted to start a blog, I had a general idea of the direction I wanted to take with it, and I had some thoughts on the concept floating around in my head.

wordpress blogger to wordpress blog  Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for Wordpress?

Beautifully Invisible in its original format on Blogger

The first “real” step was picking a blogging platform, but even that wasn’t an easy decision. I looked at the most popular – wordpress, tumblr, and blogger – and ultimately decided to go with blogger. To someone with little to no programming experience, blogger appeared to be the easiest to use and fairly customizable.

I did seriously consider wordpress.org, but ultimately chose blogger because, frankly, it seemed safe and easy. My gut told me – even back then – that a self-hosted wordpress site was the way to go, but before I put my hard-earned cash into the blog, I really wanted to see if this whole “blogging thing” was really for me.


Flash forward a few months. I realized how much I loved blogging.  I wasn’t going to stop anytime soon.  As an added bonus, my readership was steadily increasing. I made the decision that this was something I wanted to get serious about, and I began looking at ways to improve the site. As I have mentioned before, I reached out to V of grit and glamour and asked her if she would be willing to critique my blogger site.  She suggested some improvements that were in line with my own thoughts, as well as some new ones I hadn’t considered. Ultimately, I realized that I wasn’t happy on blogger anymore, so the switch to wordpress.org commenced.

wordpress blogger to wordpress blog  Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for Wordpress?

Time to switch to a self-hosted WordPress blog!

Recently, V added a “Build a Better Blog” page to her site that is absolutely invaluable and includes information on everything from photography tips to the importance of unique content to recommendations on blog business cards. She also includes a whole section dedicated to resources that make moving from blogger to wordpress.org easy. I had been planning to write my own “How-To” describing the steps I had taken to make this move, but when I first saw her page I axed those plans because I didn’t want to just recreate the wheel.

wordpress blogger to wordpress blog  Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for Wordpress?

Build a Better Blog Resources, via grit and glamour

Since then, I have realized that some of the steps I took in moving my blog vary from what other resources describe. I ran into my own challenges (especially where migrating my followers was concerned), and it took me quite a bit of trial and error to iron everything out.

So, after that long-winded introduction, here I am with my guide for moving your blog from Blogger to WordPress.org.

wordpress blogger to wordpress blog  Introduction: So You Want to Leave Blogger for Wordpress?

New and improved Beautifully Invisible on WordPress

This is going to be a little different than some of the other “How-To’s” out there, because, before you make the move, you really need to inventory your existing blog and take note of what makes it special. What is unique about your blog? What – if anything – are you willing to leave behind?

Author note: post updated 11/9/2010 due to a number of questions received on the benefits of blogger versus wordpress.  Read below for updated Steps 1 – 3.

STEP ONE: WHY DO YOU WANT TO SWITCH?

1. Blogger vs. WordPress. The debate about which blogging platform is better is ongoing.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Each has its ardent followers.  The best piece of advice I can give here is don’t make the decision to switch blogging platforms based on what I – or anyone else – tells you. Make the decision based on the needs (present and future) of your blog.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your blogs strengths?
  • What are its weaknesses?
  • What do you want/need to change?
  • What are your future plans for your blog?
  • Do you aspire to become a professional blogger?

Once you determine the answers to those questions, take a look at your current blogging platform – be it blogger, wordpress, tumblr, or something else – and see if it meets those needs.  If it does, a move is likely unnecessary for you.  If it doesn’t?  A switch may be in your future.

2.  OK, so why did I switch? Again, this will be different for everyone, but these are the main reasons I made the switch:

  • Google can terminate your blogger account at any time. Blogger content is stored on Google servers.  Although Google does not own your content, according to Blogger Terms of Service, “Google may, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any reason, terminate the Service, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account.”  If they mistakenly suspend an account, it can be a huge hassle to get it back up again (if it can happen to the beautiful and talented Wendy Brandes, it can happen to anyone!). Moving to a self-hosted wordpress blog gave me full control over my content.  No one can unexpectedly shut me down.
  • Ease of customization. Despite the many templates and plug-ins available for blogger blogs, I felt that my options for customization were either limited or too complicated.  In my personal opinion, the options for  customization available via WordPress’s themes and plug-ins far surpass those available in blogger.  Plus, they are extremely easy to manage and use.
  • More control over SEO (Search Engine Optimization). WordPress is a much more SEO friendly platform. SEO is a very important element of trying to grow a blog. Blogger is very limited where this is concerned, whereas wordpress gives you so many options I am still learning!
  • Professional appearance:. This is a matter of opinion, of course, but I find the general appearance of wordpress blogs to be far more professional looking than blogger blogs.  They are cleaner, user-friendly, and more functional.
  • Increased functionality of post editor. If you are using an outside program to draft your blog posts, this won’t be an issue.  However, if you are using the built-in post editor, read on.  Right before I made the switch to WordPress, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with blogger’s post editor. I find WordPress’s to be much more user-friendly. It does what I ask it to. Images go where I want them. Text appears the way I like. It is much more user-friendly, and therefore, less frustrating to work with.

Again, these are all highly subjective reasons to move from one blogging platform to another,  but they were the main reasons I made the switch.

So, what next?  What happens once you decide you do want to make the change?

STEP TWO: INVENTORY

1. Make a note of your blog details. No two blogs are alike. What widgets do you use? Commenting system? Do you have a custom or blogspot domain name? What other sites are you a member of? How do people follow you? What analytics programs do you use? Make a note of these items, because you will need them later.

In my case, the most important things to remember were:

STEP THREE: SET YOUR GOALS

1. Determine your goals in the move. No matter how computer savvy you are, the possibility exists that you might lose something in the move from Blogger to WordPress.  It might be some comments.  It might be some subscribers.  It might be a widget or two.  Make a list of what your goals are in this move.  What – if anything – are you willing to give up?

My main goals:

  • Successfully move to a self-hosted wordpress blog
  • Retain all comments and continue using Disqus
  • Retain and move all subscribers to the new blog
  • Retain memberships in IFB and BBRG (Note: this will never be a problem – there is no risk of losing memberships in the move!)

Everything else, I was willing to give up.  I could find new plugins to replace my widgets, wasn’t concerned with losing ads (if I did, oh well), and could easily reinstall analytics.  My followers and comments, however, I wanted to keep.

2.  What if you can’t reach your goals? Is it worth the risk? I stated above that I wanted to keep my followers and comments.  What if I couldn’t?  Is it worth the risk?  I was fortunate in that I was able to do both of these things, but that is not always the case.  Sometimes people do lose comments.  Other times, they lose subscribers.

Truthfully: I almost lost the majority of my subscribers.  There are numerous online tutorials that outline ways to migrate your subscribers.  Most of them are pretty simple.  But none of those methods worked for me.  None.

I thought I had lost my existing subscribers.

However – my blog is still young.  Losing 100 subscribers is very different than losing 500, 1,000 or 3,000.  For a more established blog, it could be devastating.

I was able to recover mine (and will share my methods in this tutorial), but you have to decide whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

**********

I am going to leave you with these thoughts.

This tutorial is going to be split up into a number of different blog posts, but I wanted to start with this introduction.  These are the things you need to think about before you make the move. These are the questions you need to ask yourself.  These are the notes you need to take before moving on.

If you go through these exercises and determine it is worth the risk, the next steps will be fun and exciting!

***************

If you are looking for the other parts of the tutorial, click below!

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                  • Grace Tan April 11, 2014, 9:43 AM

                    Lovely post! I’ve always been a huge fan of Wordpress and have never looked back! :) Self-hosting is a pain, especially when a sudden surge in traffic causes my site to crash. Wordpress.com takes care of it all. :D

                    Reply
                  • Anir July 15, 2013, 9:21 AM

                    Excellent tutorial, very informative, thanks for sharing guys.
                    Anir latest blog post: Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a WordPress Child Theme

                    Reply
                  • Rosie von Waldherr January 14, 2013, 4:44 AM

                    I must say this post was extremely helpful!! I’m myself currently on the transition from blogger to wordpress (with the help of a great friend who does this for a living, because I couldn’t do it myself haha) and one of the things I’m most scared about is losing my followers or that no one will read my “new” blog =X
                    Nevertheless I feel it’s time for a change and and domain and I feel in my bones it’s the right way to go…

                    Thank you for posting this, it was incredibly helpful!!!

                    xoRosie
                    The Austrian Rose

                    Reply
                  • flowrr May 6, 2012, 3:57 AM

                    Very informative blog!
                    Thanks for sharing!
                    This is a great help for an amateur blogger like me :P

                    Reply
                  • Portia Huguley November 6, 2011, 7:33 PM

                    Very good points about Wordpress vs Blogger. I have some mixed emotions about making the switch. I just started blogging w/blogger, and certain aspects are not as user-friendly as I think it should be, and I’m not crazy about the possibility of someone shutting down my site w/no notice or anything. I don’t have any followers yet, I’m still in the learning curve of this whole blogging thing, but I do have a deep desire to blog. I believe I will make the switch, just undecided as of when. With wordpress, will there be a need to submit keywords to match the title of your blog? I know w/blogger it isn’t necessary to do so. Any insight is welcomed.

                    Reply
                  • L. Figment October 20, 2011, 4:05 PM

                    Wow, you’ve really genuinely made me consider moving.
                    I’ve only just started my blog, so I think if I’m going to do the move it should be, now before I have an subscribers/followers.
                    L. Figment latest blog post: Dry shampoo, the stand-off.

                    Reply
                  • Kelly Fannon August 11, 2011, 4:48 AM

                    This has to be one of the best I have read about whether the to switch from Blogger to Wordpress. Good questions and reasons. My reasons keep coming to the professional look and aesthetics. Many thanks for this discussion, advice and instructions.

                    I came across your blog through the English Muse, a very delightful blog.

                    My best, Kelly

                    Reply
                  • Musings July 22, 2011, 1:03 PM

                    I’d like to Import my Blogspot posts and comments to Wordpress. It says you can do this. However, I really don’t want to leave Blogspot. I’d like to keep both blog sites. The Wordpress would be back-up. If I import my posts and comments from Blogger, will it erase it (on Blogger) also? I’m worried about this happening.
                    Thanks so much for your help!
                    Kay
                    Musings latest blog post: Buddhist Ancestor Worship?

                    Reply
                  • Musings July 12, 2011, 2:01 PM

                    I just stopped by from Nan’s blog at Letters From a Hill Farm. Thank you so much for this great post. Wow! You did an amazing job of explaining how to do this. I am not quite at the switch over point just because I’m a coward and I’m not technologically savvy. However, with all the problems Blogspot is having, I might someday attempt to switch. I shall add a link to this post on mine just because I wrote a post this morning about Blogger trouble. Thank you again.
                    Musings latest blog post: Browser Quirks

                    Reply
                  • dine June 5, 2011, 10:42 PM

                    Awesome post.

                    For someone who is launching a blog and growing, what do you think you think would be best to start off with. I’ve used blogger privatley, but this new one I want to launch would be public and plan to do this for a long time. I’ve been reading alot how people switch from blogger to wordpress once their blog grew. Would you reccommend to start off as wordpress? I am thinking of starting with wordpress free and eventually pay the service? What do you think?

                    Your suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

                    Reply
                  • Hazel May 13, 2011, 10:12 AM

                    I’m so glad I read this now…. I am new to blogging but I know I will continue. This series of posts will be so helpful!
                    Thank you
                    Hazel latest blog post: 12 Piece Challenge Nearly there

                    Reply
                  • halthouse1 December 30, 2010, 5:24 PM

                    Great post. My two greatest concerns about switching from Blogger to Wordpress are similar to everyones. Specifically losing my feed and email subscribers but equally as important having to go to the bloggers that link to me to have them change the url.

                    For my links that other bloggers have on their sites, will they manually have to do the change or is there some automated way that Wordpress can do it?

                    Thanks again. Your blog is great. Happy New year.

                    Mike

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible December 30, 2010, 5:38 PM

                    Hi Mike, thank you for your kind words!

                    First, you should definitely be able to keep your feed and email subscribers if you use the steps I describe in my guide.

                    Regarding the links other bloggers have to your site, I actually have two answers:

                    1. Unfortunately wordpress can not automatically update existing blogrolls to reflect your new address, however:

                    2. As long as you redirect your old blog to your new blog, any “old” links will still work. For example, if someone finds me under a blogroll link with my old address (http://www.beautifully-invisible.blogspot.com) they will be redirected to this site.

                    I hope that helps. Happy New Year!

                    blogrolls’

                    Reply
                  • Benjamin Atuma October 31, 2011, 7:01 PM

                    This piece is incisive and eyeopening. ‘Regarding the links other bloggers have to your site’ you stated in response number 2 that old address would redirect to new address. Suppose the former blogs at the old address were shut down for no reason (as you cited early on)? What happens to those existing outbound links?

                    Is not okay to find out there urls and send the new address to the site owners for possible changes (just an opinion). This is big work, especially if the links are to pages other than the home page.

                    Thanks for your insight.

                    Reply
                  • Olivia. V.B November 13, 2010, 10:16 PM

                    Great post!!!! Interesting and might be useful in the future!!!
                    Don’t worry I am absolutly sure that the “whole blogging thing” is for you, I love your blog (sounds like a teenage fan I know…lol)!
                    Keep it up…
                    Kisses from France!

                    Thanks for the #FF by the way!!!!

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 17, 2010, 10:22 PM

                    Awww, thank you so much, doll!

                    Reply
                  • Citizen Rosebud November 11, 2010, 5:10 AM

                    this is such a great post. Between you and Vahni, I now wonder if I did the right thing by switching from wordpress to blogger. I contribute to a blog on wordpress, and I’ve been having a bad time getting pics uploaded and I can’t change my fonts or sizes, a bunch of inconvenient stuff, but I’m now suspecting an update of somesort by the site administrator would cure that since you’re saying it’s been more control on wp. Thanks for the post.

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 17, 2010, 10:22 PM

                    Thank you! As I understand it, control of the fonts and sizes is usually done in the dashboard or theme itself (I set my default size and font in the Thesis theme). I don’t really know how easy it is to change to a completely different font – I think the point is to try to give the posts a uniform look by sticking with the same font. I can adjust the sizes in the post editor, but if you need something more specific, you might have to either look for plugin of some sort.

                    I actually store my photos on Photobucket, so for me it’s just a matter of formatting my images on wordpress. I think Vahni stores hers in Wordpress, so she could probably shed some light on how that process works.

                    Hope this is helpful!

                    Reply
                  • Anonymous November 9, 2010, 8:13 PM

                    Thanks for this! My main concern is losing followers so I’ll be waiting for that portion of the tutorial. I would hate to lose comments, but could live with that as long as I don’t lose my followers. I’d hate to start all over again.

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 17, 2010, 10:10 PM

                    The tutorial is now finished – I hope it helps!

                    Reply
                  • Anonymous November 18, 2010, 1:06 AM

                    awesome! time for me to get to reading! :) Thank you!

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 19, 2010, 8:32 PM

                    My pleasure!

                    Reply
                  • Anonymous November 9, 2010, 10:22 AM

                    Wonderful post!!! thanks for sharing

                    XOXO
                    J

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 9, 2010, 4:12 PM

                    My pleasure :)

                    Reply
                  • Grit and Glamour November 9, 2010, 3:09 AM

                    Great post, doll! Thanks for the shout…you’re now on the BABB page too! I hope you’re submitting this to IFB!

                    ♥ V
                    http://www.gritandglamour.com
                    twitter: @gritandglamour

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 9, 2010, 4:12 PM

                    Thanks V! I just updated the post with some thoughts on the benefits of Blogger vs. Wordpress since I have been getting some questions on the subject.

                    I am glad people are finding this useful – thanks so much for including me in your BABB page!

                    Reply
                  • Casee Marie November 8, 2010, 10:15 PM

                    The switch from Blogger to Wordpress is so intimidating and you did a fantastic job of breaking it down and making it much less scary. Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts on the subject! I just canceled my hosting space (personal site) because it had a ridiculous amount of downtime so I might look for a new one after the holidays and move my blog over. I played with a self-hosted Wordpress last year, but I never went live with it – I like to add a lot of customization to layouts and I couldn’t really figure out how to do that with Wordpress, you know?

                    I have to applaud your professionalism, as well. It takes a lot of confidence to approach blogging from a serious standpoint – as a career, etc.

                    Oh, I do have a slightly unrelated question. When you installed Disqus originally did you lose your previous comments on Blogger? Just curious. I’ve been thinking about integrating it on The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower, but I don’t want to lose the comments I already have. (:

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 11:01 PM

                    Truth be told, I was a bit concerned I would scare people off when I was saying things like: “Losing 100 subscribers is very different than losing 500, 1,000 or 3,000. For a more established blog, it could be devastating.” Glad it didn’t come across that way :)

                    It’s funny you say that about customization. I had teh opposite experience – I’ve found it to be much simpler to customize on Wordpress, but that could depend on the theme you are using. I am a big fan of the Thesis theme in Wordpress. It is magical!

                    In regards to Disqus, I installed that very early on, so I don’t remember if I even had any comments to lose before switching over! I don’t think you would lose them, though – my old comments are still showing in my blogger dashboard, so they still get stored on blogger somehow.

                    Plus, if you are concerned, you can export all your disqus comments into a backup file, just in case. Hope that helps!

                    Reply
                  • Casee Marie November 9, 2010, 1:01 AM

                    Well, that thought scares us all anyway. But that you-can-do-it attitude of yours makes it a lot easier. (:

                    I think with Wordpress I just couldn’t find a way to edit the source HTML, which is something I use in Blogger more often than the actual theme editor. Blogs are a lot more difficult than web sites because you aren’t really allowed to start from scratch, you know? Most of the web sites I’ve done over the years have been “coded by hand” in Wordpad, but you can’t very well do that with something as intricate and detailed as a blog. And I definitely don’t know enough to be able to do my own themes from scratch!

                    Ohh, thank you very much for that info. I’ve been getting a lot of spam comments lately and I’ve been wondering if switching to a new comment platform will maybe cut down on that. And I like the reply feature on Disqus; with Blogger if a user has a public e-mail address listed you can reply to the comment notification and it will go to their inbox (did that make sense?) but not everyone has a public e-mail listed so it doesn’t always work. But decided on Wordpress first is probably the most effective thing to do, huh?

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 9, 2010, 7:31 PM

                    I think (and this is a guess, really) to edit the source html in Wordpress you likely need to do it through the backend (via your host). All the source files are stored outside Wordpress, so any intensive tweaks need to be done that way. Themes like Thesis do give you the option to do some editing (more than enough for what I need), but for someone who really wants full control they have to access via the backend.

                    As for spam comments, using something like Disqus or IntenseDebate (Vogue Gone Rogue uses this http://www.voguegonerogue.com) on Blogger would likely cut down your spam quite a bit. For someone on Wordpress, they can skip those (if they want) and install Akismet, which also helps immensely. Unfortunately, I think the only way to use Akismet on blogger is if you do install an outside commenting system. So yes, decide if you want to switch first :)

                    Reply
                  • Casee Marie November 15, 2010, 3:04 AM

                    Oh, I see what you’re saying. That’s probably just what I would want (and really answers my question from my previous comment – wouldn’t it be nice if I were actually organized and read things in order?). I had a Coppermine photo gallery on my old site and the themes for that were similar. I would move the code file to my hard drive via FTP and fiddle with it there, then reupload it into the directory. I would probably be able to do something similar with Wordpress.

                    Thanks for that info! Anika (SweetfacedStyle@blogspot) said she switched to Disqus temporarily and there wasn’t a way to keep previous comments – like you said, they stay stored on Blogger, but I’m guessing the Disqus platform just sort of lays over top of them, as it were. I wish I’d had the foresight to switch early on! It seems like a great way to keep your comments secure and in one place. If only we ALL used the same commenting platform, but then I guess that would be far too much organization and we’d be hit with some sort of internet apocalypse. lol!

                  • Casee Marie November 15, 2010, 3:06 AM

                    By the way, thank you for entertaining ALL of my questions and rambles on the subject. It’s been on my mind for such a while and rehashing it all with someone really helps me figure things out. Unfortunately for you, you get to be that someone!

                  • Anonymous November 8, 2010, 8:55 PM

                    Thanks for this! I can tell already how helpful this series will be. My question, though, is why you chose to leave blogger for wordpress in the first place. It is possible to have a self-hosted blog on blogger, right? What are the pros of moving to wordpress?

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:54 PM

                    Thank you, I hope everyone finds it helpful!

                    As for a self-hosted blog on blogger – not as far as I know. You can certainly have your own domain name, but your content is stored on Google servers. This is actually the main reason I decided to make the move to Wordpress. Google has the authority to shut down any blogger account when they see fit. They have been known to mark accounts as “spam” for no apparent reason (it happened to Wendy Brandes, of all people). Having a self-hosted wordpress blog means that I have full control over my content, and no one can unexpectedly shut me down.

                    Other reasons I decided to switch to wordpress:

                    1. Customization: I felt that I was very limited with blogger. Yes, there are many templates and plug-ins available for blogger blogs, but the customization available via themes and plug-ins in wordpress is in my opinion, much greater.

                    2. SEO: wordpress is much more SEO friendly. Search engine optimization is a very important element of trying to grow a blog. Blogger is very limited where this is concerned, whereas wordpress gives you so many options I am still learning!

                    3. Professionalism: this is a matter of opinion, of course, but I find the general appearance of wordpress blogs to be far more professional looking than blogger blogs. They are cleaner and more functional.

                    4. Post Editor: right before I made the switch I was becoming increasingly frustrated with blogger’s post editor. I find wordpress’s to be much more user-friendly. It does what I ask it to. Images go where I want them. Text appears the way I would like. It is much more user-friendly, and therefore, less frustrating to work with.

                    I hope that helps!

                    Reply