I cannot believe that it has been a year since I bought my own hosting and decided to make the move from Blogger to WordPress. After having made good use of black friday offers I bought my hosting in November with high hopes and dreams for a self hosted WordPress site. A nightmare followed as I spent the next month unsuccessfully moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress. A year later, there are still many glitches but overall my blog works. There are a few things that I wish I knew before I moved and I would like to share them with you today. Fair Warning though – this is more of an advice post but one that I genuinely feel is required.
* To clarify when I say WordPress, I mean wordpress.org and not wordpress.com
Don’t Move from Blogger to WordPress
This is the number one thing that I wish people had told me. If you have a successful niche blog on blogger (not other platforms) and a registered domain name and hundreds of posts please do not move. Google is more than capable of handling your traffic and you can always pretty up your blog with a paid template if you do not know how to code. Yes, there are SEO plugins like Yoast in wordpress that make the SEO game easier but as along as you use keywords, Alt tags for images and tag your posts right, you can make do without the plugin. There are online tools like Prowriting aid that will analyse your readability and grammar if required.
Why should you not move
Just like how you lose stuff and break things when you shift houses, you lose your rank and break a lot of links when you move. Blogger does not recognise words like “a” and “the” in links and hence omits them but WordPress uses them in links. This alone is sufficient to create a multitude of 404 errors in your new website. You would need to spend time on everything from image optimisation to SEO check for each old post of yours. Plus unless you are getting a theme designed or buying a swanky theme, your blog is going to look either tacky or basic with limited customisations. It needs everyday tending to like your own house; you cannot afford to be careless with it like a rental house.
Does that mean one should never move to WordPress or have a wordpress blog?
When should you move your blog from Blogger to WordPress
If you are serious about blogging and are planning to monetise it or use it to sell products at a later stage start with WordPress.org. It might be a bit difficult in the beginning but it will be fruitful in the long run. Even if you have started with Blogger or WordPress.com move easily before your have a hundred posts. You would have enough experience to setup your new blog and fewer posts means it would happen faster.
Things to keep in mind while moving from Blogger to WordPress
If you decided to move at any stage from B 2 W here are a few pointers to help you make the transition smoother
- Cut out the excess baggage – Remove old announcement posts, old press releases, posts about now defunct sites. These are of no use to you. I got rid of almost 50-60 posts before my move.
- Take plenty of backups – keep atleast 2 backups of your blogger template, entire blog before you move (2 separate versions)and take a backup after you move to WordPress. Just a couple of days after I moved ( it was a free transfer service by my hosting provider) my blog did not work properly. It kept on hanging and Customer care exes said I need to hire a UI designer to figure it out. I didn’t want to. I simply deleted the imported latest version of my blog and imported one from a few days back. The problem was solved and I lost only one post in the process.
3.Choose a hosting provider with good support – There are many providers out there – Go Daddy, Big rock (my domain is from them), Blue host and Siteground. Siteground is more expensive to renew but has a fantastic customer support. In the first 2 months of the move I must have pinged them every 3-4 days. They answered most of my queries and helped me however possible by them. I have contacted them on weekends, holidays, late in the night and always had a reply from them. Bluehost on the other hand is more economical with value added freebies like free Domain. So if you haven’t registered your domain before, it makes sense to go with Bluehost.
4. Choose Genesis – If you want to create your own site then Genesis is the framework that you must choose. It might not be fancy or have great child themes but it makes your day to today operations a lot smoother.
5. Buy Backup – If you buy a house, you need to invest in it security. Similarly, you need to invest in backing up your site everyday so that all is not lost if your site gets corrupted. I use professional backup services provided by Siteground. * 2018 Feb Update – Backup services are now being provided free of cost by most hosts. Check before you renew.
6. Choose Appropriate Plugins – Looking at plugins is like looking at a section of sauces and powders at the supermarket aisle. Everything is so tempting and could make your food tasty, but you do not need all of them. But plugins like Yoast, Akismet, Jetpack, WP smush, Super Minify, and revisions control can be a life saver. This is apart from the Blogger to WordPress plugin and blogger importer that is required to move your blog
7. Hire a UX – UI designer – If you can afford it, hire a person who can tinker with the php coding to get the website to look like how you want to in the beginning. If not buy pro templates that are closest to how you envision your blog to be so with a few simple customisations you can get it to look great. This is completely optional and you can make a great looking website by yourself, provided you can invest the required time in it.
I hope that these blogging tips and my experience would be of use to those who wish to make this move. My motive in writing this post is not discourage people from making the move but to be aware of what the move entails.