Switching from Blogger to WordPress

Having used Blogger since my original nigelscancerblog and then my amountainhigh blog I decided I would finally make the jump to WordPress. There were three reasons for moving – firstly to give me more control over my blog/website, secondly as a learning experience as we use WordPress at work, and thirdly to alleviate any risk that Google may drop Blogger in the future as they have a habit of dropping legacy services.

When considering the switch to WordPress you have two options. Either use WordPress.com’s free service, with your blog becoming a blogname.wordpress.com domain, or host and manage your own WordPress site. The latter is a little bit more involved but gives you more flexibility and control.

I won’t go into the full detail as a quick Google search will bring up plenty of step-by-step guides such as this one on the wpbeginner website, but the basic steps are described as below.

Setting up a WordPress site
You’ll need you own webspace if you want to host and manage your own WordPress site. I used 1&1.co.uk to purchase my www.amountainhigh.co.uk domain some years ago so they were a natural option for a basic webspace package. You then need to download/install WordPress from WordPress.org – the 1&1 webspace dashboard make this easy.

WordPress has thousands of different ‘themes’ each offering a different look and feel for your blog/website. Many are free though some have paid ‘pro’ upgrades that offer further features and flexibility but you’re unlikely to need these starting out. Once downloaded and installed its easy to customise your site through the simple menu driven options. You can also add your own CSS code for more control by overriding theme settings that can’t be changed via the theme ‘Appearance’ menu. Examples could be font size, header colour etc.

Moving your Blogger content to WordPress
It’s easier than you might think as there are a number of ‘Blogger to WordPress’ plug-ins that do the heavy lifting for you. I used rtcamps Blogger to WordPress plug-in. First you’ll need to back-up your Blogger site content – go to Settings>Other>Back-up Content. The resultant XML file will be the import file for your Blogger-to-Wordpress plug-in which will magically import your blog content into WordPress. I did have a few images that didn’t move across automatically, so I had to manually upload them to WordPress.

That’s essentially it. Once your posts/image are in you can play around with different themes, layouts, colours etc.

Blogger Re-direct
The last bit you ought to do is set up re-directs from your old Blogger site/pages to your new site. This means that any existing Google links or twitter posts that use or reference your original blogname.blogspot.co.uk web addresses will be automatically re-directed to the equivalent page on your new WordPress site. Again, WordPress plug-ins come to the rescue and can generate the necessary html code that you’ll need to add to your Blogger site.  Note that you’ll also first need to revert your Blogger site back to the ‘Classic’ template.

Analytics
One final optional step is to set-up some analytics for your site/blog so you can track visits, popular pages etc.  A popular analytics plug-in is Jetpack but I had problems with it so reverted to using Google Analytics via the MonsterInsights Google Analytics for WordPress plug-in.

It possibly sounds more involved than it was. Most of my fiddling was setting up webspace, domains and installing and configuring, so it’s much easier if you opt to use a WordPress.com hosted blog as it’s all set-up for you.

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