Blogger and I had been in a relationship for a little over 7 years. Things were great at first. Blogger and I shared many good times and much love.
But as the years progressed, our relationship became stagnant. I had grown and changed. Alas, Blogger had not. I wanted more than Blogger was able to give. So after expletive-laden disagreements and more than a few fists to the desk, it was time for Blogger and me to go our separate ways.
So I broke up with Blogger and started a brand-new relationship with Self-Hosted WordPress.
To be honest, I had been contemplating this breakup for quite a while. Truth be told, I’d been cheating on Blogger with WordPress for over a year. After all, I wasn’t exactly new to web development, having built and maintained websites for nearly 2 decades. I was continually thinking, “If only Blogger could ______,” just to find that it was a major hassle – if not impossible – for him, but a simple plugin installation for WordPress. I was so done with Blogger’s stubborn resistance to new ideas.
Long story short, Blogger and I are splitsville.
(Now, don’t get me wrong; Blogger might be perfect for you. He is simple and trustworthy, has many wonderful qualities, and might actually do everything you want him to do, and then some. If that’s the case, then good on you… read no further. Nah, go ahead and keep reading.)
Surviving Your Break-Up
Here’s the skinny on how I broke up with Blogger and started a new relationship with WordPress.
Now, when I say “WordPress,” I mean self-hosted, and not the free WordPress.com platform. Having used the free version for other projects, I can tell you that that guy is almost – but not quite – as stubborn as Blogger. Still… he might be enough for you. If you are just starting out blogging, you might give the free version a whirl. You can always move to self-hosted later. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT waste your money to “customize” your WordPress.com blog (which I almost did). Go self-hosted. You will thank me later.
The first thing I did was Google “how to move Blogger to WordPress” and lots of helpful information popped up. These are the steps I followed, along with some of my stupid mistakes, which I made so you don’t have to. And, rather than reinvent the wheel, I will just point you to a few of those helpful articles I found.
- You need a hosting company. That’s the place where you will store your blog. Someone else’s server, to be exact. I had been with another, not-to-be-named hosting company for several years, and found their pricing structure to be crazy expensive, seeming to increase exponentially year after year. So you can bet that I was extra careful before picking a new company. I did a lot of research and bugged a lot of friends before finally settling on Bluehost. The price was right, especially for unlimited server space, and the customer support is excellent. I can say that because I bothered and pestered them more times than I can remember, and they never got mad at me. At least, not that I know of.
- You need a domain name. In other words, the web address that people use to find your site. If you don’t already have one, you can typically get one through your hosting company, many of which offer reduced prices when you buy a domain through them. Since I already owned my domain name — having purchased it years ago through Google Apps for my Blogger blog — there was a bit of a delay with this step. If this is your situation, you will need to email enom to ask them to transfer your domain. Include your domain name and your impossible-to-remember password. They will get to it in a few days. Other domain companies are much quicker, and you can do the transfer from within the dashboard of your hosting company. Be sure to “unlock” your domain before requesting the transfer, and make sure your contact information is up-to-date, as they will send the all-important authorization code to you at whatever email address is on file. If your information is private, as mine was/is, you will need to make it un-private, or the all-important authorization code will go into the black hole of lost email (yeah, I did that). After your domain is transferred, you can re-enable domain privacy, although there may be a fee to do so.
- Pick a theme. In WordPress-speak, a theme is basically how your blog looks. Blogger calls them templates. Assuming that you do not write css, you will need to choose from either the many free themes available, or pay for a more custom look. Free themes can be found in the Appearance > Themes section of your dashboard or Google “free WordPress themes.” Since I design a lot of websites and have become lazy in my old age (read: I don’t want to code anymore), I decided to fork over the cash and sign up with Elegant Themes. But again, some of the free themes are really nice, so don’t overlook them.
- Import your Blogger blog into WordPress. I won’t lie to you: this is the scary part. But I survived, and you will, too. Open your WordPress dashboard, and go to Tools > Import and select Blogger. You will need to install the Blogger Importer plugin (don’t forget to activate it), and then follow the directions on the screen. This step will take a while, especially if you have a lot of content to import. Just for kicks, put on your heart rate monitor and watch it go wild. 😉
At this point, I’m going to refer you to an article by my fave WordPress blog, WPBeginner: How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress without Losing Google Rankings. Follow these directions, and I mean all of them, even the scary part about pasting css into your Blogger template. I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous about this part – it was, after all, so final – and I wound up saving a copy of my old template to my hard drive, “just in case.” But in the immortal words of Elsa, “Let it go.”
Remember, you broke up with Blogger. You want people to meet your handsome, new WordPress blog, not hang around with your ex.
More good stuff to read:
Blogger To WordPress Migration Guide with Permalink & SEO – Don’t waste your time trying to move your Google followers to your new blog. In typical, fickle fashion, Google no longer supports that app. Another thing I learned the hard way.
Blogger to WordPress: Top 10 Most Common Mistakes – I think I made at least 8 of those.
5 details not to miss when you move from Blogspot to WordPress – I missed one.
Some items are repeated from article to article, but there is at least one useful tidbit in each one.
Last Piece of Advice
True, you and Blogger have broken up. You have (hopefully) imported all of your content into your new WordPress blog, and pointed people away from your old Blogger blog. But just let him continue to sit there, all alone and lonely. Don’t delete him.
Think of him as that old boyfriend, sitting by the phone, night after night, waiting for you to call and take him back. It doesn’t cost you anything to keep him around, and you’ll feel secure in knowing that he’ll always be there. You can still drunk-dial him from time to time, if you must, by logging into www.blogger.com.
And he’ll be waiting, just in case you need him. Which you won’t. Because you’ve moved on.
So… hopefully I have covered everything, and maybe inspired you to make the break yourself. Keep in mind that breakups are hard, and it may take some time for you to adjust. To be honest, I am still finding bugs and other annoyances that need fixing.
But… I survived the break-up. And you will too. 🙂
If you decide to break up with Blogger, I’m here for you. I’ve got cookies. 🍪