A lot of bloggers have been making the jump from Blogger (Blogspot) or WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.
I have had a lot of queries about moving from a hosting and design point of view so I thought I would address some of the common questions, concerns, misconceptions and important things you should know before making the leap!
1. You will need your own domain name and hosting package. Self-hosted WordPress is stored on your chosen hosts server/s. This means that you are in control of your own files, images; media, custom domain emails (if you require one) and can back up everything on the server. All data such as posts and comments are stored on the server’s database which can be backed up whenever you require. When using Blogger you are using Google’s servers and do not have access to the blogs files or databases.
2. WordPress.com is entirely different to WordPress.org or self-hosted. WordPress.com is the same as Blogger, you are using WordPress servers where you do not have access to your blog files and database.
3. Research everything before you make the jump. Be aware of potential issues and pitfalls you may encounter while migrating and have a list of what needs to be done and in what order.
4. When migrating your blog from Blogger or WordPress.com if done correctly your current blog will remain active so you will have little to no down time.
5. In the blogging world there is a big misconception that you need to purchase a theme to have your blog look good. This is fundamentally wrong, with a bit of research you can find a theme which can be adapted to suit your needs and not looking like everyone else’s blog who uses the same base theme or framework. *post dedicated to this coming soon!
6. WordPress is easy to use with a comprehensive Dashboard where you can control every aspect of your blog easily and effectively. There are some amazing plugins which can help make the running of your blog smooth and effortless.
7. A migration without design should be completed within a few hours to a day depending on your blog size and number of images.
8. When migrating you need to ensure that all your images are migrated to the server and all url’s or image sources changed within posts. If this is not done your images will be still linked back to Blogger and if your blog is deleted etc then you will have posts with missing images. This not only looks messy but if your image is linked to its source, when readers click on your image they will find themselves off your site.
9. Like the images you need to change all internal hyperlinks or URL’s within your posts. If you tag an previous post in a new post without updating the url’s, readers hitting the link will find themselves back on your old blog or with a 404 error. Not a good look for you! Likewise if the permalinks have not been changed to the same permalink structure of your old Blog again your readers will be redirected.
10. It is essential for good SEO and ranking that your blog is redirected from its old location. If someone hits your url from a Google search, you need to ensure that they will hit your NEW site rather than the old one. Google penalises websites for duplicate content so this is a must.
11. If choosing to hire somebody to do your migration for you make sure you know what you are getting before you hand over any money. There are steps that must be followed to make sure the migration is complete without data remaining on Blogger and you migrator must ensure these are done. Some tips when looking for the right person to undertake this exciting process for you.
- 1. Investigate if they are a legitimate registered business with proper record keeping or someone just doing this as something on the side. If you use your blog for business purposes but use a business without an ABN then you will not be able to use their services for tax purposes. Similarly if they are NOT a registered business do you have any back up/recourse if something goes wrong.
- 2. Ask them for the price upfront which covers EVERYTHING, that way there are no hidden surprises.
- 3. Ask for a complete list of what their migrate includes. The base list should be: All posts and tags, comments if not using Intense Debate, permalink changes, hyperlink and image changes and SEO redirection.
- 4. Ask how long they expect the migration to take.
- 5. Ask for examples of previous migrations. Go back through the archives and look at images and URL’s. Are they there or missing or are they being redirected elsewhere.
- 6. Does the migration include pages, feedburner and other popular tools such as Google Friend Connect?
- 7. Will they install important plugins for you and give you a tutorial on what they do and how to use them
- 8. Will you receive a WordPress tutorial?
- 9. If something goes wrong will they work until the issue is resolved
- 10. What input do they require from you during the process?
12. Enjoy your migration! You will love the difference once you have settled in.