QUESTION: I’m looking at taking my business from Blogger over to WordPress.org, because I now have two websites and I would like to combine them into one beautiful, up-to-date and easy-to-update site. I have downloaded WordPress.org but my head is spinning from all the tech talk. Do I need to buy web hosting as well? I already have my own domain name and web hosting through Crazy Domains, but not sure if that will work for what I need now. Any insight you are able to provide would be such a massive help!
– Jess, The Wellness Warrior
Wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this!
WordPress.org is definitely a great platform. I heart it. Lots. You can pretty much make it do whatever you want, simply by installing “plugins”. However, it is a li’l more techie to use and I can’t sugar-coat that. Here’s what I suggest to anyone wanting to move to WordPress.org.
- Make sure you’re aware of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. I explain this (geek-free) here.
- Sign up for a free WordPress.com account. This isn’t to use, but to practice on! It’ll give you a feel of what the WordPress platform is like, and will give you the chance to change your mind before you pay too much more money for your WordPress.org investment. Also? You’ll get an AKISMET key. This is basically a code you use with an anti-spam plugin. Save this for later – you’ll want to use it on your WP.org site.
- If you read the post on WP.com vs WP.org, and have decided to go ahead and use WP.org, you’ll know that yes, you need hosting (which you’ve already got – tick!). If you didn’t have this, I’d say: check out my post on WordPress hosting suggestions.
- You need a domain name for your WP.org site. You’ve also got this (another tick!) but if you didn’t, you can easily sign up for a .com (sometimes for free) one via the hosting companies I listed.
Now, for the next part. And this is where it starts to get a wee bit more complicated. In brief, here are your options…
OPTION A) DIY
- If you used a domain name registrar that’s different to your host, you’ll need to update your DNS – geek speak for “address (basically a bunch of letters and numbers) that points your domain name to your host” – with the details your host provides you with. It can sometimes take up to 48 hours for the change to kick in. But given your domain name and hosting are with the same crew, you can ignore this step.
- You’ll now need to install WordPress.org. If you used the hosts I suggested, you can automatically do this via the host – you don’t need to download the software from the WP.org site. I’m not sure if your hosting company offers this easier-to-do option, so just send them an e-mail to check. If they’re nice, they might even install it for you!
- You then need to import all your posts from Blogger to WP.org. You can find further details on the official WordPress site here and you may want to use the Blogger Importer plugin.
- The next part is the pretty-ing up part. First, find a theme (design). You can find free ones on the WordPress.org website, or you can purchase them from various sites such as ThemeForest or, if you have a bit of creative flair, I use Headway Themes to create my own design simply using a two-column layout with images inserted in the sidebars.
- The next step is to add in some free plugins such as AKISMET, Google Analytics For WordPress, the All-In-One SEO Pack (though this one isn’t necessary if you use Headway Themes), and the one that’s saved me from pulling my hair out on more than one occasion (but sadly isn’t free): BackUp Buddy.
- There are more plugins I’d recommend, but let’s stick with basics for now. :) Also, you’ll want to adjust your Google Analytics settings, move any RSS feeds, and set up a redirect so people who go to your .blogspot.com address are automatically taken to your new domain name. You could try this Blogger To WordPress plugin to to that.
- Now, note that is the very abbreviated DIY version. If you’re feeling confident to do it on your own, you might also want to check out the How To Move From Blogger To WordPress e-book. Currently the authors are letting you download the first few chapters for free. (Disclosure: I’m yet to read past the free chapters – but it seems to have it covered in a lot of depth.)
OPTION B) HIRE A PRO
- This can be the fastest, most hassle-free option. You can find someone relatively inexpensive to help you on sites such as Elance. Just a few points to remember: like eBay, the freelancers available to help you have ratings. Read them carefully, and send e-mails asking any questions first – you want someone who can do it all, from installing WordPress to importing your posts and more.
- Important note: You will need to give any passwords to these people, so make sure you check them out thoroughly first, and once your job is done, change them so that you’re the only one with access. A very basic Blogger-to-WordPress move for a pro shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.
So there you go! Option A is the harder one and may cause frustration. However, the more you DIY, the more you learn, and the more beneficial it is in the long run as you’ll discover how to do so much for yourself without the need to ask others for help. This could also result in saving you money. It’s really rewarding being able to do your own blog stuff.
Option B is more expensive and less stressful, but the more you don’t know, the more you’ll need to pay someone to do…
Hope that helps Jess!