Now that I’ve officially launched my brand new WordPress site, I’m following through on my promise to share a guide with all of you bloggers out there who might want to do the same. Below are the steps I took to move my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted site on WordPress.org.
SIGN UP FOR HOSTING SERVICES
I did mine through BlueHost because they have good rates, excellent customer service and the option to cancel at any time. More importantly (to me, at least) is that they prohibit pornography, nudity, and other adult content on their servers—I love them so much for that, I had to support them!
Hosting comes with a free domain, and since you already have a blog domain (and a blog that is live right now that you don’t want to mess up), just choose a domain name that can serve as a temporary URL while you get your new blog set up. I recommend registering for 36 months at $3.95 per month (which is $142.20 upfront). This is the best deal cost-wise, especially since there is no contract and you can cancel at any time.
NOTE: If you were planning on changing your domain name along with making this switch (or you’re still using the .blogspot URL), lucky you! Here you can just pick your new blog URL and skip the final steps of this guide, which are changing the domain settings and forwarding the nameservers.
Log into BlueHost (if you aren’t already) and go to the hosting tab, then the c-panel. From there, click on “Wordpress” under the “website builders” section. When you click, you’ll be taken to “Mojo Marketplace”—this is normal! Once it’s all loaded, click “start” and select the domain where you want to install WordPress (likely the temporary domain you’re using) and click “check domain.”
You should get an error message—that’s also normal. Since you’re doing this on a temporary domain, which won’t mess with your current Blogger blog, check the box that says, “Directory Exists! I understand that continuing will overwrite files.” You can skip over the advanced options, so just move along until you get to the “install now” button. Click that and be patient while it does its thing.
When you’re done, you’ll get an email from BlueHost with your URL, your WordPress login URL, your login username, and your password.
IMPORT YOUR BLOGGER CONTENT TO WORDPRESS
Now that you’ve set up your WordPress hosting, it’s time to move everything over from Blogger to WordPress. Before you do anything, though, go into your Blogger dashboard and create a label called “draft” for all of your blog drafts (if you’re like me, you have a million of them). When you move your content over to WordPress, these will likely be automatically published—if you have a tag for them, you can easily switch them back to drafts all at once.
Now, go to the login site for your temporary domain (it should be something like yourdomain.com/wp-admin). When you’re logged in and looking at the dashboard, go to “tools” and click “import posts.” Then choose “blogger” as the place you want to import from. You’ll be asked if you want to download the Blogger importer, and you’ll want to say yes to that and be sure to install and activate it. From there, you can authorize WordPress to import the content and follow along with the steps to move everything over.
Once the process is finalized, you’ll likely have drafts from Blogger now published on your WordPress site. To switch them back to draft status, click on “posts” in the left navigation menu. Find a post with the “drafts” tag, and click on the tag to bring up all of the posts with that tag. Select all of them, then from the “bulk actions” drop-down menu, choose “edit” and click “apply.” Click the “status” drop-down menu and choose “draft” and then click “update” and you’re all set!
CHOOSE AND INSTALL A THEME
This is entirely up to you! You may just want something simple—in which case there are tons of free WordPress themes out there. However, if you’re wanting something fancier or more specific than the free themes that are offered, Themeforest is a great place to find a premium theme, as well as Blog Milk, which offers super simple WordPress themes with a minimalistic look. Another option is hiring someone to design the site for you.
In order to avoid broken links, you’ll need to be sure that you have your new WordPress site use the same link structure as your Blogger site. To do this, click on “settings” in your WordPress dashboard, then “permalinks.” Choose “custom” and copy and paste this: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html
It’s worth noting that you may still have some broken links, even after doing this, and that just sort of comes with the territory of switching web hosts. That being said, you can easily change individual links manually within any post when you’re in edit mode (at the top of your post, right under the title).
CHANGE YOUR DOMAIN SETTINGS
Once you have your WP site all set up and ready, it’s time to change the domain settings from the temporary site you set up to the URL you want to use for the blog.
You’ll need to log into BlueHost, then go to the c-panel. On that page, scroll down to a section called “Database Tools” and click on the icon labeled “phpMyAdmin.” From there, click on “databases” and then the database for your WP installation (it’ll probably be the top one). Next, find “wp_options”—or what mine said, “diq_options” and click there.
Now, you need to make two changes: in line 1, change your temporary URL to the new URL (for example: I changed my test site URL to thoughtsbynatalie.com). Now go to the next page. On the line that says “home”—which should be line 36 or 37—again change the URL from the old one to the new one (so it’s the same as line 1 now).
UPDATE THE NAMESERVERS
For the final step of this process, you need to forward the nameservers on your domain to the site that’s hosting your new WordPress blog. To do this, go to the dashboard of the place you purchased your existing domain. For me, since I purchased thoughtsbynatalie.com through Blogger, I went logged in to my Google admin console (it should be something like admin.google.com/yourdomain). Next, click “domains” and then “advanced DNS settings.” Right click on “sign into DNS console” to open it in a new window, as you’ll need the info on the current page for your login. Now sign into your domain manager (which should be on GoDaddy if your domain was purchased through Google) using the info Google gave you in the admin console, and click on the domain name you want to use for your new WordPress blog.
Where it says nameservers, click “manage” to replace the existing nameservers with the ones where your new site will be hosted (i.e. BlueHost). If you’re hosting on BlueHost, your new nameservers will be ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com.
BE SUPER PATIENT
Congrats—you did it! Now all you can do is wait. Patience is key here, as it can take up to 72 hours for the nameservers to change. If you’re lucky, it might happen within a couple hours, but you can expect it to be at least a day (or two or three) before everything is good to go.
Will you be making the switch? Why or why not? (Also, let me know if you have additional questions in the comments section!)
(Disclosure: I am a BlueHost affiliate and may make a commission when you sign up. I recommend BlueHost because it’s what I use, and I’m super impressed with their service.)