Moving from Blogger to WordPress {Part 2: The How and How Much}

Has your head healed from all the exploding last time? Yes? Good, let’s get started.

Last time I told you why I switched to WordPress and gave you a general overview of WordPress, hosting, and themes. Let’s talk more about that, shall we?

Hosting

Using WordPress.org itself is free. You don’t need to pay to use it. However, it won’t work without hosting. That  you have to pay for.

There are lots of hosting options out there. I went with Bluehost, because they came highly recommended by several people, including Amy (Blogging with Amy) and the designer who did my actual transfer. Bluehost is a hosting company and you pay to use it. The only catch with them is that you pay up front. They draw you in with “As low as $5 per month!” but that actually means $5/month if you pay for 36 months all at once. If you have that much on hand, by all means, do that. I paid $8/month for one year, because I was paying a bunch of additional costs at the same time. Next year I’ll pay more at once, and get a lower rate.

DO NOT USE BLUEHOST. I repeat: DO NOT USE BLUEHOST. I have had nothing but problems with them from about a month in. In fact, right now (March ’13) I was supposed to be switched to their Pro server last night and they didn’t do the switch.

So yeah… DO NOT use Bluehost.

I know of one other hosting site, Hostgator, that allows you to pay per month as you go. I don’t know anything other about them though, so be sure to do your research.

Themes and Frameworks (i.e. Genesis)

Last time I told you I decided to use the Genesis framework and incorporate a child theme for my blog. (There are other options, like the Thesis framework and the free themes found on WordPress.org. I’m going to talk about Genesis because that is my experience.)

If you go to the Genesis website you can see all of their child themes. There are a ton to choose from. I used their theme-chooser tool to help me narrow down my choices. You can choose to narrow by color, custom features (like a custom header), theme category, layout.

Here’s where you will find a big difference between Blogger and WordPress. On Blogger you’re used to being able to go into your template and chose a new font color, font, or post width easy peasy. One click and it’s done. This is not so with WordPress. It’s all doable – but it requires changes to the CSS of your blog. Layout isn’t as easy as dragging one thing to a new location in WordPress either. There are certain areas (like sidebars) that you’re allowed to put things in and that’s it – unless you create a new area. Creating that needs code.

I don’t say all this to freak you out, although some of you probably are. It can all be done. The theme you choose does not have to look like that once you’re finished with it. It’s just easier if you choose a theme that has features you like (like width, navbar styles, layout, etc.) Things like colors can be (mostly) changed.

If you don’t believe me, let me give you my blog as an example. I chose the Pretty child theme. It looks like this, out-of-the box:

That’s not what this site looks like now, does it?

The Pretty theme had a “pink” color variation, and that’s the one I’m using. The background color, navbar color, and post title color came with the theme. I changed everything else.

When you’re choosing a theme pick one that has the layout that you want (Do you want two sidebars? Fancy drop-down menus? Customizable footers?). Most everything else can be changed.

{Amy also has a post on how to choose a child theme, if you’re interested.}

Genesis is a paid theme. I purchased Genesis with the Pretty theme for $79.95. That’s the cost for most themes + the Genesis framework.

Okay, still with me?

The last (huge) part of the switch: The Transfer.

Now, you can totally do this yourself. I know several bloggers who have. There is a book you can use that I’ve heard good things about, but never tried.

Now, most of you know me. I’m a stressball even in calm times. The margin of error is huge when doing something as big as a blog transfer and I wanted no part of it. So I hired someone.

I did do some searching and found the costs for the switch can vary. I went with Five J’s Design for my switch, because she came highly recommended by both Jerri and Amy. I got my site all ready to go (all pretty and stuff) and then she took it from there. She handled my domain name transfer from GoDaddy, transferring my posts to Bluehost, moving my comments, and my feeds.

Oh, and she held my hand too. She talked me off  a ledge and totally didn’t quit me after I sent her 14 emails in an hour.

In other words, she was calm, collected, and did an awesome job.

At the time of my transfer, Joy charged $225 to move everything over. That included transferring my domain name, my posts and comments, changing all the links, and redirecting my feeds. If you do use her, say hi for me. (FYI, her site said she wasn’t accepting new business but she still does transfers even if she’s full on design at the moment, so just drop her an email.)

And that’s it! Easy peasy, right?

I know, I crack myself up sometimes.

In summary, choose a host. If you decide to go with Genesis, choose a theme. And then decide on how you’re going to transfer your stuff. Honestly, I think choosing my theme was the hardest part! It was like Sophie’s choice for blogging.

I have gotten a few questions about Picasa/Blogger storage space. I don’t know any definite answers. I had to upgrade so long ago that I only have to pay a small amount per year, instead of per month. I will direct you to this post and this one for the answer to that question. (Well, the typical lawyer-cover-your-bottom doesn’t-really-say-anything answer. In other words, if anyone has personal experience with this, let me know.)

And that last thing about storage space? If you’re like me and pay $5/year for your storage instead of $2.50/month, be sure to go check out your account on google and make sure your credit card and address are up to date. Otherwise they will automatically switch you to the new, fancier, more expensive plan when your year is up. Good to know, since mine is up next month!

Next time I am going to talk about personalizing your theme. Get your bookmarks list ready, because I’m going to give you lots of links to help you out!

Thanks for reading!

Again, I’m not an expert. This is just my experience and the costs that I paid. Please be sure to do your own research on themes and costs before making the jump.
This post may be linked to:  Chic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff SaturdayWeekend Wrap Up Partyand all of these too!








Comments

  1. your migration sounds like all things considered, that it went really well! when i moved from blogger to WP it was a…nightmare. I lost tons of pics, posts, links, and it was a hot mess for about 2 weeks! It was my FT job working with my tech people to get it straitened out!

    congrats for doing it and being DONE!

  2. I’m “ugh”ing at Averie’s comment above ^^ sounds like a nightmare! Thankfully, your switch went a lot smoother and I’m hoping mine will, too, when I eventually switch over. GAH!

  3. I love how you’re sharing your experience with us Dorothy – I really need the insight. Thanks!

  4. You make it sound so easy. I’m not sure I’m ready to take that step, but I know I want to.

  5. You are so brave.
    I would love to, eventually, own my own domain, etc., but I know I’d need someone to hold my hand.

  6. Another great post! Thank you so much for spelling it all out for me :)

  7. I am seriously thinking of doing this so your experience is so helpful. It’s great to hear from a normal person and not an “expert” who talks over my head. Your blog looks great and I love the comment system. So easy for people to use.

  8. okay I am impressed, most of blogging goes right over my head, I am just excited when I actually get pictures to show up. You need to move here and do mine for me, oh and pay for it too, I will make you cookies if you do;p

  9. My site makeover was pretty seamless except for the whole day it went live. I was in shambles! I had to re-upload some photos at different measurements and all of my prior subscribers were lost. BUT it is all so worth it in the end. A beautiful and aesthetically pleasing site are well worth it all! Love the new look Dorothy.

  10. OK, huge question on the photo storage, I store my photos on my computer or on thumb drives. Will I have to have my photos stored on Picasa or some other “cloud server” if I switch to WP? This is a great series and Like I just started on your last post, I’m taking lots of notes!

    • Do you upload them into blogger from your computer to put them in your posts? If you upload to blogger, then they are stored in Picasa. At a certain point you will reach the end of your storage and need to upgrade it with Google. When you switch to wordpress all your images will remain hosted on Blogger as long as you do NOT DELETE your blogger blog. They will just all be redirected to your new wordpress site. Now, I haven’t figured out if you need to continue to pay storage forever or not. That’s something I want to know. Does that answer your question?

  11. I’m glad you switched and didn’t have too much trouble. I wish I could have been more help to ya! It all looks great though! :)

  12. I love the new look Dorothy and am grateful you shared your experience. There is such a huge learning curve for me in blog design, themes, etc and posts like this really help. :) Happy Friday!

  13. Ok, so here’s my stupid question (and I’m just going to ask it here in case someone else wants to know but feels too dumb to ask!): So. How do you buy your domain name on bluehoist when you already own it on google? Does that make any sense? Like…. how do I buy it from myself? If I go to bluehost today (because I got a coupon in my email for half off– think that’s legit?), and try to buy somethingswanky.com, will it let me?

    • That’s a good question. Honestly? I’m not 100% sure. I kept my name at GoDaddy and just redirected it to BlueHost (well, Joy did). So I think there must be a way to re-route it from blogger to wordpress. This link explains how one blogger did it. :)

  14. Thanks for posting this in onlineblogcon! I guess if I do this I’ll just pay someone!! I like to pay people to stress for me ;)

  15. Hi Dorothy,
    Did Five J’s Design also design your site for you? If not, who did?

    Thanks!

  16. Hi, I have a question for you. :) I am on blogger and I totally agree with you on them changing the fonts and then sometimes the pictures look weird. So if I were to transfer over how to you post new posts? Do you have software on your computer. It all sounds so confusing for a newbie like me, but you make it look like I could do it. Thanks so much!! Something I want to do for sure in the future.

    • Hi Cyndi! WordPress has a dashboard just like Blogger. It’s very different and takes time to get used to it, but I like it way more now. The one thing I can say is that it’s easier to switch before you have too many posts. I’m still working my way back editing the old ones!

  17. I’m in the middle of this whole process and I have returned to this page again and again and again! I know it doesn’t get as many pageviews, but it has been so helpful. Thank you for sharing!
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