Moving From Blogger to WordPress {The Why and What}

Well, it’s been a week since I made my move to WordPress, and so far, so good. I’ve had a few kinks to work out, but I’m happy with the switch.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why and how I moved from Blogger to WordPress, and I want to answer those questions. I have a lot to talk about, so I think this will end up being a few part series, instead of one looooong post. There is so much that goes into making the switch: Why? How? When? What the heck do I do? What does it cost? I’m hoping I can answer some of those questions by telling you about my WordPress experience.

Before we start, I’ll let you know that I did not have my site professionally designed. I used a (paid) theme and I changed it up to my liking. I did not do the transfer from Blogger to WordPress myself – I would have probably died from the stress if I tried. By designing the site myself I was able to save a lot of money and I paid someone to do the transfer for me.

First of all, the big question: Why? Why switch from Blogger to WordPress?

The answer to that is unique for every blogger. Really, what I chose for me is not necessarily what you would choose for you. BUT, here are some of my reasons.

First, Blogger is free (which, yes, is a plus.) But Blogger owns your site. You may have your blog backed up on your computer, but ultimately Blogger owns it. Which means that, at any time, if they deem your content inappropriate, they can take your site down. Now, that never happened to me, but I did have some email hack problems awhile back, and I was locked out of Google Docs for several days. Why would Blogger be any different? Switching to a self-hosted WordPress site means that you can own your own blog. It’s hosted on a server that you pay for, but you own the content.

Second, I was very frustrated with Blogger and it’s non-existent help. Ever since Google started making changes to the Blogger interface, I couldn’t get answers to my questions. Things changed on my site for no reason (like the font default becoming Times – it wouldn’t let me change it back) and I could get no answers from Blogger.

Third, I want to grow my blog. I’m hoping one day it can become a lucrative source of income. Everything I’ve ever read about SEO (don’t ask, I still don’t get it) and growing your blog talks about making the move to WordPress. I knew a year ago I wanted to switch…it just took me this long to make a decision.

Of course, all the “popular kids” are self-hosted. I won’t lie; that did factor into my final decision. I always wanted to be popular in school. Instead I was the kid who sat in the upstairs hallway during lunch. That wasn’t my reason for switching…but it would be dishonest not to admit I thought about it!

Now, those are my reasons. You probably have different ones. I did a lot of Googling while I was trying to decide, and one of my searches landed me at Blogging with Amy. Her site is amazing; she has tutorials and info and lots of great articles. She even did a whole series on switching from Blogger to WordPress. I suggest you read it too; it explains things way better than I can.

{FYI, Amy has no idea who I am, but I reeeallly love her site. She is the first place I search when I have a WordPress question. Bookmark her site!}

Okay. So we talked about why WordPress. Now what the heck is it?

There are two kinds of WordPress sites: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a free blogging tool, like Blogger. WordPress.org is for self-hosting.

When you create a WordPress.org site, because it’s self-hosted, you need somewhere for it to live. That’s where a hosting service comes in. If you go to WordPress.org, it tells you the hosting companies it likes you to use. Most hosting companies out there will work, but WP has some favorites. You have to figure out the best one for you. A lot of this decision may be based on price, which is something we’ll talk about later.

Once you have a a host (I use Bluehost) and you have WordPress (.org NOT .com) installed, you need a theme.

Now. This is where it can get (even more?) confusing.

Worpress.org has lots of themes. A lot are even free. You can do a basic search on their site and find one you like. However, to take a basic theme on WordPress and make it “pretty”…well, you kinda need to know a lot of coding. And, if you mess up, you can affect the functionality of the site.

Some WordPress themes, like Genesis and Thesis, lay the basic framework for your site. Then you customize them with a child theme, which is the “pretty” you want for your blog. (I went with Genesis, so that’s what I’ll be talking about.)

Think of it like this: WordPress is the the brain, heart, and lungs of your blog. It’s how you control the site.  Genesis (or any other framework you choose) is the skeleton. It frames the body of the site. A child theme is the skin, the layer on top of the framework that you see. You can make (somewhat) easy changes to the child theme without having to make changes to the actual bones of your site.

I never considered going with a basic theme. A few other blogger friends who recently switched (Jerri, Shawn, and Lisa) all gave me the Genesis recommendation. (FYI, I did look into Thesis…but their website was way too confusing for me.)

If you visit the Genesis website, you can browse through all their child themes. There are a lot of them! They have a handy dandy theme-chooser tool you can play with. Choose options you want and it will help you narrow down your choices.

So, basically, once you decide you want to switch you need to choose your host and then choose your theme (or your framework, i.e. Genesis, and your child theme). Once you know what you want, then you can think about how and how much.

And I bet this is where your head has started to explode a little…right?

Let’s let all that sink in a bit. Next time I’ll talk more about Genesis, child themes, and costs.

I kind of have an idea of all the stuff I want to talk about during this series…but if there are any specific things you want to know, either ask in the comments or email me. I’ll add it to my list if I know the answer!

Thanks for reading!

I am not a expert on anything related to blogging. I am just chronicling my experience in this series. Please be sure to do your own research before attempting a large project like a transfer from Blogger to WordPress.

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. I switched from blogger to WP about 12-15 mos into my blogging career and it was so worth it. A hair pull while you’re doing it but long term, a bazillion times better. Blogger is a good starting platform, and WP is where you stay :)

  2. And that big long explanation is why I am in debt to a designer. I am stupid. yes, I at least admit it! However, I’ve totally bookmarked Amy’s site for future questions I’m SURE to have! you did a great job.
    One question, cause my switch hasn’t quite happened yet…writing posts and stuff in Genesis, is it hard? I think I actually am going with the Thesis framework…I have a feeling I need some serious tutorials..

    • You totally are not! I bet you could do it, but I totally understand using the designer. The dashboard is WordPress, regardless of Thesis/Genesis. There is definitely a learning curve to it. Spacing seems weird, adding photos seems weird. But I’m slowly getting used to it, and you are welcome to ask questions as you have them! I’m thinking of doing a tour of my dashboard part in the series too, for those of us who are clueless. :)

  3. This is so helpful and you know from our walks! Now you’re like a Blogging Mother where I can ask you all my little questions and you’ll guide me with your wisdom and insight. But don’t worry, you’re a hot mom, not like, a toga-wearing mom, so we’re all good.

  4. Wow! Thank you so much for all the great information! I really need to do this.. I look forward to the rest of your post on switching.

  5. Should NOT have read this right before bed. I can already feel my blood pressure rising….. Thanks though :)

  6. I cannot wait to start searching – my designer wanted to do wordpress – but I was so used to blogger – now I’m kicking myself – maybe I’ll get to be a cool kid like you soon:)

    GREAT info

  7. Great post! I just switched to wp this week! I paid someone to do the transfer, used Genesis and I don’t remember what theme. It absolutely overwhelms me, but you did a great job explaining the essence. Your blog looks great, you cool kid!

  8. Dear Lord. I think my head just exploded a little bit. I want to learn to do this stuff. But then I don’t. Because I’m horrible at computer stuff. I think it’s awesome that you managed to make “the conversion”.

  9. I want to switch to wordpress for so many reasons…mostly the same reasons you did! But seriously I will need someone to do it for me. There is no way I understand any of the coding and stuff! I will have lots of questions for you when I finally do it:-)

  10. I have been contemplating this as well. Thanks for your insight!

  11. I know I need to start thinking about this. I can’t wait to hear about your traffic changes….and all the other changes too! (I want to be one of the cool kids too…:))

  12. You’re brave, Dorothy!!!!! The new site looks fantastic. I’ll be interested to hear more about your switch … there are days I’m all gung-ho and think I’ll tackle making the switch and work at growing my blog … and then there are days when I can’t even imagine taking that on and am okay with staying my little-teeny-slice-of-blogland. We’ll see …
    Looking forward to reading your series!!
    Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground

  13. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme says:

    OMG Dorothy do you know how much I LOVE this post! I have just seriously hired someone to start doing this for my site. My head has been spinning for days, months about making the switch. I am nervous and excited at the same time. It is SO good to hear this feedback about your experience with the switch since I am just beginning it. I hired someone earlier today to redo my site and the transfer but I needed to pick my hosting and for the last several hours I was flipping between two. You helped me make my decision; Bluehost it is! You did a great job with your site! Can’t wait to hear more about the process! :)

  14. So interesting that you posted this. I had the lovely experience of running out of photo space on Picasa this week. Now $2.50 a month is not a lot to pay to increase my storage, but what happens if I stop paying, do all my photos on my blog go away? I don’t like that idea one bit. I am so ignorant, I didn’t realize Blogger WAS pulling from Picasa, and that all along I should have been resizing my photos to 800 x 800 or less to save space.
    So some questions for the ignorant:
    Can all my friends who read me through Blogger or get a direct email still follow me? Will a Word Press blog come up on a person’s blog posts like they come up when you join Blogger?
    Why did you just not get your own website outright?
    Where are the photos stored? What is the capacity? What if you run out of storage space?
    I am so confused! My husband wants me to just get my own website, but come on, I’m just a blogger, it’s not like I’m some kind of professional. This all seemed so simple to start with!

    Jessica
    all squared up

    • Here is what I found when I searched about storage on Picasa: http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2375124 and on cancellation: http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2460432&topic=2375121&ctx=topic. I’m not 100% clear if your photos are still accessible or not. I think they do that on purpose! The only advice I can give, would be to start making your photos smaller now (those don’t seem to count towards storage space) and then, over time, if you switch to WP, switch over your photos. Unless you can get a better answer from Google. HAHAHAHA.

      As for the following, any feeds can be redirected. I didn’t do my transfer, but the designer who did was able to transfer my feedburner feeds. Google Friend Connect, the widget your have for following on your sidebar, cannot go with you. However, somehow, those followers are still getting my feed.

      I didn’t know about WordPress when I started out. It would have made my life easier if I did! :) If you’re super confused about whether to switch, I will direct you to Blogging with Amy’s series about if you should switch. That might help! Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions!

  15. This is great info! We are actually in the middle of the moving over – I did the transfer and am hiring someone to make everything pretty. But I’m really excited about it all even though there’s some learning involved. Your site looks great!

  16. I’m so glad you posted this, I’ve toyed with the idea of switching over too but just the thought overwhelms me!!

  17. Great post, I often think about switching from Blogger too…but just haven’t committed to it yet. I’ll look forward to the rest of your series to learn more. Thanks!

  18. I know I need to switch, but I keep putting it off. Blogger still confuses me at times so I know a switch would make me crazy! However, reading this makes me want to look into it a bit more. Thanks for sharing!

  19. I made the move to self hosted wordpress from blogger last year and I couldn’t be happier! There are so many more options to customize! Plus I, like you, had a TON of problems on blogger and got no help with them. Great Post!

  20. Thank you for sharing you experience and wisdom. I have been so frustrated with that non-existant support at Blogger as well and keep hearing this is the switch that must be made, but I’m such a newbie. I will be pinning your post and coming back to check on updates and future posts to soak up as much info as possible! I think my first step is to buy my domain name though, right? I need to read all these great Qand A’s too.

    • Yes, for sure get your domain. I know you can do it through blogger, which is probably the easiest set up. If you go through a hosting site (like GoDaddy) I’d go with a host you might think you’ll use if you ever switch (like BlueHost). Easier to transfer the domain that way!

  21. Okay, my head is exploding. I took the first step today and registered my domain name with GoDaddy. However, I have a problem that is making me so crazy. When I try to finish the process, I get this message from Google’s Blogger: Maintenance in progress – Domain switching disabled. . Now, if they had any form of customer service, I could go there and ask for help, but as you know, they don’t. I want to pull my hair out. If you have any suggestions on what to do, I’d GREATLY appreciate it. I’d even bake you some cookies. :)

  22. Somehow I missed this first post, but I did just get my e-mail about your second post in the series. I haven’t had much trouble with blogger but had already made the decision to move to WP.org in Jan. So glad you’re doing this series. I will be hiring someone to do my transfer but I’ve found, know what to ask for in advance makes everyone happier. I’ll Check out Amy’s posts and I’m taking notes on yours!

  23. thanks for the guide. I am planning to move my blogger blog to wordpress.

  24. Great info Dorothy! I am just starting to research moving my blog over to wp. (Ahhhhhh!!!) I’m thinking it may be best if I pay someone to do the actual transfer. Who transferred your site over?
    Nicole recently posted..Fig & Walnut Energy BitesMy Profile

  25. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment
    (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.
    jim c cott recently posted..jim c cottMy Profile

  26. Quite funny, I found your blog whilst recipe surfing and I stumbled across this post as I’m considering switching over for many of the same reasons you mentioned. Loved the informant you provided and yes my head does feel like its about to explode lol. Great blog by the way, got it bookmarked now :-)

  27. Katherin says:

    Thank you so much, Dorothy!
    I was hesitating so much on WordPress switching, i’d almost lost my mind! I was so bored with Blogger service that I though to leave all that blogging matters. You gave a really good proofs why I should switch to wordpress.
    So, not I’m on migration path. I want to move my content as fast as it possible! Thus, I was looking for some automated way of content transfer. I couldn’t deal with wordpress importer, it’s difficult for me. I found transfer tool cms2cms. I haven’t used it yet, I need some expert estimate. Here’s video how it performs blogger to wordpress migration http://www.cms2cms.com/blog/a-must-watch-how-to-migrate-from-blogger-to-wordpress-in-5-steps-video/

    It looks pretty simple and uncomplicated. What do you think on this? I would like to hear your suggestions
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Katherin! First, yay for deciding to switch! I honestly have no clue about the actual transfer itself. That was WAY too technical and over my head scary for me. I hired Joy, of 5 J’s Design, to do the switch for me. She set me up on my host, installed my themes, and transferred all my stuff once I had the design complete. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help! If you feel that you are able to do the technical switching steps, I say go for it! :)

  28. hey, thanks a lot! im gonna try this on my blogger blog.

  29. I’ve been debating making this move all week. Thanks for the great article and offering some clarity!

    Vanessa
    Vanessa recently posted..Coconut Almond Ice Cream SundaeMy Profile

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  31. hey. you have a very clear tutorial, thanks a lot! i’m gonna use this method you’d provided.

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