Readers eager to know how I accomplished my move from Blogger to WordPress.com – this is the post for you. I’m going to talk about the practicalities, timescales, and also what I’ve gained and lost in the move.
So, first of all, let’s look at the profit and loss side of things.
|Features I’ve lost||Features I’ve gained|
|Google AdWords (due to no JS)||MUCH easier administration, I mean, it’s like Blogger’s the Dark Ages or something|
|Technorati search box (due to no JS)||Better comments system, integrated trackbacks, comment moderation, etc. etc.|
|Flickr badge (due to no JS, but replaced by an RSS feed of my most recent photos)||arbitrary pages (see the bar at the top of the page)|
|Favicon / tab icon||w.bloggar now knows the names of posts when I retrieve them|
There’s nothing there that upsets me too much. I did waste some time trying to make things like Google AdWords and my Flickr badge work, until I read the small print and realised that they are not going to do so. I’m over it.
Now, let’s look at the sequence of events.
- Created the WordPress account.
Remember that the username you choose is going to be your domain name. In hindsight, for continuity of branding I should probably have used thelostoutpost as my username, but I didn’t. I’m keeping the name for the blog, though. I’m also a bit disappointed at losing the favicon, from a branding perspective – everyone on WordPress.com gets the same icon and I can’t see a way to change it.
- Using the Dashboard (which is a fantastic feature and again, far better than the Blogger tools), used the Import option to move my posts over from Blogger.
The import tools support Movable Type or Blogger only, so I guess I was lucky. It was a brilliant process – you give WordPress your Blogger credentials, and it pulls everything over, including comments, and retains all the dates. The only things I lost were a couple of bits of style information (span style tags in HTML) and Amazon Associates iframes that I’d embedded in a number of posts.
- Chose a theme.
- Setup the pages and the sidebar.
I moved some of the information that was previously in my sidebar into pages, available from the top bar. I effectively moved my profile information and site links to the About Me page, and information on other stuff I’ve written to the Writings page. The WordPress editors make this a breeze.
- Created categories, aka tags.
As you create categories, there’s some AJAX funkiness that tries to present you with existing tags that are similar. If similar ones exist, choose them. The reason is that posts added to the categories you choose will be added to the global WordPress.com tag cloud. This is a great feature.
- Created links for my blogroll.
As you add links (Dashboard -> Links -> Add Link), they will be displayed in the Links widget in the sidebar. You can also setup relationships, e.g. colleague, friend, met etc..
- Updated references elsewhere.
In my case, I had to change my newsreader and email signatures; my domain redirection on www.andypiper.co.uk; my FOAF profile; my Flickr, Technorati, Plazes, Suprglu, and other profiles. I’m sure I will have missed some. I also needed to add the new blog to Flickr’s BlogThis feature, and create a new w.bloggar account (now up to 5 and counting…)
- Tagged/categorised old entries.
Finally – and this was the kind of tedious bit – I needed to go back through my old posts (~90 of them) and categorise them. The other thing I did at the same time was to change any links pointing back at old blog posts, to point at the same blog posts as they had been imported here, e.g. change thelostoutpost.blogspot references to andypiper.wordpress references. This was probably the most time-consuming part of the whole exercise.
So, there you have it. A “how-to migrate from Blogger to WordPress” guide. The other thing I said I’d discuss was timescales – the initial migration took just minutes, but overall this has taken me a good portion of the weekend, with the last step taking the most time… largely because I kept distracting myself and doing something else instead of churning through all my old entries.
The final thing that is exercising my brain is how to get the new blog higher in the Google search results. It could be that Blogger-hosted blogs get a higher priority in Google’s search results. Although I’ve submitted the new site to MSN Search, Google, and others, I haven’t managed to get a single hit for entries from this blog in search results, yet. Maybe I just need more traffic. Anyway, the last entry in my Blogger blog says that it is closed… I’m not currently planning to go through and change every entry there to point at this new site, but if traffic doesn’t change, then I may do that. Some automation would be helpful, though 😦
Anyway, here I am. Looking forward to this new experience. I hope you’ll continue to read, possibly comment on, and possibly even enjoy (!) this blog.