Moving from Blogger to WordPress can be overwhelming, especially if you’re worried that it’ll affect your daily traffic, Google page rank, and your number of followers. Try not to worry – all of this will be covered in this post. This blogging tutorial goes into the nitty-gritty of Blogger to WordPress migration. I covered the basics of Blogger to WordPress Migration in my last post – Blogger to WordPress Migration: the Step by Step Guide.
If you’re reading this blogging tutorial, you should have already imported your Blogger posts and comments into your new self-hosted WordPress blog. You’re almost done with your WordPress migration. All you need to do is tweak a few things, redirect your old blogspot URL to your new one, play with your WordPress design, and get everything in working order.
You can do the following steps in any order that applies to you. I’ve organized them in the order that I did them during my Blogger to WordPress migration. (Again, I am using Gracie Lu Shih Tzu’s blog as my example. She’s my fur baby.)
Step 1. Play With Your WordPress Design
You can tweak your design after your Blogger to WordPress migration is complete, but before I redirect my domain name, I like to have my blog looking exactly like I want it to look. The basic WordPress theme is very blah.
WordPress themes are plentiful. You can find free themes from WordPress.org’s Free Themes Directory, and you can also buy premium themes from developers. The two most popular premium themes are Thesis (which I use on Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies) and Genesis.
For Gracie’s blog, I am using a free magazine theme, called IsoTherm. To install a theme, you need to go to Appearance → Themes.
Find the tab that says “Install Themes.” You can search for the theme you want (if it’s available on the WordPress themes directory), or you can directly upload the theme that you want to use.
After you upload the WordPress theme that you want to use, you will need to “activate” it. Then, it’s time to play around the design!
Each WordPress theme has different ways for you to tweak the design. Because of the plethora of themes and design options out there, I can’t guide you through the process. In general, however, you can tweak the appearance of your WordPress blog by going to your Dashboard → Appearance.
Click on “Appearance” on the left side menu, and you’ll see several options. The “Editor” section is where you can play around with the stylesheet. For the sidebars, you will go to “Widgets.”
Step 2. Adding “www” to your URL (Preferred Domain)
I don’t know about you, but I like my URLs to be www.MyDomainName.com, instead of http://myDomainName.com. Google Webmaster Tools calls this your “preferred domain,” and it is how you want your website to appear in search results. Add “www” to your domain name is a matter of preference.
To do this in WordPress, click on “Settings” → General.
Under “Wordpress address” and “Site address,” you can add the “www” to your domain name, or leave it with just “http://.”
Step 3. Changing Your Permalinks
For the easiest Blogger to WordPress migration, you need to change your Permalink structure. The default WordPress permalink setting is www.YourDomainName.com/?p=123. You do NOT want to keep the default permalink setting for many reasons, but it’s just bad for SEO purposes.
When you’re switching from Blogger to WordPress, you need to change your WordPress permalink to match your Blogger URL.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Settings→ Permalinks.
Select “Custom Structure,” and type this: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html
This is the basic structure of the Blogger permalink. It’s very important that you change your permalinks to this, as this will make it easier to redirect visitors who go to an old Blogger page/URL to your new one.
(You don’t have to keep this permalink structure down the road, but for now, in order to redirect all your old URLs to the corresponding new one, you must use this structure.)
Step 4. Maintaining Permalinks (Keeping them Exactly the Same)
So, you have changed your WordPress permalink to www.yourdomain.com//year/monthnumber/postname.html for each and every post. But this isn’t enough to map your new WordPress permalinks to your old Blogger’s posts.
You may have noticed that your new permalinks are slightly different than your blogger URLs. This is because Blogger has a 39 character limit for its URL. If your post title is longer than this maximum character length, Blogger will truncate (shorten) the URL. WordPress doesn’t have this URL character limit, which is why you may notice a difference between your Blogger permalink, and your WordPress permalink (with the custom structure applied).
For example, your Blogger truncated permalink will look like this. (You will notice that the word “adventures” is cut off in this URL):
With the permalink custom structure applied, in WordPress, the same post URL looks like this (No words have been truncated from the post title):
To solve this truncation problem when migrating from Blogger to WordPress, you could manually change all the WordPress permalinks to make them exactly like Blogger’s permalinks. But an easier way to solve this problem is to use the Maintain Blogger Permalink plugin.
Since this blogging tutorial is for newbie bloggers, I am going to walk you through all of the steps of using the plugin. (The steps for using the “Maintain Blogger Permalink Plugin” are also found on the developer’s website.)
Installing and Using Maintain Blogger Permalink Plugin
In order to use this plugin, you need to have imported your posts from Blogger to WordPress using the built-in importer. (I outlined this in my previous post, Blogger to WordPress Migration: The Step by Step Guide)
Next, you need to download the plugin from the developer’s website (link above).
Do NOT unzip the file. (I don’t know why other instructions ask you to unzip the file, but I have never done it.) Go to your WordPress dashboard, scroll down to Plugins → Add New → Upload.
Find the maintain blogger permalink zip file on your computer and click Install Now.
On the next screen, click “Activate Plugin.”
Next, go to “Tools” on your left side menu, find “Maintain Blogger Permalinks.”
You will get another screen that says, “Done!” with a list of all your updated post names. It looks like this:
Go back to your Plugin List, deactivate the Maintain Blogger Permalink and delete it. This is a one-time use plugin, and it just takes unnecessary space if you keep it.
Redirecting Blogger to WordPress
To redirect all your blogger posts to the corresponding WordPress posts, you will need the help of a blogger redirect plugin. This isn’t an easy task, however. There are a TON of Blogger to WordPress redirection plugins out there that fail miserably. Some of them redirect all your individual posts your homepage – which can be irritating. (For example, if someone is Googling this blog for “Baby Poop Decoder” and they end up on “How to Prevent the Flu in Pregnancy,” they will probably click off immediately, increasing my bounce rate unnecessarily.)
Other redirection plugins may direct you to the correct post, but there’s an additional step that the visitor must overcome. They get this page that says, “You’re about to be directed … The blog that used to be here is now at www.whatever.com. Do you wish to be directed?”
You don’t want to have an additional step for your reader to overcome. Who really wants to have to click “Yes” and then wait for a few extra minutes before your new site loads?
Plus, this message TOTALLY screwed up my Google Reader followers. It didn’t allow Google Reader to update my feed. (It took me weeks before I figured out that this message was to blame. Quite irritating.) It also acted like a huge no-follow wall for Google spiders. It stopped them from updating my old posts with my new domain name.
To avoid this headache, you need to find the RIGHT Blogger to WordPress redirection plugin. As I was transitioning my dog, Gracie’s blog for this tutorial, I came across many plugins that simply either didn’t work with the newest edition of WordPress (version 3.2.1 at this writing), or they redirected to the homepage, or they had the longest redirect wait times. FINALLY, I came across the BEST Blogger to WordPress 301 redirection plugin.
Blogger 301 Redirect – This plugin offers one to one mapping of each individual blog post. For example, my old Blogger URL (http://tails-misadventures.blogspot.com/2010/07/growing-up-so-fast.html) is automatically redirected to http://www.gracielushihtzu.com/2010/07/growing-up-so-fast.html without the annoying “You’re About to Be Redirected” page.
To download Blogger 301 Redirect, go to your WordPress Dashboard → Plugins → Add New → Search for “Blogger 301 Redirect.” It should be the first one that pops up. The developer is Sudipto Pratap Mahato.
After you install and activate the plugin, you need to go down to “Settings” → “Blogger 301 Redirect.” Check the settings you want and click “Save Changes.”
Copy the Code provided, and follow the instructions provided.
Add the Redirection Code to Blogger
The Blogger 301 Redirect plugin options page will give you detailed instructions on what to do with the code. But I will provide a photo tutorial, just in case you’re a complete newbie.
To use this plugin (or any Blogger to WordPress redirection plugin), you are going to have to use the old Blogger interface. Not the new interface.
Go to your Blogger Dashboard and find the blog you want to redirect to WordPress. Click on “Design” and then “Edit HTML.”
At the bottom of the page, click on “Revert to Classic Template.”
To avoid major errors, you need to backup a copy of the HTML. Copy and Paste the HTML currently there into Notepad, TextEdit, or another Word Processing program. You want to be able to access this code in the event that something goes wrong. This is VERY important.
Delete everything in the HTML box, and paste the new redirection code (provided by the plugin). Save your changes.
Now, you can check any of your old blog posts, and you’ll see that they redirect to the new one. Woot! How exciting is that?
Warning: Do NOT Delete Your Blog
After you’ve redirected your blog to WordPress, you need to keep your old Blogger site. Do NOT delete it. This is very, very important. Even though you’re not using your Blogger site anymore, there are a number of reasons why you should keep it.
For one, your old links will still be pulled up in Google and other search engines. It’s better to redirect potential readers, rather than them getting an error message.
Another reason, if you hosted your images on Blogger and you delete your blog, you are going to lose all those images. WordPress doesn’t import your photos; it only LINKS to them.
So, bottom line, keep your Blogger blog!
For Any Bloggers Who Want to Change Their Permalink Structure
There are a few plugins that are useful if you are planning to change your WordPress permalink structure at any point. The two that I use include:
- Advanced Permalinks (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/advanced-permalinks/)
- Permalink Finder (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/permalink-finder/)
Update Your RSS Feed
Now that you’ve moved over to WordPress, and all your redirects are in place, it’s time to update your RSS information. This ensures that your old subscribers get your new updates and posts, and it allows new subscribers to sign up for your RSS feed. There are two ways of updating your RSS Feed Information.
For Feedburner Users
If you use Feedburner for your RSS feeds, you need to go to your Feedburner account, find the blog you want to change, and click on “Edit Feed Details.”
Next, update the feed to your new domain name. (You don’t need to do anything, if your domain name hasn’t change.) The default WordPress feed URL is www.yourblog.com/feed. Type this into the line that says “Original Feed.” Save your changes.
If you changed your “Feed Address” during this move, you need to insert your new feed URL in the following section. (If you have been using Feedburner all along and the Post Feed Redirect URL in your Blogger account already has the correct information, you don’t need to worry about the next step.)
Change the “Post Feed Redirect URL” in Blogger
This step is for bloggers who don’t have a Feedburner account, and for Bloggers who are on Feedburner but haven’t updated this information.
To change the “Post Feed Redirect URL” in Blogger, you need to go to your Blogger Dashboard → Click on your Blog Name. In the old interface, click on “Settings” → “Site Feed.” (If you’re using the new interface, you go to “Settings” → “Other.”)
Add your Feedburner URL in the spot that says “Post Feed Redirect URL.”
You’re almost done! If your WordPress theme has an area where you can insert your RSS Feed Address, please do so at this time. If not, you can download a plugin that allows you to do this. (“FD Feedburner” is a plugin that will integrate Feedburner with WordPress, if your theme doesn’t have this option.)
Redirecting Your Old Subscribers
There is one final step that you have to accomplish. You have to redirect your existing blog subscribers. Your subscribers’ Google Reader won’t automatically fetch your updates (or new blog posts) unless you do this step.
You need to download and activate a plugin called “Redirection.”
Once it’s activated, go to Tools → Redirection.
Enter your Feedburner Settings. The Source URL should be your Blogger feed URL (It has the structure of http://youroldblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default), and the Target URL should be your Feedburner URL. Click “Add Redirection” when you’re done.
WordPress Migration Complete
I hope that I’ve covered everything you need to know about WordPress migration. Let me know if there are any steps that I didn’t get to. I transited my dog’s blog as I wrote this tutorial, so I have followed all the steps, and they work perfectly. This is how I moved from Blogger to WordPress. All of the plugins I suggested worked at this writing. Future updates of WordPress may change things, however. So keep that in mind.
This process can be difficult, so I won’t be able to troubleshoot all your problems in the comments. (Lots of things can go wrong). I can troubleshoot some problems, depending on the complexity. Just giving you guys fair warning.
Hope this Blogger to WordPress Migration tutorials was helpful. If you think the steps are too complicated, and you want to transition over to WordPress, I do offer paid services to help you out. You can always hire me to transition you from Blogger to WordPress. (My prices are very affordable – $200 for the total transition.)
Don’t forget to read other posts in Blogger to WordPress series:
Blogger to WordPress Migration: A Step by Step Guide
In this article, you will learn the basics of Blogger to WordPress migration. Read this post before you attempt any of the steps outlined on this page.
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