I recently decided to switch from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress and thought it would make a good post as it was actually super easy. It’s 100% possible to switch your blog from Blogger to WordPress all by yourself, even if you have little knowledge about coding or website setup. I was completely clueless before I began, but after some research I managed to do it. Honestly, it isn’t all that difficult, it just involves following specific steps.
I haven’t really been into blogging for very long, but the reason why I decided to switch from a free blogging platform to self-hosted WordPress is because it gives you full ownership and control of your blog. Moreover, WordPress provides SEO optimisation, page customisation and many other features which Blogger doesn’t.
Now, let’s begin your journey from Blogger to Self-hosted WordPress..
1. Sign up to a hosting platform to switch your blog from Blogger to WordPress
To be self-hosted, the first step requires to sign up to a hosting platform. Luckily, they are not very expensive and are definitely worth it if you want more control over your blog. There are quite a few options. I know many people use Bluehost, but I personally chose Siteground * as my host. I’ve heard they have great customer service and they provide a pretty good variety of packages which suit many traffic and storage needs. Currently, all of their monthly hosting packages are 60% off and you can lock in that rate by paying up-front. If you don’t have a blog yet, but you’ve been thinking about getting one, this would be a great time as you could grab yourself a great deal.
Once you follow this link to Siteground *, click to see the options for your hosting needs. Since my blog is fairly new I decided to go for the StartUp package. If you’re a new/small blogger I’d recommend going for this one as it covers up to 10,000 monthly visits, and offers 10GB of web space which is plenty, yet it’s the cheapest option. As your blog grows you can always upgrade to their larger packages if needed.
If you think you will need more storage space or want to migrate more than one website, the GrowBig or GoGeek packages might be for you.
1.1 Fill in your information
Once you’ve selected a package, click ‘Get Started‘ and you will be taken to the next page. I had my own custom domain on Blogger (i.e. my blog address was www.agnesehadebe.com instead of www.agnesehadebe.blogspot.com) before I went self-hosted. Thus, I selected ‘I already have a domain‘, typed it in and proceeded. If you don’t have a custom domain you will have to purchase one. You can buy one from Siteground by selecting ‘Register a New Domain‘. The domain costs £9.95 a year from Siteground. However, you can get one cheaper from Godaddy who offer custom domains for £0.99 for the 1st year.
Once you’ve sorted your domain, you can proceed to the next page where you will have to fill in your e-mail, set up a password, type in your name, address and card details. Then you will be able to select for how long you want to stay self-hosted (1 month, 12 months, 24 months or 36 months). Siteground also provides and extra service ‘SG Site Scanner‘ which is a monitoring service that checks your website daily to see if it has been hacked or injected with malicious codes. This service costs £1.30 a month. I chose to pay for this service, as I go by the motto ‘better be safe than sorry’. However, I have now thought about it and it’s completely unnecessary if you’re a new/small blogger. Once you’ve paid, you’re all set! You now have a self-hosted website!
2. Install WordPress
Now it’s time to install WordPress on your site. WordPress won’t act as your blog, but rather a software that allows your site to function as a blog. In this step you will put it on your site to essentially turn it into a blog. To do so, go to ‘My Accounts‘ at the top of your Siteground account. Then click ‘cPanel‘ under your site’s address and select the WordPress icon on your cPanel page (under ‘Autoinstallers‘ section).
Once you select that, you will be taken to a page that explains what the software is all about. Click ‘Install Now‘ on that page. Once it’s installed type in your blog info and desired login info. You now own a self-hosted WordPress blog!
However, your blog’s URL is most likely still linked to Blogger. If you have just registered your domain you can skip Step 3, but if you already had a custom domain on Blogger, you now need to remove it from Blogger.
3. Change your domain to Siteground’s DNS settings
When you registered with Siteground, you should have received an email which lists two different nameservers associated with your new site (if you didn’t receive or can’t find this email you can find them on your cPanel’s left hand side). Now you will need to copy and paste them on your account where your domain is registered. As previously mentioned my domain is registered on GoDaddy. Thus, I will list the steps I took to change the nameservers on GoDaddy, but you should be able to find them on any other site.
First I went onto ‘My Products‘ on GoDaddy’s site which lists the domains I have purchased. Next to my domain there’s DNS settings. Once I clicked that, it took me to the nameservers page. Then I clicked ‘Change‘ under ‘Nameservers‘, selected ‘Custom‘ under ‘Choose your new name server type‘ and pasted the nameservers that were emailed to me and pressed ‘Save‘. Once you’ve changed your nameservers your site should point to the new self-hosted WordPress site.
4. Back up your Blogger content
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This step is important, because sometimes transfers don’t go as planned and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to lose all your content that you’ve worked hard for. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to back up your Blogger content. This is super easy and should take less than a minute.
On your Blogger account, go to ‘Settings‘, then ‘Other‘. You will see a button at the top which says ‘Back up Content‘. Click it and a file which ends with .xml should download on your computer. This file contains all of your posts, comments and other information that is needed to transfer your posts to WordPress.
Next, I recommend backing up your blog’s theme in case you decide to go back to Blogger. To do so, go to ‘Theme‘, click ‘Edit HTML‘ and copy all of the coding you see in the box and paste it into a simple text editor on your computer (I used TextEdit on my Macbook).
5. Remove the last few traces of your domain from Blogger
If you had your custom domain on Blogger, there’s a few more things you need to do to completely remove it from your Blogger account. If you just registered your domain, you can skip this step.
Go to ‘Settings‘, click ‘Basic‘ and then the X next to your custom domain name that you just switched to WordPress. Click OK when the ‘Are you sure’ box pops up. This will avoid any confusion about where your domain is directed. Next click on ‘Privacy‘ on the same page and select ‘No‘ on both of the questions. Now Google won’t get confused where to go to find your content.
Now, under ‘Settings‘, go to ‘Other‘. Blogger and WordPress feed links are formatted slightly differently, so you need to change your Blogger feed (which links your content to sites such as Bloglovin) to import the WordPress feed when you publish a new post on WordPress.
You need to change this box to ‘http://www.yoursite.com/feed’ instead of what’s there right now (probably something like http://yourblog.com/feeds/posts/default).
At this point you should be able to access your blog on Blogger by typing in your old yourblog.blogspot.com address. Now it’s time to log onto www.yourblog.com/wp-admin and see if you can log in. If you see the screen below, log in. If you can’t log in, don’t panic, give it some time as it takes some time for servers to update.
6. Prep WordPress for your posts
Once you’ve logged on, you’ll see your dashboard which you will use to control most aspects of your blog. It took a few days to get used to it, but once you play around with it you will get the hang of it. You will also soon realise how much better WordPress is than Blogger.
If you click your blog name at the top of the page and click ‘Visit Site‘ (or just type in www.yoursite.com), you will see what your site currently looks like. If you have registered through Siteground, there’s a default post that will show up. Go delete this post by going to ‘Posts‘ on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard, hover over the post and click ‘Bin‘.
Next, go to ‘Settings‘, ‘General‘ and put ‘www.’ before your URL in the ‘WordPress Address‘ and ‘Site Address‘ fields to make sure your site points to the right place.
7. Load your Blogger posts onto WordPress
Now it’s time to finally transfer your content to your brand new site. On the left hand side of your dashboard, go to ‘Tools‘, then ‘Import‘. Then click ‘Install Now‘ under Blogger at the very top of the landing page. Now it’s time to upload that .xml file you downloaded to your computer in Step 4. Click ‘Choose File‘ and find that .xml file you downloaded and click ‘Upload File and Import‘. Now your posts should be on WordPress. However, you still need to change up the link structure a little bit so that your posts are compatible with WordPress.
8. Change the link structure for WordPress posts
WordPress formats its post links slightly differently than Blogger. Since you’ve been posting with Blogger structure, it’s best to stick with Blogger’s format. Thus, you need to change the WordPress post settings back to Blogger settings. To do so, go to ‘Settings‘ on the left hand side of your dashboard, then click ‘Permalinks‘. Select ‘Custom Structure‘ on the landing page and paste in the following format:
Click ‘Save‘. You also need to take care of the length of your links. WordPress allows limitless amount of words to appear in the post URL, whereas Blogger limits it. Therefore, you need to revert to the Blogger rule so your old URL’s still lead to your posts. This is simplified through a plugin.
Go to this link and scroll down to ‘Instructions‘ Step #2 and click on the link to download the file. Make sure it downloads as a .zip file otherwise it won’t work. Go back to your WordPress dashboard and select ‘Plugins‘ on the left hand side, and click ‘Add new‘. At the top of the page click ‘Upload Plugin‘ and select the file you just downloaded. Once the file uploads, click ‘Activate Plugin‘. Now go to ‘Tools‘ on the left hand side of the dashboard and you will now see ‘Maintain Blogger Permalinks‘. Click it. Then just click the button that pops up and that’s it!
9. Redirect your old Blogger site to your new site
Now you need to install another Plugin to redirect your old Blogger site to your new WordPress site. This is particularly important if you were previously using yoursite.blogspot.com address and just purchased your own custom domain (but you still have to do this if you had a custom domain before).
Go to ‘Plugins‘ on the left hand side of your dashboard and click ‘Add New‘. Search for ‘Blogger 301 Redirect‘ in the search bar that pops up. Select the plugin and click ‘Install now‘. Once you’ve installed, click ‘Activate‘. Now go to ‘Settings‘ on the left side of your dashboard and you should see a page that says ‘Blogger 301 Redirect’ (reload your page if you don’t see it). Click it and a screen will pop up with two sets of codes.
There are three things the plugin will ask you to do. You have already done #2 and #3, now follow the instructions to set the time zone and come back. Now scroll down the page, don’t select any of the options, and copy the code under Method 1. Now you need to go back to Blogger one more time to paste this code into your Theme HTML. Go to ‘Theme‘ on the left hand side of your Blogger dashboard, select ‘Edit HTML‘, delete all of the text in that box (this is why it was important to back this up in Step 4) and paste the Method 1 content. Now you can try to go to yoursite.blogspot.com and it should redirect you to your new WordPress site.
10. Change categories to tags
When your blog imported from Blogger, it automatically made Blogger labels into categories. However, WordPress uses two ways to label posts: categories and tags. When you have a lot of categories that aren’t necessary on WordPress, it can slow down your site which can affect your DA, so you want to minimise the number of categories you have as much as possible. That’s where another plugin comes into play.
Go to ‘Plugins‘, ‘Add New‘ and search ‘Categories to Tags Converter‘, select the plugin and install/activate it. Now go to ‘Tools‘, ‘Import‘ and select the ‘Categories to Tags Converter‘. You will see all of your categories listed. Select the ones you want to turn into tags and press the button. If you decide to turn a tag back into a category, you can do that by going to ‘Tags to Categories‘ at the top of the page.
11. Set up your theme to finalise your switch from Blogger to WordPress
Now you need to set up the look and functionality of your site (this was my favourite part). I didn’t like how my site looked, so to make things easier for me I decided to purchase a theme. Before I switched from Blogger to WordPress I had purchased a theme from Pipdig and I really loved it, so I wanted to keep it. However, since I had bought it for Blogger, unfortunately it didn’t work on WordPress as the coding is slightly different. Pipdig does themes for both Blogger and WordPress and luckily they do the one I had for both. I decided to repurchase the same theme for WordPress as I loved it so much and didn’t want to settle for anything else. Pipdig themes are quite expensive though, so you can also check out Etsy, they have really nice more inexpensive themes.
To install your theme go to ‘Appearance‘ on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard, select ‘Themes‘ and click ‘Upload Theme‘, select the file you downloaded after purchase. Afterwards, you can go to ‘Appearance‘, then ‘Customise‘ to change around the theme’s colours, sizes etc. to make it the way you want it to look.
That’s it. You’re now an owner of a WordPress site. I promise you won’t regret your transition. I’m over the moon with my decision to transfer my blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. Hope you enjoy your new site!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or Tweet me.
*This post contains affiliate links which help to support my blog.