Moving from Beta Blogger to WordPress, Part 1: Motivations


Photography: Clav

Because my move from Beta Blogger to my own WordPress site was so painful, I’ve decided to put together a series about how to get oneself moved from Beta Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress installation, with relatively little damage (eventually) to page rank and external links, and probably less pain. Probably.

I hope this information is useful to somebody, so that my productivity hit was not in vain.

Why the Move?

I made the move from a cozy, friendly Beta Blogger site to a self-hosted WordPress installation because I want to take my blogging to the next level. This almost always means WordPress—and I was also non-plussed about Blogger shutting down United Hollywood at the whim of a random complaint, however temporary.

Also, China and other countries (with Australia probably next as of this writing) block Blogspot.com, WordPress.com, and other community blogging sites. A self-hosted site has less of a chance of falling under a mass block (but not a zero chance).

Why not WordPress.com?

Simply put, WordPress.com did not give me enough control—not through stylesheets (not without paying $15, not that I really minded), not through creating my own themes (which turned out to be necessary to fit the aims of my site), and not through my own plugins.

Also, they cripple Javascript and Flash, and filter your HTML through dumbifying filters that strip, for instance, CSS classes from your tags.

For a power user, this is extremely annoying and far too limiting. Even if you’re just a minor power user like I am.

My Goals

Because I already had over 200 posts at the time of my move, there were certain aspects I wanted to preserve.

  • Links to my site from others should lead to my new site, including direct permalinks to individual posts. These all bring in a small but noticeable trickle of traffic.
  • Preserve, or at least recover, rankings in Google searches, which made up 30% to 50% of my traffic.
  • Not get penalized by search engines for duplicate content.

Things I was not able to preserve, which will be hard to recover:

  • Technorati authority. Technorati literal links in the text of other sites only, and doesn’t have the capability to follow domain changes.
  • If I had any, StumbleUpon ratings and reviews. Fortunately I didn’t, but if you do, be prepared for some unhappy times.

The Next Parts

Part 2: The pre-staging for the domain change. Importing posts from a Blogger context to a WordPress context (including semantics like categories), and going from a Blogger to a WordPress theme.

Part 3: Selected plugins that work for version 2.3.2 and are actually useful; the minimal list of plugins to replicate good features in Beta Blogger, plugins to show off what WordPress can do for your blog, and others I like.

Part 4: D-day, the actual domain change. Extra steps to keep search engines happy, not break links too much, and how successful they ended up being.

Plug for my hosting provider!

My hosting is provided by Esosoft. They are quite awesome folks. One of them installed WordPress and MySQL for me at no extra cost, so I was already able to skip those parts, to my happiness. They’re a little more expensive than GoDaddy, say, but the service you get is far better.

GoDaddy has yet to return my emails. And I did check my spam folders on GMail.

So What Made You Move to WordPress?

Or conversely, what’s keeping you from moving there?

I already covered some reasons I wanted/didn’t want to move in a previous post, Three Bullets: Why I Haven’t Moved to WordPress.com, although they mostly apply to the .com, not a self-hosted installation.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Moving from Beta Blogger to WordPress, Part 1: Motivations

  1. Thanks for this update.

    “self-hosted WordPress installation”

    can you explain what that means? I have WordPress, but I don’t know if it’s the self-hosted WordPress installation you are talking about.

  2. Hello Auria!

    “Self-hosted” just means that I got some real web space from a hosting provider, rather than using WordPress.com, Blogger, or TypePad.

    And I have much more control over it (e.g., I could choose to have WordPress…. or I could choose to have some other blogging software that can be installed, like Blosxom).

    Control, baby, it’s all about it. ;)

  3. AJ – That just sounds awful. I’m not at all a power user — moving to wordpress.com was just fine by me — but you’re ordeal sounds hugely painful. You would think that migrating a blog would be easy by now, but it just isn’t.

    Unfocused Me

  4. Thanks for posting about this at the Authority Blogger forum and giving us the link, Arachne. A lot of people are making the move, and it’s really helpful and comforting for them to read about someone else’s firsthand experience! :)

  5. p.s. – Many web hosts offer one-click Fantastico installations of self-hosted WordPress, for those who aren’t keen on doing the setup themselves. The down side is that Fantastico can be slow to get new upgrades to WordPress, but it does help a lot of people get onto self-hosted WordPress who might not otherwise attempt it.

  6. Thanks, Jen! Yeah, when I made the move, I searched the heck out of finding out people’s experiences about moving from the B to the W.

    I still wasn’t entire prepared, so I dropped the ball on some items—for instance, preserving permalinks easily. Whoops. (Covered in Part 2, showing as of today.)

    I didn’t know about Fantastico—cool and awesome advice!

    Still, I do like Esosoft—they don’t charge for bandwidth usage, and they handled the traffic surge for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books without batting an eye (or telling off the blog owners, like most hosting companies would).

  7. Yup, that would be self-hosted alright.

    I suspected your blog was self-hosted, because otherwise you’d find out that your flash videos weren’t showing up and the WordPress bar would be obnoxiously there.

    Good for you! :)

Comments are closed.