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