Are you ready to upgrade your blog from hobby to professional level?
Then you’re going to need the right tools.
If you want your blog to look professional and have the flexibility you need as you grow, then WordPress is the way to go.
But if you’ve already gotten started blogging on Google’s Blogspot, it can be daunting to think about switching over. You don’t want to lose all the hard work you’ve put into your blog already.
Don’t worry, moving to WordPress isn’t difficult – there are just a few steps involved to make sure you do it right. Here’s how.
Note: If you haven’t started your WordPress website yet, click here to check out our step-by-step tutorial.
Blogspot vs WordPress: Why make the switch?
Is it really worth all the trouble to make the switch from Blogspot to a self-hosted WordPress blog?
If you’re serious about blogging: Yes, definitely!
It’s true, Blogspot does have some good features going for it:
- It’s free to set up a blog
- It’s made by Google, so it easily integrates with their other services
- It’s easy to use for beginners
But, on the other hand, it has quite a few limitations:
- Your Blogspot blog is owned by Google, not you. They could decide to shut it down tomorrow and you couldn’t do anything about it.
- Its features are limited. For example, you can’t customize your blog post permalinks, and you don’t have FTP access to upload files.
- Its templates are limited, so you don’t have complete control over the look of your blog.
- It’s easy to tell when a blog is on Blogspot, which can give an unprofessional impression.
- Blogspots’ future is uncertain. Google has a history of getting rid of its various programs and apps, even popular ones like Google Reader. Google could decide to abandon Blogspot without warning, leaving your blog with no home.
But what’s so great about WordPress?
Using WordPress software on your own self-hosted blog is a much more professional choice than a free Blogspot blog:
- It’s flexible. You can change your templates how you please, or even create your own.
- You own your own site. You buy your hosting and domain, and have control over your website.
- It’s more customizable. Your site won’t look like just another generic blog. You can choose from thousands of free or premium themes or even create your own custom design.
- It’s infinitely extendable: just use a plugin for the feature you need, or even create your own.
- Its future is more certain. WordPress might not be guaranteed forever, but it will certainly be around for years to come. It has a strong, active community, and control doesn’t rest in the hands of one company.
- It’s open source. You can get into the code, examine it, change it, or even learn PHP and contribute to the core.
For a full rundown on how Blogspot and WordPress compare, check out this comparison post by David Hartshorne over at Blogging Wizard.
Ready to switch? Here’s how.
How to switch from Blogspot to self-hosted WordPress
Step 1: Get your domain & hosting
First, you’ll want to purchase your own hosting and domain. Check out our list of recommended hosting companies for WordPress to choose a host. You can also purchase your domain as you’re buying your hosting.
The hosting package you choose will depend on your needs for your website. Unless you get a ton of traffic, it’s usually safe to start with a shared hosting package and you can always upgrade later on.
Step 2: Install WordPress software
Depending on your host, you can usually either pre-install WordPress as you’re checking out, or use a tool to install WordPress with one click. For example, InMotion Hosting and Dreamhost both offer one-click installations of WordPress.
In fact, any web host that specializes in WordPress will typically offer a one-click install option.
Step 3: Get your WordPress blog ready
To start off with, you can choose a free theme from the official WordPress theme directory, or buy a premium theme from a reputable site like Themeforest. Check out our theme reviews for recommendations!
There are a few different ways to install themes on your WordPress site, so check out our tutorial on 3 ways to install a WordPress theme to discover which way is best for you.
At this point, you can also choose to customize your site with different plugins. Check out our guide on how to install WordPress plugins to get started. To start off with, we recommend:
- A spam comment plugin like Akismet
- A backup plugin
- A security plugin
Step 4: Export your content from Blogspot
Now that your new WordPress site is ready, it’s time to grab your content from Blogspot.
- Log in to your account at Blogger.com.
- Next to the name of your blog, click the right drop-down menu and click “Settings.”
- On the left-hand menu, click “Other” at the very bottom:
- Under “Blog Tools,” click the “Export Blog” link:
5.In the pop-up window, click “Download Blog,” and save the XML file that’s generated:
You may have seen the link to delete your blog, but don’t do that just yet… We’ll get back to that in a moment.
Step 5: Import your content to WordPress
Now navigate back to your WordPress site dashboard to import your content:
- In the left-hand menu, click Tools > Import
2. At the top of the page, click the first option, “Blogger”
3. To proceed, you’ll have to temporarily install a plugin. In the popup window, click the blue button at the bottom-right that says “Install Now”:
4. Now click the “Activate Plugin & Run Importer” link:
5. Click the “Choose File” button and select the file you downloaded from Blogger. Then click the blue “Upload file and import” button:
6. Now you’ll have to choose the author of the imported posts. You can leave the “new user” field blank, and just select the existing user, and click “Submit”:
You’re all set! Now you can click on Posts in the main left-hand menu and see all your posts from Blogspot.
Step 6: Redirect your Blogspot blog to WordPress
Now that your WordPress blog is ready, you’ll want to let your readers know.
Instead of deleting your old blog, it’s best to write a new blog post that informs your readers of your move, and links them to the new site. That’s because you don’t want to frustrate users who are going to your old blog by giving them error messages if it’s deleted.
Be sure to encourage your readers to subscribe to updates at your new site!
What should you do if images do not transfer?
Sometimes when running the WordPress importer, images might not save. They’ll appear in your content but load from Blogspot servers.
If this happens, you can use the Auto Upload Images plugin to save those images right into WordPress. It’s free from the plugin repository.
EnviraGallery has a good tutorial explaining how that process works.
Congratulations – you’re now using the self-hosted version of WordPress.
Now you’ve moved your blog over to WordPress, it’s time to take your blog to the next level with a fantastic WordPress theme that makes your content stand out.
Check out our post on top WordPress themes for bloggers to get started.