I am mostly done with moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress. Look around my site and you will find there is still a lot to update. But I’m far enough along to feel reasonably comfortable in inviting you to stop by. (No housewarming gifts needed, but thank you.)
So why did I make the move from Blogger to WordPress? I must have seen a need to change. And why did I wait seven years? I must have found reasons to stay where I was.
If you are a blogger or considering setting up a blog, my experience might help you understand the best platform for to use and a little of what goes into making a change if you determine that is the best course for you.
EASE OF SET UP
There is nothing easier to set up and run for a blogger than Google’s Blogger platform. I write. I don’t program and design. Blogger was the perfect place for me to start. It was so easy I actually had time to learn the features and customize my website to a reasonably attractive and professional degree. (I did pay a few bucks to a designer to create my own custom header.) Building and changing the layout and adding or moving features was as simple as dragging elements around. Because the layout templet was visual, you knew immediately and exactly what you were going to see with each change.
Another thing that made Blogger easy was it was free.
WordPress requires an immediate decision. Self hosting (.org) or free hosting (.com). If you choose free hosting, you are restricted from adding plugins or widgets like AdSense that monetize your blog. If you do the self hosting you have to install WP into your hosting service before you start setting up and designing your blog.
With WP you next decide on whether to use a free template or a premium template. Either way, the dashboard view is not nearly as intuitive and visual for building your layout and adding features. I’ll quickly note, after the first four or five hours of arranging and rearranging elements, WordPress has gotten quite easy to work with.
I chose the self-hosting option to have the most control and flexibility over my blog, whether or not monetization is a big issue for me. I chose a premium template from a company that has been developing templates for years. I think that provides better insurance that my template will always be up-to-date with the newest version of WP.
WordPress is a more robust blogging platform with many more features. Because so much of the world wide web is built on WordPress, you have countless programmers building new templates and creating new widgets and plugins constantly. The industry surrounding WP will keep it fresh and up-to-date.
Blogger did offer many of the easy-to-install widgets I wanted and had one very nice advantage. One of their core widgets allowed a non-programmer like me to insert html code using the visual layout template. I’ve had to find and install multiple plugins in WP to do the same thing.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Drum roll. If you are wondering what the main reason is for why I moved from Blogger to WP, this is the big biggie.
Blogger is created and owned by Google – the king, the Rolls Royce, the King Kong of the search engines. But Google Search likes WordPress better than its own Blogger platform. Huh? So does Yahoo, Bing, and the other crawlers.
I’m not an SEO genius (though I once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express) so I don’t know all the reasons why WP SEO is so much better. But one obvious reason is that WordPress has many SEO plugins and Google has none.
Another strange thing is that the Blogger code shows your site name, then the post title in search snippet, rather than the other way around. There is a fix you can do, but once you start messing around with html code there are a lot of things you can screw up. At least I can.
Have I seen the immediate surge in visitors to my website I have been promised? Uh … not yet. But the last two weeks has been spent migrating, so I’ve not promoted on social media with links and this is my first new post. I’ll try to remember to blog the results in the next month or two.
Another big biggie is that Blogger offered only five permanent pages to add to your blog site. If you are first and foremost a blogger that might be more than enough. But if your blog site doubles as your website, you might need more pages to add your material. One workaround I did on Blogger is to set up fake pages on my main blog site. When you clicked the page on the menu you didn’t go to a page, but actually went to another blog site I had set up.
On WordPress I have unlimited pages I can set up. Now all I have to do is populate and update them!
Blogger pages don’t transfer to WP in the move. So you have to start over on them. But that shouldn’t be more than five pages to redo – plus whatever new ones you want to add.
Not only did I migrate my blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress, but I also changed my hosting company at the same time. That means email and everything else got redirected – and yes, I lost some emails.
That’s one of the reasons it has been two weeks since I hit publish on a new blog post.
Migrating blog posts over to WordPress went fairly smoothly. (Much much easier than setting up my basic theme.) You want to make sure you have established a permalink on all your posts at Blogger – and that you make that the default on WordPress. That way any links you have out there point to your new site.
Incidentally, I haven’t finished this process. I still have to do an edit on my Blogger html code and the idea makes me break out in a cold sweat. But here are the directions.
Blogger and WordPress code categories differently, so your Blogger categories don’t transfer over. That has led to the most busy work on the move from Blogger to WordPress.
Despite being told not to get rid of any posts, I deleted 50 or so. But I have had to go into each of my approximately 200 remaining posts and put in the new categories I set up on WordPress.
Creating my category menu and hierarchy was new and thus unfamiliar and thus difficult in and of itself. But it has been a grind to hit edit on every post and change from Uncategorized to the appropriate category(ies). That is in addition to editing the look and layout of some posts that didn’t transfer over cleanly.
And no, I’m not done.
This might be a scare tactic by WP devotees, but it’s true that Blogger has a disclaimer that says they can delete your account at their discretion. If you blog on politics, religion or any potentially controversial topics, you could log in one day and find all your work has disappeared. I personally doubt that will happen. But we live in a politically correct world and you never know. If you are on Blogger, it is a good idea to backup all your content just in case.
Bottom line, it’s too soon for me to say that making the move from Blogger to WordPress was a great move for me as a blogger. I suspect it will be an important move in enhancing my ranking as a blogger – but that might be wishful thinking.
I would love your feedback on my new site (suggestions welcome) or to hear about your experience in migrating across platforms as a blogger. I would also be happy to entertain any questions you might have – but as you can tell from what I’ve written above, I’m not the expert.