How to Move Your Blog to self-hosted WordPress.org



The idea of moving an entire blog over to self-hosted WordPress putsfear into the hearts of many-a-blogger. With such a complicated-seemingprocess and plenty of horror stories, it feels like an overwhelming,complicated task. But I assure you, even the least tech-savvy bloggercan complete the move without too much drama.

Purchase a domain and hosting

First up, we need to purchase hosting and a domain (if you don’talready have one.) Look for a hosting company that has a one-clickWordPress install option and choose a basic hosting package, whichshould come with plenty of space and a few email accounts. (I recommend BlueHost) Skip over everything that says “Add this! Add this! Add this!” If youdecide you need more space, email accounts, or extras you can always goback and add them later.



Install WordPress

This will be slightly different for each company, but the twoimportant notes are: Create a unique username and password, which you’ll use to login to your blog. Admin + Password123 is sure to get your site hacked immediately. And second there likely be an option to install in a subdirectory. If you want users to go straight to your domain thenleave that space blank. If you want them to go to something likexosarah.com/blog, then you would put that in the box.


Once WordPress is set up you’ll login at http://yourblog.com/wp-login.php (substitute “yourblog.com” for your own url)



Transfer your content

When exporting, I highly recommend breaking your site in to two orthree chunks to avoid the issue entirely. For WordPress.com, you can dothis by selecting a type of content and then choosing a date range. Idid my posts one year at a time and it worked like a charm!

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.08.54 PM

For Blogger you’ll go into Settings > Other and export yourcontent. Blogger does not currently transfer pages (lame!), so you’llhave to copy & paste those yourself.

If your files are still too large, you could use the WXR file splitter.



Once you login to your new WordPress site, head over to Tools > Import and import your files. 

Set-up your new WordPress site



  • Choose a new blog theme—look for something with custom header andcustom background options to quickly add your own design details (I have a major crush on the Genesis framework – best for those with some coding skills)
  • Add your blog title and tagline (Settings > General)
  • Change the permalinks (Settings > Permalinks). I recommend using the post name structure http://yourblog.com/sample-post/
  • Add your navigation (Appearance > Menu)
  • Add items to the sidebar (Appearance > Widgets) The Black Studio TinyMCE plugin adds a visual editor widget, which is great for those without coding skills
  • Set-up JetPack to get your stats working

Bring your followers with you

Losing subscribers is one of the major concerns when leaving an oldblog behind. If you’re moving from WordPress.com, you can keep them byusing the JetPack plugin For Bloglovin’, you can email their support team and ask them to change the URL and feed for your site.



Set up a domain redirect

When readers go to your old blog we want to make sure they’redirected to your new content. You can make all of your posts private and add one last big obnoxious graphic to let them know you’ve moved.

You can also use the Blogger to WordPress plugin (instructions) or Blogger 301 Redirect plugin, which will set up 1-to-1 mapping, so users visiting your old posts will be redirected to the same post on your new site instead of thehomepage. (A dead end for search engines or Pinterest traffic.) ForWordPress.com you can purchase a site redirect, which will do the same thing.

If you are moving from one self-hosted site to another, you can redirect through the htaccess file.

In the event of an emergency

First off, don’t panic! It’s just the internet and everything is fixable!
If you’re getting an error when you try to login toWordPress or visit your new site, contact your hosting company—theyshould be able to pin point where things when wrong and you may justneed to do the install again.

If your photos have disappeared—again, don’tpanic, it’s fairly normal for some of your photos to jump ship duringthe process. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt, but it also allows you to gothrough your content and fix up your posts in the process. You photosmay have transferred into the media library and just become detachedfrom their posts or you make have to go post by post saving andre-uploading.

If none of your internal links are working (links to your own pages or posts), use the Search and Replace plugin.

Keep Blogging and let me know your thoughts by commenting below!

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