10 Step Guide To Moving From Blogger (Blogspot) to WordPress with a 301

Moving from blogspot.com subdomain hosted with Blogger and want to make the upgrade to your own server with WordPress?  I had to do this for a client and had a lot of trouble finding a guide to do this in a way that would definitely preserve SEO.

Using this blogger to wordpress migration guide, Google will re-index your site using your new top-level domain, all your old posts/pages will be re-indexed, and anyone visiting your old posts or website will be redirected to the new corresponding location.  Sounds to good to be true?

In this guide we will use 301s to redirect from blogspot to your new domain as that’s only way to be sure that Google and other search engines will index your website’s new location.

1. First things first, we need to set up our top-level domain as a Blogger custom domain. To do this, you need to modify your new domain’s DNS to point to the Blogger service.  Once the DNS is set up, you simply add your custom domain to your blogger domain settings.  Here are the detailed instructions on how to add a custom domain to blogger.

The good news: When people visit your old site, people will be redirected to the new custom domain.  Even old posts/pages will redirect to the correct locations.

The really good news: Blogger adds a 301 redirect on your old blogspot subdomain so that Google and other SE will know that your site has permanently moved.  This means that Google will start replacing old links in their database with the new pretty TLD links.  (Example: mywebsite.blogger.com/hello-everyone.html will be indexed as mywebsite.com/hello-everyone.html)

2.  The waiting game. It can take a few hours to a few weeks for Google to re-index the correct links. It’s important that we wait until the new links are indexed before moving to the new server or our WordPress installation.

3.  Set up the custom domain and install WordPress on your server. Remember, we are not changing DNS yet so people will still see the custom domain hosted at blogger until we are fully migrated to WordPress and ready to pull the trigger.  For working on this domain while it’s still on your server you’ll need to modify your hosts file.  Once your hosts file has been modified to point your TLD to your server, and you’re closed and re-opened your browser, you’re ready to install WordPress.  Go ahead, install WordPress on your domain.

4. Use the WordPress migrate tool to import all your posts and comments. You can find the migration tool via Tools -> Import -> Blogger and then follow the provided instructions.

5.  Permalink settings. You’ll want to change the WordPress permalink settings to match the Blogger structure (can be changed later, but for now you’ll need to keep them) which is “/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html“.

Another roadblock is that blogger cuts off long URLs and also removes common words from it’s permalinks.  WordPress does not.  That means that some of our old redirected links wouldn’t find their destination on the WordPress version of our site as the links wouldn’t match.  Have no fear, there’s a plugin that does the job of making WordPress slugs match their blogger counterparts.  Special thanks to Justin for this useful plugin –>  Plugin to preserve blogger links when moving to WordPress.  Follow steps 1 – 6 on that page for instructions.

6. Set up redirects via .htaccess. You’ll need to redirect your old category pages to link to the new WordPress category permalinks.

7.  Links in your sidebar. Add any hardlinks you had on your blogger installation to the WordPress blogroll as these weren’t migrated over.

8. Design. Find a custom WordPress theme to install so you can have a nice design vs. the default WordPress theme.  Tons of options out there.

9. Revert hosts file. Change your hosts file back to normal, removing any entries you made for the custom domain.

10.  Pull the trigger and change DNS. Once you’re links in search engines have been updates, thanks to the 301 we set up, we are now ready to make the big change.  The last change is to point your DNS to your own server, away from Blogger.  This may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to take effect, but eventually when you access your site again, you’ll see your website on your host using WordPress as it’s CMS.

11.  Last step, redirects for links pointing to your old address. After changing DNS to your own server, the 301 that Blogger provides will cease to work.  This means that any links pointing to your old blogspot address won’t redirect anymore.  To fix this important issue, use a JavaScript redirect on your old blogger site to prevent breaking any links that still point to your old address. Justin has provided a JavaScript snippet that does exactly that.  You can find that snippet for JavaScript to redirect from your old blogspot URLs here.

OK, it’s now officially an eleven step guide. 🙂

Congratulation, you’ve just migrated from Blogger to your own server running WordPress!

31 thoughts on “10 Step Guide To Moving From Blogger (Blogspot) to WordPress with a 301

  1. Justin Watt

    Nice guide. Folks should keep in mind that even though Google will eventually reindex their content that gets 301-redirected to a custom domain (after they play “The waiting game” in step two), once they “Pull the trigger and change DNS” in step ten to point to their new WordPress hosted blog, this will still break any links people have made to their old posts.

    Yeah, I know, Google is king, but it’s the actual readers that I care about.

    Thus I’d propose a bonus Step 11 for completeness: Use a JavaScript redirect (or meta refresh) to prevent breaking the links that still point to your old blogspot blog. I’ve added an example JavaScript snippet that does just this to my Maintain permalinks moving from Blogger to WordPress post referenced above.

    And who knows, maybe one day Google will allow people to set up 301-redirects from their old Blogspot-hosted blog to external domains…

  2. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Good point, Justin. It slipped my mind that links pointed to the old domain would cease to redirect after DNS was switched away from the Blogger service. I’ve updated the guide to include a step 11, as you’re right, it’s important!

  3. Voyagerfan5761

    Hopefully someday, Justin. I got a sort-of response from Rick Klau (Blogger’s project manager) himself to my move, but I haven’t heard back from him since that first reply.

    Who knows, with this whole Blogger Birthday thing they’ve been doing, maybe redirecting your own blog (kthx) will be a new feature!

    We can do nothing but wish and hope and think and pray.

  4. Lorraine

    Hello,

    This is the most comprehensive guide I’ve found on how to migrate from blogger to wordpress. I have a question. I’m running into trouble with steps three and four. I’ve installed wordpress using fantastico, but I can’t log into my admin, which I should be able to access at

    http://www.spooksbyme.org/wp-admin/

    However, when I try to log in, blogger just notes that the page can’t be found. I see all the correct wordpress files in file manager…

    Do you have any thoughts on how to solve this problem and proceed forward?

    Many thanks in advance.

  5. Stephanie

    I’ve actually had my custom domain on Blogger for quite a while – so if I’m understanding correctly, I can switch to WordPress at any time and from what you are saying above, I should not lose any Google juice. Existing blog links have all already been re-directed to the custom domain and changing the DNS will just point them to the WordPress site. (Using the plug in to match URL’s) All existing links & backlinks will go to the WP site…

    Would I then just leave the Blogger site up? (with the custom domain removed)

    Much thanks in advance –

  6. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Stephanie- Since your WordPress version of the site has the exact same domain and URLs then I’d say that your Google rankings will most likely be seamlessly transferred.

    About the Blogger version of your site, you may better off deleting it or adding a robots noindex/nofollow so that (even though I think it’s unlikely) Google doesn’t give you a duplicate content problem due to having two domains with the same content.

    Good luck!

    David

  7. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Lorraine- The reason you are seeing a page not found for the WordPress admin is because right now when you visit the site in your browser you are seeing the Blogger version. In order for you to access the WordPress version, which you installed on your server, you need to add a line to your hosts file which resides on your computer. You’ll need to add a line like this:

    70.26.55.80 example.com

    Where the string of digits is your server address (your host can provide that value) and change example.com to your site’s URL, spooksbyme.org.

    Then you, and only you, will be able to see the WordPress version of your site so that you’d be able to continue with the rest of the steps in this guide.

    I hope that helps,

    David

  8. Jonathan

    Thanks for the guide guys. I’m about to move from custom blogger domain to wordpress and am really worried and confused about the process.

    The thing I don’t get is, there are scores of guides on the net about migrating, and all of them appear to be if not completely then at least slightly different.

    Are there different ways of migrating then? Or is someone telling fibs? And if so, how do we know what is the best way to keep permalinks etc?

    I’m really concerned I’ll lose ranking and permalinks etc in the process and want to be 100% sure how to go about this before I migrate.

    Perhaps I’m being too paranoid?

  9. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Jonathan, I don’t think you’re being paranoid. There’s nothing scarier than the idea of losing all your search rankings due to a bad migration.

    I can’t really comment on other guides but I can tell you that I’ve written this guide based on my own experience and had flawless results.

    You ask about permalinks, if you use Justin’s plugin from step #5 you’ll be fine. It’s tried and tested.

    Good luck!

  10. Jonathan

    Hi again,

    Thanks for your earlier comment.

    I am halfway through this and have a problem. WordPress has only imported the last 2 months worth of comments, leaving out about another 2 years worth of comments!

    I have been searching the net for ways to solve this problem. Do you have any ideas?

  11. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    I’ve never encountered the issue myself. Maybe try the import again from scratch? Did you get any errors when during the import? If you’d like, use the contact form to reach me via email.

  12. Jonathan

    There were no errors, but it just didn’t directly import over 600 of the comments.

    Not to worry, I’ve sorted it out now (touch wood), it took a long time and I’m exhausted but we’re there (I had to transfer files to a wxr wordpress file and upload it that way).

    Now I have imported everything should I edit the categories first or install the plugin from Justin’s website? Could you elaborate slightly on the htaccess stuff for categories? Can’t one just edit them in WordPress itself?

  13. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Jonathan, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to use change permalink settings to the blogger style from step 5 and install Justin’s plugin as well.

    If you don’t do this, Google will not know where to find the old posts and in result could lead to any well-ranked posts losing their standings.

    Good luck!

  14. Jonathan

    Thanks David.

    What about this step?

    6. Set up redirects via .htaccess. You’ll need to redirect your old category pages to link to the new WordPress category permalinks.

    Is there a guide anywhere I can find to doing this? Or does Justin’s plugin automatically change the old Blogger ‘labels’ to WP ‘tags’?

  15. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Basically you should take note of the URLs of your original category pages and manually add an entry to your htaccess file for each one to redirect to their respective new locations on your wordpress hosted site.

    As for a guide, I just did a little Google search and this one looks good: http://www.isitebuild.com/301-redirect.htm

  16. Jonathan

    You mean for archive and labels pages? Wouldn’t that take forever? I have about 600 labels at the moment and 3 years worth of posts: redirecting the archives manually one by one would take forever!

    Also, it seems I can’t use Justin’s plugin because I imported my Blogger blog as a wxr file in order to keep all the comments. Apparently that plugin doesn’t work for wxr imports. Does this mean I’ll have to go in and manually edit all permalinks in the WP dashboard? And if so I’d still need to perform step 8 of Justin’s guide as well, right?

    I have to say, this move is causing me a LOT of grief, and I’ve not even begun editing the theme etc yet! 🙁

  17. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hey Jonathan, it sounds like your old set up will in fact need quite a bit of manual work.

    If I were you, I’d check Analytics and find out the top landing pages for your search traffic and do the manual work starting at the top of that list and go as far down as you think would be worth it.

    As for the WXR important and Justin’s plugin, unfortunately I’m not aware of those limitations, maybe Justin can give you an answer to that.

  18. Jonathan

    Hi David,

    Still plugging away with this migration (how time consuming it has been!). Just a quick question – if you already had a Blogger custom domain surely you don’t need to do the 301 redirects in the Blogger template? Isn’t that already taken care of by changing the permalinks?

    Also, what do you do with the Blogger blog once migrated? You need to keep the images but minimise the potential for getting punished for ‘duplicate content’ – how can we do this?

    Thanks again.

  19. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hey Jonathan, that’s exactly right. Changing WordPress to match the old permalink structure would avoid needing to set up any redirects. You may need to set up redirects for category archives depending on if you were able to preserve the link structure for those too.

    About duplicate content, I don’t see that being a problem because when Google visits your site after changing DNS, they will only see your WordPress version of your site, not the Blogger one. The Blogger version will cease to be accessible via the Internet therefore duplicate content wouldn’t be possible. So I wouldn’t worry, just leave your old Blogger blog the way it is, even after switching DNS.

    Let me know how it goes! Most likely you’ll have found the end result rewarding.

  20. Jonathan

    Hi David,

    Thanks for all your assistance – nearly there!

    Once I switch the DNS and point the site to the new domain though, there’ll still be an old .blogspot account with all the same permalinks and posts though. What do we do with this?

    I heard for example that switching the setting in Blogger so it doesn’t show up in search engines is a good idea…anything else?

  21. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Jonathan- If you’re already using a custom domain then I don’t think there would be a .blogspot version of your site accessible from the web. If there really is or for some reason you just want to take the extra precaution, then you can go ahead and switch that setting in Blogger to block search engines after you’ve changed DNS.

  22. Jonathan

    Oh right – I switched the site in Blogger back to the old .blogspot address and I’ve now instantly lost all images, seemingly on both old and new blogs!

    I thought the images transferred to the new account so long as you didn’t delete the blog completely?!

  23. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Hi Jonathan, there’s no reason to change the Blogger back to the old address. You should keep it as it was and change the DNS at your registrar to point to your new site/server.

  24. Jonathan

    Ok, changed it back. Images are back but seem to have lost all comments in the old Blogger blog (not that that matters hugely, just wondering why it happened – Blogger realising I’ve moved maybe?)

    So with 2 sets of identical articles how can we avoid the dreaded robots.txt and duplicate content penalization from Google? I notice in my Webmaster Tools that the sitemap is now listed as not functional…

  25. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    No clue how why the blogger comments would have disappeared, that’s strange.

    As for avoiding duplicate content, you should do as you suggested, choose the option in blogger to not have the site listed in search engines. That option will likely add a noindex/nofollow to all pages in your old site.

    Regarding a sitemap on the WordPress version of your site, have you installed a plugin to generate one? If not, install one such as the ‘google sitemap generator’.

  26. Jonathan

    I will look into the sitemap generator, thanks. Will it conflict with the old sitemap I have in webmaster tools which, as it stands, is not working?

    Also will there be a problem with search engines if I turn off the blogger blog being listed in search engines, considering they have the same address?

    And finally, I’m thinking of installing the All in one SEO plugin for WordPress. However some of the literature implies it ‘optimizes permalinks’. Does that mean it will change my permalinks or something? I spent hours and hours editing them all to match old Blogger ones, would hate the plugin to delete all that!

    Thanks for all your help.

  27. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Your old site will cease to exist on the Internet. This means your old sitemap and old blogger pages won’t be accessible by anyone including Google.

    About the all in one SEO plugin, I’m not sure how it affects permalinks. Maybe it would be a good idea to post on the support forum and find out exactly what that feature does.

  28. Jonathan

    Hey, thanks. I am up and running!

    Thanks a lot for all your help, much appreciated. I only have one question left – can you redirect a feed to point to a new feed via the .htaccess file?

    I lost a tonne of subscribers because my old feed no longer works (example.com/posts/feeds/default) and if possible I want to redirect subscribers at that address to the new feed.

    Thanks again.

  29. David - WidecastMarketing.com

    Great, I’m glad you’re up and running. About your feed, I don’t have experience moving a feed but you can try adding to your .htaccess:

    redirect 301 /posts/feeds/default http://www.example.com/newfeedlocation

    No guarantees, but you can try and test it out.

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