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.
OK, it’s now officially an eleven step guide. 🙂
Congratulation, you’ve just migrated from Blogger to your own server running WordPress!