After running my blog for several years on the Blogger platform, I felt it was time for a change. I have now completed the switch to WordPress , and I am super happy with the result.
My blogging history
I have always been eager to learn, document, and share knowledge. The reach was rather small in the beginning with pen and paper, but my collegium loved it. Internal documentation was my community before blogging. The picture below is a photo of a handwritten documentation of mine from 1997. The topic was the creation of user identities in a Windows NT + Novell NetWare environment.
I have progressed from handwritten notes via my own developed CMS system for documentation, to several variants of internal SharePoint solutions. In 2011, I wanted a larger audience. Therefore I took the step to public blogging on the Blogger platform.
The blogging has been done when there has been time available and when special topics have caught my interest. I did miss out on the statistics from the start, but the blog has had growing numbers of visitors over the years.
The Blogger platform has served me well. I have been able to satisfy the urge to share technological discoveries and lessons learned. The blog has been a bridge builder for new personal connections in the communities.
Time for a platform change
I have for long time felt the need for better a better tool to support my blogging. The blogger platform has been a great place to start. It has been free, and easy to use. Over time, I have found the features to be limited. The available templates are limited. No support for plugins, no advanced layout options for the blog posts, and the page operates poorly on mobile platforms.
It has been daunting to think about switching platforms. I didn’t want to lose all the hard work and lessons learned on my existing blog. On the other hand, I have been searching for better tools for a long time. As a professional consultant, I know that a switch of the system might be painful, but the result is always worth it.
Switch of system might be painful, but the result is always worth itSimon
Now I felt was the right time to do the switch. My new employer CloudWay supports and encourages the work-out-loud method. Blogging drives me to focus while at the same time developing and deepening my understanding of subjects.
The choice of a new platform has been clear to me for a long time, I was aiming for WordPress. Using WordPress on my self-hosted blog is a much more professional choice than a free Blogspot blog. It will give me the flexibility I want. I will own and control my site. It is more customizable with templates, themes, and plugins. It is open source with a more certain future with a strong and active community where the control doesn’t rest in the hands of one company.
How to migrate?
There are many guides online on how to switch from Blog Post to self-hosted WordPress. My process followed these outlines:
Get my own domain and hosting
I already had a domain and a decent web hotel which supported WordPress. I could have installed WordPress on my own NAS. I did check alternative online solutions but ended with my existing registrar. They have been stable on other services, and they have a fair price for hosting. I can run a whole year with my registrar for the price a professional WordPress host charges for a month.
Install WordPress software
Installation of WordPress was easily performed at the WebHost. They had an easy well documented one-click routine.
Get the WordPress blog ready
With the platform up and running it is time to customize the site. There are a bunch of themes available out there, both free and paid. There are also several plugins that might be good to install (spam comment plugin, backup plugin, security plugin, plugins for layout, etc).
Export content from Blogpost
When the WordPress site was about ready, it was time to export the content from Blogpost. Blogger has an export utility which gave me an XML file
Import content to WordPress
WordPress had an Import routine with a Blogger module. Once the Blogger Importer module was installed and activated it was easy-peasy to import the content from the exported XML file.
I noticed that the images from the imported blog posts didn’t actually import to WordPress. They did appear in the posts but loaded from the Blogspot servers. To solve this, I used the free Auto Upload images plugin found in the plugin repository.
Now all of my content was available in the new WordPress blog. The migrated content might still not behave well on mobile devices. I may have to go through each post and modernize the layout if I want to achieve that. My main point was to have the content migrated to a platform serving me well in the future.
Redirect Blogspot blog to WordPress
Now that my WordPress blog is ready for the world, I want my readers to know.
When sharing my recent Blogspot posts on social media, I have been using bit.ly as a middleware. This gives me a shortened URL redirecting to the blog and some statistics on use. The fine thing now, is that I can actually edit the redirection. This makes my most recent postings on social media redirect perfectly fine.
Regarding my other visitors to the old blog, I was in a bit of a troublesome situation since I haven’t promoted that blog on my personal domain. I did use the blogspot.com domain. This was a bad decision from when I started blogging. I could have added one last blog post telling about the change. Instead, I added a redirect in the HTML code redirecting all visitors to my new blog.
The switch has been performed. It might have taken some time and effort, but it has been worth it.
Now I have a better tool supporting my blogging and creativity. I am a couple of experiences richer – I don’t regret my blogging journey thus far.
If you are thinking of starting blogging or maybe changing your blogging platform – just do it!