Ok, I’m a normally organized person. But this series is challenging that part of me! I’m going to give it my best …
Moving from Blogger to WordPress was like a research paper for me.
When I was deciding whether or not to move, I wanted solid numbers. I wanted to know exactly how much it would cost, what I would get, would it be worth it, etc. Thanks to Zainab, Dorothy, Erin, and Adrienne, and others, I was able to guestimate my cost pretty closely. But it took months of researching to decide what option was best for me. Hopefully it won’t take you as long, but be prepared to invest time – there is a lot to consider. And don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers questions. I was amazed by the responses I got! I guess I had forgotten that bloggers are real people, too, and that they care, especially those who have been through this process before.
First: Why you want to move?
If it is because you want to monetize your blog, do it. There is no point in hanging around with Blogger or WordPress.com. You can’t legally advertise with them and I know Google will shut you down if they find out. And if it is because you really want to make your blog look pretty, do it. There are a million plug ins, widgets, themes, and more here at WP.org. Moving from Blogger to WordPress.org is like moving from a rented apartment to an owned house. Instead of Google or WordPress.com owning your site, you now do. If you want to be in charge of your blog, owning the domain, choosing the design, getting to make money, WordPress.org is for you.
To be honest, I spent the most time just trying to find someone to transfer to blog! I’ve heard you can do this on your own, and I almost did, but I am so glad I didn’t. Don’t let a messed up transfer ruin blogging for you; stick with the pros!
I emailed several people’s services, trying to figure out what it would cost, how much they would do, what I would be responsible for. Some offered free hosting, other free themes, other free site design, but I still couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. That was when Erin came in. She did all of it easy peasy! It is kind of funny in hindsight. I would also recommend Tanya at Blogelina if you want your blog moved, site design retained, and free hosting for a year. She has a bundle that is a real steal and she was incredibly easy to contact and answered my questions promptly. Because she is a first come, first serve basis, she wasn’t able to move my blog immediately which is why I ended up not using her (patience isn’t exactly my thing.) If you are willing to wait a couple weeks, she is an excellent choice! Update: Remember, the size of your blog (posts, comments, etc.) will affect how much and how long it will take to transfer, especially depending on the service you use. For many of the services I was looking at, it was going to be $150 to move my blog, based on the amount of posts and comments. However, Erin did mine for free because I was hosting with her.
Second: How much money you are willing to invest?
If you are going to move to WP.org, you are going to have to spend money. You have to buy a domain and you have to buy hosting. The domain is the .com, like my domain is http://www.thesweet-toothlife.com. I own it. When it is .blogppot.com or .wordpress.com, it is owned by Google and WordPress. And then hosting; your domain needs something to give it life and that is the hosting. Without it, your domain name means nothing. There are lots and lots of hosting options; check out WordPress.org’s list of approved hosts or ask around. I found my host, Erin, via a blogger friend and am really grateful I waited after looking at Bluehost, Host Gator, Web Hub Hosting, etc.. Erin at Black Chicken Hosting has been amazing!
After you’ve got your hosting picked out, there are frameworks and themes. You can use any free theme and it won’t cost you anything. But you are very limited with what you can do. I bought the Genesis framework and Foodie theme as a package. Genesis is apparently designed for SEO, which means your blog will be found more easily by search engines. The Foodie theme was a simple layout with a recipe index all ready to go and since my blog only has recipes, this was perfect. It is similar to a online scrapbook, with pre set layouts and sidebars, meaning all I had to do was upload and add to certain areas. Check out the premium themes at Studio Press or, if you are interested in Foodie, check out Shay Bock’s website.
So here it is broken down –
Domain: You can get these just about anywhere and the sky is the limit on pricing. I got my domain with Black Chicken Hosting and it was $15.
Hosting: Although there is advertised hosting for $5 a month, if you have any sort of following, you will quickly have to upgrade. So go ahead and get the more expensive hosting; you get what you pay for! Especially if your blog is growing; my pageviews are small, but they keep growing, and I didn’t want to exceed my bandwidth or storage. Just ask your host if you have any questions; I asked Erin what hosting I should buy based on my pageviews and that made it really easy. I pay about $9 a month with Erin, but she also transferred my site for free and has been the easiest person to keep in touch with. She has also gone above and beyond with resolving some Blogger issues. So the total for a year of hosting is about $130. Update: Remember, the size of your blog will affect how much hosting you will need. If you have video, or lots of traffic, your hosting will cost more, wherever you host.
WordPress.org: Free! Erin downloaded it for me, so I don’t know how long it would take to do that, but WordPress promises a five minute installation, so it shouldn’t be too hard.
Theme and Framework: $100 for the Genesis and Foodie combined. (so.worth.it. Probably my favorite part of WordPress.)
How much did I invest? $245. Blogging with serious intents is not cheap. But you have so much more freedom – and the freedom to monetize.
So there ends Part 1! Did you learn anything? Any thoughts to add? Coming up: the move and what I did first.