Sarah has started a blog on Blogger with a custom domain name, but as her website gains traction, she is considering switching from Blogger to WordPress. Her blog has a few hundred blog posts, images, comments and she wants to bring it all to WordPress.
While the WordPress blogging platform offers tools to quickly and easily import content (including images) from a Blogspot blog, its biggest worry is losing Google search traffic. Will the site continue to perform well in Google once it switches from Blogger to WordPress? Can she keep her subscribers to her RSS feed and newsletter after the change?
Switch from Blogger (custom domain) to WordPress
Well, the good news is that if you use a custom domain with your Blogger blog, you can switch to WordPress very easily and your search engine rankings won’t be affected. This is because WordPress allows you to have the same URLs for your migrated blog posts and therefore the passage across platforms would be transparent to search bots and your existing blog subscribers.
This tutorial covers moving a Blogger blog on a custom domain to WordPress. If your blog has a blogspot.com address, please see this video tutorial.
1. Remove Blogger redirect
Your blogspot blog is currently redirected to a custom web domain name and the first thing we need to do is remove this redirect. Go to your Blogger dashboard at blogger.com, choose your Blog and choose Settings under Editing. Here, click on Edit, uncheck the Redirection option and save your changes.
2. Update domain DNS records
When you associated a custom domain with your Blogger blog, you must have added a few CNAME records to the DNS settings of your domain. Since we are now moving to a self-hosted version of WordPress, these Google records need to be removed from DNS.
Go to your domain registrar’s website and locate the DNS settings in the control panel. Delete here the CNAME records that point to ghs.google.com and *.googlehosted.com. You can also delete the various A records that point to Google IP addresses like 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11 and so on.
Next, you need to change your domain’s A record to point to your web host’s IP address. Wait a while (maybe an hour) while the DNS changes propagate across the internet.
3. Install WordPress on the domain
Most web hosting providers offer a simple option to install WordPress on your domain or subdomain from the domain’s control panel itself. If not, you can download the WordPress installer from WordPress.org, upload it to the root folder via FTP, and unzip the file. Check out this guide on WordPress installation for more details.
See also: Things to do after installing WordPress
4. Import Blogger content into WordPress
Open your WordPress Admin dashboard, choose Blogger under Tools -> Import and install it Blogger Importer connect. Once the plugin is installed, choose Activate Plugin & Run Importer. Authorize WordPress to access your Blogger account and click Import against the blogspot.com blog that you want to move to WordPress.
WordPress will now begin to retrieve the posts, images, and comments from your Blogger blog. If the importer is stuck, you can refresh the page and it will pick up where it left off. The import process may take a while depending on the size of your Blogger website.
5. Update WordPress permalinks
Once the content has migrated, we need to change the default WordPress permalink structure so that the blog posts keep the same URL as on Blogger. Go to Settings -> Permalink Settings and paste the following into the Custom Structure entry box. Save your changes.
It is not the most optimized permalink structure but necessary to keep your existing Google traffic (SEO).
Open the .htaccess file in the root folder of your WordPress blog and copy-paste the following snippet before everything else. We’re basically asking WordPress to redirect all requests to your Blogger RSS feeds to new WordPress feeds. This redirection will be transparent to your existing subscribers to the RSS feed.
RewriteEngine on RewriteRule atom.xml /feed? [L,R=301] RewriteRule rss.xml /feed? [L,R=301] RewriteRule ^feeds/posts/?.*$ /feed? [L,R=301] RewriteRule ^feeds/comments/?.*$ /comments/feed? [L,R=301]
If the .htaccess file does not exist in your server’s WordPress folder, you can easily create one using Vim or any text editor.
Blogger on WordPress – The Next Steps
Now that your Blogger blog has moved to WordPress, you can get rid of the old blogspot.com site as it is essentially a duplicate copy of your new WordPress site.
Instead of deleting the old blog, we can make it private so that it remains invisible to everyone except you. Go to Settings under your Blogger dashboard, choose Blog Readers and choose Private – Blog authors only. Search engine robots and human visitors to your old blog will not be able to read any articles.
Then install a few WordPress plugins and make some tweaks to make your WordPress more secure.