Switching from Blogger to WordPress

Anyone who’s read my blog before may notice a few changes to it… By which I mean, you may notice that it looks completely different, it now has Home, About, and Contact pages, and it has “wordpress” in the URL instead of “blogger”. And making all these changes has been a right hassle!

Moving an established blog from one blogging platform to another is no easy task, no matter how much better the new platform may be. So today I’m going to discuss the complications I’ve been dealing with in switching from Blogger to WordPress, which will explain why I’m going to ask you to bear with me while I continue to adjust to this new platform.

But first, a quick detour!

Back in 2012, when I started my very first blog (no, I’m not giving you a link to it), I knew very little about blogging. The only two things I knew were the following:

  1. As a writer, it’s a good idea to have a blog because it’s never too early to start trying to gather an audience for my future books.
  2. My favourite author, Kristin Cashore, uses blogger.com, and if that’s good enough for her, it must be good enough for me.

So I created a Blogger blog and thought nothing more of it for almost seven years. I didn’t even think of it when I abandoned my first blog after just a year and created what would become The Secrets The Writer Keeps in early 2014. But recently I started to notice how much more common WordPress.com blogs were than Blogger blogs. It took me at least a year, but eventually I decided to give WordPress a go and see what all the fuss was about.

I assumed I’d play around with its features, then think about it for a while, before eventually deciding to stick with Blogger.

Instead, I quickly saw the advantages of WordPress (more on that in another post), and decided to make the switch.

Probably the easiest part of the process (other than playing around with all the different theme settings to find out all the different ways you can make your site all shiny and pretty – ie, the fun bit) was bringing all my Blogger posts over to WordPress. In the Blogger settings, there’s an option to “back up content”, which downloads all your posts, complete with pictures, formatting, and labels, to your computer. Then you go into the settings of your shiny new WordPress site, go to the “import” tab, choose the Blogger importer, and upload the back up file you just downloaded from Blogger. And voila – you have moved your entire blog from one platform to another!

If only it were as easy as that.

In Blogger, you sort your blog posts using “labels”. However, in WordPress, you sort your blog posts with “categories” and “tags”. For people like my dad, categories are exactly what they sound like, and tags are basically keywords to help search engines find relevant articles, like your blog post. On all my posts, I had been using labels as tags, often with five or more labels per post, but instead of converting labels to tags, WordPress converted them to categories. Which meant that, instead of the neat ten-or-so categories I wanted to sort my posts into, I had almost two hundred different categories.

Sigh.

So I spent ages going through every single one of my sixty-or-so published posts, unticked the irrelevant category boxes, and typed them into the tags box instead. Eventually I discovered I could edit my categories under the “writing” tab of the settings, which meant that instead of manually switching the categories and tags, I could delete all the unnecessary categories and fix everything else later. Which is slightly better, but still not ideal.

Another thing I had to edit was the jump cuts/read more tags. For some reason, the jump cuts I’d put in on Blogger didn’t work on WordPress, so as I was going through every blog post individually sorting out the categories and tags, I also had to replace the Blogger jump cuts with the WordPress read more tags.

The final thing I had to fix, which I imagine will be the case when moving from any blogging platform to any other blogging platform, was the links. I have numerous blog posts which reference each other, so I added links to them, and these links were, of course, transferred from Blogger to WordPress completely unchanged. This means that my WordPress posts will link to the original Blogger posts instead of the identical WordPress ones. It’s a fairly benign problem, but an annoying one that I’m still in the process of fixing. So if you click a link to one of my previous posts and get taken to Blogger instead of WordPress, please let me know and I’ll change it!

Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re going to start a blog, look into all the different options before you choose a platform, because switching later is possible but quite a hassle, and an avoidable one at that! Speaking of researching blogging platforms, look out for my upcoming post on the differences between Blogger and WordPress!

Have you had any experience of switching blogging platforms? Let me know in the comments below!

And don’t forget, you can follow me via email, WordPress, or my Facebook page to be one of the first to know when I post something new – all relevant links are on the right!

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