Moving to WordPress: Some First Steps

Part 1 of the “Moving Dabbled” Series!

So, here’s some of the stuff I’ve learned in my past few weeks research on how to move Dabbled off Blogger on to self hosted WordPress.

If you want to move a Blogger blog to wordpress (NOT – there’s no reason to do that), here are some good first steps:

1) Get your domain name if you don’t have one. Shouldn’t be more than $10/yr. I’ve used GoDaddy and Bluehost. If you’re moving from Blogger, and go ahead and put your new domain on your blogger account (Settings>>Publishing), while you’re doing your other steps. This will help things move more seamlessly.

2) Get a hosting account. Check out to see which they recommend–since the automatic installation of WordPress is a nice feature. (Again I like Bluehost – 6.95/mo, and includes 1 free domain name). Once you have a hosting account, follow their instructions to install WordPress. On the hosts recommended by WordPress, it’s generally quite easy, just click a button and it’s done for you pretty much. Yay! you have a website!

3) Look around for wordpress templates that suit your needs, or build your own if you’re geeky enough. There are a ton of good ones out there. Google is your friend. I’ll do another post on things to look for in templates (like widgetized sidebars, etc) later. It’s really easy to change these templates at any point, so you’re not tied to it, just find a nice starting point.

We’ll get into making it pretty, tomorrow!

Fun with Importing Old Posts!

You don’t necessarily want to import your posts yet, but it’s a good idea to do a test run to make sure you’re not going to have problems in this area.

Test your blog export functionality. If you’re going to try to move your current posts, not just start new posting elsewhere, you’ll need to get your blog off of Blogger. Try the Blogger export feature (you should do this anyway, so you have a backup just in case). This exports an xml file. Smaller blogs this appears to work fine, but on mine, the file truncated and I could never get a clean download.
Note, WordPress also has an import feature that connects directly to Blogger, but I found it problematic as well. If the wordpress import feature works for you, you can skip the Blogger export.
For me, Blogger wouldn’t export everything, and WordPress failed on import (would look like it only imported one post), so this was the workaround I ended up having to do:
-Create a (throwaway) blog (free)
-Use the WordPress import option from that throwaway blog.
-Export the blog from WordPress to XML.
-Import into new REAL WordPress site.

Funky, I know. You’ll want to wait til around your “go live” date to do all these steps, as Google doesn’t like you having multiple copies of your posts out on the interwebs (will screw your PageRank and such, if you care about such things).. In fact, I think I screwed mine up (hopefully temporarily) while I was playing with getting all this stuff to actually work.