I know there are a lot of people who have thought about switching from Blogger to WordPress, but don’t know much about the process. Or, they want to do it but they don’t know how. Or, they’re nervous about all the things that could go wrong!
To help provide you with enough information to make an informed decision, I have interviewed a few book bloggers who have gone through this process! Let’s see what they have to say…
In one or two sentences, please tell us a bit about you and your blog.
My name is Kelly and I run Radiant Shadows, a YA Book Blog that features book reviews, bookish news and bookish ramblings, among other things!
My name is Celine, and I’m a 18-year-old Cultural Sciences student from the Netherlands that loves to read, go to concerts and travel. Nyx Book Reviews is where I have been blogging for almost three years now; I review an eclectic mix of fantasy, dystopian or thrillers, in all age categories.
I’m Lexxie, I started my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews on June 2nd 2012, and it’s a place where I can talk about books, and share the love I have for the different worlds I can enter thanks to great storytellers. I read only fiction, but almost every genre there is, I love both YA, New Adult and Adult novels. I read depending on my mood, sometimes romance (both contemporary and historical), PNR, UF, fantasy, SF, horror, thrillers and erotica.
Respiring Thoughts is the manifestation of a teen reader’s love of reading books, then writing hypercritical book reviews and sharing them with others—all while having much fun, of course.
The Bewitched Bookworms have been up and running since 3 years now. I run the Bewitched Bookworms together with Heather and Pushy and while we might focus on YA, each of us as a distinct and slightly different taste.
How long had you been blogging when you decided to switch from Blogger to WordPress?
A little over a year.
I moved in August 2012 – so I think I had been blogging over two years before I decided to switch.
I had been blogging for only three months when I switched from Blogger to WordPress.
I officially decided to make the switch to WordPress after about 9 or 10 months on Blogger, but moving day didn’t occur until a few weeks after my first blogoversary.
Around a year. But it took me 6 month more to bring up the courage to ask my blogmates to do the switch with me!
What made you decide to make the switch? And what were some of your biggest fears about the process?
I had read that if you were considering making the switch, doing it when your blog was small was easier than if your blog were bigger. So being relatively small, I started thinking about whether Blogger would always work for me. I had heard that WordPress had better SEO options, and I was really interested in the plugins that were designed to make my life easier. And the biggest reason, of course, was my fear that Google would shut down my blog for spam, or for not following their ToS—that terrified me.
My biggest fear about the process was picking a host! There are SO many hosting sites available, and every blogger I talked to recommended a different one. Ultimately, I chose RFE because I had a discount code, and they’ve been amazing! But I also worried about turning my hobby in to something that I had to pay for (paying for a domain and hosting services), the learning curve of a new platform and then the daunting task of actually moving all of my old posts to the new platform.
The main reason I switched was because Blogger was driving me absolutely crazy. During that time it had so many errors, from posts disappearing to not saving scheduled posts. I also didn’t like that Google was practically forcing me to create a Google+ account even though I didn’t want one. I wanted to own my blog, not being dependant of some company that might delete it at any given time.
My worst fear was that all of my followers would abandon me. It was completely irrational – all of my RSS feed subscribers got transferred along with my blog. But I was really scared that once I had moved my usual readers wouldn’t be able to find me or would forget me.
I saw that bloggers using WordPress had much more freedom to make their own themes and add-ons than I had with Blogger. As I was still very new, I didn’t really have many fears, I thought that everything would be fine, as long as I got my posts transferred.
My decision was definitely made based on many factors. Firstly, I really love the capabilities and personalization that WordPress offers, as well as the aesthetic appeal—almost every WordPress blog I’ve seen looks fabulous. I also liked the flexibility WordPress offered for future blog plans, like monetizing the blog or whatever I wanted to do. There’s a lot more freedom on a self-hosted WordPress site than there is on Blogger, really.
As far as fears go, I think my biggest thing was losing followers with GFC going away. I’m a very small blog with a few loyal readers (who I wasn’t afraid of losing). I spent 12 months upping site traffic and getting my name out there, and I was really anxious that all that effort would go to waste as soon as I switched to WordPress—subscribers and page hits would fall, publishers wouldn’t give me the time of day, I’d get no commenters. I think one of the greatest things about blogging is that you reach an audience with your thoughts, so if my capability to do so became impaired, I would be one sad panda. (As a side note: my fears were totally unfounded.)
I just decided it was time to move! I found this great offer from Blogelina, who offered to move us to WP for $80 (this offer also included 1 year of hosting) and that was the final
sign to move!
Well, surely the biggest fear was loosing subscribers. We worked hard to get X Number of Followers so, I was scared of loosing them. And of course, all the comments and posts.
Did you hire someone to move your blog (if so, who?) or did you do it yourself? How difficult was the process? Was it as hard as you thought?
I kind of did both? Choosing a host and migrating my content from Blogger to WordPress, I did myself. I re-hired my blog designer, Katelyn Brooke, to move my design over.
The actual process was…interesting? I was going to transfer over my original domain (radiant-shadows.com), but after running into multiple issues, I just bought a new one (radiantshadows.ca). I used Parajunkee’s guide for moving from Blogger to WordPress as a guideline, but had to Google a bunch since I used a different host than what her guide advises. I also found that none of the guides I used thought to tell me that it could take 24-48 hours for my new domain to register with my host, meaning I couldn’t install WordPress for 1-2 days. And then once I had installed WordPress, it could take another few hours before I could start working with it. Once I got that all set up, it was pretty easy! I just followed Parajunkee’s guide step-for-step, and all of my content moved over! The only thing left to do was to re-direct all of my old links on Blogger to their new, corresponding link, on WordPress which is when I used TentBlogger’s guide.
I think the process was easier than I thought it was going to be—I had visions of losing everything, of broken links, of being completely clueless – but I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily an easy process. I ran into obstacles that frustrated me, and the entire process probably took me a solid day’s worth of Googling and trial and error, before I had everything sorted out. BUT I also learned a LOT about WordPress and the back end of things, so I would most definitely do it myself again.
I did it all myself – but I had a lot of blogging friends on standby in case anything went wrong! In the end it was all quite easy and self-explanatory. There are tons of WordPress plug-ins that help import all of your posts, comments and tags. The only thing I hadn’t counted on was having to change EVERY SINGLE LINK I had ever made between my own posts. In the end I only did the hundred or so links I had in my review overview list, and decided it wasn’t worth the bother to change all of my two year’s worth of posts. There are quite a lot of broken links on my older posts, hehe.
BookNook Note: If you keep your permalink structure the same, it is possible to set up forwarding so that when someone clicks on a link to your blogger blog (like in one of your old posts), it gets forwarded to your new blog. Read more about this on WP Beginner.
I moved from Blogger to WordPress all by myself, I downloaded all my content from Blogger first, and I kept the blog open for a while. Then, I signed up at WordPress.com—that was a mistake—it’s WordPress.org that has all the cool plugins!! However, once I had signed up, all my blog posts as well as all of the comments from Blogger showed up with the correct date and everything, so it went very smoothly. However, when I bought my own domain-name and wanted to transfer from .com to .org I had a lot of trouble, and I got the WordPress staff to do that transfer for me. It cost $99, and they took care of everything, they also stayed at my disposal for a whole month after the transfer for any problem that could arise. I didn’t have any at all, so that went really well, too.
I made the transfer to WordPress all by my myself, and that whole process was honestly very, very easy, and only a little bit time consuming. I had myself prepared for a massive week-long, nightmare-inducing sobfest, but I got all my posts, comments, and subscribers transferred over in less than two hours. After that, I set up a redirection from my Blogger site to my new WordPress domain, and I was more or less good to go. Completely painless.
That being said, when I imported my posts into WordPress from Blogger, their formatting got really wonky and I did go back through and individually fix them so they looked nice again. It’s not a necessary step, and since I don’t feel that a lot of my older posts get a lot of its, it was probably a waste of my time. But I do like that every post on my site will look visually appealing if someone does chance upon it. That whole process was VERY time consuming—about ten hours put together.
Even though I’m quite savvy with these stuff I just had no time at all to read all tutorials and guidelines myself, so I hired someone who does this kind of thing constantly. It felt much saver than doing it myself! I could just lean back and wait! She even matched my layout! Hiring someone with knowledge was the best decision ever. I could just lean back and let them to all the work. It was easy and super fast, within a few hours everything was done! Unless you know what you are doing I can only recommend letting someone else do it. And be it just for your nerves:)
At first, how did you feel about the WordPress admin area (the dashboard, post creation page, etc.)? Was it tough to get used to?
I was really intimidated at first. It took me a while to figure out where everything was, since there were so many options! Once I had played around for a little bit, and found everything I usually used on Blogger, I quickly became more comfortable with it. It reminded me a lot of when I had started blogging with Blogger, and had no clue what I was doing! Lol, but I think I picked it up a lot quicker because of my experience with Blogger.
I was SO overwhelmed at first! It’s very different from the Blogger dashboard, and I was constantly looking for buttons. I did get used to it quickly (maybe two weeks). The WordPress admin area is actually a lot clearer and easier to navigate than the Blogger one.
I thought the WordPress dashboard was easier and more logical to deal with than the Blogger dashboard. Easier to navigate, and so great to be able to add different themes and plugins with just a few clicks. Maybe I would have found this harder if I had been on Blogger for a long time before I moved, though.
Actually, I’m an admin for another, completely unrelated, WordPress site, so by the time I got around to moving Respiring Thoughts, I was already very familiar with the interface. But before that, there was a learning curve, and it might be a difficult adjustment. I feel like a lot of it is intuitive and even if it was tricky at first, I got the hang of things quickly. Some places in the dashboard might be a bit harder to find than they were in Blogger. If you’re really struggling, Google knows all.
I will say that one thing that bothers the bejeebus out of me to this day is formatting images and getting the spaces between paragraphs/lines the way I want them. I usually write my posts primarily using the visual (“WYSIWYG”) editor, and then using the HTML editor for certain functions. On WordPress, some of the tricks I used to have don’t work quite as well as they did in Blogger, so I’m having to make up new tricks and shortcuts. The capability isn’t any different, but the method to achieve the same results has changed a little bit.
I knew WP before so for me it was easy and also one thing why I wanted to switch. For my blogmates however it was the first time and they loved it instantly! And nope, not tough at all.
The WP dashboard is easy and well organized!
Now that’s you’ve been using WordPress for a while, what are your thoughts? How would you compare it to Blogger? Are there any things that you miss about Blogger that aren’t available on WordPress?
I love WordPress and can’t imagine ever going back to Blogger. I just have so many more options at my fingertips and for most things I want (like a Blog Roll that shows the blog’s name AND their most recent post) there’s a plugin available that does all of my work for me!
I don’t know that I could compare the two platforms…I almost feel like they’re for people who are in two different places in their blogging careers. For me, Blogger was a great platform to start blogging with, because it’s so easy to use. But as someone who hopes to be blogging for a long time, WordPress was the most logical choice I could have made.
I know a lot of people worry over losing GFC, but that is actually something I love not having. I rarely check the amount of people who subscribe to my blog, so when I do happen to get a glance at that number, it’s a pleasant surprise to see it has gone up slightly since the last time I saw it. I like not having the pressure of seeing that number increase every time I visit my blog.
It’s great! I haven’t had any notable issues with WordPress since I moved, while on Blogger there was something wrong every single week. Overall it’s just a lot more pleasant to work with if you really blog a lot. For the beginning blogger Blogger is fine, but after a while I would recommend to switch. WordPress just has so many more options, Blogger is limited in what you can do with it. The only thing I miss is that I can’t use GFC any more.
I’m still very happy with WordPress, and I don’t miss anything at all. I have even been able to keep my GFC gadget (with some complicated code I found on a blog) and I think that’s also because I have a redirect from my blogger URL to my own domain. I think I have more freedom to personalize my blog on WordPress than I did on Blogger, and it’s a lot of fun to play around with. But before I do any changes at all, I make sure to make a complete backup in case something goes wrong. I do this even if I change the theme I want to try out, because sometimes the widgets are in different places and I want to make sure I can get things back to the way they were in case I don’t like it.
My thoughts: DO IT. If you’re willing to invest the time and money, WordPress is beyond worth the (small) hassle. Since I made the switch, posting and moderating my blog has become 10 times more efficient, with plugins I’m able to do a lot more as a whole, and, funnily enough, my site readership has gone way, way up! I can honestly think of no downfalls in moving to WordPress.
Compared to Blogger, WordPress has a lot more “professional” feel to it. The dashboard has a lot more options to get used to, and though I personally think it looks cleaner, new users might get lost in all the menus. Oh, big difference: hosting. Paying for a someone to host your site on a server is a little daunting at first. At least, it was for me. I went with a host that WordPress recommended, and then the very day I re-launched my site, that host had a crash that lasted almost 4 hours (bad luck, man). That was kind of stressful, since at first I didn’t know if I’d installed a faulty plugin or I’d entered bad code or what. So be prepared for that potential server awkwardness. But if you hire a good host, outages should be kept to a minimum, hopefully.
I can’t think of any big things I miss from Blogger, honestly—I’m extremely happy that I switched and I haven’t looked back once. One little thing I miss is that I can’t edit my widgets from the front end of the site anymore; now I have to go inside my dashboard and go to the widget menu. It’s not a big deal, but I do keep a “currently reading” image up in my sidebar, and since I tend to read 1-2 books a day, that’s a lot of extra clicking I have to do. Kind of lazy to say, but there it is.
Best decision ever! I did not regret it for one minute!! WP is just so much more than Blogger. The plugins are made in heaven and the designs are always prettier and more professional than what you have on Blogger.
Better SEO (those SEO plugins are amazing), better post editing, more possibilities to develop your site according to your wishes!
No, there is nothing I miss from Blogger. Not even my GFC—because I simply stopped caring about those numbers and started looking on real numbers like page views.
Do you have any final thoughts or advice for people who are considering making the switch?
I think making the switch is a personal choice. I personally felt like I had outgrown Blogger and that WordPress would be able to help me to continue to grow as a Blogger in ways that Blogger couldn’t.
As for advice, set aside a LOT of time for the switch. I took a couple weeks off of blogging, in order to focus on the transfer so that things went as smoothly as possible. I didn’t want to be stressed about figuring out a new platform AND having fresh content posted.
Don’t be afraid to do it! There are always tons of people ready to help if something goes wrong, and I’m sure you will love it. If you have any questions about the progress, feel free to send me an email. (:
If you want to make the switch, all I can say is go for it! But keep your Blogger blog open for at least a while, so you can make sure all your blog posts follow you, and that you have the widgets and extras you want in the same places if that’s what you want. At the same time, it’s the best time to revamp completely, if that’s what you want to do. And remember to try to have fun even while moving! It actually can be a lot of fun.
Uh…DO IT! Seriously, what are you waiting for? WordPress rocks!
But no, in all seriousness, I’d suggest that you think about what you want to do with your blog. I switched to WordPress because I wanted to maximize my time and efficiency while blogging, as well as have more freedom and capability. I think that if you want to switch from Blogger just for a prettier site design (though that is a powerful motivator), think carefully. WordPress sites do tend to look pretty awesome, but there’s some work required to get them that way. If you want more control over your site, or if you want the possibility of doing whatever the heck you want, then WordPress is definitely the way to go.
If you are not sure, then maybe have a look at a WP installation from a friend to see the dashboard and how easy everything is! I showed the WP to Alison from Alison Can Read and she was amazed! And if you are not sure about moving yourself. Hire someone and lean back to let them do the work! But consider it carefully.
Are you serious about your Blog? Because it you are not then the move to WP is not worth it (Considering the hosting cost). WP can offer you a whole new world of blogging but you need to spend some time maintaining and building the side.
Thank you so much for stopping by and telling us about your experiences, ladies!