Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Migrating from Blogger to WordPress

I’m in the process of migrating three sites from Blogger to WordPress including this site.  The process is tedious and a little complicated, but it is manageable.  Once you have physically migrated, you need to tweak the posts, categories and tags a bit.  The most important part though, is to carefully apply 301 redirects to ensure that existing search listings will lead to the current content. 

The sites were at a blog.sitename.com. I want the current sites to be sitename.com. This site was at blog.chrismendlatech.com. I want it to live at www.chrismendlatech.com.

I previously outlined why I’m migrating from Blogger to WordPress.  I have been avoiding this for a while but there is no other choice.

Preparation

Before you start the migration check the following:

  • Be sure that the domain name you want is available. In this case it was no problem because I was moving from blog.site.com to www.site.com on domains I won.
  • Clean up the Blogger posts. Delete any unneeded drafts or posts you no longer need. This will help make things a bit more manageable. ‘
  • Clean up the Blogger labels. If you have labels with less than 4 posts, consider deleting the label. Again, this will make your work on WordPress much more manageable.
  • Take a look at the Blogger stats. They aren’t that accurate but they could be useful.
  • Choose a template for your WordPress site. I use a product called Artisteer which creates great WordPress templates.
  • Decide on how you will handle navigation. Blogger labels are converted to WordPress categories.  Decide on if and how you will use WordPress tags and categories.

Set up your WordPress site.

  • Install WordPress on your hosting and install a basic set of plugins. Be especially sure to install:
    • a security plugin such as Wordfence.
    • An SEO tool that will generate a site map (e.g. Yoast)
    • A tool to manage redirection of 404 requests (e.g. Redirection)
  • Also be sure to include the plugin Redirection.

Read this article about migrating.

  • Wpbeginner.com has a great article about the basics of migrating. That will tell you how to:
    • Back up your blogger site.
    • Import the Blogger site into your WordPress site.

The actual migration

Now is the time to actually migrate. My largest site had about 700 posts. The migration was complete within  a few minutes. Larger sites may take longer.

At this time, your Blogger site will still be live.  You will lose any comments that are posted after you did your Blogger export.

  • Export your blog from blogger.
  • Run the import to import the site into WordPress.
  • Make sure that you delete the entries for the blog subdomain so they no longer point to your Blogger site. Note that you can still access the content through www.bloggeer.com/home.
  • Make sure that your old blog is not visible.

Set the read-more for every post

If you don’t set a read-more, then your monthly archives and Taxonomies for categories and tags will be unwieldy. A read-more will condense those pages which is especially important for mobile users. There are a couple of ways of doing this:

  • Use a plugin to automatically set the read more.
    • Advantages – Good for large sites where you don’t have the time to do it manually.
    • Disadvantages – Lack of control of exactly where the read-more will be placed.
  • Insert the read-more break manually
    • Advantages – Precise control. You can get rid of the Blogger jump break artifact while in each post.
    • Disadvantages – Very time consuming.
  • Hire someone to do it.
    • Advantage  – Frees up your time.
    • Disadvantage – You have to delegate and trust whoever is doing the work.

Clean up the categories.

If you didn’t do this in Blogger, then you might want to go through WordPress and clean up the categories. For example, I had written a lot of posts about Joomla and had Blogger labels such as Joomla, Joomla 3 etc. In this new site, I’m simply categorizing them as Joomla.

Hint – The quick edit option when you are viewing a list of posts in WordPress will allow you to set categories and tags easily.

Images

Do not delete your Blogger blog since the images in the WordPress blog are most likely links to the images stored on Blogger.

I would let this go until you set the 301 redirections. However, here is what you need to know about images.

  • Take a look at the images in your posts.
  • The import does a pretty good job of setting a featured image. However, note that the featured image is from the linked Blogger image. If you delete your Blogger blog, you will lose all of your images.
  • If this is the case, you have some options.
    • If you have the images locally, you can reload them to your WordPress media.
    • If you don’t have them locally, you can
      • right-click on the image in your WordPress post editor
      • Save the file to your local drive
      • Add the image to your media.
    • Either way, the process is a bit labor intensive. I have not found a good way to do this yet.

If you look at the properties of an image in your new WordPress posts, you may see something like the following. This indicates that the image is hosted on Blogger. If you want to make sure you have reliable access, you will need to load it to your WordPress media as shown above.

WordPress images hosted on Blogger

WordPress images hosted on Blogger

301 Redirects for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This caused some aggravation.  You need to look at what is already indexed. One way to do this is with a site:site.com in Google. In this case I would use site:chrismendlatech.com. Since I didn’t have anything at the www level, I should see everything for the domain.

As I mentioned in another post, Google tends to index your Blogger posts under the monthly archive. If you have a decent number of posts each month, that makes it very difficult for users to find specific content based on searches. If you see a lot of URLS in the site: search that appear as blog.site.com/2015/04 and very little specific entries such as blog.site.com/how-to-get-rich.html, then you will understand why you need to switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Note – the following steps were particular to my situation but you should be able to adjust them to your needs.

Set up your blog subdomain on your hosting.

You are probably thinking: “We are getting rid of the blog subdomain, why are we creating it again?”  . You need to have hosting space to put an .htaccess file for redirects.

  • Be sure that your permalinks in your WordPress site are set to Month/name .
  • Set up your domains in your host or domain provider so that blog.site.com points to the hosting folder for the blog
  • Create an .htaccess file in whatever file that blog.site.com points to in your hosting.

IMPORTANT – When you are testing out the redirects. Use a 302 (temporary) redirect and NOT a 301 (Permanent) redirect. Otherwise your browser will cache the redirect and it will be nearly impossible to test changes.

  • Your htaccess file will look similar to the following. Note – this does NOT go in the folder where www.site.com is hosted but it goes in blog.site.com’s folder.
Options +FollowSymLinks

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^blog\.site\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*?)\.html$ http://www.site/$1 [R=302,L]

RedirectMatch 302 /2002/(.*) http://www.site.com/2002//$1
RedirectMatch 302 /2003/(.*) http://www.site.com/2003//$1
RedirectMatch 302 /2004/(.*) http://www.site.com/2004//$1
RedirectMatch 302 /2005/(.*) http://www.site.com/2005//$1

The RewriteCond and RewriteRule will forward all requests that come into blog.site.com/post-name.html to the www WordPress site. It will strip off the html extension.

Blogger uses an abbreviated slug. The WordPress slug is a lot longer. There will be mismatches in these cases.

The RedirectMatch rules will forward the monthly Blogger archives to the appropriate WordPress archive if you set the permalinks to month/name.

Again, test this using 302s. Do not change the 302s to 301s until you are sure everything is working correctly.

As mentioned above, there will be mismatches where the Blogger slug was shorter than the WordPress Slug. This is where the Redirection plugin comes in. You will need to keep an eye on the 404’s that show up in the Redirection plugin and forward those to the proper post.

Google and Bing Search Consoles.

Go into the search consoles and remove the sitemaps from Blogger and replace them with the WordPress sitemaps.

Check, Check and Double Check

Keep a close eye on your sites.

  • Check the traffic for unusual drops.
  • Check your Analyics. You did put the tracking code in your WordPress site, didn’t you?
  • Check the Bing and Google Search Consoles.
  • Do a site:site.com in Google and Bing for All and Images. Compare that to what was there when you started the migration.

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