It has been three weeks since I moved my blog which had a custom domain name on Blogger to a self-hosted wordpress site, hosted on bluehost. I don’t want to write a big story about the movement, but I do want to write few points for anyone contemplating a move to self hosted WordPress.
Overall, I am loving the WordPress experience, but do want to write down a few fine points about what are the things involved. For detailed steps, I have kept three links under essential reads in the end of this post which are good enough for you to make the move and much more.
1. Why Did I Move?
- I had heard a lot about WordPress being more powerful, but was shying away because of the work and complexity involved.
- The best reason for anyone to move to a self-hosted WordPress site will be SEO. If are serious about blogging and want to rank higher in search engine results, you will need to be more serious about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and WordPress makes it so easy.
- I had already purchased my custom domain name two years back from enom through Blogger, which costs me around 10-11 US$ every year. If you do not have a domain name, you will need to invest around US$11 for the domain registration.
- I decided to go with a bluehost hosting as it was known as the best hosting service provider around here in terms of value for money and support. The hosting for the basic hosting plan for a year cost me 60 US$.
- I need to shell out around 70-75 US$ every year if I need to keep this blog up and running.
3. Installing WordPress
- The whole exercise was to install WordPress on the blog, so I let bluehost take care of installing the latest stable version of WordPress on the blog. That is 4.1. That is quite easy. Bluehost will take care of all that.
Remember to create an admin user name and password during the WordPress installation and please keep something other than ‘admin’ as user name.
4. Moving the Posts and Comments
- I used the inbuilt tool provided by WordPress to move my posts, images and comments over to the new site. It will take few minutes depending on the number of posts you have on your blog. I have just 260 odd posts and very few comments, so it was done in a matter of few minutes.
- You have to set up the Permalinks so that your existing posts are intact.
5. Changing the DNS Records
- Since I already had a custom domain which I wanted to reuse or rather I wanted to move my blog from Blogger to bluehost, I had to go and manually edit the DNS entries in the eNom account so that the domain name points to the one bluehost has.
- If you are buying a domain name from bluehost or your hosting service provider, they will take care of the domain name related activities. This is applicable when you want to keep a different url for your blog/site or you are moving from a Blogspot blog to self-hosted WordPress site.
- I had kept the domain-renewal for auto-renewal out of laziness, and then I had to reset my Google apps password to get the domain name registration details(try user name email@example.com – it works )
- I have an option to transfer my domain registration to bluehost and keep everything under a single umbrella. But this is optional. My domain is still under eNom and I will transfer it later.
Note: If you are not in the habit of remembering all your passwords, you will have to look through your Google apps account carefully to find out your domain-registration user name and password.
- Once you have updated your DNS records, you may have to wait 1-2 hours before your blog actually comes up. I had the urge to move to WordPress at midnight and I got things up and running in few hours, which meant that not many people may have noticed that my blog went out of radar for a few hours (Google would have obviously noticed). Plan your move based on your site stats.
7. Installing Theme
- While I was waiting for my DNS records to be perpetrated across the different servers, I decided to try out few free themes. Unlike Blogger, you will have to download the theme to your site directory, before trying out the theme. It is easy and can be done with a few clicks.
- I am going to use the free themes available and will not invest in buying a customized theme for some time.
- I faced issues with my urls and Google webmaster cribbed for a long time before the sitemap submitted had urls with missing ‘the’, ‘a’ etc. I had urls like ‘/the-citadel-a-j-cronin.html’. What will happen if someone tells Google that the page url is ‘/citadel-cronin.html’.
- You should be careful about these problems before submitting sitemaps to Google through Google Webmasters.
- I had to re-submit my sitemaps to Google Webmasters again to solve some of the problems, but I have still few ‘Page Not Found’ issues to resolve.
The only thing I would say to all who want to move to self hosted WordPress site is that – There are lots of tutorials, blogs, sites etc telling you how to do each thing, so there is no way you can do a irreparable damage to your site because of lack of information. Information is all available on the internet.
Before you take this step you will need only three things – money for buying domain/hosting, lots of time and the dedication to see through the change.
Trust me, you will not regret it….I LOVE IT.
Essential Reads Before You Move