OT: How to Move From Wordpress.com To Blogger

This is completely not food related, and I apologize.  But the world needs to know how to do this, and I have no other soapbox.

BACKGROUND

You'd probably think I wouldn't care about where my blog is hosted, given how infrequently I post.  The truth is, I planned on moving off of Wordpress.com for awhile.  Wordpress.com was decent enough, but it does have a number of limitations and weaknesses, including:
  1. Cost.  Wordpress has yearly fees for domain handling and being able to edit CSS.  It isn't a lot of money, but Google is free, and therefore significantly cheaper.

  2. Template Editing/JavaScript.  Wordpress doesn't allow JavaScript at all.  They blame security, but Google has found a way to handle this. 

  3. Stats.  Wordpress doesn't make it easy to use external stats and the stats it does provide are a little lacking.  The external stats limitations have a lot to do with the lack of JavaScript support.   

  4. Feedburner.  Blogger integrates with feedburner easier.  If you recall, I had to ask you all to click on a link I had to add to get you on feedburner.  Feedburner lets me do some more stats (yes, I am a stats nerd), and also lets me move blogging platforms in the future (in case I forget what a nightmare this was).
So you probably didn't care about any of this, and #1 is compelling enough to move.  Now for the bad news.  Moving sucks.  And really, it is because no one wants you to move.  What starts below is somewhere between a migration plan and a cautionary tale.

MY GOAL

I wanted to move to blogger and make everything as seamless as possible.  You should be able to find a link (e.g. blogrolls, google searches) to my blog or any blog post and still get to that content. The major hurdles:
  1. The import/export process may not work easily.  This cost me the most amount of time.

  2. Google and Wordpress.com have opposite DNS philosophies.  Wordpress gets all whiny about www.domainname.com and Google does the same about domainname.com.

  3. Post URLs are different.  This is incredibly annoying, and I have at best, a stop-gap solution.
Ultimately, I did not kill Wordpress completely.  I host older posts there and all of my images.  It was just easier, and I am lazy.  At some point I might move them, but that will have to wait for another day.

MOVING DETAILS

 0. Set up blogger.

Get your templates the way you want them and all that jazz.

1. Move posts and comments from Wordpress -> blogger.

This was probably the worst part.  There are several tools that do this.  If you can get wordpress2blogger to work, your life will probably be simple.  My life was not simple.  I suspect internationalization slid some no-no XML characters into the exported file, causing the import to barf.

So I used blogsync, which basically worked.  The biggest problems I had was actually configuring the tool.  Use a text editor instead of the GUI account setting button.  That got me all of my posts into blogger.

2. Clean up posts.

Almost all of my posts required some clean up.  Lots of stray newlines, and wordpress image captions don't transfer very well. Then I manually added all of the comments.  Fortunately, Medellitin is an internet leper colony so not a lot of comments.

3. Configure DNS.

This by the way is where we start to see how annoying things can be.  Wordpress does not want you to use www.domainname.com supposedly out of some righteous sense of DNS purity.  Instead, they want you to use the 'naked' domain, like domainname.com.

Blogger is the exact opposite.  It will not let you use the naked domain.

So, for DNS you will need to set up a CNAME for www or blog, and then use A records for the naked entry.

Also, setup a CNAME called wordpress that will point to your old Wordpress blog.   For me, that was medellitin.wordpress.com.

4. Configure blogger.

Go into Settings->publishing.  Using advanced settings, set up your domain to be blog.domainname.com.  Check the checkbox Redirect medellitin.com to blog.medellitin.com.  If this checkbox does not exist, then make the change anyways.  The checkbox should appear afterwards, and you can just change the setting then.

Under Use a missing files host, select yes.  Now make your host Wordpress.medellitin.com.  What the F is this, you ask?

Well, default Wordpress url's look like:

http://medellitin.com/2009/09/04/tgrwt-19-tomato-and-black-tea/

and blogger url's look like:

http://medellitin.com/2009/09/tgrwt-19-tomato-and-black-tea.html

If we enable the missing files host and point it at the old blog, older links will still find a home.  It is your old home, but at least it doesn't disappear.  This may not be the best idea, as google may punish you (PageRankwise) for hosting the same content multiple times.  On the plus side, you don't lose all those people clicking on your old links.  I am eventually going to write a little JavaScript that will handle this for me, but it will need a home somewhere, which means a place I can host some Javascript.

5. Feedburner.

Settings->Site Feed.  Put in your feedburner feed url there.

Then login to feedburner and change your original feed url to blog.domainname.com/feeds/posts/default

Whee!  You are feedburnt.

6. Wordpress.

Go back to Wordpress and change the domain back to your whatever.Wordpress.com domain.

7. Bask in your own glory

Until something breaks.

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2 comments:

Estilo Familiar said...

Although you explained it in details, I still don't get it. I'll try to go step by step. Wouldn't it be easier to just start a new one from scratch?? ja, ja!

Pablo Escolar said...

Well, easier sure. but you might lose all your hard earned search engine and link love. Let me know what you dont get and I'll try to help

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