EDIT: PLEASE NOTE THIS POST IS OVER 3 YEARS OLD. SOME OF MY ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE CHANGED SINCE I WROTE THIS POST.
It would appear from a lot of my blog comments and twitter feedback that many of you would like to also make the move from Blogger to WordPress. So I thought I would collate a few pointers and resources on how I made the migration and set up my own self-hosted WordPress blog.
Pick a hosting company. Apparently it is best to use different organisations for domain and hosting. I use DreamHost – it is a relatively affordable option. (EDIT: I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY). WordPress does recommend several other hosting companies so check out their list too. (EDIT: I recommend Krystal Hosting – UK based and super supportive)
Point your Domain to the Nameservers (DNS) of your host. This can take over 24 hours to work so do this at the earliest opportunity.
In the meantime pick an FTP client. I use Filezilla. It’s free. Download onto your computer. (I don’t necessarily recommend using FTP now. Most hosts are super helpful without needing this)
Use 1-Click Install of WordPress. Save the software onto your computer.
Clear your Cache (I didn’t do this and my site kept coming up with an error code making me panic somewhat).
Back-up your Blogger blog by saving to computer first (just in case).
Follow the Beautifully Invisible tutorial for very detailed step-by-step instructions for setting up WordPress, migrating your blog posts and comments over and installing useful plug-ins.
Remember that only your Blog Posts and Comments will be transferred over. So make note of any Pages, Widgets etc. that you want to set-up on the WordPress site.
Before setting up the redirection from the Blogspot address, I set up my theme etc. I wanted to make sure my new blog looked presentable before readers were sent this way (this step varies from the Beautifully Invisible tutorial).
I used Thesis theme. It is a paid-for theme. It’s functionality is far superior to many of the free themes. But that is just my opinion. (Note: I now use the Hickory theme, purchased through Themeforest)
If you chose Thesis, there is an excellent video tutorial that takes you step-by-step of how to install Thesis theme. I found this a useful way to learn about how the FTP client works.
There are literally thousands of useful plugins that make your blogging experience easier, more convenient and add great functionality to your blog. Once again, check the Beautifully Invisible tutorial for must-have widgets to help with your blog migration. (or I’ve shared my favourite plugins here)
Make sure you add all the new widgets (i.e. the ones you used on Blogger) by downloading the zip file to your computer, extracting files to a folder, and then uploading to WordPress via the FTP client (again, not essential anymore via FTP, just install straight into WordPress).
Mistakes I Made
Mixing up my DNS records so having to redo them and wait another 24 hours for them to work.
Not clearing my Cache in my internet browser and so I kept seeing an error code when trying to check whether the domain worked.
When I first extracted the Thesis theme zip file, my computer saved it as a folder within a folder. I then uploaded the whole folder via the FTP client and the final step of the tutorial failed to work. It took hours of work for me to realise what had happened. I had to start again and just upload the single folder.
I did not delete the RSS feed footer first. So all my imported posts now have the footer contained within the post body.
Set up a whole need RSS feedburner account before realising I could move the existing one. Oops.
Beautifully Invisible – So You Want To Leave Blogger For WordPress? (It is a three-parter)
I am so pleased I made the effort to move Rosalilium from Blogger to WordPress. It has been a huge learning curve – I never knew I could get so technically-minded! But the help is out there and it is worth the time (I spent days on this).
If you have any questions please ask away and I will do my best to answer them or point you in the best direction for an answer.