How to Move Your Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
How to Move Your Blog From WordPress.com to WordPress.org
You always wanted to start a blog and finally took the plunge. You figured out exactly what you wanted to blog about, signed up for WordPress.com, and published your very first post. It allowed you to blog online without having to worry about the technical side of managing a website, which is awesome. However, now that your blog is starting to grow, you have realized how important it is to use a self-hosted blogging platform.
You’re officially going to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. The only problem is, you’re not a web designer so this seems like a pretty daunting thing to do. Luckily, it’s not as hard as it seems. In this article, I have put together a step-by-step guide to help you move your blog over and ensure you don’t run into any dead ends along the way. Before we get started, let’s look at the main reasons why moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is worth it.
Why You Should Make The Move
Custom Domain Name
As your blog starts to grow, you want to make sure you establish your own brand identity which will help you drive traffic back to your blog and grow your community. One way to do this is by having your own domain name. A lot of free blogging platforms don’t come with one which means your domain name is going to look something like this: myblog.wordpress.com instead of this: myblog.com. Plus, you can find domain names that are under $10 per year so it’s totally worth it.
Monetizing Your Blog
Who doesn’t want to monetize their blog. Maybe you want to sell your own products, work with sponsors, or offer advertisements. When your blog is on WordPress.org, you have total control when it comes to the monetization side. However, with WordPress.com, there are a lot of limitations which makes it hard to turn your blog into a business.
Picking Out A Theme
When I was first starting out, I wanted to pick out the perfect theme. I literally spent hours scouring the web until I found one that I fell in love with. If you’re like me, you don’t want to have to settle. With WordPress.org, you can choose from thousands of different themes and even find ones that have been custom made for fashion bloggers, food, bloggers, financial bloggers, or whatever your niche may be.
Customizing With Plugins
I use plugins to make my blog SEO friendly, to track my statistics, to add social sharing buttons in my posts, plus more. WordPress.org is awesome because there are thousands of plugins that have been created specifically for their platform. So if you want to add your Instagram photos in your sidebar or a shopping cart on a sales page, you can find a plugin to help you. WordPress.com does come with a few basic plugins. However, it doesn’t give you the option to download any additional ones.
Search Engine Optimization
When you’re focusing on growing your blog, SEO is so important. It will organically drive traffic back to your site which is one of the most important things when it comes to blogging. When you go with a free blogging platform, like WordPress.com, it usually offers only basic optimization options. If you’re determined to build a community around your blog, having control over this aspect is pretty dang important.
Before You Make The Switch
Before you move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org there are a few things you need to have. These include:
- A Custom Domain Name
- A Good Hosting Plan
- One Hour of Your Time
If you don’t know what a hosting service is, think of it as renting an apartment for your blog. I personally use Bluehost and love them. They are extremely reliable, cheap, and their plans come with a FREE domain name. Plus, they automatically sync up to WordPress.org. To set up a new account with Bluehost, check out this article, How to Start a Blog in Under 8 Minutes, and follow steps 1-12.
How To Make The Move
After you have checked off each of these, you are ready to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. All you have to do is follow the steps below:
Step 1: The first thing to do is export your content. To do that, sign in to your WordPress.com account and navigate to your blog’s dashboard. Click on “Tools” and then “Export”.
Step 2: From there, WordPress is going to ask you if you want to export your blog for free or pay for their Guided Transfer Program. Choose the free option.
Step 3: Once you do that, you’re going to have to choose which data you want to export. Select “All Content” and then click on the “Download Export File” button on the bottom of your screen. After you click on it, an XML file will start downloading that contains everything from your blog posts, pages, images, comments, etc.
Step 4: After that’s finished downloading, login to your new WordPress.org account, click on “Tools” and then ‘Import’ to start uploading your XML file. (Just in case you missed it above, How to Start a Blog in Under 8 Minutes will show you how to set up your WordPress.org account inside Bluehost.)
Step 5: Now you can choose between a few different plugins. Click on the “WordPress” plugin and a new window will popup. From there, click on “Install Now” to download the “WordPress Importer Plugin”.
Step 6: Once the plugin is installed and activated, click on “Upload File and Import” and choose the XML file to start uploading your old blog.
(If your file size is less than 32MB, everything will import automatically. If it’s more than 32MB, you can ask Bluehost to increase your limit or use a file splitter to break up your XML file into smaller ones.)
Step 7: Once it’s uploaded, WordPress is going to ask you if you want to assign these files to an existing account or create a new one. Basically, if you posted everything under one account on your old blog, you can choose to use your old username or create a new one.
Step 8: After you have chosen which username to use, click on “Download and Import File Attachments” on the bottom of the screen. This is an important step to make sure all of your images move over smoothly.
(I’ve known a few bloggers who have run into issues with this step. To make sure everything is imported correctly, you can use the Import External Images Plugin which will pull all of your old images and add them to your new gallery.
Step 9: Once you finish that step, your blog has officially been transferred over to WordPress.org!! The last thing to do is to redirect your traffic to your new blog. The easiest way to do this is by using the WordPress.com Site Redirect service. It does cost $13 per year but is totally worth it. Click on this link >> Site Redirect and it will lead you to your old blog.
Step 10: Once you’re there, enter your new domain name and go through the checkout process. After you finish, WordPress will do the rest.
You’re done! You wanted to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and you did it. Now you can focus on picking out the perfect theme, bringing in some money, and making it SEO friendly. Good luck!
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