As I continue blogging about marketing, business, and entrepreneurial stuff it only makes sense to start talking about blogging as well. As I’ve said before, I have a unique audience here, consultants, SEOs, Web designers, bloggers, offline business owners and more, so I want to continue creating content for all of you. Sometimes that content will fit into a wide spectrum, other times it will serve a very specific purpose for a very specific group.
This is one of those posts that are for a very specific group.
This post is actually an idea sparked from my girlfriend’s mom. She’s been blogging for a while and has developed a following using the free wordpress.com blog platform. She’s at the point where she would like to have more control and use a standalone blog. The problem is, how do you migrate everything over, comments, posts, etc.? How do you set things up? It can be a daunting task for someone that doesn’t deal with servers, hosting, domain name settings and other stuff on a daily basis.
So lets get to it.
Getting Away From WordPress.com
The main reason you want to get away from the wordpress.com platform and move to a self hosted wordpress blog is an issue of control vs. limitations. WordPress.com is basically free, but you are limited. You can’t add amazon affiliate widgets, you can’t add a lot of different plugins, you can’t make major modifications to themes, you’re just limited in a lot of things that you do. You can’t use any third party advertising network, not just amazon affiliate links but Google Adsense and other platforms.
You’re also stuck with the wordpress analytics instead of the more detailed, more advanced Google Analytics.
Here’s a video that highlights the differences:
Getting Started With the Migration
Even if you aren’t the most tech savvy, you can get through the migration pretty easily. It may seem difficult at first but it really isn’t, these steps will walk you through the process.
Step 1: Hosting Your WordPress Site
Since you’re moving away from the free wordpress.com platform, to the self hosted, unrestricted wordpress platform you need to find a hosting service.
If you don’t already have a custom domain name, you can sign up with NameHero for pretty cheap and have reliability of cloud hosting. They also have a cool option in the checkout process that will automatically install wordpress for you as they setup your hosting account. I recently wrote a review about them and compared the performance to other major hosting companies.
If you already had a domain purchased through wordpress, you should be able to change the nameservers to the new configuration the hosting company gave you, or you can pay the $13 to have WordPress redirect your domain to the new domain.
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Step 2: Installing WordPress On Your Server
Above, I mentioned that using NameHero for hosting you have an option in the sign up where you they preinstall wordpress for you during the registration process. That’s obviously the easiest way, but if you chose a different hosting company or decided to install it yourself there are a couple more steps involved.
So lets quickly go through those steps.
Check your welcome email, you will have information on how to get to your control panel or cpanel. It’s usually yourdomainname.com/cpanel but it will vary host to host. Use the user name and password they gave you.
Once you log into your cPanel you’ll see a Software/Services section. If you chose NameHero like I mentioned before, you will see what is displayed in the image below.
For the NameHero users, you will want to click on the Softaculous option. Other hosts may have that option as well, or if you use hostgator it will display as “quick install”.
So go ahead and click the Softaculous option, you will see a screen like the image below:
Obviously, you want to continue using wordpress so put your mouse pointer on the wordpress option, you will see a roll over that has a button labeled, “Install”.
You will be taken to a screen, I’m not going to post a screenshot because there’s no real need to. You really only have to worry about setting your wordpress password. Please, PLEASE choose a difficult password and store it somewhere, wordpress sites tend to get hacked pretty easily if you have a weak password.
If you use NameHero, you can even select a free theme during the preinstall section.
That’s all you have to do, and you have wordpress setup on your server. It will probably take you 5 minutes, maximum to do that, it has taken me much longer to explain all this than it would for you to do it.
Step 3: Exporting Data From Your WordPress.com Blog
So you bought your own web hosting service, you have your domain name, and you have a self hosted version of wordpress installed on your new server. Pretty good for just a few minutes of work, right?
Well, if you’ve been using wordpress.com for a while, you probably don’t want to lose your comments, your posts, images and all the other stuff you’ve accumulated over there.
That’s a problem…. or is it?
You will want to log into your wordpress.com blog’s admin panel, scroll down to “Tools” and click “Export”. Here’s an image displaying that:
Once you click on export, you get taken to a page where you get to choose whether you want to export your data yourself, or waste $129 on a guided export with wordpress. I would assume you want to save the $129 and do it yourself, afterall it’s only going to take a minute or so.
Here’s an image showing the export screen… you probably want to export all content, instead of just pages, or just comments, etc.
Select all content, unless you have a weird reason why you only want one thing and not the rest. Make sure you save the file somewhere that you can easily access it.
You’re now almost there….
Step 4: Importing content to your new blog
You essentially do the same thing that you did in step 3, only this time it’s the newly created blog that you have on your own hosting, and instead of exporting, you import. So go to tools, select import and then you get taken to a screen where you have different importing options.
The option you want to choose is wordpress, since you’re importing from another wordpress site.
Click the browse button to find the XML file you saved from the wordpress.com export. Now you upload and install that file. You will be given certain options like assigning posts to a user, etc. This is pretty straight forward stuff.
Important note: If you want to keep your subscribers, which I assume you do, WordPress has put out a help guide to show you what you need to do. Click here to see it.
This should give you the knowledge and direction to start hosting your own WordPress blog, instead of using the limited wordpress.com platform.
However, it’s just the beginning. There are many other things you will have to consider like monetization, increasing subscriber growth, etc.