If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed some changes this week. After a year of procrastination, Modern Defrag has finally migrated from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. It took several days of work, but it’s finally done (mostly).
Naively, I imagined a shimmering “Import Blogger Blog” button that would magically migrate everything and have it all function properly. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t the case. While I don’t want to go into too much detail about everything done, here’s a rough outline of what I did:
Hosting was actually the easiest part of the migration. There are several options to choose from when it comes to hosting companies. After researching for a couple of days, BlueHost was the winner for me. Based on my experience with them, BlueHost offers a reasonable price and exceptional support. I purchased one year of the shared hosting Plus plan. After opting out of all the add-in features, the total was $107.40. If this still seems high, hosting could have been considerably cheaper with the Starter plan if I only had one website to host.
2. Installing WordPress
When you pay for hosting, it doesn’t automatically come with WordPress installed. However, it’s easy to do and only took me a few minutes. After logging into BlueHost, I simply pressed the “Install WordPress” button and followed the prompts.
3. Importing Blogger
To be honest, his part was pretty awful. It started out smoothly. I added my Custom Structure to the permalink settings so that my permalinks would follow the same structure as Blogger for new and existing posts. Next, I exported my blog from Blogger and went to WordPress to import it. But what I forgot was that I’d manually altered the permalinks from default before posting on Blogger for SEO reasons. Because of this, every permalink broke! Not knowing that there are probably plugins to correct this semi-automatically, I then manually corrected the permalink for each post.
After correcting the permalinks I had to fix the formatting, clearing and redoing it from scratch for each post. Each post retained bits of formatting from Blogger which caused content to display incorrectly in WordPress. Also, many of the images from Blogger didn’t fully migrate to WordPress. Instead, WordPress redirected to the image on Blogger. If the image was not on WordPress, it needed to be downloaded from blogger, uploaded to its corresponding post, and then applied the correct formatting.
4. Adding a Theme
I hoped to get by with a free theme, but couldn’t find anything to fit the needs of the blog. After two days of sifting through different themes, I finally found the “MH Magazine WordPress Theme.” This theme set me back another $49.00 plus a few hours to customize it.
5. Swapping DNS (Going Live)
Changing my custom domain (moderndefrag.com) to direct to BlueHost was fairly simple. First, I changed my Blogger blog settings to hide the Blogger version from search engines. Doing this prevents Google from docking your page rankings for having duplicate content across multiple websites. Second, I removed my custom domain from the Blogger settings. Lastly, I logged into my Namecheap account (where I originally bought my domain) and added the DNS servers that BlueHost had provided me.
6. Migrating Comments
Comments are still causing problems. I’ve been using Disqus as the commenting system for the blogger version of Modern Defrag. At the start of the migrating process, I had high hopes that I could just add the Disqus plugin to my new blog. I was hoping that when Disqus saw the comments being pulled from the same URL as the blogger version, it would automatically carry over all the comments seamlessly. That didn’t happen. In fact, no comments showed up at all. After spending an hour with their URL Mapper tool, I was able to successfully migrate comments for some posts, but not all. I’m still working on this, but I’m not very optimistic that I’ll get the rest migrated.
7. Adding Advertisements
Yes, you probably didn’t notice if you block ads (a rant for another day), but I threw a couple of ads in the sidebar to help support this blog. Adding ads was incredibly easy with the “MH Magazine WordPress Theme.” I just pasted the supplied code into the sidebar widget customization field and was done.
Overall, I’ve spent close to 40 hours and exactly $156.40 so far on the migration. However, it was definitely time and money well spent. I don’t worry as much about the scalability of Modern Defrag. And with WordPress, there’s no need to spend several hours inside HTML and CSS just to change minor cosmetic faults like Blogger requires.
If you have a Blogger blog, no matter what size, I definitely encourage you to consider migrating it over to WordPress. And if you’re looking to start a new blog, I recommend starting with WordPress and avoiding the hassle of Blogger altogether.
There’s still more work to be done, so let me know in the comments below what you think and what you would like to see on the new Modern Defrag.