How to transfer your free blog to wordpress.org
Let me guess, you started your blog on a free blogging platform but now you feel like you’re outgrowing it, so you want to know how to transfer your free blog to WordPress.org?
Free blogging platforms are easy to start on and great for testing out if blogging is something you enjoy. But free blogging platforms do have a lot of limitations plus you don’t own your free blog, so if you are getting more serious about your blog, it’s a good idea to move your site to a web host and have a self-hosted blog with WordPress.org.
In this post I’ll show you how to safely move your free blog to wordpress.org in 7 simple steps.
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For this tutorial we’ll look at how to transfer your blog from WordPress.com and Blogger.com.
Step 1: Export your old blog
Exporting your blog from WordPress.com
Go to your WordPress.com dashboard and click on Tools > Export
Click Export All.
Wait till the export is complete. When your export is successful you’ll see this message.
Check your email and download your blog files to your computer and keep them safe.
Exporting your blog from Blogger.com
Go to your Blogger Dashboard and click on Settings > Other.
In the Import & back up section, select Back up Content > Save to your computer. The XML file will be downloaded automatically to your computer.
Step 2: Set up web hosting
To be able to have a self hosted site on WordPress.org, you need to buy web hosting. Two good web hosts I recommend are Bluehost and Siteground. I’ve used both these web hosts for years and find them reliable, easy to use and they both have great support.
If you’re new to hosting and find all the tech stuff intimidating I recommend using Bluehost because they install WordPress for you and they have a dashboard that guides you with instructions.
They also install a free SSL certificate for you which is a really good thing because an SSL certificate protects your blogs data, improves trust with your site visitors and is better for ranking in Google.
Buy the right web hosting plan
Bluehost has been the #1 WordPress hosting provider since 2005 and they now offer hosting plans especially made for WordPress.
Click the big green button: Choose Plan
If you only need to host one website, the Basic Plan should be enough for you.
Click the green Select button to select your plan.
After you select your plan, you need to choose a domain name. If you already have a domain name that you’ve paid for, fill out the box: I have a domain name.
If you were using the free domain that Blogger or WordPress.com gave you, you can now upgrade to your own proper domain name like www.myblog.com
Bluehost gives you a free domain name for the first year, so type in your blog’s name in the new domain box. If your blog’s name is not available try out some other names. Try to get the .com extension, and try to keep it short and relevant to your blog topic.
Fill out your details
Once you’ve claimed your domain name, it’s time to enter some personal details to create your account.
Choose your hosting package
Next you can choose how many years of hosting you’d like to buy. You get the best price per month if you pay for 3 years.
Choose your package extra’s
Here you can add some extra services. One I recommend is Domain Privacy, a paid service that will keep your personal information private on WHOIS databases. You can untick Code Guard and instead back up your blog with a free plugin.
Untick any services you do not want.
Add your payment information
Enter your credit card details or select more payment options if you want to pay with PayPal.
Create a password for your account
Create a strong password and write it down somewhere safe.
Yay, you’re now the owner of a self hosted blog!
We’re almost ready to transfer your free blog to wordpress.org.
Bluehost will send you a welcome email that has a link to your new blog.
Click on this link and you’ll see a login screen where you enter your domain name and the password you wrote down earlier.
Next you’ll be asked to name your site and add a tagline. If you don’t have a tagline, just describe in a few words what your blog is about. Click Continue.
Now you will be asked to answer a few more question about the goals of your site. This is so Bluehost can recommend certain plugins for your site. Tick the boxes that are relevant for your site and click continue.
Next you can pick a WordPress theme. You can choose one of the free themes or you can scroll to the bottom and click skip this step. I recommend skipping this step and using a premium theme as this will make your web design process a lot easier. My favourite theme is Enfold because it’s easy to use and has fantastic support. (This blog is made with Enfold, so if you like the look of it, check out Enfold here.)
After this you’ll end up in the Bluehost Portal. To get to your website click on the blue WordPress button, this will take you to the WordPress dashboard.
Now we are ready to transfer your blog!
Step 3: Import free blog to your self hosted WordPress blog
In your new wordpress.org dashboard click on Tools > Import.
Depending on wether you are transferring a blog from blogger.com or wordpress.com, choose the platform from which you are transferring your old blog.
Click Install Now. This will install an importer plugin.
Next you click on Run Importer.
Click on Choose File and select your XML blog file that you downloaded in step 1.
Click on Upload file and import. It might take a few minutes to upload all your files.
Next it will give you the option to assign authors. You can create a new user or assign posts to an existing user.
Select the box: Download and import file attachments to make sure your images and other files are also imported.
You should get a success message to let you know your site has been successfully imported.
You have managed to transfer your free blog to a self hosted site!
Step4: Check your new blog
After transferring your free blog to WordPress.org it is important to check over your whole site.
Check if all your posts are showing up correctly, if your formatting still looks the same and if your images are all there.
Step 5: Delete the importer plugin
You won’t need the importer plugin anymore so it’s best to delete it so you don’t slow down your new site with unnecessary plugins. Click on Plugins, Select the Importer plugin and delete it.
Step 6: Redirect your old blog to your new blog
If your old blog had a good following or search engine ranking, it might be a good idea to create a site redirect. A redirect will also make sure that all your old Pinterest pins will keep generating traffic to your new site.
There are a few free plugins to help you redirect your site.
The Simple Website Redirect plugin will direct your old url to your new url.
The Redirection plugin is good for one-off redirects where a URL for an old page should point to a new page.
If you don’t feel confident using a plugin and configuring this, you can use the Site Redirect
service from WordPress.com. For $13 per year they’ll redirect all your blog posts and pages for you.
Step 7: Fix up your internal links
Another important thing to update is your internal links. Did you add links to other related posts in your old blog posts? Make sure to change all these links to go to your new domain name because you don’t want your new site redirecting your visitors back to your old site!
Other things to consider
- If you transferred your site from Blogger, you’ll need to update your permalinks. Go to Settings > Permalinks and select Month and Name.
- To stop people from going to your old blog make sure to make it private. In your WordPress.com dashboard go to Settings > Reading and set this old blog to private.
How to get the most out of a self hosted blog
Having a self hosting blog on WordPress.org is great for adding functionality to your site.
You can add functionality by installing plugins and a premium theme. Good premium themes will have functions like:
- contact forms
- portfolio grid
- pricing tables
- special headings
- and much more
Premium themes also save you so much time. I remember when I first started out, I spent weeks trying to build a site with a free theme and every time I’d get stuck with a problem. I was so frustrated, many times I just wanted to give up completely…
But then someone recommended the Enfold theme to me. And OMG! A whole new world opened up to me.
It was literally like my prayers had been answered. Finally a theme that made everything easy!
I’ve been using Enfold for 7 years now and I can’t fault it. (It is the best rated theme on Theme Forest and over 9000 users have rated this theme 4.82 stars! So that might explain it…)
It has a simple drag and drop editor that even the most non-tech person will be able to use with ease and if you get stuck with anything the support team will always help you out.
I created this blog with the Enfold theme, so if you like the look of my blog make sure to check out Enfold here.
One last thing you should do is instal some must-have plugins. I’ll list 5 free plugins that I install on every website I create. These plugins are vital for the wellbeing of your site:
- Wordfence Security or Ithemes Security – a security plugin to protect your site from hackers.
- Updraft Backup Restore – a backup plugin so you can restore your site if anything would happen to it.
- Smush – this plugin compresses your blog’s images so it loads faster.
- W3 Total Cache – a caching plugin that will also increase your website speed.
- Yoast – this plugin helps you optimise your website for search engines.
Ok, thanks for hanging in there. I hope this post has helped you to successfully transfer your free blog to wordpress.org.
Drop a comment below if you have any questions and make sure to grab my free Ultimate Blog Planner Workbook below to help you turn your new blog into a money making business.