For more than four years now I’ve been running this blog with Blogger. Today I’ve finished the bulk of the work involved in moving to WordPress. It might be a few days before all the loose ends are tied up.
The limitations of Blogger:
Blogger isn’t a bad blog tool, but it’s simply not advanced enough to run a large, optimized website. I was using Blogger with a custom template to publish via SFTP to brandonstaggs.com. It worked alright, this setup was missing key features:
- Categories. I wanted categories, and Blogger couldn’t do that for me.
- On-site installation. I couldn’t run Blogger with PHP and mySQL on my own server for maximum control.
- Content management. Blogger can’t be used to manage an entire website unless the entire website is just blog posts. This forced me to use a combination of Dreamweaver and custom templates with Blogger, and it was always a pain to update content.
The advantages of WordPress
Besides Blogger not doing enough, WordPress gives me more stuff I want:
- Content management. WordPress can be used to run an entire website including pages that are not necessarily blog posts.
- Permalink control.
- Plugins. WordPress has lots of plugins that appear to be quite useful. I’m already using the All-in-one Search Engine Optimization Pack plugin to fix what I view as deficiencies in WordPress page titles, etc.
- More options in templates. Yuep, I’m a programmer. I like options. Give me enough rope to hang myself and I’ll see how long I can hold my breath.
Moving from Blogger to WordPress is a pain
At least it was for me. Here were my major problems:
- Existing site with a boatload of individual pages that aren’t part of a CMS.
- Blog posts on blogger with no titles. I had over 240 blog entries on Blogger. For whatever reason, be it templates or whatever, I never had the option of adding titles to my posts.
- Blogger posts were published to website with SFTP, not a Blogspot page. WordPress offers no import function for Blogger entries that aren’t on Blogspot.
- Blogger posts were only archived by month, not individual post.
What I did
- Uploaded WordPress to my server in a test subdirectory so as not to disturb my existing site while doing the stuff.
- Switched Blogger to post on Blogspot.
- Tried to import. This bombed. As it turns out, WordPress imports by post. So it imported one huge post for each month because I still had Blogger set to archive by month only.
- After much gnashing of teeth, wondering why my 240 posts imported to just under 50, I deleted my WordPress tables and started over. This time, I had Blogger post individual posts to Blogspot instead of only archiving by month. This worked.
- Spent a day going through four years of blog posts to 1. Give them titles, 2. categorize them, and 3. Delete really embarrassing ones.
- Manually “imported” my various non-blog pages (and I’m still not done) into WordPress.
- Edited the .htaccess WordPress made to add a ton of redirects, so people coming to old page URLs would get forwarded to the new locations. Still not done with this — I need to forward all the old monthly archive pages to the new WordPress monthly archive pages. Oh fun!
So far, so good.