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Preparing to Move Your Existing Blog to WordPress

So you have a blog on a different blogging system and want to move your blog to WordPress? WordPress makes it relatively easy to pack up your data and archives from one blog platform and move to a new WordPress blog.

WordPress lets you move your blog from platforms such as Blogspot, Typepad, and Movable Type. It also gives you a nifty way to migrate from any blogging platform via RSS feeds, as long as the platform you’re importing from has an RSS feed available. Some platforms, such as Myspace, have some limitations on RSS feed availability, so be sure to check with your platform provider.

For each blogging platform, the WordPress.org platform provides you with a quick and easy-to-install plugin that allows you to import and use your content right away. The importers are packaged in a plugin format because most people use an importer just once, and some people don’t use the importer tools at all. The plugins are there for you to use if you need them.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, has the importers built right into the software. Note the differences for the version you’re using.

Bloggers have a variety of reasons to migrate away from one system to WordPress:

  • Simple curiosity: The use of WordPress — and the whole community of WordPress users — is generating a lot of buzz.

  • More control of your blog: This reason applies particularly to those who have a blog on Blogspot, Typepad, or any other hosted service. Hosted programs limit what you can do, create, and mess with. When it comes to plugins, add-ons, and theme creation, hosting a WordPress blog on your own web server wins hands down.

    In addition, you have complete control of your data, archives, and backup capability when you host your blog on your own server.

  • Ease of use: Many people find the WordPress interface easier to use, more understandable, and a great deal more user-friendly than many of the other blogging platforms available today.

Both the hosted version of WordPress.com and the self-hosted version of WordPress.org allow you to migrate your blog to their platforms; however, WordPress.com accepts several fewer than WordPress.org does. The following is a list of blogging platforms that have built-in importers, or import plugins, for migration to WordPress:

  • Blogger

  • Movable Type and Typepad

  • LiveJournal

  • Tumblr

  • RSS feeds

  • WordPress.com

Depending on the size of your blog (that is, how many posts and comments you have), the migration process can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. As with any major change or update you make, no matter where your blog is hosted, the very first thing you need to do is create a backup of your blog. You should back up the following:

  • Archives: Posts, comments, and trackbacks

  • Template: Template files and image files

  • Links: Any links, banners, badges, and elements you have in your current blog

  • Images: Any images you use in your blog

Backing Up Your Blog Data on Major Platforms
Blogging Platform Backup Information
Movable Type Click the Import/Export button on the menu of your Movable Type Dashboard; then click the Export Entries From link. When the page stops loading, save it on your computer as a .txt file.
Typepad Click the name of the blog you want to export; then click the Import/Export link in the Overview menu. Click the Export link at the bottom of the Import/Export page. When the page stops loading, save it on your computer as a .txt file.
Blogger Back up your template by copying the text of your template to a text editor such as Notepad. Then save it on your computer as a .txt file.
LiveJournal Browse to LiveJournal and enter your information; choose XML as the format. Save this file on your computer.
WordPress Click the Export link on the Tools menu on the Dashboard; the Export page opens. Choose your options on the Export page and then click the Download Export File button; next, save this file on your computer.
RSS feed Point your browser to the URL of the RSS feed you want to import. Wait until it loads fully (you may need to set your feed to display all posts). View the source code of the page, copy and paste that source code into a .txt file, and save the file on your computer.

This import script allows for a maximum file size of 128MB. If you get an “out of memory” error, try dividing the import file into pieces and uploading them separately. The import script is smart enough to ignore duplicate entries, so if you need to run the script a few times to get it to take everything, you can do so without worrying about duplicating your content.

Converting templates

Every blogging program has a unique way of delivering content and data to your blog. Template tags vary from program to program; no two are the same, and each template file requires conversion if you want to use your template with your new WordPress blog. In such a case, two options are available to you:

  • Convert the template yourself. To accomplish this task, you need to know WordPress template tags and HTML. If you have a template that you’re using on another blogging platform and want to convert it for use with WordPress, you need to swap the original platform tags for WordPress tags.

  • Hire an experienced WordPress consultant to do the conversion for you. You can find a list of available WordPress consultants, assembled by the folks at Automattic (the company behind WordPress).

To use your own template, make sure that you save all the template files, the images, and the stylesheet from your previous blog setup. You need them to convert the template(s) for use in WordPress.

Hundreds of free templates are available for use with WordPress, so it may be a lot easier to abandon the template you’re currently working with and find a free WordPress template that you like. If you’ve paid to have a custom design done for your blog, contact the designer of your theme and hire him to perform the template conversion for you.

Moving your blog to WordPress

You’ve packed all your stuff and you have your new place prepared. Moving day has arrived!

These steps are for moving your blog from one blog platform to WordPress. These steps assume that you already have the WordPress software installed and configured on your own domain.

Find the import function that you need by following these steps:

  1. On the Dashboard, click the Import link on the Tools menu.

    The Import page opens, listing blogging platforms from which you can import content (such as Blogger and Movable Type).

  2. Click the link for the blogging platform you’re working with.

    Click the Install Now button to install the importer plugin to begin using it.

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