Back when you were a rookie blogger, you may have started your blog on WordPress.com and that’s okay (honestly, it is) but perhaps, much like the blogging world you’ve evolved and you’re now serious about extending your influence and increasing your impact on the interwebs.
You’ve heard everyone saying WordPress.org (aka the self-hosted one) is where you should be headed.
But why and how?
WHY MOVE FROM WORDPRESS.COM TO WORDPRESS.ORG
You’ll be able to tweak and change the coding at zero cost and even set up your very own eCommerce shop.
So basically, what I’m saying is you’ll be in FULL control of your website, now won’t that feel good?!
If you’re still unsure of the differences head on over to this blog post I did a while ago which explains it in a bit more detail.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
As WordPress.org is self-hosted you will need to invest in both a domain name and a hosting package.
I highly recommend checking out my post on what to look for when choosing a host provider.
If you purchased your domain through WordPress.com then that’s fine, you can keep it with them but just remember you will still need to purchase a hosting package from a host provider and be in contact with them to ensure it’s all setup correctly.
Most important in this step is to make sure you keep all your passwords in one safe space for easy reference.
Ok, once you’ve got that all sorted, you are ready to go…
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE: MOVING FROM WORDPRESS.COM TO WORDPRESS.ORG
Step 1: Install + Setup WordPress on your new host
This step may seem a bit daunting but most host providers now offer ‘one-click’ WordPress installations which make the whole process super easy.
If you’re not sure how to do this, you can follow this easy tutorial on how to install WordPress.
Step 2: Create a coming soon page on your new site
I highly recommend following this tutorial on how to create a coming soon page so that you can hide the ‘behind the scenes’ until your ready for the big launch.
Step 3: Export your content from WordPress.com
Head on over to your WordPress.com account, navigate to ‘WP-Admin’ on the left-hand side.
Then head to ‘Tools’ > ‘Export’
At this stage, you’ll be asked if you want to pay $129 for the guided transfer or do it yourself which is free.
Under the free option select ‘Start Export’.
You’ll be faced with a new screen that will ask you to select what you want to export. You’re given the choice of exporting Posts, Pages, Testimonials, Feedback and Media.
If you want the whole site to move over, select ‘All Content’. This will generate an XML file that contains all of your posts, pages, images, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation, and other details.
Select download and save the XML file to your desktop – we’ll be using this file in step 4 so make sure to save it somewhere where you can find it easily.
Step 4: Import your content into your new WordPress.org site
Head back to your newly installed WordPress dashboard and navigate to ‘Tools’ > ‘Import’
Navigate to ‘WordPress’ right at the bottom and click ‘Install Now’
Once it has installed it will say ‘Run Importer’. Click on this and upload the .xml file you downloaded in Step 3
Depending on the size of the file this may take a few minutes.
Once you have started the importing process, you will be asked to assign the content to a user. Select the relevant user.
NB: Ensure that before you click import make sure the ‘Importing Attachments’ box is ticked. This makes sure that all the images are imported.
THE FINAL STEPS
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have gained a following and a good ranking on Google so you’ll want to make sure that you preserve your SEO.
You can do so by purchasing the ‘Site Redirect Upgrade’ from WordPress.com which will cost you $13 a year (Price correct at the time of publishing this blog post). It’s a minor expense to pay to keep your loyal followers.
This upgrade provides a 301 redirect so that yourblog.wordpress.com goes to yourblog.com. I recommend paying for this redirect for anywhere from 1-3 years.
SOME TIPS + THINGS TO DO AFTER THE MIGRATION
Migrate your WordPress.com Subscribers
Firstly you’ll need to install and activate the JetPack Plugin.
Login to your new WordPress site, navigate to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’.
Search for JetPack, click ‘Install’ then click ‘Activate’.
Once it has been installed you’ll need to connect it to your WordPress.com account by using your WordPress.com login details.
In the settings of your JetPack plugin make sure that your ‘Subscriptions Module’ is activated then follow these steps to migrate your subscribers.
Review your new self-hosted WordPress installation + Install the necessary Plugins
In lesson 4 and 5 of my FREE ‘Get Online Today!’ I walk you through the ‘Key things to do after every WordPress Installation’ and some ‘Essential Plugin Recommendations’. The course is free and will help you get to grips with your new self-hosted WordPress blog or website.
Amend your permalinks
Be sure to amend your URL links so that they reflect the settings you had on your WordPress.com site.
You can do so by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks’ and selecting the relevant option.
Then click ‘Save’.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Some of my images haven’t been imported properly?
This is one of the main issues that most of my followers/readers run into.
I’ve found that this sometimes happens if you only export specific dates or content from your blog (Step 3) and I’ve found that doing an ‘All Content’ export is much better. But this isn’t always possible especially if you have a huge site.
The other option you can use is the External Images plugin, this will import the images from your .com account but can take a while, so be patient.
How much does a WordPress.org site cost?
For a WordPress.org you’ll need a domain and a hosting package. Domains range from around $10 – $15 per a year and hosting packages range from $3.95 to $35 per month depending on the company and their package offerings.
Will there be downtime during this process?
Follow my step-by-step guide and there most certainly won’t be any downtime, it’s a method I’ve used for many clients without fail.
Do I need a Site Redirect Upgrade? How much does it cost? Where do I get it from?
That depends if you’ve been blogging for a while and you’ve built yourself a nice little following and some good SEO rankings then I would highly recommend you purchase one for at least 2-3 years.
You can purchase a Site Redirect Upgrade by going to your WordPress.com dashboard and selecting STORE from the menu.
Can’t you just do it for me?
Yes absolutely, we offer this service.
Drop me an email and we can discuss doing it for you – email@example.com
Do I really need to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Well now, that’s really up to you but if you are ready to take your blog or business seriously and you want to perhaps start offering more on your site then YES I would definitely say you need to move your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Where have my subscribers gone?
You’ll need to migrate your subscribers from JetPack by referring to the step-by-step guide that I detailed above.
What should I now do with my old WordPress.com site?
I suggest making it private so that visitors don’t discover your old site and not your new one.
You can do this by clicking on ‘Settings’ > ‘Reading’
Then select ‘I would like my site to be private’.
I hope that this post helps you up your blogging game!
If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org