Today, I finally brought my old Blogspot blog’s posts, cmljnelson.blogspot.com, over to my WordPress.com blog, cmljnelson.blog. I’m pretty happy with how it went, so I thought I’d share why and how I did it. Also, my blog’s timeline now looks weird, with about a 5 year gap of zero blog posts, so I thought I should explain that.
I was taking a Computer Science class at BYU which required us to have a blog. There was no required technology, but we just needed to have a public blog and use it. That was actually a very good idea, in my opinion. It forced us to “get with it”- not just understanding how to code, but understanding the culture and trends. One of which is blogging. I’ve found blogging helpful, like keeping a good journal. Except it’s searchable. And I get to share what I learned from others. And others can correct me when my ideas are out-of-whack.
Anyways, I was aware of WordPress at the time, but only the self-hosted variety. I was busy with classes and socializing, and wasn’t interested in installing yet another thing. In retrospect that was a shame, because actually running a website on a webserver myself would have been great for my education (I would have had a lot more practice understanding DNS, SSL, server-side languages, security, performance, etc.) But I took the quickest option that got me the grade: blogspot.
After the course was done, I blogged once or twice, but that was about it. I was engaged and twitterpated and forgot all about it. Somehow I wound up working with WordPress for my living, and found myself wanting to share my learning and opinions with the world. Also, I had a master plan to basically keep a public journal (blog), and then try my best to make it available to my children and descendants a few decades from now. (That plan is actually coming along ok; more to follow…)
But the main gist of it was: I wanted experience actually using WordPress, not just developing it. Also I wanted the option to own the data myself. Someday, when I’m not so cheap, I hope to get a self-hosted WordPress blog. Then I’ll run my blog with whatever plugins and code I want. WordPress.com is the middleground, because I figure it will be easy enough to migrate to self-hosted later.
Also, I started a new blog because I kinda wanted a fresh start at it, and somewhat forgot the old blog existed.
Why did I decide to totally abandon my old Blogspot blog, and move its posts over to WordPress.com? Because I’m afraid Blogspot is becoming abandonware, and my feelings towards Google (which runs blogspot) have soured.
My wife, Amanda, also has a Blogspot blog, primarily just for recording recipes. She used their mobile app. But she noticed yesterday that it doesn’t work anymore. That suggests the product isn’t too healthy.
I really haven’t heard about anything new or cool blogspot is doing. It seems like it was great 8 years ago, but it’s really been stagnant since. WordPress is that old too, of course, but it’s development is accelerating, if anything.
So I was afraid Blogspot would be shut down soon, like Google Wave, Google Checkout, Google Code, etc. So I wanted to abandon ship before it sank.
Oh, and another point: Google is currently buying up a bunch of WordPress core committers and paying them to work on WordPress. So it seems they’re shifting to supporting WordPress also. I think Blogspot’s days are numbered.
The article “How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress without Losing Google Rankings” from wpbeginner.com was helpful. It’s explains how to migrate to a self-hosted WordPress site, so it didn’t 100% apply. But it got me started. Here’s what I did:
“Backed up” my Blogspot blog. That got me a machine-readable file with all my Blogspot’s content. I didn’t actually have any images, so that may have simplified things.
Afterwards, I logged into WordPress.com, clicked “Import”, then found the Blogger.com row (to be honest, I’m still confused what the difference is between Blogger and Blogspot, basically they’re the same) and clicked “Start Import”. I then selected the file I downloaded from Blogspot earlier. It took a few minutes, but got all my posts over. And they looked just fine.
The last thing I realized I wanted, was to forward my Blogspot blog over to my WordPress.com blog.
Back in Blogspot, I went to “Themes”, then clicked “Edit HTML”.
Then, right before
</head>, I added
var l = window.location.href; window.location = l.replace('cmljnelson.blogspot.com','cmljnelson.blog');
So it looked like this:
That redirected users from “cmljnelson.blogspot.com” to “cmljnelson.blog” just fine. What’s more, the URLs I imported from Blogspot are identical, except they’re on “wordpress.com” instead of “blogspot.com”.
Note: if you’re wanting to redirect visitors from your blogspot blog, you’ll probably need to modify my code snippet above. Specifically, replace
cmljnelson.blogspot.com with your old blog’s domain name, and replace
cmljnelson.blog with your new blog’s domain name.
After that, I just needed to disable Blogspot’s “mobile theme”, so mobile users got redirected to WordPress.com too.
All my posts from 2010-2012 were imported from Blogspot. Everything else was written on WordPress.com. I guess that was pretty simple to explain.
So if you’re also on Blogspot, don’t feel obliged to run away from it urgently or anything. Even if they do decide to shut it down, they’ll give you plenty of warning, and give you a chance to export your posts from it.
Just for me, I decided the time had come to move on. Simply put, Blogspot is slowly dying. If you don’t want your blog to be a victim of the Digital Dark Age just yet, I think it’s time to move it too.