Coming up to a year since I commenced the move to WordPress and I have a few thoughts for moto-bloggers considering the same. Every site I read prior suggested it was as easy as falling off a log and ‘you will wish you had done it years ago’. Well that is stretching the truth a little.
I am pleased with how much better I can present photos. Given this is a photo centric site in an age when something that can be explained in one sentence gets turned into 5 minutes of drivel on YouTube the importance of that should not be underestimated however moving was a huge amount of work.
Setting up hosting and installing WordPress to the host was easy. I initially chose Amazon Web Services but I would not recommend them to novices as you need to be comfortable with Linux. I later moved to Namecheap and these guys offer a very easy setup or they can do for you plus you get great support.
The move itself is not simple. Importing the posts doesn’t work properly with any of the plugins. I ended up with my text from the posts imported but the formatting screwed up. Photos from about 20 posts were imported then the photos from the rest of the posts were left on Blogger with no way to get them imported.
Just a rough fix of the text formatting in posts initially took at least 100 hours (still heaps to fix). And then with WordPress nothing is setup or working so you need to rebuild your entire site. I bought a template which forms the basis of how it looks to get me up and running quicker but you still need to learn a lot of stuff which I enjoyed but busy people may just give up. All told it consumed about a month for me – that’s like 8 hours day for four weeks just to get the new blog ready to launch (but that was for a 13 years blog with 1000’s of pages). Since then I am tinkering on it most every day when I am not on a ride.
So there certainly was a steep learning curve and lots of ongoing maintenance. That is ok for me since I have plenty of time. Actually I am glad it gave me stuff to do, the blog is my hobby when home since I don’t watch tv. But I don’ think the move is for everyone. I would suggest getting a quote from a IT service if you want to do this and have a big well established blogger site.
The thing that triggered the move for me was the loss of the editor for Blogger known as Open Writer (formerly Live Writer). I’d always found the inbuilt Blogger editor to have heaps of problems with text formatting and photo placement and I never used it ever. When it became clear Google was ceasing support for Open Writer (and there was no alternative) I tried the inbuilt editor and found it unchanged in 13 years.
The other issue with Blogger is Google resized my photos. All the photos a few years old had been shrunk back to 1600 resolution. Then older photos they removed the links to larger photos altogether just leaving me the thumbnails and some of those photos they deleted from the server too so I lost them totally. I still have the issue that most of my posts the photos reside back on Blogger and Google Photos servers and resolving this will take me years if I ever can. So there is a good case to move sooner rather than later as I did and you want to make other backups of photos not rely on Google.
WordPress has allowed me to offer a better mobile device viewing experience. I had felt that was important for a number of years since many people view everything on their phone now. And for desktop I also escaped the Blogger image size limits and limited placement that the standard editor forces upon you.
I tend to think few visitors will click to view your blog’s inline images full screen so having them displayed in your blog pages in large size is really important. And then having them stored reliably in a large format is also important for me as a backup and because I will go back and view them full screen.
Blog format wise the advantage is not so clear. The custom ‘Oliver’ Blogger template I was running gave me many of the design elements that people find attractive in WordPress such as slider images on home page screen and modern menu style. But no denying that WordPress has so many more things you can customize. Limited only by your imagination really.
To sum up then if you are ok with the limits that Blogger has, it’s editor and image sizing then I would suggest it’s better for most to stay and just buy one of the excellent custom made templates to get a more modern look (be sure to choose one with full support). The great thing with Blogger is everything is setup for you automatic and you need not give it a second thought. With WordPress you are running your own server with security and storage and backup your ongoing cost and responsibility. But on the flip side if your blog is a big part of your life and a major hobby then moving to WordPress would be worth all the work because it expands your hobby considerably.