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I’ve moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and I have a few thoughts for moto-bloggers considering the same. Every site I read prior suggested it was easy and ‘you will wish you had done it years ago’ and I have mixed feelings so far on it.
I am pleased with how much better I can present photos. Given this is a photo centric site in the YouTube age the importance of that should not be underestimated, however moving was a huge amount of work.
For hosting and installing WordPress I chose Amazon Web Services but I would not recommend them to novices as you need to be comfortable with Linux and they offer zero support. I later moved to Namecheap and these guys offer a very easy setup or they can do for you plus you get great support. Take some time to compare the costs with decent amount of storage as the basic plans are not enough.
When looking at size you should at least double what you think you will need. Primarily this is to give you space to make a backup of your blog because that is your own responsibility once you leave Blogger and requires enough space to duplicate your blog. The other consideration is with WordPress it holds images in larger format as well in small format, ie a few copies so the size of my blog has almost doubled. On blogger 20GB would have been enough but on WordPress I need 100GB.
The move itself is not simple. Importing the posts doesn’t work properly with any of the plugins despite what is posted on the guides – and I tried them all repeatedly. Best I could achieve was 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 automatic way to get them imported. (but they are linked so the posts display on new blog ok)
Just a rough fix of the text formatting in posts took at least 100 hours. To transfer all my photos needs them to be added to every post again manually – this will take me years to finish. 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, I’m semi retired and the blog is my hobby since I don’t watch tv. But I don’ think the move is for everyone.
The primary 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 all my photos smaller and lost or deleted some of the older photos. If your blog is also your photo album there is a case to move – although Google Photos seem to now be more stable and even with paid extra storage will be cheaper. However if you want to be more creative with how you display images then WordPress might be for you.
I tend to think now few visitors will click to view your blog’s inline images full screen so having them in a higher res than Blogger 1600px limit might not be so important after all. This was one of the reasons I moved but I can see now nobody views them full screen except me.
WordPress certainly 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.
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 ok still to stay and just buy one of the excellent custom made templates to get the WordPress 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 have a huge task to transfer your blog and then will be running your own server with security and storage and backup your ongoing cost and responsibility. But if your blog is a big part of your life, a major hobby for you, then moving to WordPress would be worth all the work because it expands your hobby considerably once setup.
Update 2021: since the initial messy move my views have changed and I now lean more towards moving to WordPress if you have the time.