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 easy and ‘you will wish you had done it years ago’. Well that is not quite true.

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.

Setup

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 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 for anything.

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.

Importing

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. If you have a large established blog then seek out hosting or IT service with proven results at moving large Blogger sites to WordPress and factor that cost in.

Why move

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 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.

Summary

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 to stay put 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 massive 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.

5 Comments

  1. I signed up for a wordpress account about 6 years ago or so. I moved everything over but found it was far to much effort to setup everything from scratch so stayed at blogger which required zero effort.
    I must say your blog is looking excellent Warren, much better than any blogger blog I’ve seen. Sadly I don’t have to time or inclination to put that much time into it. I just purchased a new photo editing software so on another learning curve.

    • Thanks Steve. Yes it does require time. The custom templates made for Blogger (sold on Theme Forest) are worth looking at for a makeover of a Blogger.
      New photo editor? – me too, well new raw developing software. Will do a post on it in couple months.

  2. Thanks for the post. I have been considering a move for my blog, but haven’t made up my mind yet. You gave me some more information to consider.

  3. Hi mate,

    I wanted to leave a comment on another page but could not..

    Long term FJR owner…. love it.
    Going to USA April for ride/drive adventure. Found tour USA info very informative.
    My question is how and what do you pack to not use all the room if your panniers a d topbox !! 馃榾

    • Ah I closed the comments after 6 months due to old posts getting targeted by fake comments. I’ll open it again and see how it goes.
      I’ll be back in USA in July for another tour. I pack very light, I don’t have luxury of panniers or top box on my rides in Asia so it all has to fit in a carry bag on rear seat.
      Under the Rider Guides section there are two articles on how I pack for fly ride trips and SE Asia rides.
      Enjoy your upcoming ride.

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