Migration from Blogger to WordPress

Blogger has served me well for the last two years or so. When I started with Blogger, I’d never really blogged before, and decided that it was a good way to get going quickly. I avoided the free blog hosting on WordPress.com because it wouldn’t allow enough customization of the templates. Today I’ve completed migration of this blog from Blogger to the WordPress software … read on for the “how” and “why”.

New URL is:

http://blog.pansapiens.com/

Feed url is via FeedBurner at:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/YourBonesGotALittleMachine

(Don’t read on if you don’t like meta-discussion about blogging software …. I personally have become pretty bored with this type of post, but it has to be done once after changing URLs etc. The blogger who “Blogs about blogging” is akin to those hip-hop artists who only ever sing about hip-hop … sort of like eating your own … yeck !).

Why migrate away from Blogger, and why use WordPress ?

In the time since I started using Blogging, I’ve become acquainted with the WordPress software, through running a few other blogs on the sly, and became frustrated with the lack of flexibility of Blogger. If I wasn’t already buying hosting for other projects, I’d have shifted to paid hosting at WordPress.com, but since I have the hosting space anyway, WordPress.com missed out again this time. Plus, migrating away from Blogger proves I’m not a complete one-eyed Google fanboy 🙂 (but I can’t lie; Google currently owns my soul in when it comes to almost every other web-app).

WordPress is so widely used that there is a huge array of pre-made themes and plugins to aid customization – something Blogger just can’t match. My key gripe with Blogger was source code formatting and highlighting. Yes, it can be done with Blogger using <pre> tags and the SyntaxHighlighter javascript, but I had a little trouble getting that working and ultimately decided not to waste the effort. WordPress plugins make it easier to highlight source code, as well as various other nice things.

How I moved posts from Blogger to the WordPress software

I’ve migrated older posts from the Blogger blog to this blog using the Import feature built into WordPress 2.3 … it was dead simple. It even imported my ‘draft’ posts from Blogger, and kept their status as ‘draft’ within WordPress. Hopefully there aren’t to many kinks, since I haven’t checked every post carefully.

Tweaking

After a bit of hunting (and a brief period considering using Drupal instead), I settled on using the K2 theme. It’s clean, featureful and reasonably easy to customize.

For the WordPress’ers out there, here’s a list of the plugins I currently use on this site:

  • Google Code Prettify. I also trialled Dean’s Code Highlighter, but felt more confident with Google Code Prettify, by the same author. There are a bunch of code highlighting plugins out there, these are just the first two I tried. Works well enough for me.
  • Akismet deals with comment spam.
  • All in One SEO Pack seemed like a good idea. It can’t hurt … I hope.
  • FeedBurner Feedsmith to serve feeds through FeedBurner.
  • Google Sitemaps helps Google index my site. More SEO.
  • jQuery Lightbox makes image display nicer. All AJAXie and such.
  • Link Summarizer gives a list of links used in the post, at the end of the post. I always appreciate this feature in others blog posts and articles, so I’ve used it here too, even if the list sometimes is a little ugly, it’s very useful.
  • reCaptcha is another handy tool in the never-ending battle against spam.
  • Related Posts uses keywords to give a list of related posts. I haven’t assessed how well it really works, but I hope it will help readers follow posts along one topic.
  • Share This helps users submit posts to various social sites (Digg, del.icio.us, etc, etc). There are lots of these types of plugins, and I’m not thrilled with this one … any suggestions to replace it would be appreciated.
  • Subscribe to Comments … I haven’t set this up properly yet, but it’s a feature I really like on other blogs … really handy for keeping up with long back-and-forward discussions in the comments.
  • Ultimate Google Analytics, because I love website statistics … even if the amount of traffic for this blog isn’t all that amazing (and due to the Google Analytics / Adwords / whatever terms of service, traffic stats must also remain a secret 🙂 ).
  • WordPress Mobile Edition simplifies the view if a small screen mobile device is detected. As a Nintendo Wii owner, I appreciate this type of thing, even though I rarely bother browsing the web on the Wii (precisely due to the fact that most sites are painful on small screen devices). I haven’t actually tested this plugin using the Wii Opera browser yet, but if it doesn’t work I’ll probably tweak it to do so.
  • WordPress Video Plugin make embedding videos from YouTube and various other video sites simple.

It’s a bad thing to change URLs … readers and feed subscribers will inevitably be lost. I’m sorry if I’ve made a little work for you, but please update your feed readers, aggregators and blogrolls. I’ll try to keep my half of the deal and produce some decent content.

3 thoughts on “Migration from Blogger to WordPress

  1. Self hosted WordPress has a lots of obvious advantages (I see some of them on your sidebar and envy 🙂 ), although I decided to stick to WordPress hosting for one reason – my photography blogs were broken two or three times after “automated, hassle-free and working for everyone” upgrade to the next version. Hopefully lots of thing changed since that time…

    BTW, I’ve subscribed to The Greatest Linux Blog on the Internets too 🙂 – after seeing its header what else could I do?

  2. Just FYI, the automatic search on my RSS reader comes up with several other RSS feeds apart from Feedburner. If you want accurate subscription figures, you might want to sort this…

  3. Noel: Thanks for the heads-up on the feeds .. still a few kinks to iron out, obviously.

    Pawel: I haven’t attempted an upgrade yet, I just keep an eye out for any super-critical security updates … which so far I haven’t required. Heh .. yeah, the name “The Greatest Linux Blog the Internets” is a bit tongue in cheek. I found myself wanting to blog lots of little Linux-specfic things that didn’t quite fit on this blog, so I set it up as an outlet for those posts. Funny thing is, the article about Ubuntu Feisty on a Dell Vostro 1500 gets more hits than anything I’ve ever posted on the net 🙂

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