WordPress is an amazing content management system, and the one platform that I recommend to all my clients and readers. However, most people don’t realize that WordPress comes in two different forms. WordPress.com and WordPress.org – you can read more about the differences in my post WordPress 101 Part 1: WordPress.com VS WordPress.org.
I recommend everyone start out with WordPress.org, though many bloggers who aren’t ready to make the financial commitment start with WordPress.com because it’s free. However, everyone who is serious about their blog or business eventually makes the move to WordPress.org.
So, how do you make the move? It’s fairly simple if you know how to go about it. Follow these steps and you’ll have your blog transferred over in no time.
WordPress.org is a little more complicated than WordPress.com. To run a website you need a domain name and hosting. You can read all about how to set it up in my post WordPress 101 Part 2: How to Get Hosting & Setup Your Site. Once you get that set up, you essentially have an empty WordPress site, so you’ll want to move over as much as you can from WordPress.com
You’ll probably have noticed that the WordPress.org admin looks exactly like the WordPress.com admin that you are used to, other than a few added features. So making the adjustment shouldn’t be too hard for you. One of the major differences is that rather that logging into your site at WordPress.com you have to login at your domain name /wp-login. For example, I login at www.whitecornercreative.com/wp-admin.
The next step is to export your content from WordPress.com. Login to your old site and go to Tools > Export. Here you are given the option to pay (an outrageous amount) for a guided transfer, or to do it yourself for free! Of course it’s a little more work to do it for free, but it also means you can do it exactly how you want it!
So, click on ‘Start Export’ under the free heading, and then you’ll be brought to a page where you get to select some details of the export. You can choose to export your Posts, Pages, Feedback (Comments), Media, or all of the above! I’d recommend all of it if you want to keep things nice and simple. Maybe if you want to redesign and re-upload all your images you don’t need to export the media, but most of the time exporting everything is the best option.
Once you click ‘Download Export File’ a .xml file of all your content will download. Save this in a safe place on your computer, and maybe you can even keep it around once you’re done with it, since it’s a good backup to have.
Next you need to login to your WordPress.org site. This time you’re going to go to Tools > Import. You’ll see a bunch of different options here, as WordPress.org supports imports from many different blogging platforms. Of course, you want to click on WordPress.
When you click on WordPress you will be prompted to install a plugin called WordPress Importer. You want to click Install Now.
Once the plugin installs you then want to click Activate Plugin & Run Importer.
And lastly, you want to upload the .xml file that you saved to your computer. It will take a few minutes to upload everything depending on how much content you had and how big your file was. Once it’s done it will tell you, and if everything worked smoothly you should have all your old content on your new site.
Now, you have to remember that this transfers only includes your content. This means your posts, pages, categories, tags, images, and comments. You will have to set up everything again, including your menus, sidebar, header, site settings, and everything else. But, the exciting part is that WordPress.org has so many more capabilities than WordPress.com has, you have ten times more options now.
If you’re not familiar with WordPress.org you should read my post on Child Themes if you want to make design changes to your theme, and my post 10 WordPress Plugins You Need to Install Right Now about plugins – one of the best features of WordPress.org.
There are so many exciting new features for you to explore on WordPress.org, and the possibilities of what you can do with your blog or website are now endless! Good luck, and feel free to ask if you need some help or advice on the change!
What do you think?