How to import WordPress.com and start a self hosted site
So you have been using a WordPress.com blog and are ready to move to your own hosting. Congratulations! This is a big move. You will have a lot more flexibility with your self hosted site. But now how do you get all of the content you worked so hard on transferred to your new website? Read on and you will learn what is required to start a self hosted site as well as how to transfer your old content to your new site.
Before you get a self hosted domain there are some things you need to do first. You will need to know what domain you want the website or blog to be. You’ll need a hosting account as well as register your domain. Let’s get started.
How to choose a domain name
- When choosing a domain there several things you should keep in mind. A shorter domain name is easier to remember as well as typing into the URL. Does your domain name make sense? It should be easily read and understandable. Does your domain name follow your niche? It should be relative to what you write about. Your domain should sound brandable and not generic so don’t use numbers or hyphens. Try saying it out loud. Does it sound like a business name? If so you nailed it! Don’t use generic keywords for your domain name. Try to make it unique and memorable. For more information on selecting a great domain name check out Moz.com. They have a huge write up on domain names.
Registering your domain name
- Now that you have decided on a name for your awesome website it is time to register it. There are many places to register your domain. The price price your domain will be can vary depending on the name and extension you choose. The best domain is a .com, however, there are many options to use if you prefer something else. Each domain extension such as .com or .net has it’s own pricing. You can find a list of all available domain extensions at Wikipedia.com. I prefer to use GoDaddy for my domain as they have free domains with every hosting account.
Getting your domain hosted
- You have a great domain name picked out and are ready to get hosted. As mentioned earlier I prefer Godaddy for hosting. They have great customer service, excellent rates, and a fast, always up server. If you use our webmaster service your hosting will be free, and your website will be hosted through GoDaddy as well. GoDaddy has 3 plan options with 3 tier levels in each plan. The basic plan is perfect for just starting out. When you do need more resources it is quick and easy to upgrade with out having any downtime.
- There are a lot of websites out there that will tell you to use BlueHost, HostGator, Siteground etc. However, after doing extensive research I have found that the majority of these websites use GoDaddy. But in their blog post the say the prefer this hosting or that hosting. My question is, if they prefer BlueHost or any of the other hosting companies, why aren’t they using them? The reason they tell you to use these other hosting accounts is for the affiliate programs they have. GoDaddy doesn’t have a great affiliate payout so they go to the other hosting companies. Before you buy a hosting account because a blogger said they prefer it, check and see who they use. Go to whois.net, enter their domain name without the www, then scroll down to find the registrar. This is there domain company. Some you may not know such as enom.com. Theb go to whoishostingthis.com and see thir hosting company. If there hosting doesn’t match the hosting they are telling you to use then they do not have your best interest at heart.
Setting up WordPress
You now have a hosted website with nothing on it. There are several programs to help get content on your site such as Drupal, Joomla, and the most popular WordPress. Godaddy has a 1 click install for the WordPress program which is awesome. No need to worry about what files to add and where to place them. It’s time to get set up.
- The easy part is getting the WordPress program integrated into your site. You will need to sign in to your GoDaddy hosting account. Next scroll down to Web Applications and click on the WordPress icon. This will bring you to the installatron for WordPress where you can read all the details on the program. You can also see other websites that are running wordpress. After you are done viewing the information simply click the install this application button in the upper right hand corner. GoDaddy will now begin installing WordPress on your site. Once installed you will be able to visit your site, but it will be very basic and without any content.
Styling your WordPress site
- So you don’t like the way your initial site looks? No worries I felt the same way. Let’s put some style into the site. The first thing you will need to do is select a theme. When selecting a theme it should reflect the style of your niche. This will help your readers get a better feel for your site. You will also want a theme that is mobile friendly. Head over to How to make a mobile friendly website for further detail. There are a ton of themes out there. Have fun with it and preview as many as you can. This will allow you to have a better idea of what you want. All themes can be fully customized as well. Visit the Blog Shop for customization services.
You have now switched from WordPress.com to a self hosted site that is fantastic. But the idea of having to rewrite your entire blog is insane. Don’t worry there’s an app for that. WordPress actually makes it super simple to transfer all of your data. So how do you import your existing WordPress.com post?
- The first thing you will need to do is export your WordPress.com data. To do this log in to your WordPress.com account. Then mouse over the word tools and click on export. Here you will see all the data that you can export. You can keep just about everything including your comments. Great news right? Don’t want to lose those 1000’s of comments. When first importing a WordPress.com site you will need to select everything. If you get comments after exporting, then you can just export the comments from your old site. Once you select what files you want to export, click the download export file. It will be titled with your sitename.wordpress.date. Now you are ready to transfer your files to the new site.
Importing WordPress.com to your new site
- After you have downloaded the export file, log in to the wp-admin panel of your new site. You can access this by going to “yoursite”.com/wp-admin. Once logged in, find the tools menu on the left hand side. Mouse over the word tools and click Import. Here you will see several options to install. We will only need to focus on the last one which is WordPress. Click the install button. After you install the wordPress importer it will say run importer where it said install. Click on run importer and it will bring you to the Import WordPress window. Now click choose file and select the export file you want to transfer. You are done. You have successfully transferred your blog. There may be an instance where you get an error that says the file size is too large. This is due to the maximum upload size. The standard hosting with WordPress will only allow for a maximum of 2MB file size. If you have been using the WordPress.com blog for a while you may need change the file size allowed. You can also export and import individual files to work around the maximum upload size. If you still need help feel free to contact us. We also offer complete website setup, where we will take care of all this for you. Have fun with all the new features available and don’t forget to optimize your page speed. Read How to Improve Page Speed to learn more.