Well, well, well, look who’s ready to migrate to WordPress.org.
You’ve spent some time on WordPress.com, but things started to grow big – your site’s visitors, your content. And you’ve riched a point when WordPress.com isn’t just enough if you’re serious about long-term growth.
This isn’t your situation, though? Even if this scenario doesn’t describe your situation, I can recall at least 5 reasons why you should go with WordPress.org and why shouldn’t you go with WordPress.com, so I feel you.
5 reasons why you should go with WordPress.org and why shouldn’t you go with WordPress.com
Reason 1- WordPress Themes
On one hand, on WordPress.org are already more than 3,000 free WordPress themes, plenty of room to choose the right theme for you. On the other hand, on WordPress.com it depends on what plan do you choose, you can get access to 150+ – 200+ themes.
Reason 2- WordPress Plugins
If by default, on WordPress.org you will find somewhere up to 55,000+ plugins, and you have the freedom to install any free or premium plugin you want, on WordPress.com you are allowed to use third-party plugins with 1 condition: if you choose either Business or e-commerce plan.
Reason 3- Customizing your site
When it comes to customizing your website hosted on WordPress.org, you have totally freedom to do what you want. WordPress.com limits as much as possible, so you only get to do what you are allowed to do.
Reason 4- Monetizing your site
You can monetize your site (WordPress.org) in any way you want, there are no limits. You can install/add whatsoever method of monetization you need or wish. Sites with Free and Personal plan on WordPress.com can’t be monetized at all, if you want to make money, you’ll need at least a Premium plan.
Reason 5- Ads
While on WordPress.org you can have as many ads as you like, also you get to pick any ad service you want, and hey, you get to keep 100% of your earning, on WordPress.com if you can’t monetize your blog, neither you can’t have your own ads on your site. More on that, ads will run throughout your site. If you’ve chosen the Free plan, however, for at least $4/month, you can remove those ads.
If any of these reasons seem good enough to make the migration, then be my guest and stick around to learn how to migrate, in the safest way.
What do you need to start a new WordPress blog?
If you are determined to go for self-hosting, WordPress.org it’s totally free, however, you will need a domain name and web hosting, which come with a price.
What is a domain name?
A domain’s your web address on the internet. It’s what people type in their browsers to get to your website.
Tips for choosing a domain name
- Looking for branding? – Choose a short and unique name that is easy for you and for your visitors to remember. Don’t have any ideas for a brand name? Try this tool. Just enter a keyword, and let the tool do its magic.
- Looking to write about a specific topic? – Choose a domain name that also includes the main keyword you plan to write about. For example, if you want to create a food recipes blog, try including recipes or food in the domain name, i.e YummyRecipes.com, SeanSpecialFood.com, BestVeganRecipes.com.
- Make use of hyphens – if the domain name you’re looking for it’s not available, try it with hyphens. Example: YummyRecipes.com is not available, but Yummy-Recipes.com might be.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is nothing more than an online hard disk, where all of your website files are stored.
Who offers web hosting?
Click on the button to claim your domain and hosting.
Note: We believe in transparency here, so I have to let you know, that when you will signup to SiteGround (if you decide to go with them, of course, no presure) through our referral link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. You’ll also Get Free WordPress Installation And Setup from us.
If your WordPress site already has a domain name, you need to sign up with your hosting provider and under the domain step, add your blog domain.
If you got stuck and you need help how to install WordPress in cPannel, check this out.
Once you’re done with all of the above, you can start the migration process itself.
You can find migration services from different companies, but if you are someone who likes to learn, especially now, and doing things yourself, then you can follow these steps to get through this.
Step #1- Exporting content from WordPress.com
First, log in to your WordPress.com account and go to your blog’s dashboard. Here, go to “My Site” and click on “Wp Admin”.
Once you’re inside the WordPress Dashboard, from the left column click on Tools-Export.
Here, you will be able to select from 2 options: Guided Transfer or Free.
On the next page, you have to select the content you want to export. In some cases, maybe just images need to be exported but make sure All content is selected, then click Download Export File.
A single XML file. That’s what the download should be. The file contains all your posts, pages, shortly, all your existing content. Save it somewhere you remember, you will need it later.
Step #2- Import content into your new WordPress.org site
To continue with the migration process, by now, you will need to have WordPress installed on your own host.
Log in to the new WordPress Admin by accessing yourdomain.com/wp-admin. It isn’t necessary that the extension to be .com, it can be .ro, .ru, or other extensions available out there.
One thing’s certain, you have 3 options to choose from Popular, Country-Specific or Generic.
To import your content from the WordPress Admin Dashboard, search for Tools-Import. You need to install WordPress Importer, which is a plugin, a tool used to process the XML file.
It is an official plugin developed by the WordPress.org team, which means it is safe.
Now, go on, click Install Now.
After the install is ready, you need to activate and run the plugin. Now it’s time to upload the XML file exported earlier, by clicking on Upload file and import as shown below.
On the next screen, you need to reassign your posts to authors. If you are the only one who wrote on your site (a single account), you’d simply choose to import that same username or create a new one.
Once you’re done, scroll down the page and check the box below where it says Download and Import file attachment, and last, click on Submit.
Step #3- Importing Links (Blogroll Links)
You might hear of the term “blogroll” at some point and wonder what it is, right?!
What is a blogroll?
A blogroll is a list of links the writer wants to share.
A writer might use a blogroll to help promote someone else’s blog or to give a variety of resources from other sites about a particular niche.
Keep in mind that only on WordPress.com you can create blogroll, via Links menu in your dashboard.
We don’t wanna lose those links, so we have to export them also.
Blogroll links are exported in OPML file, an XML format that allows you to export and import your links and also link categories.
You can find your links on your WordPress.com located at an address like this:
If you used a custom domain, then your OPML file can be found here:
The file will open in the browser, all you need to do is to save it somewhere for easy access.
Self-hosted WordPress doesn’t have a link manager by default, for that matter, you will need to install and activate the Link Manager plugin.
Once you activated the plugin, a new item will appear in your WordPress Admin labeled “Links”.
To import your links from one WordPress to another, visit Tools-Import and click on “Blogroll”.
Upon installation, you will be redirected to a page where you will choose the OPML file saved earlier.
And that’s all. Your links are now been transferred from WordPress.com to your new WordPress.org site.
Step #4- Redirecting Users and prevents SEO
Since you don’t have access to .htaccess on WordPress.com, you cannot make any changes by yourself to retain search engine rankings.
However, either you pay for this feature, or you do it yourself.
Option 1: WordPress.com offers a paid feature called “Site Redirect”, it costs around $13 per year.
Option 2: You can do this yourself, by simply go to WordPress.com blog’s dashboard and click on “Settings“, under the “Site Adress“, click on “redirect” link.
Next, you will be asked to provide the domain name where you want your users to be redirected, enter your new or old (if you kept it) WordPress.org site’s domain name and click on the “Go” button.
If you are changing domain, one important thing to do is to update all in-post URLs. Also, if you have inter-linked your posts, those links need to be updated too.
Step #5- JetPack by WordPress.com
This step is optional, by now, your site should be completely migrated. However, since the JetPack plugin brings over certain features that you might have accumulated during your stay at WordPress.com.
JetPack can provide you with traffic stats, speed up your loading times, protect you from brute force, but these features can be handled via other plugins out there on the market – WordPress Repository.
If you decide to stick with JetPack, from WordPress Admin Dashboard visit “Plugins – Add new“. Search the plugin, install it, activate it. A notification at the top of your screen will appear. Click on that, and you’re all set.
That’s the end of this amazing lesson, and I’m sure by now you’re part of the self-hosted WordPress family. Enjoy freedom!!!
I know maybe it sounds confusing, but hey, if there are some questions or you encounter some “rocks” on the road, feel free to ask us anything. We are happy to help :).