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Move From Blogger to WordPress Without Losing Subscribers

A while ago I published a step-by-step process for moving the content (posts, comments and labels) from your Blogger blog to a WordPress blog. You can find it here.

What I didn't cover in that post, and what I've seen a lot of questions on since, is how to ensure you don't lose your followers and links when you make the move.

And, of course, your RSS subscribers.

So that's what I've covered here.  

Let me say upfront that no method I've come across is 100% perfect. The different server types, configurations and operating systems can mean that something that works in one environment may not work the same way in another.

However, with the use of a handy plugin (only applicable to WordPress.org), plus the RSS redirect and the custom domain features in Blogger, you can maximise the chances that people clicking your old links are correctly re-directed to the posts on your new WordPress blog.

Here's how:

There are two re-directs to put in place: Links (or Permalinks) and RSS.

Links Re-direction:

Here are the steps for re-directing your Blogger links to your self-hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org).

Note: this assumes that you've already imported your Blogger content. If you haven't done so yet, you should do so first.  See how to do that here.

Redirecting links:

Step 1: On your WordPress blog, install and activate the Blogger Redirector plugin. You can find it here.

You also need to install this plugin.

(The reason you need both is because Blogger changed the redirect for custom domains and no longer returns a proper 301 redirect. This second plugin takes care of that).

Step 2: Go to your Blogger control panel and access the Settings>Publishing screen.Click 'custom domain' in the 'switch to custom domain' sentence (near the top, left) and then click the 'Switch to Advanced Settings' link (a quarter way down on the right). You'll see a screen like this:

Step 3: Type the domain of your new blog into the box under Advanced Settings (1) and click 'Save Settings'

You're done for re-directing people who click your links.  Here's what you've set up:

By putting your new domain into the Advanced Settings screen on Blogger you're re-directing readers to your new blog.

By installing the Blogger Redirector plugin on your WordPress blog you're making sure that WordPress will receive re-directed clicks and convert the Blogger permalinks to WordPress equivalents.

Re-directing your Blogger RSS feed:

Next we need to re-direct your Blogger RSS feed so that your RSS subscribers continue to receive your new blog posts.

To do this we will use Feedburner.  If you don't already have your WordPress RSS feed managed by Feedburner then get this set up now.

Feedburner is a free service.  It gives you a lot of statistics about your RSS readers as well as making sure your RSS feed is readable by as many RSS aggregators as possible.

Basically it's a great service, even if you don't want to use it to catch your Blogger RSS readers!

First - burn your WordPress blog feed:

Step 1: Go to Feedburner and burn your feed. Unfortunately, Feedburner is now owned by Google. If you have a Google account then login, otherwise create one. Once you're logged in you'll see this screen:

Step 2: To burn a new feed enter your blog's url into the box (1) and then follow the instructions.

Once you've completed that (it will take about 2 minutes) you will be given a Feedburner URL that will look like this: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TheNameYouChose.

This will become the URL that you use whenever you give your RSS feed to anyone.

BTW - One major advantage you've just got by burning your feed is that if you move your blog to another domain in the future you only need to change the 'original feed address' in your Feedburner account for your readers to be automatically re-directed.

Second - re-direct your blogger feed to your Feedburner RSS address:

Step 1: Go to your Blogger admin area and access the Settings>Sitefeed screen. You'll see this:

Step 2: In the Post Feed Redirect URL box (1) type or paste your Feedburner URL - the one you just set up.

Step 3: Click 'Save Settings'

You're all done!

So here's a summary of what you've set up:

  1. You've redirected your Blogger blog to your new domain.
  2. You've installed the Blogger Re-Direct plugin on WordPress which ensures that WordPress will receive all incoming links from Blogger and apply your chosen permalink.
  3. You've burned your WordPress RSS feed, created a Feedburner RSS URL and redirected your Blogger RSS feed to it.This makes sure your existing RSS subscribers will continue to receive your updates.

Final Step:

As a final step I'd suggest writing a final post on your Blogger blog that explains you've moved to WordPress and gives visitors the URL of your new blog.

If everything you've set up works correctly no one should see this post but, just in case something doesn't work as it should, they'll still be able to find you.

And don't delete your Blogger blog.  Leave it in place.

As I said at the outset - this process should work in the vast majority of cases, but it may not work every time under every configuration.

If you have difficulties or know a better way of doing this please let us know by leaving a comment below!

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