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Should I change Blog Platforms? Have Your Say

reader-questionsRichard asks – “I have a website and blog which is well established, many inbound links and high traffic. But the blogging software I can use is limited. It is difficult to customize and the categories are too big and slow to load.

Is it better to keep going with an imperfect blog software and lots of links or start afresh with the best blogging software?

I think there will be much better qualified people to answer this question than me Richard so I’ll invite readers to have their say.

My own experience of this is limited but I’ve seen many bloggers change blog platforms with varying degrees of success – quite often being able to keep the URLs of their blog the same despite swapping platforms. Of course this is much more difficult to do if you are using a hosted blog platform (like blogspot or typepad) where you’re not on your own domain – but in the long run it can be worthwhile making the move despite loosing some links and needing to start again with search engines.

But like I say – this is a question that exceeds my own personal expertise – so lets open it up to those who’ve been through this before.

  • What are the pros and cons of moving from one blog platform to another?
  • Have you done it? What did you learn along the way?
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Eduardo Maio says:

    I would change plataform and keep the URLs or apply a 301 redirect to them for the new plataform. This way you will not annoy your current readers and all the changes should serve their interest, not the search engines interest.

  2. I’ve recently switched from Blogger to WordPress, and haven’t looked back since. I didn’t have a very large readership with Blogger (still don’t with WordPress, but it’s growing a lot faster than ever before), and WordPress seems to offer a wider variety of options for getting yourself known in the blogosphere.

    I can’t remember who said it, but the definition of crazy is to “do what you’ve always done and expect different results.”

    If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting with your current blogging platform, then by all means – rip off the band aid and move on, brother.

  3. …one more thing: WordPress makes it very easy to import an existing blog. I imported my year-old Blogger blog within a few seconds. It was easy, and VERY worth it.

  4. Danilo says:

    First, it would also be interesting to know if the problems could be solved with the platform itself. From looking at his site it looks like he is using a beta version.

    Maybe the problem could be solved by adjusting his own platform? Have you tried contacting the developers? If not, I think changing is better and better if done sooner then later.

  5. Leanne says:

    I moved from LiveJournal to Blogger (on my own domain) and it was an upgrade.

    About a year later, I went from Blogger to WordPress (still on my own domain) and now my pagerank is up 2 (to a 5) and I’ve got great placement in search results.

    I absolutely believe it has everything to do with WordPress. Matt & the team certainly had SEO in mind – you don’t even need to know what that means to get great results.

  6. Roman says:

    I used to host on a free subdomain’s servers on different providers. It was a good start for my blogging:

    1. I was able to find the right topic which I wanted to write
    2. I didnt must pay for that
    3. It gave me first experience of blogging

    But when I use my own domain now I have no limitations. It depends if you look to the future. There are many question which can help you.

    1. Do you want to own unique domain and be different?
    2. Be limited with the free blogging’s services?
    3. Is the sowftare enough for your blogging?

    Well, I think the free services for bloggers with subdomains are good for the beginners who want to learn more about this job. But from my own experience I recommend start with own domain and a free downloadable platform. With own domain you can do more things than with a free.

  7. Rana says:

    I was recently the victim of a ten-day outage at my host (I am no longer their customer) and chose to lump the “trauma” of moving everything with the “trauma” of changing from MoveableType to WordPress. Not so much with the trauma.

    I had the help of a friend to get my templates worked out and the only glitch with the import of the entries was some character garbling (some quotation marks, commas, and/or apostrophes became question marks). The switch, however, was completely worth it.

    The overall performance of the site has been greatly enhanced and the wide variety of plugins available for WordPress are helping me to easily achieve some of the things I’d been wanting to do with the site that MT just made too difficult.

  8. I started blogging as a bit of a lark and got hooked… with my main blog on blogspot, alas. So this is a question I’ve been struggling with *mightily* over the past few months — I will be reading all the responses here with great interest, thanks!

  9. Neena says:

    Like Jen (comment #7) I, too, am wondering whether to switch from Blogger to WordPress. The new Blogger is relatively easy to use but it does have it’s limitations. I know WordPress can be amazing but the learning curve will take time.

    A few commenters feel that their search engine rankings have improved after moving to WordPress. I have not considered this angle – my blog could certainly use more traffic!

  10. Stephen Ward says:

    I had to make a hard decision like this in the past when I moved my website to a new domain. As expected, it took months for my blog’s stats to return to normal, and they were lower than they had been prior to the change. So, generally speaking, it’s been my experience that moving things around does tend to lose momentum for your site even with 301 redirects and such. Then again, it was a necessary decision to meet my blog’s long-term goals. I’m now in control of my own domain and don’t have to be hampered by a poor web hosting provider.

    Switching blogging platforms is very similar to switching domains in this regard. If you feel you must make a change to make your blog a success in the long-term, make the switch. Naturally, you should try to ease the transition as much as possible by keeping as many pages as possible right where they are and properly redirecting the others. However, don’t choose your blogging platform based solely upon the transition; pick one that you can stick with in the long run without having to switch in the future and then tweak it to your needs.

  11. Blogger will announce new features shortly. Believe in Google.

  12. Rick says:

    If you can get your readers to subscribe using FeedBurner, or something similar, you won’t have to worry about it when it comes time to switch platforms. Just change the feed settings in FeedBurner, and your regular subscribers won’t miss a beat. Plus, if you have your own domain with private hosting, your click-to readers won’t miss anything that way, either.

    Oh, and if we’re keeping score, I highly recommend a custom WordPress install on your own domain. You can’t go wrong.

  13. Eniac says:

    Also moved from Blogger to WP. It is more professional to have your own domain, and WP platform is very flexible and colaborates very well with search engines

  14. bill weaver says:

    I have switched from WordPress to Textpattern then back to WordPress. The two most important things are to keep your URLs the same and migrate your content to the new platform. Most platforms will import from each other directly, but since you’re — hopefully — going to be sitting at the same location, you need to move your content offsite first, say to a mirror location at another URL or on your own machine (localhost) and a separate database, then replace the old with the new platform, then import from your offsite mirror to the new platform.

    One other way to do this is build it on another server port or subdomain then just point things where you want them once everything is migrated to your liking.

    Depending on your expertise, you can always export the database tables then transform them into the new schema.

    Other issues will be getting corresponding plugins if needed, getting your templates/themes the way you want (do this at another location — localhost — before beginning the migration), and probably getting some people to test things for you. You might miss something.

    -bill

  15. I have hung in with Blogger forever and plan to go nowhere. Like a marraige it has its ups and downs. I have have no interest in paying a nickel more than I need to for the means to do business. Besides I feel Blogger it is easier to use, the new platform in particular. I checked out WordPress once and figured I would stay where I was. And I’ve never looked back either.

  16. S. Weasel says:

    I started with WordPress, then moved to my own host/domain using WordPress software. I used to get a fair amount of readership (return readership, not just hits) from people tagsurfing the WordPress system, which I miss. But, in general, if you’re going to move to your own domain…the sooner the better.

    I wish I’d moved my hit counter rather than starting a new one, though :)

  17. UltraRob says:

    Earlier this year I just about switched from Blogger to WordPress. I ended up staying with Blogger but moving it to my own domain. I still sometimes wonder if I should have gone to WordPress. There seem to be more templates available. I hate my Blogger one and I have a good start on my own custom one.

    I’m glad to see Richard is on his own domain since I think not starting on my own domain was one of my biggest mistakes. My blog is mostly a personal blog about ultra cycling so not a huge amount of traffic but I believe it helps drive traffic to my cycling and outdoor price comparison part of the website.

    I was also worried about losing links by switching to my domain since there’s no good way to redirect from Blogger. With your own hosting you can either do a redirect or use something like Apache’s ReWrite module so the URL stays the same but the content is read from the new URL.

    When I switched my Blogger blog to ftp publishing, I actually set up a new blog. I temporarily set my old blog template to create a XML file with all of my posts with post times, URLs, etc as fields. I only had a couple hundred posts and was able to copy the old posts to the new blog in a couple hours. I used a Firefox plugin to make copying the post dates easier. I then went through my old blog and deleted all of each posts except for the first few sentences and added a link to the new location so people following old links could find the complete post.

    In the first couple weeks, I saw a small drop in traffic but within a month my traffic had actually increased even though I had lost some links. Search engine traffic took a couple months to switch over to the new site but people were clicking through the links to the new location. I still have my old Blogger.com site out there and occasionly get people coming through it but not very often.

  18. Genie says:

    I’m hosted on the free WordPress platform and love-love-love it, but for the fact that I’m not allowed to monetize in any way. But, to be honest, not monetizing has, so far, been OK for me — I have other ways in which I’ve parlayed the blog into earning opportunities, and have a longer term vision that allows me to be comfortable with the path I’ve chosen.

    But I’ve thought about switching to self-hosted WP, because the platform is so fabulous and I would have a little more flexibility that way. I struggle with it, though — I already devote so much time to writing and commenting that thinking about dealing with my own server and hosting issues seems a little much.

    This is a great discussion, though — I’m really interested to see what others have to say!

  19. Deron says:

    I’ve tried around 6 CMS/publishing systems and in my opinion ExpressionEngine is far and away the best. You can nearly do anything with this system and it just keeps getting better. I suggest checking it out. I wont be using another CMS anytime soon.

  20. The only time that I have been bothered/annoyed by someone switching platforms is when a fairly well known/respected theme developer (of WP) switched from WP to another blogging platform. So, consider your audience. If you aren’t going to alienate them then I think you should be fine.

    Just read up and consider the pros and cons of different platfroms. Blogger will basically never fail you, but it’s simple and without a lot of options. WP is amazing, but there are definitely more balls to juggle.

  21. David says:

    I guess i’m the only person who is actually switfching

  22. David says:

    I guess i’m the only person who is actually switching From WordPress TO Blogger. I don’t like how restrictive wordpress is. Now I am using their hosted service and I can’t really pay for my own host so Blogger seems to fit the bill. Plus you can’t use Adsense on WordPress (the hosted version) so that was a deal killer for me. I just hope I can keep my readers and not loose too much traffic.

    (sorry about the double post… fat fingered the Enter key)

  23. I moved from blogger to wordpress about 2 weeks ago, and I’m enjoying it so far. As others have said, the transition was easy, and there are just so many more options available for WordPress. My only issue was my location of my feed changing (I had people subscribe before I set up feedburner), a quick 301 and that’s all taken care of.

  24. Katje says:

    Before committing to changing your blogging plateform, I would set up a test directory and test out the various options out there. People rave about how great WordPress is, and it is a great plateform, but there are other great ones out there as well, such as TypePad. Take a look at these plateforms and find the one that fits your needs best.

    If your on a hosted plateform, try testing out the other ones out there before directing your readers over to it. This way you make sure to find the plateform that is best for you and will have the least impact on your readers.

  25. Daniel says:

    I switched from a subdomain where I started from to my own domain three month ago. And I still regret, that I didn’t start right away with my own domain.

    This is not about platforms, I used my own wordpress all the time. But just the switch to the new domain name wasn’t without pain. Well it’s not a huge drop but there is definitely one. I still did a redirect from the old subdomain, everything working smoothly. And of course, feed readers wouldn’t recognize. But I get the most traffic through google and they penalized me.

    Before the switch traffic was just slightly rising over the last two month. After the switch it dropped to about 2/3 and from there on slowly decreased to around 1/2 of the traffic I had before. Now it’s going up again, but slowly and there is still some way to go to where I was before.

    So I would say, the biggest issue will always be the domain name change. Think about it before you ever start your lovely blog.

  26. I started out with WordPress right from the get go. from what I hear, it’s the best of the best… so I won’t be changing except to update the platform.

  27. Golbguru says:

    Moved from Blogger to WordPress (on own domain) – it was totally worth it. Here are a few areas which saw *major* positive changes:
    1. Feed subscriber numbers.
    2. Advertising revenue.
    3. Search engine placement (although I have seen a number of Blogger blogs high up there too)
    Of course, there will be a momentary drop (in readership, search results, backlinks) – but sometimes you got to take a step backward to take three steps forward.
    Fortunately for Richard, looks like setting up mass 301 redirects will be easy (he is on his own hosted domain). Plus, the blog looks like less than a year old – it would be easier done right now. Wait for a year more and that change is never going to happen.

  28. If it is possible to keep the URLs to the content pages you don’t use the links to your content.
    I switched several times from Mambo/Joomla to TYPO3 and from from Mambo/Joomla to Drupal.
    The more content you have the more time this takes, very easy but true.
    I could keep almost all URLs of visible content in Drupal and am very happy about my switch.
    Drupal is the most flexible and powerful open source CMS I worked with and I guess I’ll stick with it for some time.

  29. Ted says:

    I was running WordPress on a network of blogs. With social networking in full swing, I switched everything over to Drupal. It’s been a ton of work, but a great learning experience. The URL issue has been a problem and my traffic is way down. But my CTR is up. So, I think in the long run I’ll be better off…it’s only been a few weeks.

  30. 60 in 3 says:

    I moved from lifetype to wordpress and don’t regret it. The new links will come and the features of the new platform will help them come even quicker this time. So yes, there is a bit of a restart but it’s worth it. Plus this is why I chose to host my own blog rather than use one of the hosting services. I got to keep my domain name and everything.

    Gal

  31. Ponn Sabra says:

    After 2-years on blogger I finally moved over to WordPress in March 2007, and like the above bloggers who did the same…I’ve never turned back.
    - Phenomenal increase in readership, traffic, search engine ranking, PageRank varies between 3-5, while my free blogger is still a consistent PR4…but I’ve never had the *huge* active community (comments/trackbacks) like ever before. I’m constantly working with installing the best plugins for search engine optimization, developing a friendlier community (making it easier and more interesting for others to comment, and comment often), and increase my ezine and RSS subscriptions.

    I also find a highly-educated generously-kind WordPress blogger community, who willingly shares their tips, tricks and tools so everyone can capitalize on the WP platform to best attract, maintain and increase everyone’s own readers in each individual’s niche/target markets.

    Blogging was fun at Blogger, but on WP–its totally addictive! Which has its own Pros and Cons ;-)

    Good luck with your decision Richard!

    And, thanks Darren for opening this conversation up (as you always do) to share testimonials of everyone’s successful platform experiences.

  32. SEO blog says:

    As has been said before, moving platforms might not be easy but you certainly shouldn’t have to “start over with the search engines.” If you can keep your URLs, that’s great. If not, 301 redirects are the way to go. It’s best to be specific (redirect individual pages to their new corresponding pages) but if that’s not possible for some reason, a general sitewide 301 redirect would be better than starting from scratch. Help with 301′s can be found in several different webmaster forums etc.

  33. Mike Panic says:

    I will be moving my hosted blogger account to a word-press account sooner or later. I’m not a fan of having to republish the entire blog just to change something in the theme, and I want better catagories, blogger’s “labels” isn’t doing it for me.

    My reason for putting it off right now is that I haven’t figured out a way to install WP on root of my current server where the blogger blog lives, w/out screwing up the Index pages. In addition, the blog is approaching 11,000 posts, so it will be a hefty move in size.

    Has anyone moved a blog this big from blogger to word-press?

  34. Nathania Johnson says:

    SWITCH TO WORDPRESS!

    This is especially true if you’re not ranking for anything. Who cares about all the links if they’re not helping you rank? (Links have to have the right anchor text to help you rank, for example.)

    Looks like you should be able to switch to WordPress without losing your URL structure.

    If you can utilize WordPress’s import feature for EasyBlog, then it makes it even easier. If not – find someone who can. My husband was able to switch a blog of mine over using OPML for my (new version) blogspot blog.

  35. Mark Shead says:

    Richard – I just moved a site from Typepad to WordPress without losing any links. The URLs changed, but I put a 301 redirect for each page to keep from losing any incoming links or search engine traffic.

    Get in contact with me if you want more details on how to do this. I’d be happy to walk through what I did in more technical detail.

  36. Yesterday, Six Apart launched an entirely new version of Movable Type more in tune with the Word Press architecture, but going much beyond Word Press capabilities

    As a Web Developer and Movable Type Consultant I would encourage you to give a try to Movable Type. Personally, I’ve decided to offer Movable Type Consultancy services since this platform is very robust and allows me as a developer to customize it for matching each and every customer publishing needs, from static Web sites and blogs and huge publishing organizations

    In an effort to help anybody give a try to Movable Type without wasting one single moment trying to download and install this product, I’ve installed and made publicly available a demo version

    Go and master it at: http://www.movabletype4.org/

    Happy blogging!

  37. jhay says:

    Never imagined myself to switch blogging platforms, it all sounds a scary, if not a gargantuan task and an awful lot of risk in itself.

    Talk about plugin compatibilities or retaining the functionalities they offer and trying to recreate them with the corresponding plugin on the new platform you’d be using.

    Then there’s the design and then the permalinks structure! Oh my….

  38. I just switched from typepad to wordpress because I liked the open source nature of wordpress (if I want something, somebody else probably does too and they are likely to make a plugin or template for it).

    Then today I hear that moveable type (the publishers of typepad) are making they 4.0 version open source again. It’ll be interesting to see how many wordpress users go back to them and how easy moveable type will make it for people who do.

    In saying that, I am extremely happy with my new wordpress blog, the freedom is definitely worth the trouble and I am seeing a much higher click through on my ads.

  39. I’m reading a preponderence of votes in favour of WordPress on self-hosted domain, here, it seems. Already a huge fan of WP from my other blogs, so this discussion has pretty much convinced me to make the leap with this last blogspot blog. A lot of great tips for making the switch without too big a headache or losing too much traffic, too… Much appreciated, this wisdom of wider experience!

  40. Angela says:

    I faced limitations on my primary writing blog, it’s on Typepad, and is almost three years old. I didn’t want to move it, because it’s well established, and because I like Typepad despite the limitations.

    My challenge was getting targeted traffic to specific categories of the big blog – lots of pages were supplemental, and I couldn’t see any way of getting enough backlinks to the pages. (The new Pages facility on Typepad makes this easier.)

    So instead of moving the entire blog to WordPress, I decided to hive off new blogs from that one, all on WordPress on their own domains. Essentially I took the biggest categories of the primary blog, and started new blogs with them. I haven’t moved any content, just created new content.

    It’s working really well, because the traffic I get to the new blogs is highly targeted. All the little blogs are newish, but are pulling their weight.

    This hiving-off strategy might not work for you, if you have limited time to devote to blogging, but it’s working for me.

    Cheers

    Angela

  41. redwall_hp says:

    I once switched from Blogger to WordPress. I never went back. WP is so much better.

  42. I switched from my Blogger account to my “Custom Your Domain” Blogger account and have not looked back since.

    I personally feel WP is over rated (and lacking in “user friendly customization”) while Blogger gives you 100% whether you host with them or on your own server.

    I have tried WordPress, Xanga, Vox, etc. and have dipped my toe in self hosting. Since I prefer writing than mucking in too much web coding (although it can be fun sometimes) I decided to stay with Blogger (on their custom domain platform) and let Google do the hosting.

  43. Brad says:

    I started off using Blogger, which is always a good platform, especially for beginning bloggers. Then, once I realized I was into blogging for the long haul, I switched to Typepad because it offered more flexibility and I now own my domain name – which goes a really long way in adding credibility to my blog.

    But I’m still very much a “beginner” so I’m concentrating on writing quality posts that will benefit my readers!

  44. Jaganath says:

    I was originally blogging at Blogger. Then I switched to WordPress.com, which happily imported all my blogger posts. I added a script to my blogger template to redirect only if somebody types the URL directly in the browser. This way, I kept all the incoming links to my old blog intact.
    After switching to wordpress, I noticed a huge jump in traffic. I think it is mainly because of the tags and tag surfer feature in WordPress.com. Surprisingly, Google seems to like WordPress more than Blogger.

    Now I host my blog on my own domain. I switched to Drupal. While Drupal may not be as much user friendly as WordPress, it is highly customizable and very powerful. I am not looking back.

  45. Richard says:

    Since asking this question to Darren a few weeks ago. I set up a new wordpress site for blogging and SEO related topics http://www.netwriting.co.uk/

    The reason was both for getting better blog software, but also to concentrate on a certain niche. (Rather than try to have several topics on the same blog)

    The blog featured by Darren I just use for entertainment.
    I like wordpress so much I am going to convert my several blogger blogs into wordpress. If you publish by FTP on your own site, you cannot take advantage of the new blogger features.

    It’s a bit of work now, but I’ll regret it if I don’t get the best blog software now.

    Thanks Darren for advice of concentrating on niches.

  46. vijay says:

    I am in the process of switch from Blogger to WP.. I have not completed the switch yet.. Imported the posts now and optimizing the theme on http://softwaretestinghelp.com
    I optimized my current blogger theme quite well and still not convinced for the switch!

  47. JHS says:

    I have been on Blogger for more than two years, but have my own domain name. I’ve been toying with the idea of switching to WordPress for some time, the primary reasons being 1) the ability to have multiple pages easily (which I haven’t figured out on Blogger so if anybody can point me to an easy explanation, please e-mail me at [email protected]) and 2) the timestamp function which lets you draft posts and specify a time in the future when they will publish. I do that with my Write Stuff columns and sure wish Blogger had that feature because it would make my life a lot easier. With Blogger, you can draft in advance but you have to actually hit “Publish” and that is a big pain in the backside. The only reason why I haven’t switched so far is the fact that I am not comfortable enough with WordPress, but I plan to rectify that when I’m on vacation in 3 weeks by reading about it. If anyone can recommend a great book on WordPress, please e-mail that info., too. Thanks!

  48. James says:

    I have considered switching from Blogger, mainly because other people suggest it from time to time. Really though, my blog is just a hobby, so I am pretty happy with the Blogger platform. It is very easy to use, which is great because I only have a couple hours a week to devote to the blog. To me, that ease of use offsets any flexibility that I lose by using the platform. Maybe hosting the blogger blog on my own domain will make sense at some point, but for now I am happy with the current setup.

  49. Oh my stars, I could tell you a tale about moving two of my blogs from subdomain to domain then from Movable Type to WordPress. It was a dizzying experience. My best suggestion is to do what you can without interrupting access in the daytime of your dedicated users. Then turn on the coffee pot and pull an all nighter of data migration.

  50. SEO blog says:

    For the people who are suggesting WP doesn’t offer enough flexibility or customization, I have to ask if we’re talking about the same WP. I mean for crying out loud, Guy Kawasaki built Truemors off WP. What more for customization could you ask for? It might not fit your skill set but there are PLENTY of people out there that will help you out and you can always hire it out for a decent price as well.