WordPress.com is a great place to start blogging. It’s free, you can personalize your domain name, and all the tools are there to get going.
Eventually though, you’re going to want something with a little more oomph, a little more flexibility and a little more professionalism.
The most obvious choice is to make the switch to self hosted WordPress.
I really struggled the first time I had to move WordPress.com to WordPress.org, and I really wish someone would have written a guide – so here you go!
To get started, you’re going to need to know the difference between WordPress and self hosted WordPress software.
For first time users, this can seem a little daunting (believe me, I’ve been there!) but once you know how to do it, it’s really not too difficult. Here is how to tell the difference between WordPress and self hosted WordPress.
WordPress IS a website. You are using their hosting to display your blog for free at a personalized “subdomain” – or you can upgrade to buy a domain name and use that instead (I believe this is called “WordPress Premium” nowadays). WordPress gives you free hosting, but with limited resources and functionality.
WordPress is software provided by WordPress.org which you install on your own hosting and have complete control of. It offers more functionality and flexibility – it is your own complete website.
Why they would call them both the same name, and use the same logo and everything else is beyond me, but that’s just how it is!
The main benefits of having your own hosting with WordPress installed on it is that you can install better themes, and plugins.
To be honest, if you want to get serious about blogging, if you want to make money from your blog, WordPress.com just isn’t going to cut it.If you want to make money from your blog, WordPress just isn't going to cut it. Click To Tweet
Luckily for you, making the switch is easier than it seems! I’m going to create a dummy blog, and then show you how to move it to a self hosted WordPress site.
This is going to involve the following key steps;
So, let’s get started!
For me to demonstrate this step, I’m going to need a WordPress blog – here’s one I made earlier http://howtobookkeep.wordpress.com
To get started with exporting the information, go to your WordPress dashboard, which can be found by clicking the “WP Admin” button on your WordPress editor.
Then, take a look on the left and go to Tools > Export
This will bring you to the following screen;
Can you believe WordPress.com charges $169 for this service?! (I charge a lot less…)
At this point, you want to click “Start Export” on the right. This will give you this screen:
Leave the “All content” option ticked and click on “Download Export File” – this will download a .xml file to your computer. Make a note of where it is, because we’ll be needing it pretty soon!
Okay, so this is the crucial part. Picking the right hosting provider is extremely important!
This costs a little money, but not a lot. It works out to only $3-4 per month – or one less Starbucks coffee per month if you prefer to look at it that way!
BlueHost.com is the hosting provider I use. I also recommend them to all of my clients, and use their corporate server rental services for my own projects. Their customer service is great, and if you have any issues you can come straight to me – email me.
Click the button below to get started with BlueHost.
Once there, follow the signup instructions. When you signup they give you a free domain name, so if you don’t already have one registered – now would be the time to do that!
You should receive a confirmation email when your done, click the link in it and go login to your BlueHost dashboard.
Buying hosting basically means you are “renting” server space. To get WordPress working, you will need to install it on your server.
Again, this may seem complicated, but with BlueHost it is ridiculously easy. They have a “One-click install” that allows you to install WordPress in just a few simple steps.
So, once you’re in your BlueHost dashboard look on the home screen for a section called “website” and click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
This will start the installation process.
Select your domain name from the drop-down list and click “Submit”
Let it load, and then you’ll be brought to this screen;
Click “configure your password” and proceed to the next screen.
Pick a username (I normally use my email) and pick a password. Click “complete setup” – and you’re done!
Log into your new website. You just set up all of your information, but in case you forgot – your login screen is at yournewdomain.com/wp-login/ – for example, mine is at http://howtobookkeep.com
Go ahead and login.
Welcome to your new dashboard! It may appear overwhelmingly familiar, but believe me, there’s much more power here than you’ve been used to.
To import your WordPress data, navigate the left menu to “Tools > Import” (the opposite of when we exported).
This brings you to this screen;
Click on “WordPress” and you will get the following popup;
This will install a plugin which allows you to import your WordPress.com data! Click on “Install Now”.
The plugin will install and you will be given the option to activate and run it.
Click “Choose File” and navigate to wherever you saved the file we exported earlier.
You can then assign an author (you don’t need to do this if you’re the sole author on your blog) and tick the box which says “Download and import file attachments”.
You can go check out howtobookkeep.com and see that all of the content is now live on there! Don’t bother reading it though, it’s a bunch of made up junk.
Now that all of your content is on your new site, you can finally start reaping the benefits of custom themes and plugins!
I’ve already covered this on my Blogging Resources Page, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here.
On that page, you’ll find all my recommended plugins for WordPress as well as the theme I use for this blog. (BeTheme)
You can also check out my eBook which details how to install plugins and themes, and how to get the ball rolling on your new blog and get that traffic pouring in!
Making the move from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress isn’t as intimidating as you might think!
If you have any questions, or if you want one-on-one help with getting set up, then just email me – I won’t charge you anything, and I truly enjoy helping my readers.
Still too complicated? Hire us to move WordPress.com to WordPress.org for you. Simply click the button below to get started;
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