- your url is www.yoursitename.wordpress.com rather than www.yoursitename.com unless you pay extra to have your own domain mapped to that .com account.
- limited to the 60 or so themes that come with the .com account.
- cannot customize the themes.
- limited to the plugins that come with the .com account which reduces functionality of your blog.
- can’t easily hit a button after posting to send to twitter or facebook ( that is functionality available with many with .org plugins).
The list goes on. I am assuming that you have made the decision to make the switch. Now What?
- Purchase a domain. You get a free domain when you purchase web hosting through BlueHost, my favorite hosting company.
- Get a hosting account with BlueHost. It costs 6.95 per month. You should go ahead and pay for two years since search engines like to see some evidence that you plan to be around for a while. If you bail on this project later, BlueHost will give you a refund prorated for time you haven’t used.
- After getting the hosting account, go to the c-panel of BlueHost and go to Applications. You will see the WordPress “W” which will will take you through a 1 minute install process. Install WordPress on the root directory not the subdirectory option ( unless that is what you want to do. ( root directory: www.yourdomain.com, not on the sub-directory: www.yourdomain.com/subdrectory name.)
- Write down all of the passwords carefully for BlueHost, for WordPress and settings for FTP ( file transfer program such as Filezilla which is not necessary but helpful).
- You now have WordPress installed on your own domain. If you already had a domain registered with a different company, say Go Daddy, (do not get hosting on Go Daddy since among other things, their database sites run slow) But leave your domain hosted there and go there ( or wherever your domain is registered, to put the BlueHost DNS numbers in the nameservers ( NS1.bluehost.com and NS2.bluehost.com) This will point your domain name to your new site on the BlueHost account.
- Go to your new WordPress site ( www.yourdomainname/wp-admin)go to the dashboard and set up all of the Settings. Pay attention to the permalinks settings.
- Now time to clean up your .com blog by getting rid of spam comments and such to prepare for the export.
- Go to your old .com site’s dashboard to Tools- Export and export the blog file and save it to your desktop.
- Go to your new site’s dashboard to Tools – Import and find the file on your desktop to import into your new site. Be sure you check the option when it presents itself to bring in all attachments.
- Now you are ready to choose your theme and customize it as well as choosing your plugins setting them up and adding widgets to your site. There are lots of great tutorials as well as good books out on how to get the most out of your WordPress.org account. If you aren’t good with graphics, you can hire someone to spruce up a theme and get it all set up for you and then you can take it from there.
But you are not finished yet! What do do with your old site? Google does not want duplicate content sitting around the Internet so here is the plan to employ if your site has been going for a while and has a lot of traction. If it hasn’t been up long and you haven’t been serious about it then just delete the original .com blog. But if you have lots of search engine traction and links and so forth then there is a way to do this and keep all of your links pointing to the new site.
I have researched the answer to the best practices for making sure the original blog gets pointed to the new one. Until about a year ago there was a work around at WordPress.com for you to do this but they now have it as a service for 12.00 per year and it is very straightforward to redirect your old site to the new WordPress.org site automatically.
If you are local, please join us for the Atlanta WordPress Users’ Group to meet January 19 at New Tricks Word Headquarters in Inman Park.