How to import a BlogSpot blog into WordPress

If you have a blog at blogspot.com and decide to switch your hosting to wordpress.com you can import all the posts and comments by using the WordPress Import feature. The automated process also has import functions for LiveJournal, Movable Type and TypePad, or another WordPress blog hosted elsewhere.

Although all the posts and comments get transferred, widgets in the sidebar are ignored. You would have to re-create those from scratch. Blogger ‘Labels’ are preserved as WordPress ‘Categories’.

To start the process go to the WordPress admin area and choose
Tools > Import. Then choose which blogging system you want to import from.

Please note: To use the importer with Blogger you must have a Google account and an upgraded blog. If you have an old-style Classic template you will need to switch to the new Blogger system (screenshot). The blog must be hosted on BlogSpot, not externally via FTP.

Step 1 – Authorize the transfer:

It would be helpful to login to your Google Account before you begin the import process. Then you can simply click the “Grant access” button and continue.

Step 2 – Select a blog to import:

If you have more than one blog attached to a single Blogger account all of them will be listed with an “Import” button for each blog. The example below shows just one.

Step 3 – Author mapping:

On Blogger you have one username, and on WordPress another username. The author mapping process allows you to establish an association between the two usernames.

Once these 3 steps have been completed the import proceeds automatically.

An experience of importing 2000+ posts

I was contacted by Kenny Smith, who wanted to replace a  pre-Blogger-in-Beta blog on his site. He sent a write-up of his experience:

“My Blogger blog was on an FTP-hosted site, so the first step was to temporarily convert that to Blogspot. That was easy to do inside the Blogger platform. I had more than 2,000 posts to move over to WordPress which was a problem because Blogger is capping the export at 500 posts now. Trial, error and Google searches taught me that I could export the whole thing to a WordPress hosted blog. So I simply created a MYURL.wordpress.com and exported everything from MYURL.blogspot.com – This was effortless.

The next problem, though, came when I tried to export to a hosted www.myurl.com/wordpress/ site. The step is to save the data from the myurl.wordpress.com site on your machine as an XML file. This is easily done within the WordPress platform. The problem was in trying to export that from desktop to www.myurl.com/wordpress/ After two days in tech support conversations with the WordPress folks (who were VERY helpful) we decided that my ISP was timing me out. So what I would see after trying to export 2,000 posts would be 1,734 or 1,722 or 1,755. This got frustrating quickly. Especially while deleting them all, 15 posts at a time.

The answer is a fairly simple one… … Take that XML file and segregate the data, perhaps by months or years if you’re dealing with thousands of posts, into several XML files to prevent the time out. WordPress’ tech people helped me break mine down into three XML files instead of the one I’d been trying and it all uploaded on the first attempt thereafter.

And now, the only really problem I have is an issue of the dates. Everything is written like it took place one day later than it really did. However, I seem to have 2,053 posts on the wordpress site, and I was trying to import 2,055. 99.9 percent is a nice success rate thanks to this extra step in the workaround and a little help from Nick at WordPress.”

Why switch to WordPress.com?

Advantages:

The list of features in which WordPress.com outshines Blogger is quite long. They are summarized in this table: WordPress vs. BlogSpot. There are even more plus points for WordPress.com:

  • Quite a few Blogger widgets added after 2006 depend on JavaScript. They won’t show up in many types of mobile device or browsers in which JavaScript is disabled. Google services rely heavily on client-side scripts which add significantly to download times. Outside towns and cities in America, Europe, and wealthy countries in South East Asia, broadband penetration has been minimal. Elsewhere, it’s confined to major cities. A 2007 article in PC World magazine noted that Rural America is doomed to Dial-Up. It looks like Google Inc. only cares about catering to city slickers in prosperous nations.
  • Since before Blogger-in-Beta was launched Google ignored some quite basic features that were requested by users in Blogger’s “Features and Suggestions Wish List” (replaced with a Google Group). No static pages, no post excerpts and no ‘import’ feature, except from another Blogger blog. The Blogger development team have spent a lot of time on script-dependent widgets and gadgets for the sidebar. Someone should remind them that content is king, not gimmicks. Widgets are nice, but it looks like “add-on” scripts are a higher priority than basic features.
  • Photo bloggers get a better deal with WordPress.com. In posts, you can add a photo gallery with a single tag, and a Photoblogger Theme was added in April 2008. The Blogger alternative is to add a Slideshow widget to display thumbnails from Picasa Web Albums, which are unusable without JavaScript in any case.

Disadvantages:

  • I got fed up with a constant stream of spam comments for deletion in my WordPress dashboard. Especially as there were very few genuine comments for moderation. It’s true that if you ignore the Akismet spam queue they’ll be deleted automatically after a while, but it’s difficult to ignore them as a few might have been falsely tagged as spam.
  • Blogger makes it easy to change fonts and colors in themes. At WordPress.com you have to pay for an upgrade before you can do that.
  • It has been said elsewhere, but the dashboard Blog Stats really don’t compare to the free tracker scripts available from SiteMeter and StatCounter. The graph looks nice, but it’s done with Flash® so you can’t right-click to save it. The SiteMeter PNG-format bar chart looks great and includes a table of visits and page views for each day of the month. WordPress doesn’t identify the search engines which sent visitors and Search Engine Terms are cropped at 40 characters. I understand that unrestricted third-party scripts could be a security risk, but it should be possible to allow users to enter account parameters and generate safe code on the server. The StatCounter team would love to cooperate. They wrote about it on their blog:

For security reasons wordpress don’t allow you to install javascript code on blogs hosted by them i.e. wordpress.com blogs. We’re sure though that, if enough of you request the full StatCounter code on your wordpress.com blogs, then Matt & Co would be happy to oblige! We would certainly be happy to work with wordpress on this.   http://blog.statcounter.com/?p=49

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