Why I Switched from Self-Hosted WordPress to Blogger

Quick disclaimer: I moved my blog back over to Squarespace. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this post but I wanted to keep it up because I think a lot of people can benefit from reading my logic of why I switched from WordPress to Blogger. If I didn't have a Squarespace portfolio site, I'd absolutely still be using Blogger. Feel free to call BS on me, or ask questions, whatever.

Whenever you Google "switch from WordPress.org to Blogger", Google always switches the words around. Because no one in their right mind switches from a self-hosted WordPress blog to a Blogger blog, right?

Well, I'm either straight up nuts (which is always a possibility) or I had a list of good reasons.

Why I Switched My Blog from Self Hosted WordPress to Blogger
Why I Switched My Blog from Self Hosted WordPress to Blogger

"But Jenn, aren't you a blog designer?"

As far as blog designs go, I've always talked about how great, flexible and powerful a self-hosted WordPress blog is. Designing and developing in WordPress is a treat, and I have to say that it really gets me going whenever I solve a PHP problem in the WordPress loop. Excuse me while I drift off to geekily reminisce over my PHP triumphs.

Considerations On Blogger Functionality

Back to reality. So, why did I switch from WordPress to Blogger? Ultimately, the blog platform series I published got me thinking about the future of this blog. The main idea of one post was to consider the goals with your blog as well as what components, bells and whistles you may need.

While I had some cool stuff happening on my WordPress blog, I truly wasn't using it to its full extent. I had no plans to try to learn ecommerce in order to set up my own digital goods store, nor did I have any immediate goals to start a reader forum or anything else in that realm of complexity.

Thinking About Cost

Think about the cost difference between a Blogger blog and a Self Hosted WordPress blog
Think about the cost difference between a Blogger blog and a Self Hosted WordPress blog

When you break it down, a self-hosted WordPress blog costs about $100 per year, give or take depending on your domain registration and renewal fees, as well as the level of site hosting you purchase. I always register my domain names with GoDaddy and have hosted with HostGator and my bills ran about $150 per year.

  • $25: private domain registration (so I couldn't be looked up through WHOIS), and
  • $120: web hosting through HostGator

Thinking about knocking that cost down to $25 per year was a step in the more minimalist direction.

Thinking About My Other Sites

I have too many other sites
I have too many other sites

In the past year, I've started a few sites, to say the least. Whether or not I'm still doing things with them, or whether I plan on continuing on with them, is another story.

I played around with a webcomic for a bit. Every once in a while a little Sour Bunny will pop up in my doodles, and she's since become a sort of mascot for Hello Brio. This site is hosted on Tumblr.

I also hopped on the Public Domain Stock Photography bandwagon for a little. I've always taken random pictures of stuff, mostly abstract architecture, only to have the photos sit on my hard drive for eternity. Better to offer them to the public than to have them go to waste. This is also hosted on Tumblr.

Finally, I started a hand lettering and illustration Tumblr. I since have expanded that to be hosted on Squarespace so I could present a decent portfolio.

Tumblr is free, and each site only costs me $25 per year for the private domain renewal.

Squarespace is NOT free, and the added cost caused me to break out my calculator and my budget spreadsheet. (Oh how I wish I still had my TI-83 Plus. Yes, I am a huge nerd.) Whether I will keep this site hosted on Squarespace for the long haul or not is still up in the air, but there are a few sites  hosted on Squarespace by folks I trust and admire, and therefore think it is the way to go especially since I have products for sale.

So all in all, budgeting for two hosts (HostGator and Squarespace) made my blog budget sad, so I tightened its digital belt.

Thoughts on Design Limitations

I spent a solid week designing a custom Blogger template that would capture the essence of my WordPress.org blog, and I hope I've done an OK job so far. Doing so also reminded me how much I love designing Blogger templates, too, so that's a huge plus in my book.

While there are a few design limitations, it's important to note that these limitations are only minor road blocks in terms of how a blog looks and functions when hosted on the Blogger platform.

Where you start to run into issues is when you want to add crazy pages and ecommerce and such. But all in all, I love a good challenge, and sometimes the best solutions come from having to work with limited tools.

Would I Recommend Switching from WordPress to Blogger? Plus Some Things to Think About

If your blog is costing you money and you don't use the extra functionality features of a self hosted WordPress blog, then yes, absolutely.

There are some considerations though. I spent quite a while cleaning up things that probably destroyed SEO here and there, as well as backlinks. Some things to keep in mind:

You will lose your permalink structure.

Remember how I talked about a clean permalink? You will definitely lose that. While this post may have looked like this before: http://hellobrio.com/how-to-look-like-professional-blogger, it now looks like this http://www.hellobrio.com/2014/10/how-to-look-like-professional-blogger-6.html. And while I could've changed the slug of the permalink, the date is embedded in there.

You will have a hell of a time fixing your images.

I'm sure there's a better way to do what I did, but I impatiently ripped the cord and just exported from WordPress and imported into Blogger. Meaning all of my image URL's were mapped to my WordPress site, and once I switched the domain over it meant that all of the images were broken. I was quiet on this blog for quite a while as I manually fixed every. blog. post.

Your inbound links will be broken.

Remember that one big pin on Pinterest that someone pinned from your blog, and it went viral? That won't work anymore. It will point to a sad broken page on your new Blogger domain. On a personal note, most of my more popular pins related to the beauty blog posts I used to have on here and have since decided to remove, so I was okay leaving those behind.

Your internal links will also be broken.

Back in this post I talked about broken links. Guess why: I had to comb through a ton of blog posts and pages and fix broken links. Mostly because pages are set up like this: http://www.hellobrio.com/p/advertise-and-disclaimers.html where on WordPress it would've just looked like this: hellobrio.com/advertise-and-disclaimers.

Your comments will have to be exported or mapped over.

This is a long story with a happy ending, but I will spare you the details. Migrating comments from WordPress to Blogger on Disqus was a nightmare.

After all of that said, I may have completely talked you out of switching from WordPress to Blogger. I don't blame you. But let me make the case. If most or all of these apply to you, then I absolutely recommend going through the process.

  • You want to save money
  • You just want to blog
  • Your audience is small, or
  • Your audience is loyal and will follow you where you go
  • You have hours to dedicate to the process
  • You don't mind losing some inbound links because you're going to continue to make kick ass content and build your audience again

Welp, sorry for what may be the longest post ever. But I really wanted to walk you through my process, warts and all, to let you know why I switched from Self Hosted WordPress to Blogger.

Will I still design sites in WordPress? Absolutely. Will I ever use WordPress.org personally? Maybe. Am I happy in Blogger so far? Heck yes.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.