Open notebook and cup of coffee

 

When I started blogging, I loved the ease that came with blogging with Weebly. During college, I didn’t necessarily want to devote the time to customization, plug-ins, etc – I just wanted to write. Weebly is fabulous for this – it’s quick and easy and quite painless.

Well, after graduation, I have found more time to devote to my little piece of the World Wide Web and decided I wanted to move from Weebly to the self-hosted version of WordPress.org. So, what’s the first thing you do? You Google, of course! I typed “Weebly to WordPress.org” and came up with a few relevant results. Many of which were out-dated or simply stated that doing this was close to impossible. Oh, and I’d have to do it all manually and loose my domain and many weeks of valuable writing time. I wasn’t having it! I was going to move to WordPress.org, even if it killed me 😉

It didn’t – clearly. After doing a great deal more digging, I found the path of steps I would need to take to move to WordPress.org – it wasn’t simple, but it was do-able in a relatively short amount of time and virtually had no down time. Oh, and I didn’t even loose my domain! I was feeling great!

So, before I walk you through the steps, I want to explain more about why I made the move – what makes WordPress.org so awesome. The number one most important part of the move, to me, was the level of potential customization. As a computer science graduate, I love coding and here, I get to dive into the code as much or as little as I like – depending on time constraints. Point is, the option is there. Benefit number two – the plugins. Wow. There is literally a plugin for everything you could ever want to do. Site statistics, sharing, theme customizations, widgets…the list goes on! Finally, here at WordPress.org, I own my content and my site – which, I highly value!

Okay, now to the good part! Here are the steps I took to transfer my blog from Weebly to WordPress.org:

  1. Export Weebly site to .zip file for safe keeping. On your Weebly editor screen, go to the Settings tab. Scroll down to the Archive/Un-publish section and select “Download your site as .zip archive.”
  2. Find a theme for your new site. WordPress.org has several available free themes, however, I fell in love with a theme from Angie Makes and decided to splurge – I was NOT disappointed. Not only was the theme everything I could have ever imagined, the customer support and web tutorials at Angie Makes were incredibly helpful.
  3. Get hosting set up. I chose Blue Host and I would highly recommend them – as they are directly tied with WordPress.org and their customer service is incredible. Note, you’ll have to purchase a separate domain to get started to avoid website downtime.
  4. Install WordPress.org theme, get your site set-up and looking the way you want it to look.
  5. Get your Weebly RSS and then WXR files. WeeblyRSS saved me from having to manually transfer my blog posts and pictures to WordPress.org. Simply go to the link above and type in the requested information. Depending on your site’s size, you will receive an email within an hour or maybe a little more with your site’s RSS file. Within the email, you will receive the option to purchase a WXR file to further make the transition from Weebly to WordPress.org smoother – this is what I did. It’ll take another couple hours or a day at most to receive this file. The WXR file will keep your site’s comments, pictures – everything!!
  6. Import the WXR file to WordPress.org. Simply go to your site’s dashboard, select Tools, import and then WordPress and follow the instructions to import all your site’s content into your new WordPress.org site. Be sure to follow Gregor’s (from WeeblyRSS) instructions to use the Import External Images plugin to get all your images into the Media folder for your WordPress.org site.
  7. Edit posts. Not going to lie, this took some time. Some of my images were too big or too small. I added Alternate Text for readability, updated categories, edited styling/formatting and inserted a featured image for many of my blog posts.
  8. Unlock Weebly domain.
  9. Transfer preferred domain to WordPress.org.
  10. Change Bluehost/WordPress.org primary domain.

Step nine takes a couple days – so be prepared to sit tight and just wait. Drafting blog ideas kept me busy while this happened. Otherwise, the steps are all there. I can’t say enough good things about my experience thus far with WordPress.org and Bluehost!

Hopefully, this is helpful to you. As always, feel free to contact me or comment with questions!