After a rather thorough and taxing look at both Blogger and WordPress.com it’s time to evaluate the possibility that some of you might want to switch from one service or the other. That or you floated in on a wave of search traffic, looking at whether this is possible.
It’s a rather simple operation, but one that requires a bit of testing to see how your content will look on a different platform. It doesn’t help that these are two remarkably different platforms, with WordPress making heavy use of categories which are replaced completely with tags in Blogger.
In order to see what will happen, I’ve put the import and export functions of both hosted blog services to the test. Read on to find out what I discovered.
Note: This procedure is for blogs specifically hosted on WordPress.com. While this might work for “normal” self-hosted WordPress.org blogs, it has not been tested (though if WordPress have got it right, both export and import functions should be identical).
In The Name Of Blogging
Due to the fact that I don’t currently have a blog of any length on either service, I chose to use the same two accounts I established for my recent comparison article. I realised I didn’t have much content, and so decided to create two separate posts on each platform (to accompany my Hello World entry) each with formatted, justified and bulleted text and the other with a remotely-hosted image and an image hosted on the service. I know the screenshot below specifically mentions videos, but they’re absent largely due to the fact that WordPress charges you for the privilege.
This should provide a good overview of the results, albeit on a much smaller scale than a busy blog that’s been worked on for years. On the WordPress side of things I created two categories, and left one post in the “Uncategorized” placeholder that WordPress creates when you sign up. For my Blogger posts I simply tagged them appropriately, and both sets of posts are identical on either service.
My plan was to export then nuke both blogs so that they are blank canvases, then import the counterpart backup and assess the results. Before exporting, my Blogger posts looked like this:
And WordPress, like this:
Exporting each blog is rather easy. Within Blogger’s main control panel, access the blog of your choice and head over to the Settings menu option, followed by the Other sub-menu. At the very top of the page you will see options to import, export or delete your blog. On clicking Export Blog, Blogger told me that it would create a file in the Blogger Atom export format and that I could use this to move to another service or simply have a backup on my local hard drive.
In WordPress this is a similar affair – head to the Tools menu and click Export. This is another point of sale for WordPress.com, who offer to help you move your blog to a self-hosted WordPress install for $129. You can also just click Export to grab your own local backup then choose whether you want all content, just posts, just pages or just feedback. According to WordPress this will work with another WordPress blog, but there is no mention of other platforms. We’ll see about that!
Blogger left me with a 133 KB .XML file, and WordPress.com produced an .XML file of 12 KB. According to WordPress, the file is not intended to be a full backup of my site. Frustratingly, WordPress.com doesn’t offer a clear backup solution that I could see from a good look around the admin menu. Does the $129 cover this?
Erase & Rewind
Both Blogger and WordPress.com have options for deletion, but as expected these involve the entire deletion of the blog including the domain and personal settings. WordPress advised me to contact support to clear my content, but seeing as I only had three posts anyway I chose to do it manually. This might be a problem for you if you have hundreds of posts across a couple of categories.
On each service I deleted all posts, all categories (on WordPress) and tags (on both) and left only the barebones – my blog’s name, a few settings I hadn’t changed and my domains remained in tact. This is essentially the same as registering and having a crisp new blog at your disposal. I then tried to import Blogger’s backup into WordPress.com and the WordPress backup into Blogger.
Blogger to WordPress.com
WordPress actually has an import from Blogger option which you can choose when you visit the Import menu under Tools. There are two ways of making the jump, either by authorising WordPress.com to access your Blogger account and migrate the content across for you, or by using the method I had prepared for in the form of an exported .XML database. There’s a maximum file size of 15 MB while using this upload method, so larger blogs will need to pair accounts.
I chose the 133 KB Blogger export file and clicked upload. The import happened instantly, and everything was in place by the time I clicked on Posts.
WordPress.com to Blogger
Blogger asked me for my Blogger export file, into which I fed it a WordPress.com export. After about five minutes watching a spinning GIF, I decided that things weren’t happening and tried again. Once again Blogger just sat there, telling me it was “writing blog posts” but each subsequent visit to my blog in a new tab showed no content. At no point was I given an error message, I just had to stare at the screen until I became too impatient to bother any more.
So I did a bit of searching and discovered WordPress2Blogger, a simple tool for converting the WordPress export file into a format that Blogger could understand. The only catch is that you can only use it for files that are less than a megabyte (in my case, I was fine). I fed it the WordPress file of 12 KB and it spat out a 5 KB .HTML file. I then gave this to Blogger, which imported my posts in a matter of seconds. Success!
Here is what Blogger did with my tiny converted WordPress file:
As you can see, it’s pretty much perfect. Categories, which do not exist in Blogger, have instead been added as labels (tags) which is somewhat useful.
This is what my formatted text post looks like, note the odd spacing:
And my image post, with only the remote image shown:
Both images work fine, though the hosted image is pointed at its location on the WordPress servers. Text resulted in some odd line breaks, though timestamps are all intact.
Here is what WordPress.com did with my 133 KB Blogger export file:
Not quite so good – tags are completely missing, instead they’ve been added as categories. I’d rather this be the opposite as mass categorising content is easier than mass-tagging. It will also create individual categories for every tag.
This is what a formatted text post looks like:
And the media post:
Again the hosted image is pointed at Blogger’s servers and hasn’t been locally imported. Timestamps are present and correct and text looks perfect.
To conclude, Blogger to WordPress results in perfectly formatted posts but tags are imported as categories and will require quite the cleanup if you have a lot of content. This is surprising considering WordPress.com has a dedicated tool for making the jump, and you’d expect it to know the difference between a tag and a category.
WordPress to Blogger seems to add some odd spacing in text posts, though images and timestamps survive in tact. This could have been because of the converter I used, but without that converter I wouldn’t have been able to import anything at all. If Google were to add a proper tool for importing from other platforms then they would probably have a lot of happy WordPress refugees who have reached the limits of their free account.
Neither solution is perfect. If you’re considering changing from one to the other I’d recommend you try it and see how your own content looks after the transfer. You won’t lose anything so long as you don’t delete your old blog until you’re happy with the new one, though you might find that you’ve got a lot of formatting to tidy and categories to delete, as well as tags to reapply in some instances.
Have you switched from one to the other? Did it go smoothly? What could WordPress or Google do to make you change your mind? Have your say in the comments below!