How To Transfer A Free Blog To Self-Hosted WordPress In 5 Simple Steps

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more info.

You know the benefits of having a self-hosted blog and want to transfer your existing free blog to a paid platform but you’re afraid of losing your blog content. Follow these steps below for a hassle free transition!

 

 

It can be daunting to transfer your blog from a free platform to a self-hosted platform, especially if you have a big blog with a lot of content. You don’t want to lose any of the work that you put in, let alone any images that you might’ve uploaded on your blog. But the good thing is – the transfer is very simple to do! It only takes 5 steps and about 15 minutes to implement.

And I’m SO glad you’re making this decision to transfer your blog to a self-hosted platform because this means that you’re one step closer to becoming a pro-blogger and earning more money with your blog!

But just in case you aren’t familiar why transferring your blog to a self-hosted platform is such a big deal, let’s dive into the differences between a free blog and a self-hosted blog.

Why Transfer a Free Blog to a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog?

 

As I explain in the article about 8 Reasons Why A Self-Hosted Blog Will Save Your Money In The Long Run, there’s quite a few reasons why going self-hosted is the best option if you want to make money blogging, or if you are serious about your blog in general.

Free blogging platforms come with severe limitations. One of the biggest limitations is your ability to monetize your site.

Yep, that’s right. You might think that you are saving money by starting a blog on a free platform, when in reality you could actually be losing out on hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

 

It’s Required By Some Affiliate Platforms

 

Some retailers like Amazon require you to OWN your own site before you can apply to earn money through their affiliate marketing program. The same goes for getting sponsorships to your blog.

When you start a self-hosted blog, you’ll be able to make money from ads, affiliate links and sponsorships. Starting up a self-hosted website is as cheap as $2.95/month through my special Bluehost link – it won’t take you long to earn back your investment!

For me, it took a couple of months before I got my first blog sponsorship that paid for 2 years worth of hosting.

 

Here are a few more reasons why self-hosting is seriously better than free blogging platforms…

 

  • You own your content. Yep, that’s right. If you’re on a free blogging platform, you don’t own your website. If you violate any TOS, your website could be shut down without notice.
  • More customisation. You can make your self hosted blog look exactly like you want! There are no limits!
  • More money. (Like I already mentioned above!)
  • It looks more professional. 
  • More traffic. Google and Pinterest see self-hosted websites as more authoritative than free websites. This means that you’ll rank higher and get more visitors organically.
  • It builds trust with your audience.
  • And more!

 

With a self-hosted website you can monetise your website however you want to, apply to all affiliate networks out there and get paid to display ads on your website. You can also customise your website however you want to, build trust with your audience and appear as more professional.

Free blogs are really designed more for hobby bloggers that are looking for a creative outlet, not to make money. lIf you are looking for some extra income or if you want to turn your blog into a full-time business, you need to have a self-hosted blog.

I would have never become a full-time blogger making $8,000+ per month if I was using a free website.

So, with that said, let’s get started with transferring your blog to a self-hosted web platform!

Exclusive Bluehost Offer

 

Before you can get started with transferring your blog to a self-hosted platform, you first need to buy a hosting package.

I always recommend Bluehost for beginner bloggers. The reason why is because they are the fastest, most reliable host and they take away all technical aspects of starting a blog.

They have 1-click WordPress installation, which means that the guys at Bluehost will take care of everything that happens on the back-end, and you can focus on designing your blog and creating content. Super easy!

Bluehost is also the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. They power over 2 million websites worldwide and have one of the most popular and affordable hosting options.

 

So, to recap, this is what you’ll get with Bluehost:

 

  • 1 Year Premium Bluehost Hosting $2.95/month
  • Free domain
  • Free email account
  • Free SSL Security
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
  • 1 Click WordPress Installation
  • Plus Unlimited Web Space On Plus/Prime plan

 

Now, if you want to go ahead and transfer your free website onto a self-hosted site, follow these steps.

 

1. Sign up for hosting with Bluehost (and get a free domain name – $15 value)

 

To get started with setting up your own blog today, head over to Bluehost to register your domain. Make sure to use my special discounted link that is just for my readers – this will save you up to 60% on your purchase!

You can start your blog for $2.95 and get a free domain ($15 value)!

 

 

Click on the “get started now” button and let’s get started!

Now, select a hosting plan that fits your needs. Normally, if you are just starting out I recommend the basic plan.

 

How to start a fashion blog and make money as a fashion blogger / Bluehost discount

 

For 99.9% of the cases, starting out with a basic plan will work perfectly well. However, if you are really serious about blogging and want more resources & power go with their Prime or Pro plan.

Keep in mind that you can always upgrade later if you more space!

 

Register Your Domain Name

 

Bluehost gives you a FREE domain name, which is awesome. (This normally costs $15!)

Type the domain name of your choice in the bar on the left to check out if your domain name is available – if it is, awesome, you’re one step closer to creating your site!

If you’ve already bought a domain from a third party provider, you can set it up with Bluehost using the bar on the right-hand side. Super simple!

 

 

The next few steps are about filling out your account and billing details.

Using my link will save you a total of 63% if you choose the 36 month option. 

You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck if you choose the 60 month or 36 month options, but you’ll still get amazing savings even if you choose the 24 month or 12 month option!

I would actually recommend sticking to the 24 month option, because you want to try out blogging at first to see if you even like it. Also, your blog might grow exponentially in the next 2 years, which means that after that, you might want to upgrade to a bigger hosting plan.

 

 

In this step you can also choose any package extras that you might want.  HIGHLY recommend getting domain privacy protection.

This will protect your site from hackers and keep your personal address private. You can skip the other extras (if you want to add them on later, you can always do this.)

Next, review your package information. Bluehost charges you for the entire year up front – this is how you’re able to get such a good deal!

And…..you’re done – congrats!! You officially OWN your blog now! Bluehost will now send you an email confirming your account and FTP details.

 

2. Install WordPress

 

Now that we have have your new domain in check, it’s almost time to transfer your old blog content to your new domain. Before we do that, we need to connect your Bluehost account to WordPress.

This is super simple with Bluehost’s one-click WordPress install! Simply create a new password, check the boxes to agree to their terms and log in!

Now, it’s time to pick a free theme. You don’t want to spend too much time doing this – it’s just to get you started. You can change and update your theme at any time after this step.

 

 

Bluehost will now automatically connect you to WordPress. After that is done, it’s finally time to transfer your content to your new blog.

 

3. Export your files from your free blog site (WordPress.com or Blogger).

 

First, you’ll need to export your old files from your free blog. I’ll show you how to do this on both Blogger and WordPress.

 

Exporting Files From WordPress

 

 

Login to your WordPress.com dashboard, and go to “Tools” –> “Export”. You can find this on the left hand side menu.

From the export screen, click “Export” next to the free option to create an XML file.

Next, select “All Content,” click “Download XML File,” and save the file on your computer.

 

Exporting files from Blogger

 

From your Blogger dashboard, go to “Settings” –> “Other.” Then click on “Back up Content,” and save the file on your computer.

 

4. Import The Files To Your New Self-Hosted WordPress Blog.

 

After you have exported your files, log in to your NEW WordPress dashboard that you just created with Bluehost. You can do this through your Bluehost account on Bluehost.com or by going to your blog’s URL with /wp-admin attached to it (i.e. https://yourblog.com/wp-admin) and then entering your password.

In your new dashboard, click “Tools” –> “Import.”

 

 

The next steps will differ depending on whether the blog you want to transfer was on WordPress.com or Blogger.

Once you’re inside the Import section in your WordPress dashboard, select either WordPress or Blogger from the options given, and click “Install Now”.

 

 

This will install the required plugin that will allow you to migrate your old files. When the download has finished, the text will change to “Run Importer” . Click this and upload your old blog files that you previously exported.

 

 

The importing will take a couple of minutes depending on your file size.

Congrats, you’ve now transferred all your blog content to a self-hosted WordPress website! 

But wait! There’s a couple more steps that you should take before launching your new blog.

 

5. Designing Your New WordPress Blog

 

Even though you’ve imported your old blog content, chances are that your new blog looks nothing like it did before – the formats might be wrong, and the blog might just look a bit “off”, especially if you transferred your blog to WordPress from Blogger.

This is completely normal and easy to fix. The beauty of having a self-hosted website is that you have SO many options to make your website look exactly like you want. There’s hundreds of different themes that you can use to make your blog as unique as you, and an additional 50,000 plugins and widgets that can spice things up even more.

WordPress offers many free themes that you can use and get accustomed to. Free themes are a great place to start if you’re a beginner blogger or on a tight budget, but they will lack some of the features that paid themes give you.

If you don’t have the money to invest in a theme right now, I completely understand. Start off by using a free theme for a few months and get used to the platform.

Once you have an extra $50-$100 to invest, consider buying a premium theme. Premium themes give you more customisation and are a hassle free way of getting your blog look exactly like you want it to.

Below are my top theme recommendations for new bloggers!

 

My Top Recommendation – Divi

 

 

Divi designs on my website, Les Anagnou and Design By Krista.

 

I use Divi on my own blog. It’s a great design for both new bloggers and advanced bloggers alike. What I love about Divi the most is that  it has a drag and drop builder.  It makes it super easy to create dynamic pages that look exactly like you want them to look like.

It’s also great for advanced bloggers because you can create great sales pages and other landing pages without having to pay anything extra (with other themes, you would need to purchase a landing page template, which would be at least $79, if not more.)

Other Options: More Feminine WordPress Themes

 

There are plenty of other WordPress themes that you can choose from! In fact, you could even start your blog with a free theme provided by Bluehost if you wanted to.

However, I strongly encourage you to look for a paid premium theme that feels like your own: this way, you’ll set yourself apart from other bloggers. Getting the right theme can get expensive, but it’s a one off fee.

Here’s a couple more of my favorite themes from 17th Avenue:

 

 

See more feminine WordPress themes here

 

Final Tweaks

 

Depending on how big your old blog was, there are a few more considerations that you might want to address to insure that your new blog runs smoothly.

1.Set your old WordPress.com blog to “private” OR redirect it to your new website to avoid confusion. From your WordPress.com dashboard, go to “Settings” –> “Reading” and set your old blog to private.

2. To redirect traffic to your new blog, you have two options:

    • If you were transferring a free blog from Blogger, you can download and install the Blogger 301 Redirect plugin to your new blog to do this.
    • If you were using WordPress.com, you can either change the homepage of your old blog or write a blog post explaining your move and including the new domain name for your new blog. Alternatively, you can purchase a Site Redirect that costs $13/year.

3. If you were using Blogger, you will need to update your permalinks (the URLs to your blog). To do this, head over to…

      • Settings” –> “Permalinks.”
      • Choose Month and Name from the permalink options.

4. If you have internal links on your blog to your other blog articles in your old blog, make sure to update the links to reflect your new URL and domain name.  You don’t want posts to contain links to your old website! You can do this inside the post editor for each separate blog post.

5. If you had subscribers on your previous WordPress.com blog, you can transfer them over using the JetPack plugin and using the “Subscriber Migration Tool.” You can download JetPack by typing it out in “Plugins” on your WordPress Dashboard.

 

And that’s it! You’re officially good to go to get started on your self-hosted blog!

If you are ready to tackle the next steps in blogging, be sure to get my free Blogger’s Toolkit that contains lots of helpful information for your next steps!

 

Next Steps: Monetization

 

And if you want to get started with monetizing your blog ASAP, head over to the Highest Paid Affiliate Programs For Bloggers and apply to become a member of your favorite affiliate programs.

You can also enrol in my FREE 5 day course that teaches you how to make your first $200 blogging below:

 

*Final Thoughts*

 

Welcome to the world of self-hosted blogs! You’ve now officially completed the steps that many set out to take, but don’t end up doing. But you’re done them, so I applaud you! 🙂

Having a self-hosted blog is amazing and it can change your life like it has changed mine.

However, I have to tell you that good things take time. Don’t expect your blog to blow up within a week of launching it, if you didn’t have massive traffic on your free blog. It’s normal for a blog to start gaining significant traffic and income only after 3-6 months, so don’t be discouraged if your traffic seems a bit slow.

If I can do it, so can you! 

Now that you’ve started a blog, you can start learning about how to drive traffic to your blog and monetize it.

My best advice is to start driving traffic with Pinterest.

To get started with Pinterest, read about how I managed to get 5 Million Pageviews On Pinterest and sign up to my Ultimate Blogger’s Toolkit below – this will give you all the resources to get started with growing your blog for free!

 

 

Last but not least, if you want a full recap of how I make money blogging, I really recommend watching my video above on how I make money blogging.

Here I explain how I personally make money blogging and also I give you other ideas of what’s working for other bloggers.

Feel free to also read through my monthly income reports to get ideas on the best ways to monetize your new blog, and to get a behind the scenes look on what’s working for me and what isn’t.

Good luck! 🙂

P.S. I’d love to check out your blog and read your latest blog posts, so comment your new blog url below and I’ll make sure to check it out!

 

Read These Next

How I Made My First $25,000 Blogging

7 Blogging Lessons I learned After Making $25,000 Blogging

100 Fashion Blog Post Ideas

The Best Places For Blogger Stock Photos (Free + Paid)

17 Essential WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Needs

How I Got 5 Million Pageviews On Pinterest

The Best High Paying Affiliate Programs For Bloggers

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