Design, DIY, Skills

My Experience Moving Weebly to WordPress

It feels very exciting to have my newly WordPress’d site up and running!

I’ve been with Weebly for about 3-4 years now, and it’s been a fantastic, affordable (even free ninety-nine), quick-to-start and easy to use place to build and ‘host’ my blossoming blog. Granted, it’s not without its quirks and glitches but overall I’ve been grateful for Weebly for getting me up and running in the blogging world. However, now having tested the waters and feeling confident going for a swim in the big blog ocean, I’ve gone through the lengthy learning process on how to move my blog from Weebly to WordPress.

But first, why didn’t I start with WordPress in the first place?

For some reason, there’s this notion that WordPress is only for those with a Computer Software degree, and regular Joe should stick to something like Weebly to hold your hand during the blog creation process. But having played around with WordPress for the last couple days, I have to say WordPress is well designed, customizable, and easy to use. No coding or fancy computer whiz skills required. In fact, the hardest part of the whole experience was moving everything from Weebly to WordPress, and choosing a hosting site.

Already I can see why WordPress is used for millions of websites – it’s free, elegant and with some learning curve, easy to use. It also keeps amazing track of all your posts and images, and has a way better formatting tool. I highly recommend putting in the very minimal extra effort to use WordPress instead.

Creating my WordPress Site

I’m not computer jargon savvy, so there was some slow wading through technical details, but eventually with the help of a few key articles I put it all together. I’ll lay it out here so hopefully your process is more smooth. Note that, before you get too far in to this, know that these are paid services. If you like the free blog with Weebly, go no further as hosting and domain names cost money.

  1. Create an XML or WXR File from your Existing Weebly Site

An XML file contains all your blog posts in the form of a feed like RSS or ATOM. This article from WPbeginner is a fantastic step-by-step process, but it falls short as it explains to use Google Reader to create your XML file, and Reader doesn’t exist anymore.

This article explains an alternate way to do it but I highly recommend this easy to use tool to create an XML file from my feed. This site also offers to create a WXR file for $12. Since the XML file doesn’t transfer comments and categories, for the premium cost you can buy a WXR file that has everything.

Note that Firefox didn’t seem to work for me in this process when trying to save the XML file. Using Google Chrome solved this, and when I open the XML file I get a page like this:

Then I went to ‘File’, ‘Save Page As’ and saved it as an XML file on my desktop. Now that you have your XML file of your site, you’re ready to create your new WordPress site.

2. Sign Up with a New Host with Your Blog’s Domain

Since Weebly handled all the hosting and website building for me, I needed to find a new place to host my site. They all seem more or less the same as far as my newbie self was concerned, so I settled on GreenGeeks.com as they had a good monthly price (around $5). What it means to have someone ‘host’ your site is they provide you a place to store and run your site on the web, and you pay rent for your blog to live there.

When you set up your account with the hosting site, you’ll need to provide the domain of your blog (i.e. simplicify.ca). If you own your domain through Weebly, you can either keep it with Weebly or move it to another domain company like GoDaddy.com. You’ll then need to ‘point’ your domain to your new hosting account. Steps on how to do this should be provided by the hosting site, and is the most ‘technical’ step you’ll have to complete.

3. Install WordPress

install WordPress. Most of these big hosting sites seem to have easy 1-click WordPress installs and tutorial videos. Once all of this is done, you can again use the WPbeginner article for step by step instructions on uploading your XML file and sorting out the kinks.

There you have it! Let me know if you have questions.

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