Creative Career Coach, Anne Hubben had published her RubyCreatives.com web site with Google operated, Blogger.com. She faced a challenge when the company recently announced it would drop support for its long running FTP service, in favor of migrating its user base to custom domains.
Blogger’s FTP service provided blog owners with the ability to create custom themes and host their Blogger-enabled sites at any third party hosting. With less than 5% of all blogs powered by Blogger using the FTP service, the company decided to pull the plug, notifying all FTP service users their blogs would go dark after March 26th (they have since changed the date to May 1st).
While Blogger now offers a “migration tool,” that will help its clients move their blogs onto Blogger’s hosted platform, this meant that many blog owners custom themes would break, since they would not be imported into the new system. Anne, like many small business owners dependent on Blogger, immediately faced the same difficult situation anyone faces when a free-to-user service changes policy and deprecates support for a legacy product.
Realizing that she might not only lose her data, but also her custom theme and search engine ranking, Anne contacted Digital Strategy Works. After reviewing the instructions provided by Blogger, we set out to migrate Anne’s RubyCreatives.com custom theme and database to a self-hosted version of WordPress on MediaTemple.
First, we downloaded all RubyCreatives.com files from her current host, which included the HTML/CSS and associated image files. We then started the process of migrating Anne’s site content from the FTP version to Blogger’s platform, using the migration tools provided by Blogger. In the move, we realized the custom theme would be left behind. Since we’d backed up the files and could still access to the old FTP account, we had the resources to redevelop RubyCreatives.com custom theme for WordPress–and that was quite a relief to Anne!
Before we could move from Blogger’s FTP to Blogger’s custom domain service, Blogger requires changing the site’s CNAME record at the host. To do so, you must have access to the CPanel at your host provider. In many cases, domain owners register domains with a company like GoDaddy.com or Register.com, but host their sites with 1and1 Internet, MediaTemple, Blue Host, Dream Host, Pair or any one of hundreds of hosting providers. It’s critically important to be able to change the CNAME record at your host while having access to your registrar to change your DNS settings to a new host (in this case, MediaTemple).
While WordPress includes a Blogger to WordPress migration tool, we quickly realized it didn’t work for Blogger FTP sites. We first had to move RubyCreatives.com off Blogger FTP and onto Blogger custom domain. Even after we moved off of the FTP service, we still couldn’t use the import tool provided by WordPress.
We exported the database from Blogger, then used the Blogger2Wordpress migration tool, to convert the Blogger formatted database to WXR, which is the standard WordPress format. We were then able to install the latest and greatest version of WordPress onto MediaTemple, and subsequently import the reformatted WXR database into WordPress.
Unfortunately, in the process, all post and page links to images, video and audio, and documents were lost. Because the path WordPress and Bloggers media library are different, there was nothing we could do. Remember that backup we did earlier? Yup, we still had all the uploaded photos. We just uploaded them all to WordPress and edited each post and page to reconnect them. Obviously, this would be problematic for a major blog with lots of images. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go down that road.
We then recreated Anne’s original Blogger Theme as a WordPress theme, dropped it into the Themes folder, and voila! RubyCreatives.com was back, better than ever.
For SEO, we added Google XML Sitemaps and registered Anne with Google, Yahoo! and Bing. We also added the All In One SEO Pack. Today, when you search for Creative Career Coach, Anne’s RubyCreatives.com pops up on Page 1. Fantastic!
We loved working on RubyCreatives.com. We solved Anne’s problems and now she’s on her way to Career Coach super stardom!