There are many reasons why you need to have your own website, especially if you’re a blogger.
If you’re using someone else’s platform such as LiveJournal, Tumblr or even WordPress.com for your blog you will run into problems eventually.
I cover all this in another post:
If you’ve already started a blog on another website then you might hesitate with starting a new website with your own hosting and domain.
Fortunately you don’t have to start over. If you start a new website using WordPress you can import all the existing posts and content from your old blog!
WordPress lets you import content from Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Typepad, Tumblr, an RSS feed or another WordPress blog including blogs set up with WordPress.com.
In this post I’ll show you how to import your old posts from these sites so you can have your own personal website without having to start over.
Importing into WordPress
Importing your old content into WordPress is easy. Start off by creating a new website and installing WordPress. I cover how to do this here:
Next log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Tools > Import.
You’ll see a screen that looks like this:
You have a bunch of options here that are all sort of built in but you have to install a specific plugin for each one. You can get that installer by clicking the Install Now link below whichever option you want.
Importing from an Existing WordPress Site
If you have an existing WordPress website the first thing you’re going to do is install the WordPress plugin by clicking Install Now on the import screen on your new site.
This will install a plugin called WordPress Importer.
Head over to the plugins section of the WordPress dashboard and activate this plugin.
Now head over to your old website, log into WordPress and go to Tools > Export.
You have several options here. All Content is selected by default which will export everything from your website. If you want you can choose to export just the posts, pages or things like your contact forms and media.
When you have the option you want selected click on Download Export File.
You’ll then download an XML file. You may or may not be able to open it and if you do you’ll see it’s a giant file full of code.
Head over to your new website and go back to Tools > import and you’ll see you now have the option to Run Importer.
Click that now.
It’ll then ask you to upload the file you want so go ahead and select the XML file you got from the old site.
Wait a few seconds and then you’ll see a screen with 2 important options.
The first one is for the author. All the posts you’re about to be imported need to be assigned to an author on your current website.
You most likely only have one user on your website, yourself, so go ahead and select that.
If you have multiple authors on the old site you can assign all their posts to either one or multiple authors on your new site.
You can create new users to assign the posts to on this screen as well.
The next option is to Import File Attachments. You must check this box if you want to get all the photos and media from your old website.
If you leave this unchecked it’ll just import the plain text content from your old posts to your new site.
If you do check this option WordPress will download all the photos from your old site and upload them all to your new one.
When you’re ready hit submit.
You’ll then have to wait a while for the import to complete. This can take a while, especially if you’re downloading and importing a ton of photos.
When you’re all done you’ll get a summary of the import. If for some reason the import fails don’t worry, you can just run it again, anything that it’s already imported it’ll skip this time.
Exporting and Importing from WordPress.com
If you have a blog at WordPress.com you can also export everything and import it into a new website. This just work a little bit differently.
WordPress.com uses WordPress to manage your website however their backend looks a little bit different.
Click on Settings in the menu on the left and then on Export in the menu at the top of the page.
If you click on the down arrow on the right beside the Export All button you’ll get more options.
If you want you can choose to export posts by a specific author, with a specific status, date or from a specific category. You also have similar options for pages.
Either click the Export All button or Export Selected Content when you’re ready.
When the export is complete you’ll see this message:
Click the download button on the right to download the export file.
If you export your content from WordPress.com you’ll end up with ZIP file. You can’t import this into your new WordPress file. Instead unzip the file first and there will be an XML file in there.
This is the file that you can upload into your new site.
The process is exactly the same as importing content from another WordPress site. You’ll upload the file, have to select which user to assign the posts to and choose if you want to download and re-upload the images.
Exporting and Importing from Blogger
To import content from a Blogger blog you need to install the Blogger importer plugin.
Head to Tools > Import and install the plugin.
Head to your installed plugins and activate the Blogger Importer.
Now head over to your existing Blogger Blog.
In your list of blogs find the one you want to export and click the little drop down arrow, then click on Settings.
In the Settings menu on the left click on Other.
At the top of the screen in the Import & back up section click on the Back up content button.
Then click the Save to Computer button, it’s the only option and you’ll download an XML file of your Blogger posts.
Now head back to your new WordPress site, click on Tools > Import and run the Blogger importer.
Upload the XML file you got from Blogger and click Upload file and import.
Wait a bit and then the upload will complete.
Note that Blogger won’t import any images you might have in your posts so you’ll have to manually add them into your new website.
Exporting and Importing from LiveJournal
To import from LiveJournal you’ll need to install the LiveJournal Importer plugin.
In your new website go to Tools > Import and install the plugin.
Head over to your installed plugins and active the LiveJournal Importer plugin.
LiveJournal is a bit weird because from their end you can only export one month of your blog at a time and it doesn’t work very well.
Fortunately the LiveJournal Importer makes it much easier.
Go to back to Tools > Import and run the LiveJournal Importer.
You’ll be taken to a screen where you can connect directly to your LiveJournal blog and import everything.
Enter your LiveJournal username and Password.
If you have any posts that are marked private you can set them to require a password on your WordPress site.
For example if you have multiple users on your site and you don’t want them to see your private LiveJournal posts then you can enter a password for them in the Protected Post Password field.
If you leave this field blank all your LiveJournal posts will be imported and made public.
When you’re ready click the Connect to LiveJournal and Import button.
The importer will run and import all your posts, then all your comments and then rebuild all your comment threads. There will be a short break after each step but if you just wait a few seconds the import will automatically continue.
The LiveJournal Importer will import any images you have in your posts as well which is nice.
Movable Type and TypePad
I’m not really going to cover these in this post because they both require you to make a purchase.
There’s also a plugin to install for these and it requires you to upload an mt-export.txt file with all your blog posts.
Exporting and Importing from Tumblr
To import your Tumblr blog first install the Tumblr importer plugin by going to Tools > Import and clicking on Install Now.
When the plugin is activated click on Run Importer and it’ll take you to a screen much like the LiveJournal importer except a bit more complicated because you have to create a Tumblr App first.
The Tumblr app is going to be what gives your WordPress site permission to connect to your Tumblr account and import all your posts. This might sound intimidating but it’s a very simple app and it’s not hard to set up.
You’ll see instructions on this page to walk you through how to do it too.
First go to www.tumblr.com/oauth/apps
Then click on the big green Register Application button.
You only have to fill in a couple of these fields.
For Application Name put whatever you want. You should probably name it something easy like WordPress Export or something. You also have to enter an Application Description so just put something simple there too.
The screen in your WordPress dashboard will show you a URL on step 3. It’s the full URL for your WordPress site. You need to copy this URL exactly as you see it on this screen and paste it into the Application Website and Default Callback URL fields.
The rest of the fields on this screen you can ignore.
When you’re all done with that complete the captcha at the bottom and click the Register button.
Then you’ll be back on the screen with the Register application button but there will be a small amount of new information at the top that looks like this:
The giant string of numbers and letters that you see after OAuth Consumer Key you need to copy and paste into that field in the Tumblr importer on your WordPress site.
You also need to copy and paste the “secret key”.
Click on the little “Show secret key” text and another giant string of letters and numbers will appear. Copy and paste that into the Secret Key field in WordPress.
When you’ve copied and pasted both keys click the Connect to Tumblr button.
If everything’s good you’ll be on a screen that tells you everything is in order. There’s a link that says Authorize the Application, go ahead and click that now.
Next you’ll get a little message from Tumblr asking you if it’s ok to give the importer access to your Tumblr blog.
Click the green Allow button.
You’ll be back in your WordPress site with a summary of your Tumblr blog.
Click the Import this blog button. The button will change to an “in process” message and change to a “finished” message when it’s done.
If you have images in your Tumblr posts they might break so you’ll have to go through them and manually re-insert any images that might not be showing correctly.
Importing from Other Sites
One of the greatest things about WordPress is that it’s open source. If there’s some sort of functionality that you need there’s a pretty good chance someone has created a plugin for it.
If you have a blog on a different website that isn’t covered here do a plugin search for that site + installer. It’s highly likely that there will already be a plugin that you can use to import your blog.
If you’ve been holding off starting your own website because you already invested a ton of time and work into a blog on another website like Blogger or WordPress.com then hopefully this post showed you how easy it is to import everything into a new website.
Having everything on your own website where you have full control over everything makes a huge difference. You can blog about anything you want and you don’t have to worry about anyone else having control over your site.
If you have any questions about importing content into WordPress let me know in the comments.
If you want to start a new blog but you’re not sure how then check out Easy Mode Blogging.
Easy Mode Blogging will set everything up for you by installing WordPress, installing 5 essential plugins, installing the Genesis Framework with your choice of a professional theme, send you a collection of excellent guides and resources and do all this in less that 24 hours!
Plus if you have an existing blog on a site like WordPress.com, Blogger or LiveJournal you can follow the steps here to import everything into your brand new professional site set up by Easy Mode Blogging.