Having your own blog is great. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing your ideas with the world. Even better is when discussion gets started in the comments! You are providing space for conversation and the exchange of ideas. Having a blog also lends credibility and professionalism to you, holding evidence of your ideas, skills, work, and most importantly, dedication. WordPress.com offers bloggers a free and simple platform to create this conversation space. However, the URL for WordPress blogs can be cumbersome and unattractive. In many ways, the domain name is as important as your content. It is the first thing people see, it remains visible in the address bar no matter what page you are on, and it can make or break the decision to visit your site. Having a top-level domain, a dot com, makes your site more credible, will likely increase visitors, and offers many other benefits.
In the text and video below, I will show you how to move your WordPress.com blog to your own host and your own domain in four easy steps! It requires no web programming skills and only takes about 10-15 minutes. Once set-up, you can set your theme, do a little customization and tweaking, and then, voila, you’re up, running, and better than ever.
Afterwards, I’ll also explain some of the benefits of having a self-hosted WordPress blog on your own domain. I hope you find this useful!
WATCH the video
STEP 1: Export your blog
No changes will be made to your blog. You’ll just be downloading a copy which you will use later on your own domain.
- Login to your WordPress.com blog. You can do this through WordPress.com or your blog page.
- If you login through WordPress.com:
- click “My sites” at the top of the page
- If you have multiple blogs, make sure you are viewing the correct site.
- Scroll down to the bottom and click on “WP Dashboard”.
- Go to step “c” below.
- If you login through your blog address, login and go to “Site Admin”. This will bring you to the dashboard.
- Once you are in the dashboard, scroll down and hover over “Tools”. Click on “Export”.
- You have a choice between a free “Export” and a paid for “Guided Export”. Choose the free export and press “Start Export”.
- The next page will let you choose which content to export: posts, pages, feedback, and media. Default is “All content”. I recommend “All”.
- Click “Download Export File”.
- That’s it! Your blog has been exported. No changes have been made. You’ve just downloaded a file with all your blog’s content.
- If you login through WordPress.com:
STEP TWO: Sign-up with Bluehost for hosting and get a free domain name!
Your next step is to set-up hosting and your domain. I highly recommend Bluehost. They offer a simple experience and quality service. They are running a special now for $3.49 a month, which includes one free domain name. You can also set up your own email through your domain, host multiple blogs on multiple domains and subdomains (domain.yourdomain.com), and, of course, have a wealth of options with your own installed WordPress, including tons of themes, customization, and plugins. It will really change your blogging experience.
- Go to Bluehost.com, view the current special, and click “get started now”.
- The next page will give you additional options for more feature-rich plans. I recommend previewing them, but, for most people, the “Basic” plan will suffice.
- On the next page, type in the domain name you want. If it’s already taken, you’ll get recommended alternatives or you can search again. If it is available, you’ll be taken to the sign-up page.
- Fill in the information to sign-up, including payment information. There will also be a section for “Package Information” that tries to sell you additional services. I recommend unchecking everything here – you really don’t need them.
- Continue with the sign-up process until you are complete.
STEP THREE: Install WordPress with 1 click!
Using the Bluehost WordPress installer, you can install WordPress in under 60 seconds! It doesn’t get simpler than this.
- Login to Bluehost, which will take you to your cPanel.
- Look for the “website builders” section or any icon that says “Install WordPress”. Click that icon.
- Click “Install”.
- On the next page, make sure your domain is selected and click “Check domain”.
- Click “Show advanced options” and set your site title and login information.
- Click “Install now”.
- The installer takes about 60 seconds and then you’re set up. There will be a progress bar at the top. When it’s finished you’ll see a button that says “View credentials”. This will take give you information about your domain, your login address (domain.com/wp-admin), your username and password.
- Visit your login address and move to step four.
STEP FOUR: Import and customize your blog
In this final step, you will import your previous blog (that you downloaded in Step One) and then set-up your new blog to look the way you want. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t automatically import the theme you previous used, but that’s OK because now you will have access to hundreds of other themes, including the ones available on WordPress.com.
- Once you have logged into your dashboard, WordPress will run you through some basic setup screens. Follow the instructions.
- Next, scroll down to “Tools” on the left and click “Import”.
- Click on “WordPress” on the bottom of the screen, download the plugin, and click “Activate Plugin & Run Importer”.
- Click “Choose file” and select the file you downloaded in Step One. It will be an .xml file.
- Click “Upload file and import”.
- It may take you to a page called “Assign authors” if you had multiple authors on your site. Make whatever changes are necessary or just skip to the bottom and press “Submit”.
- Congratulations! You have now imported all your posts, comments, and media to your new site.
- Next, in the dashboard, go to “Posts”. When installed, WordPress automatically creates a post called “Hello world!”. Hover over this post and delete it by clicking on “Trash”.
- Next, in the dashboard, hover over “Appearance” and click “Themes”. Browse for a new theme or search for your old theme.
- When you find a theme you like, click on it and then click “Install”, then “Activate”.
- Click “Customize” to change colors, headers, widgets, menus, and other features.
That’s it! You’re finished! Share your new blog URL with your followers, sit back, relax, and wait for the compliments to roll in. Or…
Other Benefits of a Self-Hosted Blog
There are numerous benefits to having a self-hosted WordPress blog. These include:
- Have complete control over your blog.
- Access to hundreds of awesome free and paid themes.
- Access to cool plugins that can make your site more efficient and run the way you want it to.
- Ability to customize WordPress theme functions, including CSS, HTML, and PHP.
- Earn money with affiliate links, which are not allowed on WordPress.com.
- Access to email at your own domain.
- Host multiple blogs under your own blog with subdomains.
- Have multiple websites on your Bluehost account.
- Install tons of other cool programs from the Mojo Marketplace, for free!