Almost a year ago I started blogging about Tableau and data visualisation. One of the first things I wanted to do was embed my Tableau Public work into the blog posts so that readers didn’t have to go away from the blog to interact with the viz.

As many out there I’d chosen wordpress.com. Why? Because I didn’t know any better and thought a blog is a blog right? Wrong! WordPress.com is easy and simple to get started, but it’s limited and if you want to add simple things like embedding capability or google analytics it quickly becomes too expensive.

Caveat: I’ll mention a few companies I use below, these are not endorsements, they work for my needs but these are not recommendations.

There are two alternatives :

1- Self hosted, which means having to manage databases and the installations. In short it’s a pain.

2- Pay for a hosted solution like BlueHost, who will manage the hosting of the blog and you only need to manage the content.

If you are sensible and not a glutton for endless admin tasks, you’ve picked option 2.

How to migrate away from wordpress.com to a hosted solution like bluehost

First thing is to decide what plan to use. I’m assuming here that you have already a domain like www.ivisualize.co.uk and your blog is not blog/wordpress.com. If this is the case you’ll want to get a domain first. I use namecheap, but there are others out there,  godaddy, hostgator and many more.

You’ll then need to decide what plan you want to use. For instance I manage 3 blogs which means the basic plan won’t do. However as before, there are many options out there. These are the prices at the time of writing but they fluctuate a lot as well.

bluehost

If you are planning on using just one blog and don’t have a domain, the basic plan might have all you need.

But back to migration. When I was looking for information the single most important thing all help guides fail to mention, is that you need to point your domain away from wordpress.com to your hosting platform before anything else. Yes this means down time of up to 24 hours but it’s worth it.

Why? Because as soon as you run the installation if your site is still pointing to the old wordpress.com platform you won’t be able to access it.

Here are the steps:

  1. Change your DNS settings to Bluehost and wait until the changes have taken place. Usually up to 24 hours but mine were effective after 2 hours. dns
  2. Login to wordpress.com and export all your content. This will make your migration almost seamless. The only thing that doesn’t get exported is the theme, make a note of it so that you can later apply it. Here’s a link to exporting your blog content. export
  3. If using Bluehost, use their 1 click wordpress install. instructions
  4. Bluehost will have setup a password for you, which you can change. Login to your newly migrated blog. The blog will look a lot like the old one, aside from a few new items on the tool bar.
  5. Setup your theme.
  6. Import your content from previously saved file. import
  7. Check that all your settings are correct, if you have widgets like I do with twitter feed, that will need re-setting. I suggest having the wordpress.com blog open and just copy the settings to the new hosted blog.
  8. Go to settings and un-tick the following option. This will help your blog be more visible to google. dis

Bonus: now that you are all set, it’s time to get serious with the data behind your blog. Install a Google Analytics add in and hook up your blog to google analytics. Tableau then allows you to connect directly to Google Analytics and you can create your own analysis of your site. Google themselves offer a starting point like this.analytics

In summary what you need to remember is the order of doing all of this. First DNS servers, second hosting platform, third wordpress.

blog

Finally, thank you Bridget Cogley for putting up with my endless questions on this and for your help with Google Analytics.

Happy migration and let me know if you have any questions, you can reach me here or on twitter @davidmpires.

Thank you for reading

David