Moving WordPress.com to Godaddy – Keep your SEO Link Juice

In our first video, we talked about choosing the right Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan.  In this quick post, we want to show you how to save your SEO Link Juice on WordPress.com and prepare to send it to your new site and new domain name running on Godaddy Managed WordPress hosting (or any Managed WordPress hosting service for that matter.)

Check out this quick 7 minute video that walks you through how to request or purchase a simple service from WordPress.com that converts your existing WordPress.com site from a something.wordpress.com site into a SomthingBetter.com site and maps and redirects all of your blog article hyperlinks from the old sub domain on wordpress.com to the new domain that you purchased and set up yourself.

 

After the mapping of the new domain name is complete, you will then be ready for the next step.

Exporting your content from WordPress.com and importing it into Godaddy hosting.


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WordPress.com to Godaddy Migration FAQs

The service that WordPress.com provides called ‘Domain Mapping’ is essentially just a process to redirect the free subdomain that they provide yourblog.wordpress.com to a new domain that you might have or register (purchase).

A redirect is sort of like an official (Google bot accepted) detour sign. It says our location has moved for our home page, and every other post, page, category, tag, archive, image, everything. It has moved from our old sub domain location to our new domain location.

Anyone that happens to have one of your old sub domain hyperlinks and clicks on it, will be automatically sent to the new location of that same item in the new domain.

If you plan to migrate your site from WordPress.com to some other service. We highly recommend that you have the Domain Mapped by WordPress.com first. This is an important first step. This should be done before you export your content from wordpress.com to a self hosted server or setup somewhere else.

More information on how the Domain Mapping steps work are here.

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Login your wordpress.com site. Go to the site in question (if you have more then 1 site on WordPress.com).

Click on the Users menu in the admin area (lower left).

Towards the top of the subsequent page is an ‘Invite New’ button.

Click this button and type in the email address of the person you wish to invite.

Tip! If they already have a WordPress.com account, make sure you check with them first and use the email address they have previously associated with WordPress.com

If you like type in a message in the area provided before sending the invite.

They will receive an email invitation with a button. They must push the button to complete the process and receive access to the site.

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Category: WordPress.com to Godaddy Migration FAQs

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In general, if you are migrating a site from WordPress.com to a Managed WordPress hosting plan on Godaddy, you may only need to repoint your DNS (Domain Name Server) settings.  This is a relatively simple process that can be managed wherever your domain name is registered (You may have registered your domain name with WordPress.com or separately with Godaddy, or any of thousands of different companies or services on the web.)

If you are unsure, check with your registrar (the type of company that allows you to register a domain name) and find out how they recommend you make these changes.

Updating the DNS via an A record, usually requires an extra step, you are not simply replacing one DNS address with another, but typically adding a record to a DNS Zone File.  The record being added is called an ‘A Record’.

Per Godaddy, here are their current instructions for performing this action.  Other registrars may have different instructions.

An A (host) record connects your domain name to your IP address. A records let users enter your domain name in a Web browser to access your website. They are the most common type of zone record.

To Add an A Record

  1. In the DNS Zone File, click Add Record.
  2. From the Record type list, select A (Host).
  3. Complete the following fields:
    • Host Name — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to point the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
    • Points to IP Address — Enter the IP address your domain name uses for this host record.
    • TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.
  4. Click Save, and then click Save Changes. The new A record displays in the A (Host) section.

To Edit an A Record

  1. In the A (Host) section, next to the record you want to change, click Edit Record.
  2. Edit any of the following fields:
    • Host — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to map the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
    • Points to — Enter the IP address your domain name uses for this host record.
    • TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.
  3. Click Save, and then click Save Changes.

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You can do either.  It does not matter in terms of getting things done.

Later when the import of content is run, you will have the option to keep the original author from the wordpress.com site (importing and setting up that original user name) or alternatively attributing all the articles imported to any other user that you might want to select.

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There is no magic bullet that solves this question, but there are several concrete things that you can do.

First, review and compare your new site with your old site.  Look specifically at the number of Posts, Pages, Comments etc.  Look for discrepancies in the numbers.  If there are 1601 Posts with 48 drafts and 3 Trash items on your old site and there are only 1232 Posts with 48 drafts and 3 Trash items in the new site, then something is missing!

Similarly, click around through your new site randomly.  Maybe set a number of posts to randomly review. If you have 4000 posts, maybe you choose to sample 10% of your articles, by randomly clicking and opening 400 posts.  Look for problems, look for missing posts, look for broken or missing images.

If you find problems, document them in a list and try to find a pattern in the discrepancies, then work to solve it.

Troubleshooting step
If you find that you are missing content, simply upload your import file (the file you downloaded from WordPress.com) back into your new site.  Sometimes the importer can stall out due to internet connections or a server problem or lots of reasons.  It is designed to ignore the posts it already imported and only import in new items.

Troubleshooting Warning
If you do run the import again, beware that the importer also imports Menu items, and the menu item importer is not as smart.  It might import duplicate menu items, so if you run the importer more than once, you may need to clean out duplicate menu buttons in your Menu Customizer (wp-admin>Appearance>Menus)

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Domain mapping only changes the root domain of the article in question.  It does not search through all of your posts and find any old links that you may have written or edited into those posts that include something like yourolddomain.wordpress.com and then change those links to yournewdomain.com .  That is not what mapping does.

However, there is a great plugin that can be used to achieve this same result.

before you use it, make absolutely certain that you 1 back up your database and 2 know how to restore it before using this plugin.

If you break your website using this plugin due to lack of understanding, it may not be fixable without a good backup.

If you are unsure, hire someone that knows how to do these things!  🙂

In the right hands this search and replace plugin is awesome.  In the wrong hands, it is very dangerous.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-search-replace/

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This is part of what WordPress.com does when they map the domain from the old subdomain to the new domain name.  They create a long list of ‘redirects’ visible to Googlebot, letting Google know of the old link that has changed and its new destination.

Learn even more here https://en.support.wordpress.com/map-subdomain/

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The SEO benefits of moving from WordPress.com to a self hosted WordPress (.org) installation of the wordpress software on a Managed WordPress hosting plan on Godaddy, is relatively close.

Both offer great SEO advantages.

The biggest differences come in your ability to customize, typically via plugins, the setup on a site that is not running on WordPress.com.    Many people may not need this for a simple blog, but as your site grows, or specializes or as is sometimes the case, grows to cover more than just a simple niche, but several topics, then the need to manage SEO and have a plan become more important.  WordPress.com can be great for a single niche, articles all about the same thing.

Plus the article itself, if well written, can be the primary tool in driving ‘on page SEO’.

Not everyone can work with a one size fit all approach forever and when the time comes to move, SEO boosts can be one of the areas for opportunity.

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When we say, “domain” vs a WordPress.com “sub domain”, we mean that a site has a unique domain name that is registered (like a lease not like owning a home).  The domain name will often look like:

http://       YourUniqueDomainName      .com/.me/.co/.biz/.org    etc.

that is different than the free sub domain that WordPress.com will give you as soon as you setup a blog there.  A WordPress.com sub domain name will look like:
http://       YourUniqueSubDomainName   .WordPress     .com

In the second case, WordPress.com OWNS the sub domain, you do not.  They allow you to use it as long as you follow their rules.  These are not tough rules, but they are not your own and in some cases, if you break those rules, WordPress.com will delete your account.  (I am a big fan of WordPress.com.  But it is THEIR system and THEIR rules, you follow them (for free) or leave.)

So the benefits of having your own domain are many.  More than can be written in an FAQ, but there are 2 big ones.

  1. You control your domain, you pay the registration bill, and no one can take it away from you if you keep paying (if you follow the law)
  2. You build a brand around that domain and if you ever need to move your content somewhere else, to any other system, add on to it, add a store or a directory or a learning site or advertise or sell stuff or anything, you can move your existing site to a new provider (away from WordPress.com) and you can keep the same unique domain name.
    1. vs if you keep using a free sub domain name, you cannot keep using that sub domain name if you move away from WordPress.com.  The content on the site is yours, but not the location, the website address.

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There are a couple different ways including

  1. Simply looking at the individual post links in a browsers address bar.  If the hyperlink no longer shows your old subdomain.wordpress.com when you are viewing a blog post, odds are it is done or close, and
  2. Better yet, login to the WordPress.com account (WordPress Admin area) and go to the Tools menu, select Export and export a full copy of your site from WordPress.com.  This will take a minute or two and you may have to wait for WordPress.com to send you an email with a download link in it.  Once you get that email, click the link, download the zip file.  Open and/or extract the file from the zip file. The resulting file is a .xml file type.  You can view this in a text editor such as Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac (both free and there are many others).  When you look in the xml file, you will see a lot of text and code, more text than code.  This file includes a copy of every blog post, category, comment and more from your site.  ALL THE CONTENT! But we only want to focus on one area that repeats for every blog article.  It is the hyperlink that appears between the following xml code brakets
    1. <link>….</link>
    2. It might look something like this before the mapping is done
      1. <link>http://myblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/great-article-from-july/</link>
    3. It might look something like this after the mapping is done
        1. <link>http://myblogsnewdomainname.com/2015/07/08/great-article-from-july/</link>

If all of the articles have links like the example from AFTER the mapping, then the mapping is done.  If you still find items between the link brackets that have wordpress.com in it, then the mapping is still proceeding.

It generally happens very rapidly these days, but I’d generally recommend waiting about 4-5 days just to be sure.

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