After eight years, I’ve finally moved my blog from Typepad to WordPress.
I’ve never sought to make a living from my blog, but I enjoy tinkering around with infrastructure enough to be frustrated with Typepad’s stagnant platform. In the early days, Blogspot, Typepad, and WordPress were all feasible options when starting to blog. These days WordPress seems to be the only real option for blogs, unless you opt for a specialized option like Tumblr or Medium.
Here’s how I made the migration, in case you’re in a similar situation and thinking about making a similar switch.
- You’ve got your own domain name, e.g. example.com. If you are only using “example.typepad.com” then you’ll need to buy one.
- You want a managed hosting solution, rather than maintaining a server and code base yourself.
- You are comfortable clicking on links and changing numbers and words to point things in the right directions.
1. Prepare your Typepad blog for migration
Typepad makes this pretty simple. In your dashboard, go to Settings > Import/Export and click the Export button.
On the recommendation of several people, including Ray Wang, I used TP2WP to convert the Typepad export file to a WordPress-friendlier format. Was it worth the $49? Not sure, given that I didn’t try to import the original file directly. But I’ll assume that TP2WP saved me a bunch of cleanup effort, given what’s listed on their “how it works” page.
2. Set up your new WordPress environment
I knew that I did not want to set up or manage a hosting environment. When I was head of global digital marketing at PUMA, I negotiated the contracts for hosting our brand and ecommerce sites, including SLAs, server types, peering, CDN, et al. I downloaded and installed server security patches, monitored uptime, and worked with consultants to load balance and otherwise operate the environment. That was worth millions of dollars for the company; this is a blog.
After considering Bluehost and Dreamhost, I went with WPEngine. They are a fully managed hosting service and while more expensive than do-more-yourself options, I estimate that the price premium is worth the support in security, backups, and other technical support.
3. Import your content
Once I set up my WPEngine account, I had a clean WordPress install. I installed the ReadyMade WordPress Importer plugin to import my unzipped TP2WP converted export file. (If you’ve never installed a WordPress plugin, it’s simple. Just mouseover Plugins, click Add New, then search for what you need or click the link to upload a .zip of a plugin you’ve already downloaded.)
Once the plugin was installed, I went to Tools > Import >ReadyMade WordPress Importer. I selected my .xml file and imported.
At this point, I was up and running on WordPress. I was about four hours in at that point, which included setting up new accounts, conducting research into different options, and messing around with designs and other options.
4. Redirect the internet
I didn’t have much to clean up, so I was ready for the site to go live. I changed two records with my domain name registrar: the A record to the WPEngine IP address and the www CNAME to example.wpengine.com.
Typepad doesn’t support 301 redirects, so I changed the default blog folder and added a redirection script to the head of the only post’s page and also requested that Google remove example.typepad.com from search results, just in case any duplicate content was indexed.
In the WPEngine admin, I redirected example.wpengine.com and example.com to www.example.com. In WordPress admin, I set Settings > General to the new site, i.e. WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) are both www.example.com.
WordPress RSS feeds work a bit differently than Typepad, so in case anyone in the world still uses RSS, I updated the feed address in Feedburner. My new feed is www.example.com/feed/atom.
Search engine sitemaps needed to be updated as well. There are many plugins that can generate these; I used the recommended BWP Google XML Sitemaps.
5. That’s it
Really. All in, it took about six hours of effort to finish, which was just about the amount of time that the DNS took to redirect from Typepad to WordPress.
I still have a lot to tweak, but that can happen over time. WordPress has a world of options for design themes, increased speed, SEO, and more. If you’ve read this far and have suggestions for good plugins, let me know!
From Typepad to WordPress: the financials
In summary, I was out of pocket $49 for TP2WP migration and will pay $29/month for WPEngine managed hosting. This is a bit more than the $11/month I’ve paid Typepad for Pro Unlimited service, but I think the premium is acceptable for managed operations and access to a modern platform.
As a comparison, I received a quote from a WordPress specialist who offered to migrate my blog for $1,260 and provide hosting (but no support) for $25/month.
Not a bad day’s work when put in that perspective, if you ask me.