If you’ve played with the wordpress.com blogging platform long enough, you’ve probably learned enough to feel comfortable with it, and may already be looking to customize your site even more. You’re ready to leave the nest and try your wings in the free world! A few pointers to help you make the migration easy.
1. Keep your wordpress.com site. Don’t delete it just because you’ve created a new wordpress.org site. Its a free web presence which you can use to backlink to your new site and build PageRank, and you will need your API key for many plugins that you wish to install at the new location.
2. You will need to choose a domain name and host your wordpress site. There are thousands of hosting providers available but a select few offer real easy, wordpress specific hosting. The Best WordPress hosting sites can be found here. Remember, simple is better.
3. Choosing a template. Now that you are free to carve at your CSS and PHP files, it’s still best to start with some form of a WordPress Theme template. I try not too look for colors so much as layout, functionality, and menu options. Remember, now that you have back-end control, you can always modify colors and images easily within a base theme you install. For more information, and for some amazing theme options, check out this article on WordPress Themes.
4. Migrating your content. Since you’ve probably decided on a new theme for your site, all you really need to be able to do is migrate all of your content. Easily enough, you can export your wordpress.com content, then import it into your new WordPress.org site using built in tools. Simply go to Tools->export and copy the file to your desktop )copy everything), and then login to the new site, and select Tools->Import. Done. You will need to recreate your links and some images. so copy and paste at will, but this simple click-n-go tool will migrate about 95% of your site content successfully.
5. Now that your site is moved. You now have an issue of duplicate content. IE, the same content is on your wordpress.com site as is on your wordpress.org. And unfortunetly, the older site’s URLs are the ones that are indexed with the search engines. WordPress.com does not support 301 redirects or canonical URL tags, so the best thing to do is just delete the old posts, and allow your new site’s pages to be re-indexed in time. It will happen, just takes a bit. Best way to speed this process up is by posting new content to the new site as soon as possible. For more information on canonical URL tagging, visit this article.