Many of the authors who come to me for a website often already have their own website, either on Blogger, WordPress, or with another web developer. And more often than not they’ll wonder whether their existing site will complicate the process of building a new one, or whether all the hard work they’ve put into their current site will be lost. It’s a common enough issue that I’ve decided to gathered the questions I’ve most frequently been asked about on the topic, in the FAQ below. Also free to contact me if there’s something I haven’t covered.
Table of FAQs
- Will I lose my pages?
- Will I lose my blog posts?
- Will I lose my links?
- Do I need to change domain names?
- Do I need to transfer my domain name or hosting?
- How will my website email be affected?
- Will my Google Rankings be affected?
- What do I need to get from my current web designer if I am switching to another?
- What different platforms can I move my website onto?
Can I move my website without losing all of my pages and the content on them?
Yep. As long as you have access to your website hosting (the place where all your website files and documents are stored) then you can download them (or get your web designer to download them) to import onto a new website.
I manage the hosting for most of the websites I design for authors, and regularly back up their website files at a secure location separate from the hosting company, so they can be easily accessed for download upon request, or in case anything goes wrong.
Can I move my website without losing all of my blog posts?
In most cases, your blog posts and their metadata (including publication date, tags, and comments) can be imported onto your new website. Doing this is a technical process that will require you to follow detailed instructions often found on the web, or hiring a web designer. The difficulty of doing this yourself, or the cost of hiring a web designer to do it, will depend on the platform you currently use to blog, and the platform you’re planning to move your website onto (I provide examples of the different platforms you can move to and fro below). It’s something I do for free for those moving their websites to us.
Can I rebuild or move my website without losing all of my links?
With the help of a web developer, you don’t have to worry about losing the links used to access your pages and blog posts, including those you’ve shared on social media or somewhere else. You can even change your domain name or links completely. Web developers use a process called ’301 redirects’ to ensure that your new links lead to the pages and blog posts connected with your old links, which I do for free for new clients with old websites.
How will moving my website affect my domain name?
Your domain name is different and separate from your website. In fact, your domain name will often be located at or ‘hosted’ by one company, and the actual files or documents which make up your website will be hosted by a different one. Any changes you make to your website therefore won’t result in changes in your domain. If you move your website onto a new platform or to another web designer, your new website can use the same domain name as before. You won’t have to make any changes to your domain name, or register a new one. All you need to do, once your new website is built, is ‘point’ your old domain name to the new website. This involves updating the DNS or ‘nameservers’ in your domain hosting settings, which is something a web developer can help you with or do for you, if you provide access to the domain hosting.
The very first thing you’ll want to do when moving or rebuilding your website is to make sure you have access to your domain name, which is usually registered at a company like Cheapdomains, GoDaddy, or CrazyDomains. This will allow you or your web designer to use your old domain name for your new website.
Do I need to transfer my domain and hosting to another company or my web designer?
There are many reasons why someone might want to change the companies which manages their domain and their hosting, inclduing quality of service. Remember that your domain name is different and separate from your website hosting. Your domain name will often be located at or managed by one company, and the actual files or documents which make up your website will be 'hosted' by a different one.
You may want to transfer your current domain and hosting to the companies your web designer uses, and have them manage your domain and hosting by and deal with the 3rd party domain and hosting companies, for reasons of convenience. Your web designer will still be going through a 3rd party domain hosting company to manage your domain, and a separate 3rd party hosting company to store your website files. They will simply transfer your current domain and hosting to their preferred companies. The benefit of doing this is that your web developers will be able to handle technical domain and hosting issues on your behalf. It also provides some peace of mind as it consolidates all of your website concerns at one place with your web designer, rather than dealing with three different support teams separately, for your design, domain, and hosting.
Transferring a domain is not an overly technical process. It will usually involve ‘unlocking’ your domain (which is usually done at the click of a button), and then getting an ‘EPP code’ or domain password from your current registrar to authorise the transfer. This is a process your web designer or domain host can guide you through. You’ll also want to turn off the ‘domain privacy’ setting if you have it on in your domain host settings, otherwise, it’ll prevent you from receiving the authorisation code via email.
As for cost, transferring a domain from one hosting company to another is a very low-cost process, and will rarely cost more than $20. Actually, most domain companies will offer the transfer process for free to incentivise commitment to the new registrar, and it's something we offer to do for free for those transferring their websites to us.
Transferring hosting merely involves your web designer moving your website's files from one hosting company's servers to another.
How will moving my website affect my website email?
Rebuilding or moving your website won’t affect your website email, and you won’t have to make any changes to it, or register a new one. Though if you use a new domain for your new website, you’ll receive a new website email named after that new domain name. Your email is hosted at the same place your website is hosted (it's not at the same place your domain is hosted, which is usually with a different company)
I actually recommend my clients use GSuite instead of the email at their hosting company because it’s a far better service with less technical issues. Google charges a monthly fee for GSuite, which I integrate for free for clients who choose to host their website and domain with me. It’s well worth it if you want a professional business email personalised to your domain name.
Will rebuilding or moving my website affect my rankings on Google?
The Google rankings for your pages and blog posts won’t be affected if your web developer uses ’301 redirects’ to direct your old links onto your new website, which also transfers the ‘ranking power’ associated with your old links. It's a service I provide free of charge for new clients with old websites.
What information do I need to get from my current web designer if I am switching to another?
If you are planning to switch web designers, you should ask for all of the usernames and passwords they have that are associated with your website, including for:
- Domain registration: this is where the ‘name’ of your website is registered e.g. www.sarahauthor.com
- Website hosting: this is where the files and actual content of your website is stored, which is separate from your domain name
- Content management systems such as WordPress: this is the web-based software you use to update and edit content on your site (not all websites will have this)
- 3rd party services connected with your website, like MailChimp for newsletters, Google Accounts for Google Analytics or GSuite, and/or WordPress plugins.
You should also ask for a full backup of your website’s files and ask them to send this to you.
Doing all of this will make the transition to a new web designer as pain-free as possible.
What are some examples of platforms I can move my website onto?
Moving from WordPress.com to a professionally designed website on wordpress.org
Did you know that wordpress.com and wordpress.org are actually two different platforms?
Wordpress.com is predominantly a service for those who are looking for an easy way to host and setup a blog or website, with the trade-off being limited control over the customization and features of the blog/website. For example, most wordpres.com users have to use run-of-the-mill templates offered by wordpress’ own limited collection.
Wordpress.org, on the other hand, is software many web developers (including myself) use to build professionally designed websites, which opens those website up to features such as easy content management for non-tech savvy users, as well as blogging. Unlike wordpress.com, a website built on wordpress.org has no limitations and gives you (and your web designer) full control over your website’s features and design.
Typically, people move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org when they want a redesign, upgrading their website from a generic template to a professionally designed website. This move will generally require a web designer, for those without coding knowledge.
Naturally, as both platforms are owned by the same company, moving from wordpress.com to wordpress.org is a streamlined and low-cost process, which most web developers are familiar with. In most cases your pages, links, and blog posts can be easily moved. It’s a service I offer for free for clients moving their websites to us.
Moving from Blogger to WordPress.com
Typically, people move from blogger to wordpress.com because wordpress.com offers more powerful blogging features and options, and is in general the more popular blogging platform. This is not the same as moving to a wordpress.org website (see section above for the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org).
Moving from blogger to wordpress.com does not require a web designer, and is a well documented process which requires little technical knowledge. You just need to follow instructions, like in this article. In most cases your pages, links, and blog posts can be moved without major hiccups.
Moving from Blogger to a professionally designed website on wordpress.org
Typically, people move from blogger to a wordpress.org website when they want to upgrade to a professional designed website. This is not the same as moving to a wordpress.com website (see section above for the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org)
Moving from blogger to wordpres.org generally requires a web designer, for those without coding knowledge. In most cases your pages, links, and blog posts can be easily moved. It’s a service I offer for free for clients moving their websites to us.
Moving from a website builder (e.g. Squarespace or Wix) to a professionally designed website on wordpress.org
The benefit of building a website on a platform on SquareSpace or Wix is that you can do it yourself without technical skill or programming knowledge, at an affordable ongoing cost. However, many users soon realise the limitations of these website building platforms, like having to pick from a limited range of reusable designs.
Those who want more freedom in their website will typically move to a professionally designed website build on wordpress.org, where there are no limitations on what the website can do and how it looks.
Moving from a website builder like Squarespace or Wix to wordpres.org generally requires a web designer, for those without coding knowledge. In most cases your pages, links, and blog posts can be moved.
Rebuilding your website or moving to a new website provider can be a daunting process, so I hope I’ve shown that it’s a relatively pain free process if you take the right steps, and more importantly you won’t lose the most valuable parts of your old website which you want to preserve and transfer into your new one.
Looking to set up your author website?
My other job, besides writing articles, is designing and building websites dedicated to authors. So if you’re interested in getting an author website, check out the author website packages I offer. Each package is designed around certain stages of an author’s career, so they get exactly what they need for the budget they have.