Setting up a blog on WordPress.com – a hosted platform for WordPress blogs – is quick and easy. But once you get serious about wanting to build your own business, you will be interested in your own domain name.

WordPress.com allows you to upgrade to your own domain for a small fee, which is a great feature. Some people want to migrate from WordPress.com to their own domain on another host. And this is where it gets a bit tricky. It is very easy to move, but very easy to lose all your search engine indexing. So your traffic might take a big hit, and take a long time to recover.

Think about it – if you have a page indexed at mysite.wordpress.com, when that page goes off the air (because it is now at mysite.com), Google just rubs it out of the index.

Worpdress.com doesn’t offer you any way to redirect your subdomain site to a new domain hosted elsewhere.

However there is a way to migrate without losing your search rankings.

  1. Buy your new domain mysite.com through your own domain registrar.
  2. Have a look at what Google and Yahoo have already indexed for your site. Use the site:mysite.wordpress.com query in Google and Yahoo search to do this. You’ll need to keep an eye on this to notice re-indexing.
  3. Pay $10 and upgrade to your new domain with WordPress.com. WordPress will automatically create redirects for all your pages at mysite.wordpress.com to mysite.com (for the technically minded, these are 302 redirects, not 301s). WordPress.com will also update the xml sitemap for your site, showing the new domain name.
  4. Now you have to be patient and wait for your site to be spidered and for the search engines to follow the redirects. Use that same query on site:mysite.com to see when your pages are re-indexed at the new location.
  5. When the index for your key pages is complete, you can move your WordPress.com site to your new home – perhaps you will download WordPress from WordPress.org to do this, or be moving your site to our platform. Either way you will need to use the Export function to get your site content in XML and import it to the new site. You will need to have a copy of all your media files (images, videos, PDFs) and migrate these yourself, as these don’t come with the export.
  6. Don’t change the page slugs. Google now has mysite.com (and mysite.com/about) indexed, and this is exactly what the URLs are for your site at your new domain.

Your new site – mysite.com – is now operational on its new host, and your ‘search engine equity’ has been preserved.