Moving From the Old Blogger to Blogger2 (Beta)

Getting the ‘Move your account to
Use the new Blogger’
message.

It is that time! You log into your blogger account and you get the dreaded
message.  Time to move to the new blogger (the old beta).  You can
go to your dashboard, but you get one more chance of doing that and then you
‘have’ to move over.

(click on any of the images in this article to see the full
size version in a new window).
dreaded new blogger change over time

So you get the message, what next?
Do you go ahead and agree to the terms of service and hit continue?

Well let me first say, I’ve not heard of anyone losing a blog because of a
move over from the ‘old blogger’ to the ‘new blogger‘.  I’ve
heard of and helped out a few people who have managed to trash their blogs
by playing around with the new settings without realizing what they were doing.  But
all in all, the process works well (now..).  A few weeks back a good friend
of mine (Sally from The
ChicAlert
), was also apprehensive about moving from the old to the new
system.  In the end the automated system determined it couldn’t do the
transfer and referred it for investigation by a blogspot engineer.  That
was the first instance of that message I had come across and I have yet to
hear of the final outcome with that story.

But despite me trying to allay peoples fears, there are still a few things
I would do beforehand if you want to protect your months or years of hard labor.

Steps before moving to the New Blogger.

This following step doesn’t just refer to moving to the new blogger, I can’t
repeat it enough, but it is something you should do before making any changes
to your blogspot template (and I mean any…).

Backing Up the Blogspot Template

  • Log in to your blogspot account.
  • Click on the template tab.
  • Select ALL of the text within the template section (press Control A (windows))
  • Copy the selected text (Control C (windows))
  • Open a notepad or similar editor.
  • Paste the contents of the clipboard in to notepad (Control V (windows)).
  • Save the notepad document on your PC.
    I tend to save them using a date time format (26FEB2007_blogname.txt)

Blogger Template Tab

Control A to select all Text within the box

Paste the template code into notepad and save it.

I shall repeat it once again, but you should be doing this prior to making
any changes to the template no matter how trivial you think those changes maybe.
I’ve been a blogger user since year dot, I’ve had more blogs than hot dinners,
I’ve been there, seen it, done it, but that still doesn’t stop me from hitting
the wrong button and losing months and months of changes once in every blue
moon. 
An extra couple of steps will mean a lot less heartache if (or when) you do
make an error.
Another advantage to having each backup file date time stamped is that you
can always go back to a template if at some point in the future you decide
you don’t like the changes.  You may for example also have had a snippet
of code a few months ago that you deleted, but now want to bring back.
(This is actually a form of configuration management and is a good practice
to get in to).

Backing Up your Blogposts.

If you are really paranoid and have a few days on your hands (depending on
the size of your blog), you can if you want decide to backup your blog posts.

Bloggers own guide can be found here: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=41447

Now a word of warning.  When I think of a backup, I think of a process
whereby I take a copy of something, and if something goes wrong, I can restore
it using an old backup set.
One thing to bear in mind with the ‘old’ blogspot backup profile is that there
is no direct method of restoring a backup file that you have created with the
process above.

Assuming you have less than 999 posts, all you end up with is a single file
containing all of your post data.

Another point to note is that it does not contain your images.  The resulting
file will contain just the HTML code in your posts.
Now in theory, the images should stay where they are, so the HTML code shouldn’t
change.
You should always keep your images locally backed up if you are posting them
to a free file/image hosting service.
(Which reminds me of another ‘pet peeve’ of mine, never hotlink to
an image on someone else’s web server/page {unless you have the owners prior
permission}.  This is called bandwidth stealing and
gets right up my nose.  You should always download a copy of that image,
save it locally, and then upload it to your own web server or free file/image
hosting service).

Is it worth Backing Up your posts?

It all depends on how fearful you are of losing your work, and how much spare
time you have on your hands.
If you have a large blog with hundreds (or even 1000’s) of posts, then it will
take an age to create the file.
If you host your blog on your own web server then the process can take even
longer.

You also have to make a number of changes to various settings on multiple
tabs in order to create the backup file, and these have to be set back to their
original settings once you have completed your backup.  I would also advise
that you make a note of each and every change you make (preferably by copying
and pasting the original settings in to a different notepad file).

It all depends on how much you fear losing your work.  As far as I know,
the transfer process is reliable, but at the end of the day, it is your hard
work, time and effort.  Therefore it is your call.

One good thing to note is that one of the better new features of the new blogspot
is that it has a much simpler backup process that creates the backup file and
allows you to save it locally without the hassles of making millions of changes.

Time to Move On

Ok, so you’ve made the backup’s, you are ready to go.
So what is next?

Simply agree to the terms of service and hit the continue button.
You should then see the following screen:

ready to upgrade your blogs

On the next screen you will be presented with the choice of assigning your
old blog(s) to an existing gmail account, or create a gmail account (if you
don’t have one, or want to keep things separate to your existing gmail account).

assigning or creating a google account

Once you confirm the settings above and continue, you should see the following
screen:

Switching to the new blogger

Assuming everything went Ok, you should get a mail similar to the following:

Congratulations! Your move to the new Blogger is complete.
You can now access your dashboard at http://www.blogger.com/ using
your Google Account and start using the new features right away.
Happy blogging,
The Blogger Team

And that is it. You are now using the new blogger system.

Summary

As you can see, the most painful part of the process isn’t the moving over
itself, but

  • the preparation and work required if you decide you feel the need to backup
    your blog before you move.
  • Or perhaps the biggest pain is the wait you have whilst you are waiting
    for ‘that’ confirmation email.

You next biggest headache will be familiarizing yourself with the new blogger
features.
But fret not, you won’t even notice the changes when you have moved.
Most of the new features are related to the new template styles. For the time
being whilst you are familiarizing yourself with the new blogger, continue
to use the old template style.

I have converted or helped convert well over 200 blogs from the old system
to the new one, and as I said above, I have only heard of one instance where
the conversion failed and it was referred to blogspot technical support.  None
of the changes have resulted in a loss of data.
I have though had several users contact me after they had played around with
the new features (mainly the templates), only to realize that they had lost
all the template changes they had made to their old style template.
So I repeat again, backup your template (date time method), make a note of
all settings, and RTFM.

Before playing with any of the settings on the new blogger system, go to http://help.blogger.com/ and
familiarize yourself with the new features.

(I’ll leave the full version of this article on the main page for a few weeks
and then I’ll change to excerpt mode).