Stuck Inside of Blogger with the WordPress Blues Again

“Will my links lay in shambles
Where the inbound traffic comes
They all work perfectly now,
To change them seems so dumb
So here I sit impatiently
Just waiting for the day
When I can move to WordPress
Without my links going away
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Blogger
With the WordPress blues again”

I continue to struggle with all of the things I’d like to do on this blog that are as impossible via Blogger as they seem simple via WordPress.

My files, etc. are hosted on my server, but I use Blogger to create and manage them. In many ways Blogger works fine, and I have created work-arounds for most of the stuff I want to do.

Except for the recent inbound links thing. I have not figured out a way to fully automate a the list of inbound links in the right column on the main Newsome.Org page. I currently handle this by tagging inbound links “inbound” via Delicious and then running my Delicious RSS feed through an RSS to HTML program and then including the resulting page in my main page via a server side include. That’s a lot of old school brain damage just to get a nicely formatted recent inbound links list.

And the hardest part is that I have to manually tag my inbound links, and when I forget, like I have the last month and a half, the task becomes insurmountable and a lot of links never make it to the list, since they will have rotated off at the same time they are added.

Whew. It was exhausting just to write that. Imagine living it.

I see inbound links lists all the time that seem automated and look nice. Steve Rubel has a nice list (though I want the link title and link only- without the excerpt) and Dave Sifry has exactly what I’m looking for (I spent some time trying to figure out how to create a Link Cosmos like Dave has, but I gave up when I got here). My way is hard, but not as hard as that looks.

As many of you know, I strongly considered moving to WordPress, but gave up in the face of the URL problem.

It just shouldn’t be this hard.

Blogger to WordPress: No Sunday Drive

As I have mentioned before, while Newsome.Org is hosted on my server, I use Blogger to publish and manage content. While not perfect, there are a lot of advantages to doing that. One, it was easy to set up when I first started using a blogging platform. Two, it allows me to easily publish from the road when I travel- even if I am using a borrowed computer.

But it is not perfect. On those infrequent, but regular, days when blogger is down, I can’t post. Plus, there are a lot of features I need (categories, built-in trackbacks, etc.) that blogger doesn’t have.

So I looked around, consulted Eric Scalf, my blog platform guru, and decided to try to move my content to WordPress. I talked some about this project before.

Eric recreated my blog template perfectly, and everything looked like a go.

Then we hit a roadblock.

It seems there is no easy way to move my prior posts to WordPress without changing the URL of the post pages, which would break my inbound links. Sure, I could leave two versions of the old post pages up, but that sort of defeats the point, at least in my mind.

There is a work-around, but that work-around requires technical chops that neither I nor 99.9% of the world’s bloggers have. The last thing I’m going to do is push a button and rely on technology I don’t understand to gently and accurately handle a year or two’s worth of content. If it doesn’t work, then I don’t know how to fix it. That would be, to quote Jim Rome, “below average.”

So, here’s the thing.

First of all, this has got to be a serious obstacle to any established blogger who wants to move his or her blog over to WordPress. I’d move today if not for this problem. Granted, it may be a problem created by Blogger’s crackhead URL handling, but Blogger is not going to fix it. In fact, Blogger probably loves it because it operates as user glue. So if established bloggers are going to move to WordPress, WordPress is going to have to fix it.

Second, and of more use to readers, Eric has published a very detailed and helpful post outlining how to move from Blogger to WordPress and describing the hurdles we experienced.

I can vouch for Eric’s expertise at template transfers, so if you are thinking of hiring him to work on your template, consider this a reference. Don’t ask him to do it for free, because it is a lot of hard work.

What even Eric can’t do, however, is fix the URL naming convention problems that stopped me in my tracks.

I’d love to move to WordPress, but at the moment that looks to be nearly impossible. I wonder how many other bloggers have considered moving only to turn back in the face of this hurdle?