Moving Your Blogger / Tumblr / LiveJournal / Movable Type Blog to WordPress

If you’re moving your website or blog to WordPress, you’ll be looking for as many shortcuts as possible to make the process easy.

Unless you’re planning a complete rebuild, there will probably be content you want to move across, like posts and images. This could also be a few static pages or it could be hundreds of blog posts going back years. The good news is that WordPress makes it easy to import content from other platforms.

In this post, I’ll show you how to import from the platforms that WordPress provides importer tools for, including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad and Movable Type, Tumblr, and even other WordPress sites.

Importing Content: The Options

WordPress come with built-in import tools for a number of platforms, as you can see in the screenshot below:

The available importers for WordPress.
The available importers for WordPress.

These are:

  • Blogger
  • LiveJournal
  • Movable Type and TypePad
  • Tumblr
  • WordPress itself

So let’s take a look at how to import content from each of these platforms, and see how close the end results are to the original site.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress

I created a dummy blog on Blogger to export to WordPress. Here it is:

My dummy Blogger blog.
My dummy Blogger blog.

The blog has two posts (one with an image) and one page. There are two steps to importing it to WordPress:

  1. Create an XML file from Blogger and download it to your computer
  2. Import the XML file to WordPress suing the importer plugin.

Let’s start by doing the export from Blogger.

Creating an XML File in Blogger

In Blogger, click on Settings > Other in the admin menu on the left.

In the screen that appears, click the Export blog link at the top:

The Blogger export settings.
The Blogger export settings.

A popup window will appear with information about the export process. Click the Download Blog link.

This will download an XML file to your computer. Save it somewhere you can find it again.

Importing to WordPress

In WordPress, go to Tools > Import and click on Blogger.

This prompts you to install the Blogger import plugin:

The Blogger important plugin.
The Blogger important plugin.

Click the Install Now button to install the plugin, then click the Activate Plugin & Rub Importer link to import your Blogger blog.

Click the Choose File button and select the XML file you just downloaded from Blogger, then click the Upload file and import button.

WordPress will ask you whether you want to assign posts from your blog to an existing user on your WordPress site or create a new user. I’ll assign posts to my own existing user account. Once you’ve selected the user, click the Submit button:

Importing a new author...
Importing a new author…

WordPress will import your posts.

Here’s how my site looks now using WordPress:

My Blogger blog now on WordPress.
My Blogger blog now on WordPress.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t imported any pages or images, but all of my posts are there. You’ll have to download all of your images from Blogger (or find them on your computer) and re-upload them to WordPress.

Moving LiveJournal to WordPress

Next, let’s take a look at importing from LiveJournal. Again, I’ve created a dummy site to export to WordPress.

Importing from LiveJournal is a one-step process: instead of uploading an XML file, you input your user credentials when importing, and WordPress uses the LiveJournal API to import your posts. Very easy.

Firstly, you’ll need to install the LiveJournal importer. Go to Tools > Import and click on LiveJournal to see the plugin installation screen:

The LiveJournal importer plugin.
The LiveJournal importer plugin.

Click on Install Now and then once the plugin’s installed, click the Activate Plugin & Run Importer link.

Instead of importing an XML file, the plugin interacts with the LiveJournal API to import your content, so you’ll need to provide details of your LiveJournal account:

You'll need your LiveJournal credentials in order to copy over your content.
You’ll need your LiveJournal credentials in order to copy over your content.

Type in your LiveJournal username and password and click the Connect to LiveJournal and Import button.

WordPress will import your posts for you. For me, it’s also imported a private post called Welcome to LiveJournal, which won’t be visible to visitors to my blog.

Here’s how my site looks now on WordPress with the posts imported:

My new WordPress site with my LiveJournal content.
My new WordPress site with my LiveJournal content.

The importer has imported links to images from the original LiveJournal site, but it hasn’t actually created media files for them. It’s a good idea to have your images stored on your new WordPress site rather than on an old site you no longer maintain, so you’ll need to upload media files to your new site. At the same time, you can fix any issues with image alignment.

Moving from TypePad and Movable Type to WordPress

Both Movable Type and TypePad use the same importer, so here I’ll demonstrate it with a TypePad blog. Here’s the dummy blog I’ve created:

My TypePad blog.
My TypePad blog.

Importing from Movable Type or TypePad is a two-step process:

  1. Export the contents of your blog to a text file which is downloaded to your computer
  2. Import the text file to WordPress

Let’s start with the export.

1. Exporting a TypePad Blog

In TypePad, click on Settings in the admin tabs at the top of the admin screens, and then select Import/Export from the menu on the left:

Exporting my TypePad content.
Exporting my TypePad content.

Click the Export button followed by the Download link.

This will open a new window in your browser with the contents of the text file:

My TypePad site's content.
My TypePad site’s content.

In your browser, save the window as a file (in Chrome, I clicked File > Save Page As…). Save this file somewhere you can find it on your computer – it will be a text file.

Note: If you’re exporting from Movable Type, follow the instructions on the Movable Type website to create a download file. Then follow the instructions below.

2. Importing using the TypePad Importer

To import from TypePad, you’ll need to install the Movable Type and TypePad importer.Go to

Go to Tools > Import and click on Movable Type and TypePad to see the plugin installer:

Movable Type and TypePad use the same importer.
Movable Type and TypePad use the same importer.

Click on the Install Now button, then the Activate Plugin & Run Importer link.

Click the Choose File button and select the text file you just downloaded from TypePad, then click the Upload file and import button.

WordPress will ask you whether you want to assign posts from your blog to an existing user on your WordPress site or create a new user. I’ll assign posts to my existing user account.

Once you’ve selected the user, click the Submit button:

Time to import authors.
Time to import authors.

WordPress will get on with importing your posts.

Here’s how my site looks in WordPress now:

My successfully important TypePad site now in WordPress.
My successfully important TypePad site now in WordPress.

It’s successfully imported both of my posts and the image has its alignment set up correctly.

However the image hasn’t been imported as a new media file in my new site: instead, the image is showing up using a link to my old TypePad site. You’ll need to replace this with a newly uploaded image in your new site, as it’s not a good idea to rely on a site you’re no longer maintaining for your images.

Importing from Tumblr to WordPress

Tumblr is slightly different from the other platforms. It’s designed to work with different post formats, which equate to post formats in WordPress. When you import a Tumblr blog to WordPress, your posts will have the equivalent post formats in your new WordPress site.

When you import a Tumblr blog to WordPress, your posts will have the equivalent post formats in your new WordPress site.

I’ve set up a dummy Tumblr site with a couple types of content in it and will import that.

My Tumblr blog.
My Tumblr blog.

Importing from Tumblr is a two-stage process:

  1. Create an application in Tumblr which will provide you with the authorisation keys you need for your import
  2. Import your Tumblr blog to WordPress using the importer

Let’s start by creating the application.

1. Creating an Application in Tumblr

When you’re logged into Tumblr, go to the Tumblr application page:

You'll need to register a new application in Tumblr before you can start exporting your content.
You’ll need to register a new application in Tumblr before you can start exporting your content.

Click the Register Application button.

Fill out the following fields:

  • Application Name – give your application a unique name. I’m using rmccollin blog export
  • Application Website – use the URL to your new WordPress site
  • Application description – it doesn’t matter what you enter here
  • Administrative contact email – this will be auto-populated
  • Default Callback URL – again, use your new site’s URL

You can leave the rest of the fields blank.

Tick the I’m not a robot checkbox and click the Register button.

Tumblr will provide you with an OAuth key and a secret key (which you can view by clicking the Show secret key link). Make a note of these or keep this window open while you start the import to WordPress.

2. Importing to WordPress

To import from Tumblr to WordPress, start by installing the Tumblr importer plugin. Go to Tools > Import and click Tumblr to access the plugin installer:

The Tumblr importer plugin.
The Tumblr importer plugin.

Click on Install Now, then on the Activate Plugin & Run Importer link.

WordPress will prompt you for your OAuth key and secret key from Tumblr:

Entering keys to import a site from tumblr
Add in your oauth and secret keys.

Copy your OAuth and secret keys from the application you already created in Tumblr. Click the Connect to Tumblr button.

WordPress will connect to Tumblr and show you a screen to tell you this has worked, To continue the import, click the Authorize the Application button, followed by the Allow button when you see the next prompt.

You’ll then see a screen with details of the blog you’re about to import:

The final import step.
The final import step.

Click the Import this blog button.

When the import is complete you’ll see a Finished! notification where the Import this blog button was.

Here’s how my site now looks in WordPress:

My WordPress site imported from Tumblr.
My WordPress site imported from Tumblr.

The import went nicely. My posts have imported as normal posts and the quote has imported as a post with the Quote post format. But once again the image hasn’t imported properly, instead it’s showing up using a link to my old Tumblr site. You’ll need to replace this with a new uploaded image in your new site, as it’s not a good idea to rely on a site you’re no longer maintaining for your images.

Importing from Another WordPress Site to WordPress

The final option is to import content from another WordPress site. To do this you’ll need to follow two steps:

  1. Export content from the first site using the built-in exporter
  2. Install and activate any plugins that provide custom post types or taxonomies on your new site
  3. Import the XML file to your new site using the importer plugin

Using the export tool is a simple way to export the content from your old site to a new one without having to worry about moving databases. If you’re moving from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site, this is the way to do it. It will export all of your content types, including posts, pages, images and any custom post types you’ve got on your site. However, it won’t import your widgets and site settings.

Note: If you want to import widgets from an old site, use the Widget Importer & Exporter plugin, which you’ll need to install on both sites. Make sure you install and activate any plugins that provide widgets on your new site before running the import.

1. Exporting from the Old WordPress Site

First you need to export the content from your old site, which will create an XML file that you’ll download.

In your old site, go to Tools > Export to access the exporter page:

Exporting WordPress...
Exporting WordPress…

Select the post types you want to export, or simply select All content to export everything. Click the Download Export File button.

Save your export file somewhere on your computer so you can find it again.

2. Installing and Activating Plugins

If your old site has any content in addition to posts, pages and media, you’ll need to make sure your new site has those post types registered before importing your content.

Make sure you’ve got all the same plugins installed and activated on your new site. Install and activate the same theme too, as some themes include post types.

Check between your old and new sites – the admin menus should look the same, with the same post types and taxonomies available.

3. Importing to Your New WordPress Site

The final step is to import your content to the new site. Go to Tools > Import and click on WordPress to access the importer installation screen:

You'll need to install the WordPress importer.
You’ll need to install the WordPress importer.

Click the Install Now button and then the Activate Plugin & Run Importer link.

You’ll be prompted to select the XML file to upload. Select the file you already downloaded when exporting from your old site. Click the Upload file and import button.

Next you’ll be asked which author the imported posts should be assigned to. Select your own user account or import the user from the old site. Click the checkbox to import images, then click the Submit button:

Importing from WordPress - setting up authors

WordPress will import your posts, pages, and any other content types. It will also import the images from your old site to your new one, as items in your media library.

Importing to WordPress is Easy

Hopefully, this post has helped you to prepare for moving your old site to WordPress from an alternative blogging platform or an old WordPress site. The automated tools that WordPress provides make this process really quick and easy.

The only thing you need to be aware of is that the tools just import code. Apart from the WordPress importer, they don’t import images to your new site but display them using links to your old site. Once you’ve imported your content you’ll need to replace those images with new ones uploaded to your site.

Good luck with your new WordPress site!

Have you used any alternative import tools for other platforms? Share your experiences in the comments below. If you have any questions about moving to WordPress, feel free to ask away in the comments, too.