How To Transfer A WordPress Blog: Selectively Importing Posts/Pages

As I’m closing down sites, I find the occasional article that is popular, or that I just like, and can’t let go of. Normally, for one or two, I’d just copy and paste and make a new post, but I had quite a few; plus, I wanted to import everything, including comments. WordPress has an import feature, but it’s all or nothing – so here’s the steps to NOT import all posts, but just a few:

  • From the source blog, do an export – from Admin; Tools; Export; All Content; Download Export File
  • In a text editor (like Notepad) not a wordprocessor (like WordPad or MS Office), look at the file. Your goal is to copy over only the articles you want (of course, if you plan to copy all articles, then skip these steps, and jump right ahead to the Import phase).
  • Near the top these kinds of lines will appear:

    You want to delete all of these until you reach the first <item> entry. Basically, these copy over the author and category info – unless you want WordPress to create new authors or categories, you likely don’t want these imported (if you do, skip this step).

  • From the first article on, each post is contained in an XML group from <item> to </item> – search on the article slug to find the right articles, and copy all of that over to another text editor page.
  • Once you have all your articles copied, go through the original file and remove every article – from the first <item> until the last </item>, then paste back in the articles you saved earlier.
  • Save the file.
  • Running from Admin in your new blog, select Tools; Import – this will give you a selection of blogs; pick WordPress. If it’s the first time, you’ll be given instructions for installing the required plugin – follow those steps.
  • After that, selecting WordPress from the Import menu will take you to the plugin, which simply lets you select a file and import. You have a few choices there – for example, you can pick the author name you want the blogs to appear under. Set the selections you want, and import.
  • Check your work. I like to make a list of URLs in advance, and just view them in my browser – if they exist on the new site, then I’m good. And of course, you may wish to tweak the post itself: For example, if it has formatting that looked right on the old blog, but wrong on the new one.

I recommend you first try this for yourself on only one or two articles to get a feel for it. One of the disconcerting aspects is that since the date is imported as well, the articles will not be at the top in your All Posts or All Pages panels – you’ll have to search on specific text from each article or go through your list. But for a simple(ish) way to import a few articles, it does work well, importing articles, comments, and even getting the time right!

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