This is a guide to exporting a blog off of wordpress.com, to your own site using the application provided by wordpress.org. Some back information, wordpress.org is where the actual program wordpress.org is located, and you can download and install on a server. Instead of hosting it yourself though, you can have wordpress.com host it for your at different price levels for different features. If you already have a wordpress.com account, but now want to move off the service, then this post will help you.
Buying a Domain Name
If you do not have a domain name already, you will want to get one. My preferred registrar is Namecheap. They are as the name suggests, cheap. Also, their interface does not try and upsell you with a pages of extra features every time you try and buy something… cough…GoDaddy.
Buy a Webhosting Service
You will need to install the application from wordpress.com on a new host. I use my own vps server on Linode. This is advanced, and there are MUCH easier ways to do this though. For an easier install, I would use Hawkhost as a shared hosting provider. On Hawkhost you can automatically install wordpress from their control panel, or you can go for the easier wordpress hosting plan.
Exporting the WordPress Blog
In your admin center in wordpress.com, go to the WP Admin, and click the Tools->Export. Then check All Content, and download the file. You will get an XML file that holds all your blog information.
Now in the newly installed wordpress website go to Tools->Import, and click the install wordpress importer plugin.
After it is installed and activated it will ask you for the XML file you created in the pervious step.
Export WordPress Followers to New Site
Unfortunately, the export did not export the followers to you blog that you had. You will need to go through some more steps to do that. Follow the steps outlined at https://jetpack.com/support/subscription-migration-tool/ to complete this process. The thing that tripped me up is that you will want to make sure that you are in the new site and not the old site to import the followers. I had trouble with this part, but I emailed wordpress.com support, and they helped me out greatly with this process.
Redirect wordpress.com subdomain to a new domain
If you were using myname.wordpress.com domain you were using you will want to redirect it to your new domain name for a while. You can do so at https://wordpress.com/domains/add/site-redirect. As of writing this, the cost was $13/year. If you used this domain a lot, then I would suggest using the redirect for a year for people to get used to the new domain. On the page you enter in your new domain, and activate the service.
You will want to mess around with your blog’s appearance, and other settings, but you are all done importing things!