Migrate Your Website to WordPress. BBC America. Walt Disney Company. Forbes. Alanis Morisette. The New York Times Company. These and hundreds of internationally acknowledged names trust WordPress with their websites and blogs. And that gives you an idea of why WordPress is the number 1 CMS. In case you were planning to migrate your website to WordPress but were having second thoughts about doing so, this article is for you.
Through it, you’ll be able to find out about what’s involved in migrate your site to WordPress. It just might help you decide to finally make the switch.
Migrate Your Website to WordPress Made Simple:
Step 1: Analyze Your Website
Here are the top things to consider:
Amount of content you need to import
How many pages does your website have? Does it have a lot of images, videos or other media?
How large exactly is your site data volume? Will you be able to move it manually or will you need to use tools or plugins to do so?
If yes to the latter option, what tools and/or plugins do you need to use?
Will there be any changes to the URL structure? If yes, will there be a need to redirect your old URLs (including backlinks)?
Third Party Services
Are there any third-party services integrated into your website? Would you need or want to include them during the migrations as well?
Does your site use comment boxes, surveys or any kind of contact or CTA forms? Will you want to include 1them when you switch as well?
Are access to any of your content restricted, like to administrators and members only, for example?
Does your website sell any kind of physical or digital product?
Do you have any existing administrative tools and customizations on your website that you need to bring over when you make the switch?
Step 2: Set Up Your WordPress
You can start developing it offline by downloading and installing the WordPress program locally.
You can also choose to either install WordPress with your current web host or use this as an opportunity to switch to a new hosting provider as well.
The following should be on top of your list of things to do after installing WordPress. Neglecting to cover any of these could cause you tons of headaches when you finally try to run your new website.
WordPress Setup Checklist
- Navigation Structure
- User Accounts
Plugins and Widgets
- Security – Download and install necessary widgets and plugins to keep your website away from attacks by hackers and their ilk.
- Backups – NEVER forget to install backup plugins. As no technology is perfect, chances are you might be in need of them soon. Backing up your site may be a long and seemingly tiresome process. But it will save you from a lot of heartbreak in the long run.
- SEO – Regardless of where your website is hosted, your goal is to have excellent SERP results. WordPress’s Yoast is one of the most used and highest rated SEO tools. It’s one of the first plugins that you’ll want to make sure you have.
Also check for:
- contact forms
- social sharing buttons
- stats and shortcodes
- contact forms
One advantage of being on top is that WordPress has hundreds of thousands of themes you can choose from.
Pick out your theme, then customize your settings for CSS styles, favicon, logo, etc. Most themes have settings for menus, ad placement, and styles that you can experiment with.
Look for a theme that’s flexible enough to still look good even if you decide like to make changes to your basic site design. Like when you want to start a blog or add more categories, for instance.
Step 3: Import your content
When you’ve got all the above-mentioned factors out of the way, you’re finally ready to import your content.
Does your old website have CMS?
Great! Check the WordPress Codex for a list of content importing scripts. You should be able to find your old CMS on the list. Follow the instructions for a smooth and trouble-free migration of your content.
Don’t have any CMS for your old website?
No worries. Migrate it in manual way is the best option for you, especially if your site has 100 pages or fewer. Copy and paste your contents from your old website to WordPress. Take note of your old URLs as you do so. Save them for later access.
This process is also the way to go if you have less than 100 pages on your site and you can’t find your old CMS on the codex.
Does your site have a custom CMS, high-volume content, or a database with no importing tool available?
Unless you’re confident enough that your “tech-savviness” will be sufficient to help you make it through the migration personally, you might want to enlist the assistance of an expert before you continue.
You see, the larger the amount of data and the higher the volume of your site’s content, the bigger the chances of human error. In cases like this, automating your migration becomes a necessity.
Step 4: Design Your WordPress
Importing your content is one of the toughest parts of migration. So, after successfully migrating your website’s contents, take a breather and congratulate yourself.
Next is to focus on your WordPress Design.
The fact you’re reading this article here means you’re already in the right place. Visualmodo has a repository of amazing WordPress themes as well as templates for any and all of your site design needs.
In case you’re in a more experimental mood and would like to customize further, just don’t forget to concentrate on these areas:
- Menu Structure
In particular, make sure that your metadata is fully-optimized. You might already have a good idea on how meta description helps SEO. WordPress has really good SEO tools so be sure to make the most of them.
After you’ve covered all the essentials, it’s time to review, test and debug your website.
Check for Broken links
WPUniversity suggests using any of these tools to make sure that all your links are working as expected:
- Broken Link Checker
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth
- Screaming Frog
- W3C Link Checker
- Google Webmaster Tools
If you want to have a clear idea on which of these you’d like to use, try to visit forums and discussion boards as well as digital product reviews to see how users feel about these URL-checking methods.
Also, double-check your call-to-action buttons, newsletter opt-ins, and embedded media to make sure there are no problems with functionality.
Let other share the fun of testing out your new WordPress website! Have beta-testers go over your website to gauge site design, speed, and performance as well as check for bugs.
Don’t be discouraged if you encounter any bugs or errors. Dealing with issues like fixing internal server errors, 404’s and other problems may cause you a bit of stress. But no worries. There’s a very high chance you’ll be able to find a way to solve them all on your own or with the help of technical specialists.
Just keep a list of every error you encounter so that it will be easier for you to deal with them one by one later.
A few last things before going live
Preferably as soon as you decide to migrate your website, begin to let your readers know that they should be able to expect changes soon.
In a post, explain what you are planning to do and why you want to do it.
Post the same information on your social media accounts. Let them know via email as well.
That way, your readers will not be surprised or put off once your site goes down for maintenance when you finally proceed with the migration.
Also, before launching your website, it would be great if you’ve also finished setting up Google Analytics. That’s one very useful part of your website that you won’t need to worry about anymore later on.
Step 5: Time To Go Live!!!
There are two usual methods for launching your new and improved website.
1. Taking WordPress from the development folder and moving it to the site’s root directory
The simplest of the two methods, all you have to do is follow this guide on giving WordPress its specific directory. This works if you’re keeping the same hosting service.
When you’re done, recheck for broken links, make sure all is as it should be and, Voila! You’re good to go.
2. Pointing your domain to your WordPress server
If you set up WordPress on a new web host, you’ll need to set your old website to redirect to your new server. That way, when people try to visit your URL, they’ll be redirected to your new WordPress version of your website.
You’ll also need to update the domain name servers for your new site.
In case you used a temporary domain during migration, make sure to remove it after the primary one is set.
Although this isn’t the most comprehensive tutorial on migrating your website to WordPress, this nonetheless gives you a good insight on the entire process.
Now that you have an idea on how it works, you can use this as your guide to scout for other options that you might be able to use.
Do you have any tips or suggestions you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below. We’ll be glad to hear from you.
About the author
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/