Okay, fair warning … learning how to move your website to WordPress can be daunting. And because of the risks involved, we strongly recommend getting WordPress help from our WordPress experts at WP Tangerine to move your site for you.
But if you’re ready to try it yourself, here’s what you need to know.
Before getting started
Moving your website to WordPress is a great decision. The transition will allow you to leverage the robust capabilities of WordPress’s content management system, so you can build and expand your site however you want.
But it’s important to understand what’s involved. Depending on how and where your website is currently built, the transition to WordPress can be a tedious and technical process. However, if you have the time, patience and know-how, you can certainly do it yourself.
Things to consider:
Here are some things to keep in mind as you move forward:
- Not all websites can be seamlessly moved to WordPress. In fact, some website builders purposely make this transition difficult as a way to discourage customers from leaving their paid platforms.
- Even the most seamless transitions will still involve some manual work to finalize your site on WordPress. If you’re not familiar with WordPress, you’ll need some time to acclimate yourself with the platform.
- Expert WordPress help is strongly recommended if you’re uncomfortable moving the site by yourself. Even the smallest mistakes can break your site, or worse: you could lose everything.
Tips for migrating your site (without expert WordPress help)
If you’re doing it yourself, without using a professional WordPress help service, then here are some initial steps we recommend.
1) Check official WordPress help & support documentation
- Depending on what platform you currently use, there may be specific instructions available in the official WordPress help documentation.
- Not all platforms and scenarios are included in the documentation, so be sure that the migration steps are specific to your situation. (For example, Blogger to WordPress, Squarespace to WordPress, etc.)
2) Confirm if your current platform offers WordPress help for migrations
- If you’re already using a content management system (CMS), then that system may have its own documentation on how to migrate your content to WordPress.
- Paid platforms are less likely to publish this information online, because they don’t want to lose you as a customer. (They want the migration to look difficult, so that users will decide the move isn’t worth the hassle.) However, it can’t hurt to check with the company directly anyway. So, if you can’t find anything in their public documentation, try contacting their support. They may be willing to provide some instructions privately.
3) Initiate your WordPress installation
- Most migrations will require you to have WordPress already installed, so that your existing web content can be imported over. Unless you’ve found documentation that suggests otherwise, you’ll want to begin this installation first.
- Installing WordPress will require you to have your own web hosting, where your site’s database and files will be stored. Most hosts make it easy to install WordPress directly from their platforms/cPanels, but you can also do it manually following these instructions from WordPress help documentation.
4) Leverage migration plugins
- There are some WordPress plugins that can automate the migration, but only with certain platforms. These plugins typically use APIs to allow you to login to the current platform and then start the migration process.
- Be careful: third-party migration plugins can be a bit wonky. Also, giving full control of your website to a single plugin is not something we would generally recommend. Be sure to carefully review the plugins documentation and user ratings to make sure it’s a smart choice for your migration.
5) Manually export & import
- If you can’t find any documentation on the best way to move to WordPress (whether through your current platform’s support or official WordPress help documentation), then the next consideration is a manual export.
- Check your current platform for an Export feature (available in some CMS systems), which typically involves downloading your entire site via a single file. You can then import that content into WordPress by going to your Dashboard > Tools > Import.
- Not all platforms offer an export option. Even if they do, the exported files may not be compatible with WordPress. These instructions from official WordPress help documentation outline how to export from Blogger, Drupal, Joomla, LiveJournal, Magento, Tumblr, static HTML pages and others.
6) Complete the design
- If you were able to successfully import the content into WordPress, it’s time to finalize the WordPress website design.
- You likely won’t be able to preserve the look of your current site automatically. You’ll need to find a WordPress theme that allows you to recreate the design.
- Content like pages, blog posts and images should be in your database if they were imported successfully. But you’ll need to carefully go through the entire site to make sure it looks and functions the way you want it to.
Requesting expert WordPress help
If you need WordPress help for migrating your site, you have a few options. Paying for a migration service will naturally cost you more than doing it yourself. But it can save you a significant amount of time and hassle, while also reducing the risk of disaster – and all of that ultimately saves you money too.
Your options include:
- Hire WordPress Developer: this can get very pricy, and you need to be sure the developer has the skills and experience you need.
- Getting ongoing WordPress help: WordPress Support services like WP Tangerine can be a more cost-efficient solution, because you’ll get all the support you need for migration and ongoing site expansion, for a flat affordable monthly rate.