Migrating to WordPress for Non-Coders: Full Guidance8th Oct 2013 | Posted by Eko S. | 2 Comments
88% WordPress market share, impressive numbers of newcomers, quickly expanding community, everlasting ease of use and regular updates and lots of third party tools. Is it possible not to be tempted to switch to this prominent and demotic platform? If you run your web project on another CMS, and the wish to become a WordPresser gives you no peace, there exist methods and practices that will help you migrate your website properly with ease keeping all the site data.
In all probability, you’d like to make conversion as fast as possible and invisible for the site visitors. Aiming to cover all the hints of a proper and painless WordPress migration, this post will show you how to perform this tricky WordPress move from the very beginning till the end.
First Things First: Get Ready for Migration
1. Install your new WordPress
To get started with your migration, you should install your new WordPress CMS. Check up all the necessary plugins. Surely, there are a few that may fully substitute the ones you have on your previous CMS. For instance, if you have forum component, image gallery, some SEO tools, it will be wise to install their WordPress counterparts, like bbPress, NextGen Gallery, and WordPress SEO by Yoast.
2. Analyze your site traffic
Next urgent measure of the proper site migration is monitoring of your website traffic. Surely, it’s better to perform the switch to WordPress when the number of visits is the lowest. Typically, you may observe such statistics on weekends. The highest index is usually shown in the middle of the week. But, notice everything depends on your audience, site topic and lots of other factors.
3. Backup your website data
In order to exclude all the possibilities of data losses (breath deeper, it’s just an assumption), backup your website. You may save your data on a DVD drive, hard drive, USB flash drive, or just use the backup option of your hosting provider.
4. Find your FTP access details
To make some modifications in your website, you should have the FTP access details of your current site and the new WordPress one. You may find out this info (your host name, username, password) from your hosting provider. It is best to do beforehand so that not to get stuck in the middle of your migration, frantically trying to remember the credentials.
Getting to the Heart: WordPress Migration
Virtually, there are lots of methods and ways of moving the website content from your existing CMS to WordPress. But the question is whether they aim to do it at your desire – with minimum time spending and no data losses. So, generally there are the following conversion methods that are varied in accordance to complexity and your programming experience:
- Using a converter plugin. You’ll be able to move some part of your site content, but frequently, the free plugins possess limited support and sometimes, their functionality is out-of-date.
- Copy/pasting. While hearing this phrase, probably, you are mechanically whispering “Just don’t miss something out, don’t miss something out”. Seriously, it’s pretty risky and old-schooly to try this method. Of course with the small websites, this way may work out more or less correctly, but if you have a massive site with lots of posts, categories, media files etc, it’s a hard nut even for an expert.
- Automated migration service. An example of such a tool is CMS2CMS, the new SaaS for website migration to the new platform. Apart from content migration to WordPress, it preserves website SEO and most important plugins data and is designed to ease the process of switching platforms for non-techies.
What are the Privileges of Automated WordPress Migration?
- It saves time. 15 minutes is the average estimated time of data migration. There are no quote periods, the migration starts as soon as it’s set up.
- It prevents site downtime. During the migration, your site will be 100% available for your visitors till the new one will be ready to use.
- It requires no coding skills. You just go through the migration wizard, the hardest part of which is uploading a file to your site via FTP (but if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can get free assistance from the support guys).
- It migrates all the website content. The procedure includes migration of posts, pages categories, tags, images, comments, users etc.
- It saves SEO Juice. You’ll be offered the automated 301 URLs redirects setup. It’s a permanent redirect from your current URLs to the new WordPress ones, that informs Google bots about your site new location and refers your users directly to your new website, which is the best practice for keeping your traffic level and SEO efforts.
So, now you know about the ways of migrating to WordPress. But if you think that after you content has been moved you can take a breath and relax, there are actually a few more steps before you can present your new web home to the public.
New WordPress Site is Ready: What’s Next?
1. Look through converted content
When the migration is done, check up all the items that were migrated to your new WordPress site. Diligently look through the site categories and relations between categories and posts to make sure everything is at its place.
2. Take care of your SEO
Next, and perhaps most important thing – you should care about your SEO. There are a few actions to perform:
- Set up your robots.txt properly – check up whether robots.txt disallows indexing only for those site parts that shouldn’t be accessed by Google bots, while the rest of content is open for indexation.
- Generate XML sitemap – this will help bots to crawl your site properly and not get lost. The sitemap can be generated using one of WordPress plugins (e.g. Sitemap, Sitemap Generator, WP Realtime Sitemap, etc.) that are available for free.
3. Choose the new design
Migrating the theme from your previous CMS to WordPress is a hard nut to crack, because of different theming systems. Instead, you can choose one of literally thousands free and paid themes to give your site a fresh look. Another possible way out is to choose a new theme and adapt it so that it maximally resembles the previous one – this is for you to choose.
So, those are the finishing touches of WordPress migration. As you can see, you don’t have to be a coding guru to make the switch by yourself, all you need is your desire, a little courage and the determination to start a new life of your web project.
- Written by Mariana Kordas -
She is a marketing manager at MagneticOne, the company that develops an innovative solutions for website and ecommerce management. CMS2CMS is a web service developed for automated CMS and forum migration. It works well for migrating all types of websites – from blogs on Blogger to WordPress to sites on Drupal to WordPress plus offers many other migration options.