WordPress is one of the best content management system (CMS). It is used by millions of website owners due to its simplicity and added benefits. WordPress market share over other CMS is 60.4% and this means 33.5% of websites online make use of WordPress.
The design of WordPress sites is customizable to your taste with full control. Also, no FTP Software or HTML is required, and this is good for those with limited or no coding knowledge at all. The various WordPress plugins are also very beneficial.
If you want to migrate to WordPress you do not need to worry about the loss of data. This article will show you the steps to take.
First off, your source website determines how easy migration will be to your target website. There are two types of source website –
• CMS powered website
• Non-CMS powered website
CMS powered website
It’s much easier to migrate to WordPress from a CMS powered site. You can make use of WordPress codex. It has a list of 50+ migration tutorials on how to import your content from other CMS. Almost all CMS are listed there but If not you can check WordPress plugin repository using this link https://wordpress.org/plugins/
You can also search online for several tutorials.
Non-CMS powered website
If your website was created using HTML/CSS it might require a little more time to migrate. These kinds of websites are called static.
This article will focus on migrating from static websites to WordPress, because there is already a wealth of information on the internet on how to convert from CMS powered websites to WordPress.
STEPS TO FOLLOW
1. Organize your content
You need to identify your website pages and posts. And since static websites don’t have the organization of CMS, you won’t see the icon bars like “posts” and “pages”. You need to identify them using their source codes, for instance, <body>, <h1>, <p> and so on.
Note that the home, menu, and about us, would classify as a page on WordPress. While announcements will classify as a post on WordPress.
Now you need to back up everything up.
2. Hosting your site
If you to opt for shared hosting on your WordPress site then PHP and MySQL are two important components that must be present.
Most shared hosting companies like bluehost have these components. Hosting companies like SiteGround have specialized WordPress hosting. It all depends on which you want.
WordPress also has its hosting but it has great restrictions and isn’t a good option.
If your website has heavy traffic you should opt for a WordPress managed hosting service. These help in increased security, speed loading, securing site during traffic spikes so it doesn’t go down.
3. Set up WordPress
You have to install WordPress. Your WordPress should be set up with your hosting provider. And your domain name should be the same as your WordPress site so it doesn’t affect your Seo.
Create a directory for the installation process. If you plan on setting up a blogging platform you need to separate it from the main website. You have to install it in another directory or subdomain. For your domains or subdomains, WordPress should not be installed in a folder due to the default installer always creating a new ‘wp’ folder. Instead, it should be installed in your root directory and not inside a folder.
For Seo and good user experience you need to plan the menu. Put into consideration the menu structure components for easy flow.
4. Take note of WordPress Seo
If your website has custom meta descriptions, make sure during the importing process you find them a new place. And you need to be careful when moving them during the importing process. You also need to optimize then for WordPress Seo. Yoast and Moz offer some great guidelines on WordPress SEO.
If your website also has a custom-built URL make sure after the migration process they’re still functional after utilizing WordPress redirection plugin.
Spamming is an issue that is always annoying, and even much worse if you’re running a blog. Thankfully there are several anti-spam plugins to try out. A very good one is Akismet.
6. Contact forms
While it might seem too early to create this, what you need to know is that this helps in how you’re perceived by your website visitors. It shows that feedbacks and suggestions are welcome. There are several WordPress contact form plugin you can try out.
7. Choosing a theme
When choosing a theme you need to look long term so it won’t disrupt your branding. Make sure to choose one that fits your requirements. You can also choose between free and premium themes. The latter are designed better and with improved functionality.
If you plan on choosing a free theme make sure it’s from a well-known source like WordPress theme repository.
Take into consideration theme speed and theme framework
Theme speed – most themes aren’t optimized for page speed and this can affect user experience and SEO. So make sure to test your chosen theme by evaluating it using the Google Mobile-Friendly test and also the Pingdom page load test.
Theme frameworks – if you want your new WordPress site to look like your former website then you have to opt for custom themes. These are usually much more expensive than premium themes.
Nevertheless, make sure the WordPress theme framework you pick is similar to headway themes, thesis, or genesis framework. They secure your theme structure and offer great security for future purpose
8. Security and backups
There are security and backup plugins for WordPress you can make use of. These are things you shouldn’t overlook. They are lifesavers and can determine the continuity of your website. Make sure the plugin you opt for isn’t outdated or developed poorly. A very good security plugin is wordfence.
THE IMPORTING PROCESS
• Log into your WordPress. Go to the dashboard and disable search engine visibility. This restricts displaying of contents on search engines during the organizing process of your website.
• Since your website is static the importing process might be a bit strenuous because you will have to copy and paste each page from your former website manually. Make sure you don’t mix up posts and pages so your content organization can be more seamless.
• Once you’re done with the importing you need to structure it by creating the various necessary categories, sub-categories, widgets, menu, and tags. Make sure the contents are organized accordingly.
• It’s now time to install the necessary plugins, like the themes, security and backup, social media, anti-spam, and contact forms.
• Now run your site on the Google Mobile-Friendly test and also on the Pingdom page load test. If the result is good then you have chosen the perfect theme.
• Sitemaps is an essential website component. You can make use of the Google XML sitemaps plugin. This aids in generating a sitemap of your WordPress site quickly.
• Over time as your website grows, a lot of links would become irrelevant and lead to broken links. What you need do is to redirect the broken links to your homepage or a special page dedicated to explaining the link’s expiry.
• It’s time to go live. Use Google Webmaster Tools to refresh your website, and now your site is live.