Over the past few years, a number of website owners have looked at the advantages of using WordPress to power their websites, and have decided to switch to that website framework. But sometimes that process of migrating over from whatever you’re currently using for your website can be a little overwhelming. Here is a break down showing you how to migrate to WordPress:
Set Up A Development Environment
The first step before you migrate to WordPress is to setup your WordPress Testing Environment. This can be setup on another server or a local computer, but not on the same server as your live site. To setup your testing environment you need to install the latest version of WordPress.
Install WordPress into a Subfolder
If you choose to ignore my advice to set up a WordPress Testing Environment your first step in migrating your current website is to get WordPress installed on your current domain. Don’t worry – you can leave your existing site up and running during the switch. The way to do this is by installing WordPress in a subdirectory of your current website.
For example, if your current website is at www.thisismybusiness.com, then you’ll create a new folder on your server at www.thisismybusiness.com/subfolder. The name “subfolder” can be whatever you want, but it won’t matter much what name you choose – when the process is complete none of your users will see it.
Migrate Your Structure
Once you have an instance of WordPress up and running on your testing environment or your domain, it’s time to migrate your website structure. Don’t worry about any of the actual website content yet; before you move over your articles, pictures, links and pages you want to make sure you have an organized place to accept them.
One of the best ways to do this is to first generate a sitemap of your current site. You might be able to automate the process for doing this, depending on whether you currently use a website framework, or you may have to build one by hand. In essence you want to have a chart that shows all the pages of your site, their hierarchical arrangement and how they link to one another. Use the sitemap to help guide you in setting up the various static pages, tags, categories and other infrastructure within WordPress to match your current structure.
As you’re creating the structure for your new website, you can also begin the process of making the new site look the way you want. You can look for a WordPress theme that best approximates your current website, or use the migration as an opportunity to cultivate a new image for your business.
Migrate Your Content
After you have a structure in place, it’s time to start moving over all of your content. Depending on what you’re currently using for your website, you might need to “cut and paste” each page by hand, or you might be able to use one of the WordPress Import tools to help you with the process.
Move To Your Live Server
If you choose to ignore my advice to set up a WordPress Testing Environment before you migrate to WordPress you can skip this section. Once you have your site setup in the testing environment it is time to move it to your hosting account. Use Backup Buddy to make a full backup of the WordPress site you setup. Use the Backup Buddy import script to move the WordPress version of your site into a subfolder on your server. If you need help with this part I created a video that shows how to migrate a WordPress site to a new Server.
Make it Live
The last step in the migration process is to configure your website so that visitors will come to the WordPress installation rather than the files you are migrating away from. Once you are ready to switch over, navigate directly to the WordPress installation and log in. In the general settings area, change the “WordPress address” to be the full path to WordPress, including the WordPress subfolder you created. In the “Site address” box, simply put your existing website URL (without the subfolder).
By following the general guidelines above, you should be able to complete the migration process on your own, to successfully create a website with WordPress. But if you would like me to migrate your site to WordPress you can request a quote.
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