Choosing the wrong CMS for your website leaves you feeling trapped. Creating a website takes time and effort, so you don’t want to start over from scratch. You also don’t want to continue limping along with a system that didn’t perform as expected. Don’t give up hope. You can enjoy a hassle-free move from any CMS to WordPress, so you can get the flexibility and manageability that you deserve. Here’s how.
Spend some time learning about WordPress before starting. A familiarity with the platform will help you quickly make the transition. Stop and research the matter whenever you encounter a WordPress feature you don’t understand.
A successful WordPress transfer requires planning followed by a step-by-step technical process. The following guide attempts to cover the basic aspects of changing to WordPress from a different CMS. You might encounter some nuances about your particular situation that might require specialized attention.
Look through and catalog all the content on your existing site. Make special notes of content that might require special handling either during or after the transition. Learn how many pages you must import and how many images and other files you must move.
The sheer volume of material on your original site will help you decide whether you can manually transfer it or if you need an automated tool. You will also need to determine whether you have regular posts and pages or if you will need to create unique post types for your new site.
Don’t forget to consider your URL structure. Decide whether you need or want to have a new structure for your site. If you change the addresses of your pages and posts, you will need to create 301 redirects for each one that point to the new URL. If you want to preserve your existing CMS, you will need to see if you can recreate it using WordPress.
After considering your content, review any third-party services that your current site uses. Contact forms and other utilities designed to collect input from users often require a unique code that you must insert into your WordPress site for them to work. Similarly, pay attention to your online store and how that should integrate with your WordPress installation.
Finally, backup all your content and relevant information so you can restore your original site in case your migration goes awry.
Hosting services often offer free automated installations of WordPress. If you have such a service provider, you can speed the installation of the software. If not, the WordPress site offers a five-minute installation guide with a detailed version available. In many cases, you can create a new subdirectory for installing your software on your existing server. When you finish the WordPress transfer, you can change your domain settings to point to your WordPress site without the need for deleting your former site.
Update WordPress settings to conform to your URL structure and other requirements. Next, install the plugins you will need to manage your site. For example, you can install tools for form management and SEO to make your site easy for people to find and use. Install security plugins to keep hackers away and then review the security best practices documents on the WordPress website. Finally, install a backup plugin, so you always have a recent copy of your website data.
Import Your Data
Check the “Importing Content” page on the WordPress website to see if the software can import data directly from your old CMS. Import scripts available via the Import menu in the Tools section of the WordPress dashboard can speed your WordPress transfer. Log into your old CMS and use its tools to export your data to a file. Next, access the applicable Import script from within WordPress to load your data.
In many cases, however, expect to see some irregularities that will require your attention before your new site operates as desired. A manual transfer might work better than the import script in situations where you have 100 or fewer pages and posts to move. Use a spreadsheet to track your old and new URLs, so you can quickly create necessary redirections.
Moving from any CMS to WordPress takes planning and effort. In ideal situations, the process will go without complications. Sometimes, especially when you have custom CMS software in use, the transfer process can cause enough problems to warrant professional help. WordPress will supply you with decades of smooth, flexible use after the tradition, so expect the transfer process to reward you with functional and efficiency gains.