Recently, I found an interesting trend on Google. The following graph shows an escalating number of users moving their website to WordPress since the mid of 2011. As you can see, it’s quite a popular trend. So, if you are still a non-WordPress user, it’s time to think about becoming one.
You may have heard a lot of good things about WordPress. But, what exactly can it do for your business website? (Keep in mind that the one that we’ll be discussing in this article is the free software from WordPress.org, NOT WordPress.com).
Here are the three main factors.
(1) Mobile Responsiveness
As of April 2015, Google has released a new update on its search algorithm, giving priority ranking to mobile-friendly websites. This is to meet the increasing demand of mobile users. By using WordPress, you can access thousands of themes that cater to this purpose. Some are free; some are paid, but they all work equally as good on mobile devices.
Use this tool to find out the status of your site and if it is not mobile-friendly, it’s high time you change to a new publishing platform.
(2) Flexibility and Customization
With WordPress, you are not limited to the number of pages on your site like what you would experience with a certain simple website builder. You can add plenty of functions, with the help of plugins and widgets, without any additional cost and still have your website running smoothly.
In other words, you are in total control of how your website looks and what content to deliver.
(3) SEO Friendly
When you create a website, you want people to be able to find it on the web. The best method to do this is to make sure that the search engines can ‘read’ the important data on your content through the optimization process.
With WordPress, you get 10 times more optimization features, thus increasing your online exposure. The more search engines pull your content to the first page, the more traffic you’ll experience on your site.
Before Moving Your Site to WordPress…
There are a few things you need to find out and prepare in advance. Here’s a quick checklist;
(1) Where Did You Obtain the Domain Name?
If your domain is free (like a subdomain), most likely you got it from the hosting company. If your domain is paid, you could have bought it indirectly from the hosting company itself or directly from a domain registrar such as Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Ideally, you want to use back the same domain name when the website has been transferred to WordPress. This, however, will not apply to subdomains as you do not own the proprietorship of the domain.
*For this discussion, we’ll focus on paid domains because they are the transferable ones.
(2) Do You Have Any Backup?
A technical glitch can happen when you do a transfer on the web. Ideally, you want to be able to save and store your original content files in another place. If you have copies in your PC or the cloud, that’s even better. At least in the worst-case scenario, you still have access to your raw data.
So, check and see how you can do backups with your current website through your hosting company.
(3) What Type of Publishing Platform Are You Currently Using?
As there are many web publishers out there, make sure you know the type that you are using. Each platform has a specific way to export web content. So find out from your host if it’s possible to do it on your own or if you require some technical support.
In the event, if none of these are possible, find out if you can hire a migration service to help you out with this issue. Ask them in detail for what they can or can’t transfer so that your expectation can be met.
(4) What Kind of Platform Transfer Does WordPress Support?
As a dynamic tool, WordPress caters to transfer for most (if not all) platforms. One way to find out is to visit the Importing Content Support from WordPress.org. It gives a quick guide on how to transfer up to 54 different platforms.
Another method is to search the Google database by typing “How To Move/Transfer (current publishing platform name) to WordPress site”. You’ll find tons of information on how to do this properly from the experiences blogged by other users. This will prompt you to take precautionary steps to ensure a smooth transition.
(5) Who Can Host the New WordPress Site?
As WordPress.org is a self-hosted website, you’ll need to find a reliable host that can do the job for you. Some will require you to download the WordPress software on your own, while others offer a one-click installation online.
I prefer the latter because it’s more convenient for a non-web savvy person like me. Most hosts these days support WordPress for a fee, so do compare the different hosting plans to see which one works best for you.
Once you figure out the technicalities and compatibility between your current site and WordPress, you can start the process of moving your website.
How to Move a Website to WordPress – The Step-by-Step
If I have lost you in the previous discussion, don’t worry. Now, I’ll show you how I use the information to transfer a website to WordPress.
First, ask your hosting company if they support WordPress. If they do, see if they can help to convert your current site to WordPress. If they don’t, find out how they can release your domain (if you register through them in the first place) to be transferred to a domain registrar.
At the domain registration, set the DNS servers to point at your new host. For example, I use NameCheap, and this where I filled out the details.
Install WordPress software manually or go through your new hosting service. Since I am using SiteRubix, all I need to do is to log in and I will be able to access a brand new WordPress website.
Now that you have pointed your domain to a new host, it’s finally time to move your website content from your old site.
At your new WordPress dashboard, go to Tools > Import and check if your system can be readily imported. Alternatively, you can also search for plugins to assist you with the transfer.
Moving web content can take time depending on the size of your site and the capacity of the hosting service. Sometimes, you could also lose certain files along the process, hence the importance of backing up your content.
If you are worried that you’ll mess up the transferring process, get in touch with the good guys at SiteRubix to find out how you can move your site properly to the WordPress platform.
What If You Can’t Move The Website at All???
It could happen due to a variety of technical reasons and should that be the case, your last option is to build the site all over again. If you still have your content stored in the PC or cloud (I hope you do), then all you need to do is to construct them into a good website layout using the desired WordPress theme.
Yes, I know it’s laborious and time-consuming, but look at the bright side. At least you haven’t lost all your precious content.
Are all These Too Confusing?
I am guessing so. That’s why I came up with this flowchart to simplify the entire process just for you 🙂
I hope this article has helped you better understand the process of moving your site to WordPress. If you need any help with this or would like to share your personal experience, just leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
See you on the other side! 🙂