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6 Simple Steps To Migrate Your HTML Website Into WordPress CMS Instantly

HTML to Wordpress migration

There lies no dispute about the fact that WordPress is one of the most prominent content management platforms and is used to power approximately 17% of the web. So, taking a decision to convert a website’s outdated CMS to WordPress is definitely a great move. But does it mean he/she has to start all over again?

Not at all!

You can easily migrate your HTML website to WordPress and retain the design, content and SEO rankings like before. Sounds great right? Then here are a few tips that you would like to learn to find the easy way out when migrating an HTML website into WordPress CMS.

However before that, let’s talk a little bit about WordPress!

A. WordPress is an open source platform for which you do not need to have any additional knowledge on PHP or HTML. With a pre-installed plugin and a template, you can build yourself a website with extended functionalities.

B. WordPress website owners can take part in board discussions that consist of a large community of other users.

C. The CMS comes with over thousands of plugins, which are available completely for free. Users can also get to choose from variety of templates that one can avail either for free or with a cost.

D. Users can also extend their website functionalities with the help of menu management and non-standard fields that help to add or modify fields like categories, product description and other pages.

Unless there is any relevant reason that can support the shifting of the website platform, a website does not need to go through all the migration process.

Nevertheless, here are a few easy tips you can keep in handy when trying to convert your HTML website into WordPress CMS:

#1 – Think of a Plan

To complete the migration process successfully, one needs to figure out a proper plan first. This is important in order to understand how you wish to place the content in WordPress before getting down to designing the layout. Some of the common points that you need to keep in mind when planning are as follows:

Whether you want to retain the existing domain name or create a separate one? You may decide to install WordPress in the sub directory [i.e. – domainname.com/wordpress/] and later on point it to the directory.

A. Make plans to redirect the old URL to the new site during migration.

B. Determine the type of content to shift from the old to the new site. Website content can be of different types like text, images, videos, JavaScript files, etc. While you can manually shift the low volume contents, high volume content might need you to make use of specialized tools when migrating the information from the old site to the new site.

C. Have you been using any externalized service in the old website version? You can search for the appropriate WP plugins to help you carry out your functionalities.

D. Have you been using any extended administrative tools in your old website? You can look for plugins that come with equivalent functionalities that you can add to your new website.

If you have planned to change the web host, then accommodate with your WordPress needs.

An overview of how your mission should be planned out –

A. To create a sub-directory or a test domain

B. Install WordPress

C. Importing content from the old website to the new WordPress site

D. Redesigning the WP site either from scratch or by choosing a WordPress theme

E. Installation of necessary WordPress plug-ins

F. Keeping a back-up of both HTML and WordPress sites

G. Pointing the database

H. To fix the broken lines

To go live!

Note: It is essential that you become a little bit familiar with WordPress before you decide to make out a plan. You must be at least aware of certain words or terms like permanent redirects, .htaccess , CMS and others.

#2 – Migrating From HTML To WordPress

After planning, the next step that comes is installing WordPress. You can either install it locally or with the help of your host provider. Installing WordPress with the help of web host is very simple. There are many web hosts that come with one click installation, while in some cases they come pre installed with WordPress.

You may also install WordPress on a separate domain or a directory. Just click on the ‘Settings’ from the admin panel and then click on to the Reading option. Just click on the Search Engine Visibility option to prevent the search engines from indexing your website.

#3 – Content Import

Consider the following factors to determine your website’s content import –

A. Is your HTML site running on a content management system?

B. Are there any available tools that can help you to import your content?

C. Have you decided to import a content of high volume?

You can find tools to help you import content from your old site to the new version. All you have to do is search for them and install them with just one click. You may also choose to import the content manually. Just copy and paste to plain text. You can do a little bit of reformat and some modification on the existing content. When importing the content manually, you would have to create the corresponding pages like About page, Home Page, Blog page, etc. and upload relevant files and images from the computer.

Also, keep track of both the old and the new URLs, for you would have to redirect the old URLs in order to retain the SEO ranks and experience a 404 error free function with the new WordPress site.

Once you are done migrating the content, click on the WordPress menu feature to create your website’s navigation menu.

#4 – Designing the WordPress Site

After you are done importing the website content, it’s time to give your website a good design. What can you do to get your new WP site a new design?

A. Develop a WordPress theme from the beginning

B. Download a theme either from WordPress or from Themeforest

C. Use the WordPress theme frameworks

D. Convert the existing HTML theme into a WordPress template

Find a theme you like the most and install it. If you are a first time WordPress user, then designing a custom theme might not be the best option.

#5 – Reinstating Website Functionality With Necessary Plugins

WordPress is the storehouse of variety of plugins (both free and premium) that you can integrate to extend the functionality of your website. However, if you can’t find a suitable plugin of your choice then you can build one. That you can share with the rest of the world for free or put it up for sale. Now that your website is almost ready, do check to see whether all the links are ready. Make sure your prospects don’t end up on any 404 page, and you don’t lose any search rank.

#6 – Redirecting the WordPress Web Links

This is the final stage before you point the domain to your new WP site – i.e. fixing the broken lines. Broken lines are a huge turn off and can send your new prospects scurring away. You can fix this problem easily by integrating a redirection plugin. There are some good redirection plugins available in WordPress. Once you are done with that, it’s time to give it a last check. You can remove the broken links with the help of plugins.

However, there is also the manual way by which you can redirect your links. Edit the .htaccess file. You can add some of these redirection codes to your .htaccess file –

Redirect 301/about.html http://yourdomain.com/about/

Redirect 301/contact.html http://yourdomain.com/contact/

Redirect 301/example.html http://yourdomain.com/example/

Keep in mind that the source URL has to be the page file name, while the full URL is the destination URL. If you have pages in the sub-directory, then do include the sub-directory name, like –

Redirect 301 /folder/page.html http://yourdomain.com/page/

Now point your domain to the new site. If your WordPress is installed on a separate domain, then you will have to update the name servers for the domain. Update the DNS record if you use a third party CDN.

Your WordPress website is now ready. However before you release it on the World Wide Web, search again for any broken links. Review the main pages to ensure that they are properly formatted and check for proper restoration of the functionalities. Get a back up of the previous HTML website and make your site visible on the search engines by setting up the permalinks and the analytics.

However, keep this in mind that the above guidelines are meant for simple HTML websites that already exist and are going to be migrated to WordPress. If you want professional advice for larger websites, then it is better to seek the help of a web development company where experts can guide you with more specific techniques and strategies.

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Sarah Clark

Written by

Sarah Clark, working in B3NET Inc. as Technical Editor. B3NET is leading orange county web design company in California.