Migrating Static HTML Site to WordPress: A How to Guide
WordPress has become one of the most preferred and recommended content management system (CMS). In fact, the popularity of this CMS continues to rise and doesn’t look as if it will slow down in years to come. So, if you’re thinking of turning your static HTML pages dynamic, migrating them to WordPress seems to be a viable alternative. You can migrate your HTML site to the WordPress platform while retaining the design, content, search engine rankings, etc.
In this post, we’ll discuss about the steps involved in migrating your static HTML website to a dynamic WordPress website.
#Step1 – Evaluate Your Existing Website
Prior to jumping on the migration bandwagon, make sure to carefully evaluate all the pages on your existing HTML site. Identify all the important web pages and resources (such as photo galleries and any other critical resource page). And then, make a list of the areas that requires special attention. For instance, crease a plan that consists of details such as the ones listed below:
Would you like to change the design of the current website or will keep the same design?
How much content would you like to import which includes the number of pages, images, etc.?
Do you want to keep the URL structure to be same or want to change it? and so on.
#Step 2 – Set up WordPress
The next step requires you to set up a WordPress install. It is recommended that you should opt for an offline development (i.e. install WordPress locally on your system). Another alternative is to install WordPress with a hosting provider.
So, once you’ve your WordPress installation up and running, it’s time to make a few adjustments:
Search Engine Visibility Must Be Disabled.
Since your site is still in development, it is important that your pages remain hidden from search engine bots. For this purpose, open up your WordPress admin panel dashboard and go to Settings –> Reading. And the, check the box “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. Lastly, click on the “Save Changes” button.
Update the Permalinks.
Navigate to Settings → Permalinks, and then choose any one of the options give in the open window or specify your own choice of permalinks you desire to use in the Custom structure box.
Update Admin Username.
It is necessary that you should create an admin-level account in WordPress. And, make sure to change the default “admin” username to a new one.
One big reason that contributes to WordPress popularity is the number of plugins it offers. There are plenty of plugins (both free as well as premium ones) to choose from, helping you incorporate the functionality in WordPress that you’ve been looking for.
You can search for WP Plugins from your admin panel dashboard, by going to Plugins → Add New panel. Otherwise, you can find the required plugins from the official WordPress Plugins Directory.
#Step 3 – Import Your Existing Website Content to WordPress
Once you’ve set up your WordPress install and made the necessary adjustments, it’s time to import your existing website content to WordPress. You can do so via an importing tool or can manually add the content (ideally for website having less content). HTML Import 2 is a great plugin ideal for importing HTML site content to a WordPress install.
Note: Remember to keep track of all your existing website old and new URLs. Besides, you’ll need to redirect the existing (i.e. old) URLs to hold onto your SEO rankings.
Once you’ve completed migrating your content, make sure to create a navigation menu for your WordPress website. For doing so, you will have to use the menu feature given under Appearance –> Menus.
#Step 4 – Migrate design.
Next and the final step require incorporating your existing website design into a custom WP theme. Since your website content has been migrated to the WordPress platform, you will feel the need to give your new website a visually pleasing look. So, if you’re planning to modify your design, there are several different options to consider such as:
You can build a custom WordPress theme from the ground up.
You can install a theme from the official WordPress website, Themeforest or any other known source.
You can download a free or premium theme and make changes to it.
Simply turn your current HTML template into a WordPress theme.
One of the most recommended and easiest methods to migrate the design of your existing site is to find a suitable WordPress theme as you deem perfect, and install it.
Note: Keep in mind that developing a custom theme on your own might not prove a feasible option, if if you’re new to WordPress and don’t have much knowledge about creating a custom theme.
Once you’ve finished working on the above discussed steps, ensure to review your website before going live. Carefully evaluate the content that has been imported, setup URL redirects wherever needed and make any adjustments as per your requirements. Most importantly, test whether your site is working well on all the major browsers. After thoroughly reviewing your site, proceed with making it live.
Samuel Dawson is a well known professional in the field of web design & development. He is working as front end developer in Designs2html Ltd, a promising company in the process to convert html to wordpress. Samuel is also a new technology seeker and always ready to share tips on the web.