Across industries, WordPress is one of the most popular website builders on the market. But while WordPress is a favorite among business owners, developers, and designers today, that hasn’t always been the case. If you started your website on another platform and that other platform is no longer meeting your needs, then it might be time to transition to WordPress.
Because your website is so important to your business, you’re likely (and understandably) concerned about the move. Even though you know your current platform is no longer up to the task, you’re nervous about switching to WordPress and possibly disappointing the audience you’ve worked so hard to build. However, transitioning to WordPress is an opportunity to make an even better website.
Knowing why you should switch to WordPress plus seeing the exact process of moving your existing website over will ease your mind and highlight why doing so is the best decision for your business. A successful transition from your current platform to WordPress isn’t as difficult as you might think, and myriad benefits are awaiting you.
Why You Should Switch
Before you even consider leaving your current platform and transitioning to WordPress, you want to know that the move will be worth it. As a platform, WordPress has numerous advantages. To start, it’s easy to use. WordPress touts its five-minute installation and has a library of support guides if you find yourself needing additional help along the way. Additionally, WordPress is free. You will need to pay for hosting and, possibly, a theme, but it won’t cost you anything to download WordPress itself which is great news for businesses working with small budgets.
Another reason WordPress is a great option for building a website is that it’s easy to make your site look unique. With a basic foundation in website development or website design you can build a beautiful, functional site. Unlike other platforms that limit customization, WordPress allows users to tailor their website to their exact liking and create the best user experience possible.
Building a UX-friendly website means paying special attention to accessibility. WordPress prioritizes accessibility, and for themes to pass the platform’s basic requirements, the background/foreground color contrasts for plain content text must be within the level AA contrast ratio so that website visitors who are color blind can see the content on the page.
Furthermore, WordPress is structured in a way that it integrates seamlessly with other platforms. Regardless of your specific design, WordPress sites are easy for search engine crawlers to navigate thus increasing your chances of people finding you on Google. You can also sell products, digital downloads, and more directly from your website using the WooCommerce plugin. WordPress does all this without sacrificing security. It’s simple to keep your software up to date which is essential for keeping hackers and data thieves out.
The Key to a Successful Transition
If you’re starting to come around to the idea of switching to WordPress, you should know the key to a successful transition. For the best results, you need to make a detailed plan and stick to it. Following a plan and evaluating along the way will ensure that your new WordPress website is better than ever.
As a starting point, take a look at your current website. List out your current site’s features as well as the different types of content you display. From pages and posts to galleries and links, you need an inventory of what you have. This is also an opportunity to make notes about what you want to change.
When you start to brainstorm your new WordPress design, resist the urge to just make a carbon-copy of your old site. Feel free to keep your branding the same so your website has a similar look and feel, but don’t miss this chance to build something even better (and even more accessible) for your audience.
How to Change Over
In general, the platform you’re switching from doesn’t change the migration process. Transitioning to WordPress is about the same whether you’re coming from Squarespace, Tumblr, Wix, or any platform. The first step is setting up your WordPress installation which you need to do on your domain.
Next, import your content into your WordPress website. This isn’t as complex as it sounds, and in many cases, you can use a plugin. Importer plugins are available for all of the major platforms. Just be careful not to run the import process twice since this can cause errors in your new database.
Before you go live with your new WordPress website, you should test all the links, images, menus, widgets, etc., to ensure it’s ready for public use. While you’re testing and debugging, use a maintenance mode plugin.
Once you’re satisfied with your site, it’s time to go live. This part of the transitioning process involves either moving your domain to your new host or pointing your URL to your new website. Don’t think this is the final step though. Even after you go live, plan to make revisions as needed. It’s a good idea to ask for feedback from users as well as track analytics and perform regular speed tests. Page speed is important for the user experience since many users will abandon a site if the page doesn’t load quickly.
Not only is transitioning to WordPress a relatively simple process but doing so offers a variety of benefits. From improved accessibility to better customization options, changing over to WordPress is a premium option for businesses and website owners.
About the author: Jori Hamilton is an experienced freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to web design, UX, marketing strategies, and business productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.