Moving a static website to a CMS – a guide for non developers

Making the move from a static website to a flexible Content Management System (CMS) can be hugely beneficial as it offers users a dynamic environment which is scalable in terms of both its content and features.

If you are currently experiencing difficulties with updating your static website due to the expertise required to regularly update html and are looking to start a new blog to connect with your readers and boost SEO then a switch to CMS could be the answer. Migrating your website to a CMS like WordPress is easier than you think and you will be able to retain your current design, content and SEO rankings while using the myriad of new themes and features available to you.

The advantages of WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular CMS platform and currently powers more than half of all the websites that have CMS. It is very fast and secure while being particularly search engine friendly. It will also enable you to start a blog on your website which will drive traffic and expand your reach on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In order to make the move from a static website, you will first have to plan an effective migration to WordPress.

Moving a static website to a CMS - a guide for non developers

Plan of action.

A mission plan for moving a static website to a CMS should cover key points such as how much content (pages, images, posts, JavaScript files) you want to take over. For example, low volumes of content are easier as you will require specific tools for larger pools of content. You will also need to know whether you want to retain your existing domain name and if your current URL structure will change. Other factors you should consider include the compatibility of WordPress plugins for any of the external services you may be using on your current HTML website and how exactly you will integrate these third party services after making the move to WordPress. A successful migration requires you to follow these basic steps:

  • Carefully evaluate your current website and how you plan to import and structure the content and design.
  • Set up the WordPress environment.
  • Import content using an importing tool, custom importing process or manual entry.
  • Migrate your current design into a WordPress theme or choose a new theme.
  • Install any WordPress plugins you require.
  • Back up both your HTML and WordPress sites.
  • Review the website and solve migration problems such as dealing with broken links.

Migrating a website to WordPress.

You will now need to get WordPress ready for the migration procedure that involves finding a service that specializes in hosting the popular CMS platform such as GoDaddy. Founded by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy makes WordPress hosting simple and fast and enables you to focus on creating the website you need. Parsons founded GoDaddy, an Internet domain registrar and web-hosting firm in 1997 and it now serves more than 12 million customers across the globe. Its GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting plans are popular with businesses as they offer built-in caching, in-dashboard support, nightly backups and 24/7 support.

Moving a static website to a CMS - a guide for non developers

Choosing a theme and converting code.

Using a pre-made WordPress theme and importing the content from your static website can cut down on the amount of time it takes to complete the migration process. There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available on the marketplace so you should look at designs that cater to your needs. Once you have chosen a theme you should go to the Admin Area of the WordPress powered website and select “Add New” under the “Appearance” and “Themes” section. You will now be able to install and activate your new theme.

You now want to import your directory of HTML content so go to “Add New” in the “Plugins” section and look for a HTML Import 2 plugin. When this is activated and installed, you will be able bring over your content, which will be formatted to your new theme. It is important to keep track of all the URLs, as you will have to edit or redirect old resources in order to retain your SEO rankings and eliminate any 404 mishaps on your new sites. You will also need to point your domain to the new WordPress site so people can access it.

Making the move from static can seem like a daunting process but CMS platforms and web based tools like WordPress make it incredibly easy to set up a modern and flexible website which allows you to edit your content, add new blog posts, pages, photos and video and optimize for search engines without any long term costs.

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