If your website is not using WordPress, we recommend you do whatever it takes to transfer your website to WordPress as soon as possible. There are at least 35 reasons why your main company website should be using WordPress, but for this post, I’d like to focus this post on the conversion steps.
21 Steps to Converting Your Traditional Website to WordPress.
1. Decide if you are going to make the transfer on your own or pay someone to do it for you.
2. Make a full backup of your current website regardless of whether you are doing the conversion yourself or using outside help.
3. Verify that your current website is hosted on a Linux server as WordPress will not run most efficiently, if at all, on most Windows servers.
4. Setup WordPress in a development area on your website so that no one sees the pieces and parts of your incomplete transfer as you are working on them.
5. Get access to your original graphics files, which are usually in .psd format, as it is easier to slice images using the native format.
6. Apply graphics to PHP include files, which will require some PHP skills.
7. Setup page layout using CSS styles (no tables!).
8. Add your primary navigation to the “Menus” area and use text-based navigation when possible.
9. Add a search box for visitors to search pages and blog posts, which is an off-the-shelf feature already included with WordPress.
10. Setup your contact form. Redirect your visitor to a “thank you” page after the form is completed online.
11. Adjust Permalinks to be search engine friendly for every post and page on your site.
12. Install seo, functionality, and security plugins for better performance.
13. Validate HTML and CSS to assure all of your code is sound and current.
14. Add a custom 404 error page so that your visitor is directed to a page that they can still navigation through in case you changed some URL’s in the transfer process.
15. Add HTML and XML sitemap as well as a Google Webmaster account to announce to Google every time you add a page or blog post.
16. Include a robot.txt file so that Google knows which files to spider and index.
17. Use the H1 tag only once per page or post.
18. Add RSS subscription icon.
19. Export all of your content pages from your other online database and import them into WordPress or create your new pages from scratch. Either way, you’ll need to edit every page and post for formatting, so plan on spending 20-60 minutes per page in this step.
20. Test everything while your new WordPress website remains in the development directory so the general public cannot see it until you take it live.
21. Go live! And, make posts on facebook and Google+ and tweets on Twitter to announce your new website.
In future posts, I will address each step with more details. But this serves as a starting point.
If this sounds like a lot of work, well, it IS a log of work to do it right! Our team at HereNextYear is standing by to help with your conversion to WordPress. Let us know if you would like us to review your current website and supply a quote.
The steps are more involved, but yet, somewhat easier if you are intending on starting a brand new website in WordPress.