How to Covert a Website to WordPress – A Step-By-Step Guide for 2024

The reason why at least 39.5% of all websites use WordPress is because the CMS is highly secure, fast, customizable, super responsive, and SEO-friendly.

So, if your website isn’t powered by WordPress, you’re missing a lot.

You might be wondering: is it too late to convert my website to WordPress? Nope, it’s not late. 

But there’s a catch: You should know exactly what your WordPress website should look like and how it should act. 

Stay with me.

Migrating a Website to WordPress: The Plan

An actionable website migration plan should include these pointers:

  • Backing up the existing site
  • Evaluating the existing website to determine what features to keep, change, or discard
  • Creating a sub-directory or test domain
  • Installing WordPress
  • Importing content from the existing website to WordPress
  • Designing your new WordPress website
  • Installing all the plug-ins you need
  • Testing and debugging to fix all broken links and ensure that all content, menus, media, images, plugins, and widgets work correctly
  • Launching the new WordPress website: Going Live
  • Revising the new WordPress site to ensure it functions flawlessly. 

After laying out the plan, now, let’s look at:

How to Convert Your Website to WordPress

Here’s a brief highlight of the process of successfully transferring a business website from another platform to WordPress:

  • Evaluate Your Existing Website

Knowing the features of your current website is crucial in helping you to figure out the components you intend to transfer to the new site. An easy but effective approach is to take an inventory of the existing site’s features including:

  • Layout 
  • Menus
  • Forms
  • Links 
  • Logos and colors (branding)
  • Images
  • Content types
  • SEO
  • Backups
  • Security integrations 
  • Slider
  • Special icons
  • Attachments
  • Social media sharing
  • CSS

 After noting these details down, go ahead and create another to-do list for your new WordPress site. This could include features such as:

  • Your hosting choice
  • Domain 
  • Settings
  • Plugins
  • New Theme
  • Widgets
  • Menu Structure
  • Install WordPress on your Domain

Install WordPress on an offline server or on your domain. In case you choose to retain your previous website’s domain, install WordPress on a separate directory or new sub-directory. 

Thereafter, you can point the domain to that sub-directory or move the site to its original directory.

The trick here is that using a sub-directory allows your current website to remain live while you design the new WordPress site. 

Remember to toggle off search engine visibility for the new directory during the design phase. This will prevent search engines from finding and indexing the site before completion. 

  • Import your Website Content

This step is a little tricky. You can either use a plugin or script to import content quickly and easily from the existing site to your new WordPress site. If your existing site is designed and runs on a CMS, you’ll find this WordPress importing content Codex resource invaluable.

Alternatively, check this plugin directory, locate the right plugin, install it, run it to import your old site’s content into the new WordPress installation.

This is worth noting: Run the import process only once to avoid errors such as duplicates or missing data in your new site’s database.

  • Design your New WordPress Site

Once you have all the import data you need, it’s time to give your newly designed WordPress site that spanking new look you desire. There are a few ways to go about this including:

FREE PERFORMANCE CHECKLIST Your site performance checklist to help you assess your website health   

  • Downloading and installing a predesigned theme from WordPress or third party theme-designer websites. This is the easiest approach by far.
  • Designing a WordPress theme from scratch
  • Using WordPress theme frameworks
  • Converting the existing website’s HTML template to a WordPress theme.

Additionally, you can tweak the website’s design and functionality further using the following plugins. The secret here is that you won’t have to deal with complex code generation.

WordPress plugins help to supercharge your WordPress site’s functionality and appearance. Interestingly, there’s a host of both free and premium WordPress plugins for functions such as:

  • Social media sharing
  • Manage the WordPress site as an Admin
  • Membership plugins
  • Profanities filter plugins.

Whatever you do, download the plugins from reputable sites to keep your website agile and safe.

  • Redirect Links to Your WordPress Site

In this step, you’ll need to fix broken links so they accurately point to the consecutive resources on your newly designed WordPress website. The trick is to use a redirection plugin to make the process hassle-free. 

Some redirection plugins include Redirection plugin and the Simple 301 Redirect plugin. 

You don’t want to miss this next part: 

Ensure all the links are working correctly after redirecting them using the WordPress Broken Link Checker plugin

  • Test and Debug the New Site

Check out your new creation and fix errors such as: 

  • Broken links 
  • Page loading
  • Image loading
  • Menu structure
  • Buttons
  • Redirect errors
  • 404 page errors
  • Media loading errors
  • Usernames errors
  • Social media link problems
  • Contact form errors
  • Signup form problems
  • Restricted access
  • Point your Domain to your New WordPress Site

Pointing your domain to the new WordPress site ensures that site visitors are directed to the new site instead of the old one. The best way to go about this is via a WordPress Codex pre-existing sub-directory installation in the case of a sub-directory WordPress installation.

But wait, there’s more: if you change hosting or install WordPress in a separate domain, you must update your domain name servers. In the case of third-party CDNs, you’ll have to change the A records to update your DNS records accordingly.

In a similar fashion, you’ll be required to replace the temporary domain with the primary domain in case you used the former when designing your WordPress site. 

  • Go Live!

After testing out your new puppy fully, make it your official WordPress website. There are two ways to go about this:

  • Move the new WordPress site to your server and replace the old one
  • Adjust your domain such that it points to the new website

Either way, leave your site in maintenance mode until it’s fully transferred and tested. It’s also good to inform your website readers of the newest baby via a note or small post. 

Final Thoughts

Before activating your new WordPress, recheck and confirm that all vital components such as main pages, links, and menus are working smoothly. In the end, a successful website migration to WordPress will rely on your adherence to the plan you developed.

It all boils down to this: following your set website transfer plan and testing out the results will guarantee a flawless migration. And the best part is that it’s never too late to convert your website to a WordPress site. The only catch is that you must use an actionable plan to manage the transfer.

Let our experts at Ndevr design a fitting WordPress website to move your site into.  Contact us today to get started.

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