Are you moving a website from WordPress to Squarespace? Website migrations from one content management system to another can be similar in terms of overall steps involved, but here we walk you through the specifics of how to migrate from WordPress to Squarespace — and keep your rankings at the same time.
Learn more about our website migration services here.
Step 1: Start with SEO
The most important thing when transferring from WordPress to Squarespace is to maintain your search engine rankings. Squarespace has a solid reputation for SEO. But anytime you change website platforms you can expect an initial dip in analytics and ranking, and if you don't take certain steps you can permanently lose hard-earned existing search engine traffic. How can you avoid this? For starters, make a list of your current URLs in a spreadsheet. You will revisit the spreadsheet in Step 6 to create 301 redirects for any URLs that have changed. If you need help generating a list of your URLs, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider crawls up to 500 URLs for free.
Note: wait to cancel your current hosting plan until the move to Squarespace is complete.
Step 2: Open a Squarespace Trial
If you haven’t already done so, open a Squarespace trial by selecting a template. To do this, go to Squarespace and click “Create A Site” — 14-day free trials are standard or you can contact us regarding a longer trial. Keep in mind, you can change templates at any time. After answering a few getting-started questions, you can begin customizing your site by adding a business name/logo and connecting social media accounts.
Step 3: Lock the New Site
After walking through the initial setup, we recommend locking your Squarespace site with a site-wide password. This prevents content from being crawled by search engines until you are ready to launch. Trial sites are automatically locked, but paid accounts are open by default, so setting your own password is a good safety measure.
Step 4: Export and Import WordPress
Squarespace offers a detailed, step-by-step guide that walks you through how to move WordPress content to Squarespace.
Important things to know:
- The “Advanced” option in the guide is what most website owners will use
- WordPress 3.2 or higher is required
- Disable any WordPress plugins before starting
What imports from WordPress:
- Posts & Authors
- Categories & Tags
What will not import:
- Image captions
- Any style or CSS
Step 5: Organize, Design, and Optimize Content
You are now ready to take care of content. Use the Squarespace Pages panel to organize your site structure and add new pages. Use the style editor to design the look and feel of your site. Ensure that your site is fully optimized for search engines — see this article to get started with Squarespace SEO and sign up for our simple (and free) 5-day SEO email series.
Step 6: Create 301 Redirects
Now you can complete your 301 redirects (these won't take effect until you connect the domain). Open the spreadsheet you created in Step 1, then next to your old URLs, list the corresponding new URL. If the URLs differ, then you need to create a 301 redirect. Refer to this Squarespace guide for more information on how to create redirects.
Note, if you have a large number of blog posts, products, or events, you can save time by redirecting all similar items using the [name] variable. For example, if you change your blog URL from /news to /blog, the catch-all redirect looks like this: /news/[name] -> /blog/[name] 301
Step 7: Connect your Domain
Once your content is ready to go, you have a few more tasks:
- Pay for the Squarespace site if you haven’t already done so
- Connect your domain
- Remove the site-wide password (woohoo!)
- When you see that everything is working as expected, you can close the old WP site
Step 8: Request Indexing
Finally, use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to request indexing of your new Squarespace site.
Ready to move from WordPress to Squarespace?
If you’re making the switch from WordPress to Squarespace, follow a detailed plan and you stand to not only maintain your current rankings, but also improve your site overall. If your business wants help transferring a site, learn more about how we can help here or contact us for more information.
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