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.
The most important thing when transferring a site to Squarespace is to maintain your search engine rankings. Squarespace has a solid reputation for SEO, but anytime you change website platforms you may experience an initial dip in analytics and ranking — or you could improve your standings if you approach the process correctly. Follow the steps below to ensure you do not permanently lose hard-earned existing search engine traffic.
How to switch from WordPress to Squarespace?
Step 1: Compile a list of your current URLs
While your old site is still online, 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 current URLs, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider crawls up to 500 URLs for free.
Below is an example URL spreadsheet. The new URLs will be filled in after the move to Squarespace is finished (for more information, scroll to Step 6 below). Note: depending on your current WordPress permalink structure for blog posts, you might be able to use the same structure on Squarespace (read about changing default blog post URLs).
|Old URL||New URL||Redirect?|
Important // 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 your desired 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: Password protect the new website
After walking through the initial setup, we recommend locking your Squarespace site with a site-wide password. This prevents your 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. You will remove the password after you are finished switching over (see Step 7 below).
Step 4: Export and import your WordPress site
Squarespace offers a detailed, step-by-step guide that walks you through how to export and import WordPress content.
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 take care of content. Make sure you read up on website redesign best practices. 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 you fully optimize your new site 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 create 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 URLs. If the URLs differ, then you need to write 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 doing a bulk redirect of all similar items using the [name] variable. For example, if you change a 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, there are just a few more tasks to finalize your switch to Squarespace:
- Pay for the Squarespace site if you haven’t already done so
- Connect your domain
- Remove the site-wide password
- If you have a Mailchimp RSS campaign, make sure to update your RSS feed URL if needed
- When you see that everything is working as expected, you can close the old WP site
Step 9: Request indexing
Finally, use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to request indexing of your new Squarespace site. You have now completed the switch from WordPress to Squarespace!
Ready to move from WordPress to Squarespace?
When you make the move from WP to SS, follow a detailed plan and you stand to not only maintain your current rankings and traffic, but also improve your site overall. And remember, whenever you use a new platform, it can take time to learn the mechanics — some tasks might take a little longer in the beginning, but soon you will be a pro.
Related Service // Website Migrations — We can help your business transfer a WordPress website.
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