Editor’s note: Users are spoiled for choice with numerous appealing content management systems dominating the market. However, migrating a website from one content management system to another comes with a lot of considerations. Users must determine factors, including ease of use, scalability, pricing, and more. A professional WordPress Development Company considers all these critical factors and help merchants migrate to WordPress seamlessly.
If you’re starting to build your first website or migrating from SilverStripe, WordPress is inevitably a name that you’ve come across. It is the world’s most used website builder and Content Management System (CMS) in the world.
At its core, WordPress is the simplest, most popular way to create your own website or blog. In fact, WordPress powers over 43.3% of all the websites on the Internet. Yes – more than one in four websites that you visit are likely powered by WordPress.
Why Consider Migrating to WordPress?
Traditionally, WordPress was primarily a tool to create a blog, rather than more traditional websites. That hasn’t been true for a long time, though. Nowadays, thanks to changes to the core code, as well as WordPress’ massive ecosystem of plugins and themes, you can create any type of website with WordPress.
Here are just a few examples of the types of websites you can build with WordPress:
Blog: A blog is a special type of website devoted to sharing thoughts, photos, reviews, tutorials, recipes and so much more. Blogs usually display the most recently-published content first.
E-commerce website: An e-commerce website allows you to sell goods or services online and collect payment via an online payment system. You can download and install a WordPress e-commerce plugin to extend the default functionality of WordPress so you can have an online store on your website.
Business website: Many businesses will benefit from having an online presence in the form of their own website. If your business needs a website for customers to learn about your company and what you have to offer, WordPress is an excellent option. Customers can contact you, ask for a quote, schedule an appointment and much more.
Membership website: A membership website allows you to put content behind a paywall or an account login. To access pages or posts, users must login or pay for the content. WordPress can also handle membership websites with additional plugins.
Portfolio website: Show off your artwork, design skills and more with a portfolio website built on WordPress.
Forum website: A forum website can be a helpful place for users to ask questions or share advice. Believe it or not, many forum websites run on WordPress.
Ease of Use
There’s no doubt that WordPress is the most user-friendly CMS platform on the market. However, its ease of use makes it the biggest reason why online merchants migrate to WordPress. If you are familiar with using Microsoft Word, you’ll find it comforting to use WordPress.
Even though WordPress contains some advanced features, it excels due to its simplicity. You don’t need coding experience to use WordPress.
Although WordPress was launched as a blogger’s platform, it rapidly evolved into a complete web development platform. Updates and upgrades are easier to carry out, enabling more and more users to shift towards this versatile platform.
In today’s world, businesses must have a mobile-friendly web design, ensuring their website is compatible across multiple devices and screen sizes. Considering that over 50% of the web searches are from smartphones, it is imperative to have a responding design. Most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly, ensuring your website is accessible to all.
Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
WordPress is one step ahead of other CMS platforms in enhancing your SEO. The built-in features assist merchants in improving their rankings in search engine results. Besides, there are numerous SEO plugins to boost your efforts of specialized optimization.
Seamless eCommerce Integration
Just a few years ago, you would need an expert to set up an eCommerce store or figure out the complexities of running it. But WordPress allows businesses to easily integrate eCommerce systems into their website.
For instance, you can fully integrate platforms like WordPress into your site.
Large Active Community
Over the year, WordPress has accumulated a large user base and an extremely active community. Moreover, the WordPress support page has a dedicated forum for everything related to your WordPress site, from fixing issues to accessibility concerns. You’re most likely to encounter a user who has already faced and solved a problem ahead of you.
With WordPress, you don’t need to go anywhere to find the answer to your question.
Pre SilverStripe to WordPress Migration Checklist
Identify your preferred method for migration
There’s no doubt that website migration is a challenging process with the risk involved. Merchants have the liberty to choose between a manual migration or migrating using a tool. Each method offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
Migration Using a Tool
Website migration tools are a simple and efficient way to migrate your website to WordPress. They ensure that your entire website database, regardless of complexity, successfully transits to the new website.
Moreover, they help merchants save time and effort, delivering them a fully functional website with zero downtime.
Manual migration is a laborious and time-consuming process. You might spend hours migrating for SilverStripe to WordPress only to find that you skipped a critical step or exported a specific file that can mess up the entire process.
Prepare a Project Plant and Roadmap
Developing a migration plan is vital for a successful migration. Considering that website migration is a “massive” project and can take months for completion, having a roadmap will help you tick all essential steps during the entire process.
Ensure you include the following aspects for a successful project plan:
- Gather all your shareholders and inform them about the changes
- Outline every task, whether big or small
- Assign a dedicated owner to each task
- Set up an expected delivery time against each task
Here’s a step-by-step approach for a SilverStripe to WordPress migration plan.
Choose Your WordPress Host and Backup Data
Ideally, you’d want a new provider offering top-notch security features. You can choose from the following hosting options available:
- Shared: This is the most budget-friendly option where one server houses multiple websites sharing resources.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): This includes virtual partitions within a shared server, offering dedicated resources to your website.
- Dedicated: Webmasters get a physical server that houses only their website.
Assess your main priorities before choosing the best option for your website.
The next thing to do is use an FTP tool to create a copy of all your website’s files. Connect your site’s server via FTP and navigate to your eBulletin root folder containing all your files. Right-click on the root folder and select the download option.
Doing this will download a copy of your entire root directory.
Map Your SilverStripe Data
The transition from SilverStripe to WordPress is more than just copying and pasting a simple title and body field. Migration is a complex process, so your vBullentin forum must have some custom elements and fields that need to be pulled over and converted to WordPress. Hence, map out all your data before the migration process, including:
- Authoring information
- Publishing dates
- SEO metadata
- Images and attachments
While mapping out the data, remember that you’ll have to export this on a user or content type basis. Doing this will help you import the data into your WordPress site using the same method for each type.
Install a WP Migration Plugin
For migration, there are some steps you must take on the WordPress side. You’ll need to install a WordPress plugin, preferably WP All Import Pro, having an advanced custom field (ACF) add-on. This add-on maps fields within SilverStripe to custom ACFs within WordPress.
After installing the WP All Import Pro plugin, upload the XML, CSV, or JSON file created when mapping the SilverStripe data.
Once done, decide the data you want to import. Since you are importing your entire site, you’ll need to import all of your data, including posts, pages, taxonomies, or custom post types, from additional themes and plugins.
Configure Your Import Data
The WordPress plugin will then process the uploaded file and prepare the chosen data for import. At this stage, you can choose to configure your data. You’ll also need to clean up the data, map specific data with customized functions, and sync media.
Considering that the step will look different depending on your website and mapped data, it’s hard to point out the exact factors to look for and the custom functions to be created.
Moreover, there will be times when you’ll notice some images, PDFs, or other attachments don’t import to the WordPress site. This error results in broken links, images that are unable to load, and other website issues.
To eliminate any such issue, implement the SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) to move the files that initially failed to transfer over to the WordPress uploads directory.
Furthermore, ensure you sync the data and files to resolve any broken link issues.
Add Themes and Plugins
You can opt to retain a familiar layout by finding a comparable theme or choosing an entirely new theme. For this, you’ll need to browse the Theme Showcase to identify the theme, activate it, and customize it with your brand colors and images.
Remember to check your navigation menus and widgets after activating the theme.
You can also access popular plugins by visiting My Site > Tools Plugins and adding them to your new website.
Post WordPress Migration Checklist
Update DNS Entry
Your customers might directly use your website name and not the IP address to visit your site. However, computers require IPs to look and serve up websites. This is done through a domain naming system (DNS) that translates site names into IP addresses.
After a successful SilverStripe to WordPress migration, you must update the DNS records; else, your customers will be directed toward your old website. You can visit the WordPress host admin panel to update the DNS entry.
Test Your WordPress Website
The next step is to run your WordPress website through a series of tests, including the Google Mobile-Friendly Test and the Pingdom page load test. Doing this will validate your website’s functionality, accessibility, and performance.
Chalk out Your Website’s URL Architecture
Your website’s URL structure and the sitemap should align with the latest SEO standards. Even though migration has little or no effect on your website’s SEO, the Google search console needs time to register the changes. Hence, you might notice traffic changes on your website for a few days.
Ensure you redirect all the old URLs to new ones to avoid losing online traffic. Moreover, keep your new URL structure similar to the old one and avoid changing too many URLs, as it may cause search engine crawlers to consider it an entirely new website. This may cause you to lose traffic and also affect your rankings.
Monitor Internal Links
Redirecting old URLs to the new ones means that your internal links will also point out to the new ones. This might create a server load, slowing down your website and affecting performance in terms of SEO.
The best way to update all the internal links within your database is by using the search and replace operation.
Set up a New Website Property
Finally, set up a new property for your new WordPress site in the Google search console and submit the new sitemap. This will ensure your site indexing before the launch.
Additionally, you can install Google Analytics on your new site to monitor its performance.
Follow this detailed SilverStripe to WordPress migration checklist to ensure the process doesn’t go awry. Also, avoid migrating your entire website to WordPress in one go; first, create a test sample for a new website, and once you can confirm everything is right, move the website piece by piece. Remember that website migration can be challenging but is just as rewarding if done the right way.