Editor’s note: Migrating a website to WooCommerce can be intimidating! The process involves multiple steps that, if skipped, carry the risk of losing your entire website’s data and files. Therefore, it’s vital to plan out the whole process beforehand to avoid mishaps during the process. Partner with a professional Volusion to WooCommerce migration company to enjoy a safe, secure migration to WooCommerce without compromising your data and SEO performance.
WooCommerce powers over 40% of all websites over the Internet. In addition, it is trusted by SMEs and enterprise businesses and hosts over 65% of CMS websites. Seeing such a huge percentage, you probably might be wondering why aren’t you on WooCommerce yet.
If you feel your old website isn’t good enough and are considering migrating from Volusion to WooCommerce, you are in the right place.
The following part provides essential information on why you should move your existing platform to WooCommerce, along with the steps.
However, before we move on to the steps involved in migrating Volusion to WooCommerce, it’s critical to know about this popular CMS platform and its advantages over its competitors.
The Need to Migrate Your Volusion Website
Even though migrating your website to WooCommerce can be a tedious process, in many situations, it becomes a necessity. Here are several reasons why merchants consider a Volusion to WooCommerce migration
- Rebranding includes changing the domain name for a better URL or simply for rebranding.
- Security: merchants want to enhance their website security by moving from HTTP to HTTPS.
- Upgrading: site owners aren’t satisfied with the current server’s performance and want to switch to a new CMS or framework.
- Optimization includes changing the website’s structure, design, or navigation and optimizing it for seamless performance across devices.
Why Migrate to WooCommerce?
WooCommerce was launched in 2003, long before anyone knew about content management systems or the importance of a blog. Initially designed as a simple tool for bloggers, it rapidly grew to become the go-to platform for everyone, from SMEs to programmers.
What’s more, WooCommerce is free software, allowing users to download, install, use, and modify it without any cost. Remember that while WooCommerce software is free, users need a domain name and web hosting to install it.
From a simple website to a fully functioning eCommerce marketplace, WooCommerce can handle all. Here are some ways you can use WooCommerce:
- Start a blog
- Set up an online store
- Build a business website
- Make a membership website
- Sell online courses
Benefits of Migrating to WooCommerce
Ease of Use
There’s no doubt that WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce. If you are familiar with using Microsoft Word, you’ll find it comforting to use WooCommerce.
Even though WooCommerce contains some advanced features, it excels due to its simplicity. You don’t need coding experience to use WooCommerce.
Although WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce themes are mobile-friendly, ensuring your website is accessible to all.
Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce allows businesses to easily integrate eCommerce systems into their website.
For instance, you can fully integrate platforms like WooCommerce into your site.
Large Active Community
Over the year, WooCommerce has accumulated a large user base and an extremely active community. Moreover, the WooCommerce support page has a dedicated forum for everything related to your WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce, you don’t need to go anywhere to find the answer to your question.
Pre Volusion to WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce. 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 Volusion to WooCommerce 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 Volusion to WooCommerce migration plan.
Choose Your WooCommerce 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 Volusion Data
The transition from Volusion to WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce. 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 WooCommerce site using the same method for each type.
Install a WP Migration Plugin
For migration, there are some steps you must take on the WooCommerce side. You’ll need to install a WooCommerce plugin, preferably WP All Import Pro, having an advanced custom field (ACF) add-on. This add-on maps fields within Volusion to custom ACFs within WooCommerce.
After installing the WP All Import Pro plugin, upload the XML, CSV, or JSON file created when mapping the Volusion 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 WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce 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 Volusion to WooCommerce migration, you must update the DNS records; else, your customers will be directed toward your old website. You can visit the WooCommerce host admin panel to update the DNS entry.
Test Your WooCommerce Website
The next step is to run your WooCommerce 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 WooCommerce 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 Volusion to WooCommerce migration checklist to ensure the process doesn’t go awry. Also, avoid migrating your entire website to WooCommerce 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.