First websites tend to take one of two forms. There are the steak knife websites, sites designed to perform a simple task and do it well. And then there are the Swiss Army knife websites, sites that attempt to do everything but fall short at most tasks.
If you set up a website in SquareSpace, one of many popular site creators, you probably started with the intention of making a steak knife site. You needed just a few basic features, and SquareSpace seemed to take care of your needs. But then, you found yourself wanting to add more features—an online store, analytics, special apps—but you couldn’t get what you wanted from SquareSpace.
While SquareSpace’s Swiss Army knife-style offerings worked well enough for a while, when it came time to build a website that really works, you needed something better. Lucky for you, there’s a perfect alternative to SquareSpace, one that is still easy to use but has many, many more features.
WordPress, the most popular content management system out there, is a natural step up from site-in-a-box services like SquareSpace. Instead of relying on SquareSpace’s select features, you want to try out some of the thousands of WordPress plug-ins that make it one of the most powerful and versatile content management systems (CMSs) out there. Migrating from your old SquareSpace site to WordPress isn’t too hard, either. Here’s a quick guide:
- Get Your Data
While you might think of your website as a collection of photographs and text, all laid out in an aesthetically pleasing manner, from SquareSpace’s perspective it’s just data. In order to migrate to your own WordPress-fueled site, you’ll need to get your data from SquareSpace in a format that WordPress, and most other CMSs, can recognize. From your SquareSpace site, go to settings and click on “Import/Export.” Click on “Export” site, and wait a few minutes for the file to be produced. This is your site in a single XML file, which WordPress can read. Download it.
- Create Your WordPress Site
Creating a WordPress site is easier than you think, particularly using our Softaculous installer. Once you’ve created your WordPress site, you’ll want to click on the Plug-Ins tab, and search for a site importer that plays well with XML. If you’re having trouble finding the right importer, start with “Movable Type and TypePad Importer,” which should be able to handle your XML file.
- Troubleshoot Your New Site
Once you’ve moved your SquareSpace site over to WordPress, you’ll have to address a few pesky issues. While not all of them will require your immediate attention, you should keep these items on your to-do list so you don’t forget about them.
- Fix links—WordPress will fix some links for you, but others might be broken. For the broken links, you can use a plug-in like Redirection, which makes it easy to correct your broken links.
You’ll also want to have a good 404 (URL not found) page, so you can help out visitors who hit a bad link.
- Fix images—This is a tougher problem to solve, as SquareSpace does not make it easy to export your old images, so you’ll have to fix your links one-by-one. If you have images on your computer, you might consider uploading them to a photo site (Flickr offers 1GB of storage), and linking to them there. That way, if you ever switch to another domain, or just change your site set up, you won’t have to create fresh links.
Migrating from SquareSpace to WordPress isn’t hard, and the advantages are tremendous. Instead of getting by with good enough tools, you’ll be able to find the perfect plug-in or theme to meet your exacting need. It’s like having a whole set of steak knives. Looking for a new home for your blog? Check out our blog hosting options here. Need assistance with getting a hosting project off the ground? Check out our Service Directory here. Photo by Wikimedia