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So, your website is on Squarespace, and you’ve seen the light (here and here), and recognize it is time to move your site to WordPress. It is actually quite an easy transfer, but there are a few things you should be prepared for!
Before You Begin, Here’s What You’ll Need
- Domain Registrar Login: If your domain is registered through Squarespace, you’ll need to transfer it to another registrar. I’d recommend doing it as the same company as your hosting account (just for overall ease), but if not, check out Namecheap.
- Hosting Account: Squarespace hosts your site. When you move to WordPress website, you’ll need to change hosts. I would strongly recommend you choose SiteGround’s shared WordPress hosting. If you are considering GoDaddy, you will have a slow, laggy site. I’ve stopped taking on custom clients who choose GoDaddy for the hosting. Using GoDaddy for hosting is like building a house without a foundation.
- Permalink Structure: Note the permalink structure of your blog posts. Is it – domain.com/post-title or domain.com/date/post-title or something else? When you transfer your site (regardless of what platform you are going from), you want to make sure your site has the same permalink structure. This ensures that all those pinterest images, tweets, inbound links, etc. go to the correct post.
How to Transfer Your Website from Squarespace to WordPress
- Export Your Site: Before I begin, I always export a site twice. To export your Squarespace site, go to SETTINGS and select “IMPORT/EXPORT”. Select EXPORT, and an XML file will download. This is what WordPress will read to import the content
- Setup and Install WordPress: You will want to setup your Nameservers to point to your new hosting account, and install WordPress. I would suggest that you also install your themes and plugins at this time. You can also setup a temporary domain and then transfer everything if you don’t want your site to go down. It is completely up to personal preference. Typically sites have gone down for 30-45 minutes, so I try to do transfers late at night or on weekends.
- Set your permalink structure: Under SETTINGS < PERMALINK, you will want to replicate your permalink structure to maintain the same structure of your SS site. The permalink guide in WordPress Codex outlines different structures if yours is complicated.
- Under TOOLS < IMPORT. Select WORDPRESS IMPORTER since you are using an XML File.
- Assign AUTHORS and select DOWNLOAD FILE attachments. The file will import, and during the import it takes time. Don’t change screens or browsers. I stretch at this time.
- Once the import is complete, I download and install IMPORT EXTERNAL IMAGES plugin, and run it once. This plugin imports any images that for some reason didn’t make it.
- If the import did not include the featured image for each blog post, I then run QUICK FEATURED IMAGES, and have the Featured Image for each post set.
- After you’ve transferred everything over, you’ll be able to close your Squarespace account. I recommend that people wait a few days to make sure that there are no bugs with their new site. That’s it, you are done!
Here’s a few issues you might run into:
Post Dates: I’ve had the post dates get all scrambled up, and this seems to be a common issue. However, using QUICK EDIT, you can easily go through posts and set the correct date.
Formatting: When transferring your site from one platform to another, you will want to clean up your posts by removing any <div> and <span> in the post text editor. Formatting issues are almost always the case with Blogger transfers, but not so much with Squarespace.
RSS Feed Redirect + Bloglovin: Your RSS Feed url might have changed in the transfer, and if this is the case, you will want to setup a 301 Redirect. For example, if your old feed URL was http://youdomain.com/posts/feed, and your new feed URL is http://www.yourdomain.com/feed, you will want to redirect the old one to the new one.
Even though you do this redirect, you will want to claim your blog via bloglovin, and email Bloglovin support. They will make sure that your blog doesn’t show up twice (or even multiple times). Just provide them with the URL of your site using the help form!
If you have a Mailchimp email sending out your RSS feed, you will want to update your URL.
Timing: Redirecting your nameservers takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 24 hours, so be prepared that your site might show up as your old one for a few hours. That’s why these transfers work great over the weekend.
With any transfers, maintaining the permalink structure is the key component. It ensures that you maintain your site’s SEO and traffic.
Frustrations with New Platform: Whenever you start using a piece of new software, it takes time to learn and use it. It is different than what you’ve used before, and you need to learn it. That’s why things might take you longer in the beginning, but do not get discouraged. Some helpful posts include:
- How to write a WordPress blog post
- WordPress Tags
- WordPress Categories
- Yoast SEO for your WordPress Posts
- WordPress Widgets
- Understanding WordPress Menus
Want more WordPress tutorials? Check out more posts!