How to Convert an HTML Site to WordPress

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Once upon a time, a static HTML site was fine as far as broadcasting a message to the web was concerned. Nowadays, a robust CMS or Content Management System is pretty much required if you want to run a modern site. Using a CMS to build a site confers many benefits like ease of development and extensibility. If your static site isn’t cutting it anymore, the following tips should help you to easily migrate to WordPress.

Set Up Your New Web Host

First and foremost, you’ll need to build a home for your new WordPress installation. Look for a reputable web host that can provide you with a LAMP stack, which is Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or Python. Any combination of an operating system, a server program, a database and a scripting language that you can administer yourself will work. Consider outfits like Hostgator, JustHost, Linode or A Small Orange when shopping around for a new host.

Backup Your Old Data

Once you’ve signed up for a LAMP-based hosting plan, you’ll need to retrieve your old data from your current hosting environment. The best method for achieving this goal varies based on how your old static HTML site was arranged and what kind of Server Side Includes functionality it featured. A great way to compile your old data is with HTTrack Website Copier, which downloads your HTML files to your PC.

Migrate to the New Database

First up, you’ll need to install WordPress on your new host. Be sure to remember your admin and database usernames and passwords. Migrating your old data can be accomplished quite easily with simple plugins such as HTML Import 2 or CMS2CMS. Whichever tool you choose, importing content to a new WordPress installation is a cakewalk. For static content such as contact information, using Pages is preferable to using posts.

Recreate & Update Your Old Look

If your old website was up for a considerable period of time, it’s likely that you cultivated a certain look that current followers readily recognize. Start out by looking for a free WordPress theme that most closely matches your old design. You can tweak backgrounds and layouts in the back-end Theme Editor. Alternatively, you could have a freelance WordPress theme designer craft a custom layout.

Security & SEO via Plugins

Last but not least, you’ll need to square away security and visibility issues. Install a few basic plugins such as All In One WP Security & FirewalliThemes Security and Akismet. You’d also be wise to use your .htaccess file as well as 301 redirects to ensure that old links jive with your new URL scheme. When in doubt, refer to the WordPress Support forums for assistance.

Make WordPress Work for You

Once you embrace the power and flexibility of a CMS like WordPress, you’ll realize how easy dynamic website administration can truly be. The key to achieving the best outcome with WordPress is regularly updating the core software and any plugins you’ve installed. Though a WordPress site requires a bit more work to maintain than a static HTML site, the results are well worth it.

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