Complete Guide to Migrating from Squarespace to WordPress in 2024

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Switching from Squarespace to WordPress might seem like a big task, but don’t worry—it’s completely manageable with a step-by-step approach. If you’re ready to switch, this guide will help you understand how to move your website content from Squarespace to WordPress quickly and efficiently. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics

Why Switch? 

People often switch from Squarespace to WordPress for more flexibility and control. WordPress allows for deeper customization and offers a broader variety of plugins and themes.

What You Need to Know:

  • WordPress: A popular platform for building and managing websites, known for its flexibility and power.
  • Squarespace: Simpler and more straightforward, great for beginners, but may lack some advanced customization options.

Step 1: Set Up Your Basic WordPress Site

Get a Domain and Hosting: You might already have a domain from Squarespace. You can transfer this domain to a new host or continue using it while hosting your new site elsewhere. Many reliable hosting services exist, such as Bluehost, SiteGround, and DreamHost.

Install WordPress: Most hosting providers offer a simple one-click installation for WordPress. Once you’ve set up your hosting account, follow the provider’s instructions to install WordPress.

Step 2: Export Content from Squarespace

Prepare Your Squarespace Content for Export: Before transferring your content, ensure everything is as you want it on Squarespace. This includes pages, blog posts, and media files.

Export Your Data: Squarespace allows you to export your site’s content to an XML file. On your Squarespace dashboard, navigate to Settings, then Advanced, and select ‘Export.’ 

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Then, navigate to your site’s backend, go to Settings, and click on Import & Export Content. 

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On the next page, click Export. Then, select WordPress in the pop-up window.

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You’ll then have to wait a little while until the process is complete:

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Once you see a notification that your export is ready, select the Download button. Save the file – which should be called something like Squarespace-Wordpress-Export-Date.xml – to your computer. 

Step 3: Import Content into WordPress

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Importing the Exported File: Log into your WordPress site, go to ‘Tools,’ then ‘Import.’

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On the following page, scroll to the WordPress section and click Install Now. This installs the importer for you. After a moment, you should see a notification at the top of the screen indicating that the installation is finished.

You’ll also see the Run Importer option at the bottom. Select it, and click Choose File on the following screen. Use the WordPress importer to upload the XML file you exported from Squarespace.

After you select the file, click on Upload file and Import

Note that if you’re importing blog posts, you’ll also see an option to assign them an author. It’s best to assign them to an existing user.

After you’ve made your selections, hit Submit. You should see a success message, and then you’ll be ready for the next step.

Step 4: Set Up Your WordPress Theme and Manually Add Pages

Choose and Customize a Theme: Select a theme from the WordPress theme directory that suits your style or purchase one from a third-party vendor. Then, you can customize it to match your brand by adjusting colors, fonts, and layout via ‘Appearance’ > ‘Customize.’

Manually Add Pages and Audit Your Site: Not all content may transfer perfectly from Squarespace to WordPress. Manually check each page and add any missing content. Ensure all features work correctly and match your brand’s appearance and functionality.

Step 5: Configure WordPress Settings and Add Plugins

Adjust Permalinks: Set your permalinks to ‘Post name’ under ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks.’ This setting uses the title of your posts in the URL, which is beneficial for SEO as it makes your URLs readable and improves your site’s search rankings.

Install Necessary Plugins: Plugins extend functionality. Essential plugins might include ones for SEO, security, and backups. Install them through ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New.’

Step 6: Configure SEO and Security Settings

Set Up SEO: Use an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO to guide you through optimizing your site to improve visibility in search engines.

Enhance Security: Install plugins like Wordfence or Sucuri to protect your site from threats. Follow their setup guides to configure proper security measures.

Step 7: Test Your New Site

Comprehensive Testing: Before going live, thoroughly test your site on various devices to ensure it displays correctly. Check all functionality, including links, forms, and media.

Resolve Any Issues: Address any problems you find during testing. This might involve adjusting settings, re-uploading media, or rewriting content.

Step 8: Point Your Domain to WordPress

Domain Transfer or Update DNS: If you transfer your existing domain from Squarespace to your new host, complete the transfer process through your domain registrar. Alternatively, update the DNS settings to point to your new WordPress hosting.

Step 9: Go Live and Monitor Your Site

Announce Your New WordPress Site: Once everything is set and you’re happy with the site, announce the switch. Use social media, email newsletters, and other channels to inform your audience.

Keep Monitoring: Regularly check your site’s performance and security. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track user engagement and identify areas for improvement.

Conclusion

Switching from Squarespace to WordPress is a significant step toward gaining more control and customization over your website. Following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition and set yourself up for success with a powerful, flexible website customized to your needs.

FAQs About Switching from Squarespace to WordPress in 2024

  • How long does it typically take to switch from Squarespace to WordPress?

    The time it takes can vary greatly depending on the amount of content and customization you want to do. Generally, you could switch over in a few days if you have a small site and are making a few changes. For more significant sites or those requiring extensive customization, it could take several weeks to get everything just right.

  • Will my site be down while I switch from Squarespace to WordPress?

    Your Squarespace site can remain up and running while you set up your WordPress site. This means there won’t be any downtime for your visitors. Once you’re ready to switch over, you can redirect your domain to your new WordPress site, which might cause a short downtime, usually just a few minutes.

  • Can I use the same design from Squarespace on WordPress?

    WordPress and Squarespace use different systems for their designs, so you can’t directly transfer your Squarespace template to WordPress. However, you can find a similar theme on WordPress or hire a designer to create a custom theme replicating your Squarespace design.

  • What happens to my SEO rankings when I move to WordPress?

    Moving your site may affect your SEO because search engines need to adjust to the new location. To minimize this impact, set up redirects from your old Squarespace URLs to the latest WordPress URLs and quickly re-establish your SEO settings in WordPress.

  • Is there a best time of year to switch from Squarespace to WordPress?

    The best time to switch is typically when you expect lower traffic, which can vary depending on your business. Also, consider changing when you can focus on the transition without rushing. This might mean planning the switch for a quieter season in your business cycle.

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