Really there are four big steps in this process.
- Copy and Move the Site
- Transfer Content to WordPress
- Styling Thesis to Match the Old Site
- Copy the Development Site to the Live Site
Step 1: Copy and Move the Site
The first step is to copy and move the site from one host to another. However, if your live site is on a web host like Bluehost where you can install WordPress on it then you may not necessarily need to move hosts. It happens fairly often that you choose to move hosts.
This first lesson is going to be all about that process. We’re going to set up the domain on the new host. We’re going to set up email at the new host. We’re going to copy the full contents of the old website and install it on the new host. Then we’re going to point the domain name from the old host to the new host.
When to Skip Step 1
That’s step one and for some of you step one is not relevant if you’re going to keep the same hosting company.
Step 2: Transfer Content to WordPress
The second step is to transfer the content to WordPress. The first part of that is to set up a development subdomain. We want the live, the old static HTML site to stay live right up to the very moment that the WordPress site is a hundred percent complete and we are ready to transfer it.
So the way you do that is to create a subdomain on your new host. Then install WordPress on that subdomain, configure the pages that you need, install Thesis on the subdomain as well and then transfer all of the page content.
Once we’ve transferred the page content then we’re going to create the menus for those pages. We’ll also configure some widgets so we have the basics of the mechanics of the transfer completed.
Step 3: Styling Thesis to Match the Old Site
Now we come to the third step which is styling Thesis to match the old site. It’s not going to match the old site perfectly. In this case the website owner doesn’t really care if it matches it perfectly and what we’re really after is making it look reasonably similar and then have it work properly on mobile devices. That’s our real goal here.
So that’s going to involve first taking a look at the layout, breaking it down, understanding its parts and then based on that information we’re going to choose the right Skin. Once we’ve chosen the right Skin, we’re going to configuring it, set up the templates and then set up the styles so that the site actually looks like that.
Step 4: Copy the Development Site to the Live Site
Once we’ve done that we are essentially a hundred percent ready to transfer the WordPress website over to the live site. And that’s our fourth step where we copy the development site to live site.
So you’re going to learn how to clone the development site, you’re going to learn how to install that clone on a live site and then we’re going to deal with some of the technical issues of making sure that all the SEO stuff still works properly.
Finish with Technical Details
Part of that is configuring 301 redirects so that the old URLs match new URLs. Then we’re also going to connect Google Analytics and Google search console to the website so that we can send them a sitemap. That makes sure Google is fully apprised of the changes that we’ve made and that searches for this can be directed to the correct page.
Since the site has been around for several years, it is a well-known property to Google and we don’t want to lose any of that search engine knowledge once we make this transfer. We’re going to deal with those little technical things there at the very end.
Order of Steps is Critical to Success
So those are the steps we’ll be taking. The order in the steps is actually is actually critical. I find that when I talk to people about doing this they are a little confused about what they should do first, second, third and so on. This is an outline of the right way to do this process and what steps you should follow in order to accomplish this transfer.