Squarespace to WordPress
The following article explains the process of transferring content from Squarespace to WordPress.
If you plan to import your Squarespace content into a self-hosted WordPress site using WordPress Importer, note that your images may not migrate with the rest of your content. Instead, your images may be linked to Squarespace, meaning they won’t appear on your site and will only reference the Squarespace image.
To ensure that your images fully import and appear on your WordPress site, we recommend importing your Squarespace content using our Squarespace image importer plugin: import external images. NOTE: This plugin does not always work. Please review your images in each post to make sure that the content has been moved. If not, we suggest taking the time to re-upload new images for your site.
To find out more about what content can be exported, you can read more details via the Squarespace documentation here.
Before getting started with a self hosted WordPress site. You’ll need hosting.
- WordPress installed on hosting
Check out the following details on getting started with these items.
Once you have hosting and WordPress installed, you’re in a good place to then export content and import it to WordPress.
Before you begin the process of moving your website from Squarespace to WordPress, we recommend reading our quick guide (see Part 2 here) – to know what to expect from this transition, how to migrate properly, and how to avoid or fix common issues and mistakes that may appear along the process. First things first:
Why move from Squarespace to WordPress?
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably done already your homework and decided that you want to move your site from Squarespace to WordPress. Thus, these articles will serve you as a step by step guide on how to move correctly and smoothly.
First things first, Squarespace hosts all SS websites on their own servers, while WordPress (WP) does not. When planning to move, you will need to get hosting, and not just any provider – a good one! This is crucial, as your hosting choice will impact the way your website works, how fast it loads, as well as how secure and backed up it is against hacks and server crashes. You can take a look at the list of hosting providers we recommend.
For example, let’s take Siteground and analyze the key features you’re looking for in a hosting provider:
1. Servers – Siteground is a great option to consider due to their strong servers located on 3 continents – America, Asia and Europe. Why this matters? Because the closer you are physically located to your server, the faster your files travel and the better your website works. Also, Siteground offers free CDN (over 100 additional server locations). Therefore, no matter where you live, you can take advantage of the data center which is situated closer to you.
2. Customer Support – Top notch customer service isn’t a luxury, it’s a must. The Siteground team makes solving issues, getting help with questions or migration – a fast and pleasant experience. They offer assistance with all plans on all 3 channels (chat, phone and support tickets), and are insanely fast with responses – no waiting time via phone and chat, and up to 15 minutes on ticketing. Apart from hosting questions, you can also get their assistance with WordPress related issues, since the whole team is trained on WP and can assist clients with applications, theme and plugin related queries. They even offer free transfers for beginner websites.
3. Backup – stuff happens, you get hacked, you can break your site while installing a new plugin or incorrectly making updates. The list of reasons is huge. That’s why we always stress out the importance of Backing up Your Site. In case your own system fails to do so, Siteground has daily backups too.
4. Additional Features – Free domains, the ability to manage your server through a simple user account backened via the cPanel, as well as their in-house caching solution (the SuperCacher) which helps improve site loading speed up to 4 times. The Supercacher is available with the Grow Big and GoGeek plans. Additionally, they offer 1-click installs, auto-updates for the WP core and plugins, free email and SSL certificates, and many more.
If you choose to go with Siteground, the Grow Big package is what you need. Otherwise, any of the providers from this list + WpEngine are great options to consider.
Domain & Downtime for Your Site
The beauty of switching is that you get new hosting for your site, therefore can work on a temporary domain until your new site is ready to go live. You can take your time, and work through each step at your own pace. Once ready, you simply transfer your domain to your new hosting.
Once complete you can begin to work on customizing your new WordPress site. Note: we recommend not closing your Squarespace account right away, rather keeping it for a few days after you finish and launch your new WordPress site, to be sure that here are no bugs or errors.
In case you’re new to WordPress, and you probably are, you need to know that there’s a huge difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. You need the second one, and you can only install it after you’ve signed up with a hosting company.
The beauty of WordPress is that its free (you can download it from www.wordpress.org), it takes under 10 minutes to install it, and most hosting providers offer quick 1-click installers for WordPress and detailed tutorials and documentation on how to install WordPress manually.
After you’ve completed your WP setup, we suggest you proceed with installing your theme and recommended plugins. You have 2 options for your theme installation:
1. Upload via the WordPress backend
2. Upload via an FTP Service
See our Documentation for a tutorial on each method.
We hope this post offered you some valuable insight on how to choose a good hosting provider, install your WordPress and begin the process of moving from Squarespace to WordPress. In Part 2 we’re explaining how to export your site from Squarespace and what are its limitations, as well as how to import your content into WordPress and fix various issues that may appear. Stay tuned and let us know what questions you have.
In case you want some help with the migration and setup process, our team can assist you with that. Get one of our Advanced Installation services and we’ll take the technical hurdle off of your shoulders.
Export and Import Content
Roll up your sleeves as we’re moving to another essential part of the process, which is Content Migration. This includes 2 steps – exporting your content from Squarespace, then importing it into WordPress. Luckily, Squarespace includes an import/export feature which makes the process fairly easy. However, its export functionality is limited.
Not 100% of your content will be exported, only the following:
– All your Basic Pages
– Your One Blog Page with all of its posts
– Your Gallery Pages
– Your Text, Image and Embed Blocks (Twitter, Instagram, etc), however these will export with minimum structure.
This means that your Product, Album, Event and Index Pages, your Folders, your Audio, Video and Product Blocks, your Style changes and custom css – will not be exported. Also, if you have more than one blog page, only one of them will be exported.
Now let’s go ahead and export your content. Login to your Squarespace site, go to Settings > Advanced > Import/Export. Choose Export and a popup box will appear with the WordPress logo on it (so far SS provides exporting functionality only for WP). Click on it to initiate the exporting process.
Once the process is complete, you will see a Download button on the left. Click on it to export your .xml file, then you can clear it. Squarespace also provides a tutorial on this process.
Importing Content to WordPress
Now that you have your WordPress installed, with theme and plugins on top of it – time to import your .xml file from Squarespace. From your dashboard access the Tools tab and select Import.
Select WordPress – Install & Activate the the WordPress importer plugin.
Once activated go back to tools, then click Run Importer. When asked to select a file, choose the .xml file you downloaded from your Squarespace site. You will also be requested to select an author name for each item. If you want, you can create a new user. We recommend selecting the “Download and Import file attachments” option, even if it won’t work (sometimes it happens).
Once the import is complete, download, install and run the Import External Images plugin. This plugin will import any images that didn’t make it through till now, for various reasons. After activating the plugin, go to Media > Import Images. The plugin will look for and display external images in your posts. Click on Import Images Now to get all these photos imported.
The plugin imports 20 images per post at a time to run smoothly. However if you encounter the memory exhausted error, then you can increase your PHP memory limit. Once it has processed images the plugin will show you the remaining images, click on Import Images Now button again to continue until all images are imported.
Once complete you can begin to work on customizing your new WordPress site.
Note: we recommend not closing your Squarespace account right away, rather keeping it for a few days after you finish and launch your new WordPress site, to be sure that here are no bugs or errors.
Content Still on Squarespace
As listed above, there is only a limited amount of content that you can export from your Squarespace site. If you were using a store and selling things through your website, hosting audio or video files or using their events options – these will all have to be imported manually into your new WordPress site.
The beauty of WordPress is that it’s the most flexible, open source platform available out there. There are TONS of plugins and extensions that can help you add just about any feature or functionality to your website.
Here are just a few recommendations for you:
1. For eCommerce features use – WooCommerce.
2. For video files (some themes allow self-hosted videos, some don’t) – you can always use embeds to save up space and keep a good loading speed for your site.
3. To get started with SEO, as this is probably one of the main reasons you’ve decided to move to WordPress in the first place – start with the Yoast SEO plugin. If you plan to dive deeper into this topic, download our SEO guide for Photographers.
4. Uploading images again may be the best option for SEO purposes. Find out how to save images for web in our handy guide.
A few more important if not crucial aspects that you need to cover and get plugins for, are: Cache, Security, Backup, Spam protection, etc. Here you will find the full list of plugins we recommend.
In the following section we cover some next steps for setting up your site with Flothemes.
We suggest the following steps when creating your new site.
- Check out the documentation for your theme.
- Create Slideshows
- Create Galleries
- Review and build each page
- Create Menu
- Update Header
- Update Footer
- Update site Permalinks to match old site
- Test On All Devices
- Test Contact Form
- Setup email with new hosting if not through Google Business.
- Review and Launch
For details on changing your DNS via Squarespace, check out the Advanced DNS Settings Tutorial. You will want to speak with your hosting provider to make sure you have the correct DNS details set up. Also you should review your email settings, if the email is set up through a different provider than Squarespace. If you are changing the DNS via another domain provider, reach out to that provider for further details.
It’s good to know that there are certain issues or errors that you may run into. For examples:
Post Dates, Categories and Tags – quite often the post dates, categories or tags get all mixed up after the content migration process. If it’s just a few posts, you can fix that manually for each post. If you’ve been blogging a lot, it may take forever. An easy and fast solution is to bulk select your posts and quickly edit them all at once. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it.
Formatting – if this occurs, and your posts aren’t displayed properly, you will need to access your Text Editor and remove any <div> and <span> from your post.
Time till redirects start working – Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours to fully propagate, till you can see the new website linked to your domain. So, don’t panic if your old site displays right after you’ve pointed your domain to your new site.
Getting Used to WordPress
WordPress is a powerful platform. There is a huge community of designers, developer and users built around it, which means that for almost any question that you have or issues that you run into – somebody already found a solution.
Apart from the large global community, don’t forget that we, at Flothemes, have a team devoted to helping you build and maintain your new website based on Flothemes. If you get stuck at basics – learning how to write a blog posts, setting up a widget, creating menus/submenus, etc, our Documentation & Tutorials are always there to offer you a step by step guide. While if you struggle with more difficult tasks, such as custom css code, plugin conflicts, cache related errors, etc, you can always reach out to our Support team and get help in a matter of hours.
And though these article series are meant to teach you how to manually move from Squarespace to WordPress, we remind you that there is an EASIER way to all this. We can take the hurdle off of your shoulders, and do the site setup for you. Check our Setup Services and Custom Design services, to see if it’s an option for You.