How to Switch From WordPress to Squarespace
I used to be scared of switching from WordPress to Squarespace, but now that I’ve done it, it’s not that hard! But there are a few steps that you need to take care of. Here’s a complete guide to how to switch from WordPress to Squarespace.
How to Switch From WordPress to Squarespace
Can you do it yourself?
I say yes. It's not that technical, and if you get stuck you can always ask support at Squarespace or your WordPress host. But if you're really uncomfortable doing it, there are people you can hire. Up to you!
Backup your WordPress site
Before doing anything, do a backup on your WordPress site, just in case something goes wrong. There are lots of backup plugins you can use. You can find them just by searching for “backup” in the WordPress plugins area.
Sign up for Squarespace
The first step is, of course, to sign up for Squarespace. Squarespace offers a 14 day free trial, during which you get access to all of the regular tools. So you can completely build and design your site before you pay a dime. Take advantage of this free trial if you’re not 100% sure about the switch.
Set up and design your Squarespace site
When I made the switch, I fully set up and designed my site beforehand. I wanted to have a site ready to go before I actually connected anything.
The first thing you’ll need to do in Squarespace is to pick a template. You can always switch templates later on, but better to have one you like from the beginning. Take a look through the ones they have to offer. Also pay attention for what features they have. For instance, some have sidebars and some don’t. If you want a sidebar, that would be important to pay attention to. This blog post has a good comparison of the different templates.
My site is on Brine, and I like that family of templates. They're very versatile. But pick which one is right for you.
Once you pick your template, you can start building and designing your site.
There's lots to do:
- Enter your basic business info and SEO info
- Connect your social media accounts
- Connect Google Analytics
- Set your design settings in the Style Editor
- Create your homepage, about page, contact page, and any other pages you want
- Set up your blog
It may take a while to set things up, but that's ok because you've got that 14 day free trial.
Grab Your FREE Blog Planner
Import your WordPress content
The next thing to do is to import your WordPress content. To do this, go to Settings -> Advanced -> Import/Export. You’ll have two options to import your WordPress content. You can either enter your WordPress info and have it import automatically, or you can upload an XML export file from WordPress. (To get this file, go to Export in WordPress and export your full site.
Squarespace will import:
- Blog posts
- Images within pages/posts
Things like your theme styles won't be imported, so you'll have some work to do in that regard.
When you first import all of this, the pages will be disabled (meaning not public), so you'll need to enable them. Click the little gear icon next to each page and then click Enable.
Upgrade your account
Once you have everything set up the way you want, it’s time to upgrade your account. You can pay annually or monthly, and there are several plans to choose from.
You’ll probably want the Business plan if you want the extra features like code blocks and announcement bars.
Hint: use the code GIMME10 to get 10% off.
Connect your domain
Once your account is updated, it’s time to connect your WordPress domain. You can do this either by transferring your domain from your old host to Squarespace, or by leaving it at your host, but pointing it to Squarespace. Squarespace recommends the transfer option.
Squarespace will guide you through either option. For both options there are a few things that you’ll need to change with your original host, so make sure you have that login info with you.
Once your domain is connected, your site is live!
Note that it may take 24-72 hours for everything to transfer, so don't worry if it doesn't work immediately.
Create URL mappings
One last thing to do. You’ll need to create some redirect links. At the very least, you’ll need to do this for your blog posts. On WordPress blog posts are linked like: blogandbiz.com/blog-post. But on Squarespace, the link would be blogandbiz.com/blog/blog-post. So you’ll need to create redirects so that all of your Pinterest links and any other previous links will forward to the new post.
To do this, go to Settings -> Advanced -> URL mappings. It looks complicated, but it’s actually not. For each redirect, you enter:
The old post slug
The new post slug
The type of redirect (most likely 301 for a permanent redirect)
It looks like this:
/blog post -> /blog/blog-post 301
You may also want to do this for affiliate links, so that you can create short branded links. For instance, my affiliate link for ConvertKit is now blogandbiz.com/convertkit instead of http://mbsy.co/convertkit/24870899.
So that’s it! Follow these steps and you can switch from WordPress to Squarespace pretty easily. Good luck!