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How to Migrate From WordPress to HubSpot CMS

Tue, Jun 16, 2020

HubSpot SEO Social Media HubSpot CMS Development

How to Migrate From WordPress to HubSpot CMSThe CMS, or content management system, you use matters. It can make a big difference in your day-to-day marketing operations, and now certain companies like HubSpot are turning your CMS into a one-stop-shop, making things easier than ever before, even if you have no experience coding or if this all feels a little foreign to you.

With WordPress, like many other companies, there seems to be one school of thought: What you see is what you get. It started out as a blogging platform and grew into a CMS. It’s reasonably priced, it has countless themes and plugins to add, and it allows you to create a simple website without all that hassle.

But maybe you are starting to feel like you’ve outgrown WordPress. And that’s OK. 

If so? It might be time to migrate to HubSpot. 

HubSpot's CMS allows for far more user personalization. It’s an all-in-one solution for so many of your marketing needs: automation, email marketing, social media management. The list goes on and on. 

And the best part? HubSpot’s CMS is designed to support your inbound marketing efforts. (This is probably why I love HubSpot so much—because it is so helpful in the work of inbound marketing!)

Don’t get me wrong. I love WordPress. But if your marketing efforts are expanding to match your growing company, maybe it’s time to switch to a CMS, which can help you manage some of those new responsibilities and double up your inbound marketing efforts. 

Maybe it’s time to migrate from WordPress to HubSpot CMS.

So How Can HubSpot CMS Benefit You?

Why HubSpot CMS? Why should you go through the process of migrating your website from WordPress? Just take a look at some of these benefits:

  • Personalized content for several demographics
  • Customized templates guaranteed to work with any device; each template supports every HubSpot advanced feature
  • Better analytics via its content optimization system
  • Built-in social media feature that measures social reach, traffic, leads and sales; ideal for businesses that primarily use social media
  • Built-in SEO feature for non-SEO experts
  • Personalized email marketing over several listings
  • Mobile-responsive templates 
  • Built-in web application accelerator (WAA) for faster response time by up to 500 percent
  • Standby support engineer and a dedicated technician
  • A hassle-free website that works flawlessly out of the box

Bringing your WordPress website over to HubSpot CMS doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Let me walk you through it.

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An Overview

Here's a quick run-down of how it will go—sort of a roadmap before we get to the turn-by-turn directions:

  1. Review your current site before migrating from WordPress to HubSpot CMS.
  2. Make a list of the templates that will need to be created.
  3. Create and keep a list of your web pages.
  4. Create your templates.
  5. Move over the content from your live WordPress site.
  6. Import posts from WordPress into HubSpot.
  7. Add redirects.
  8. Add finishing touches.

Are you ready? Take a deep breath.

Let's go for it.

Step 1: Review Your Current Site Before Migrating from WordPress 

Now is the time to sit down and make a “wish list”—all the things you want your CMS to do for you. 

If you are planning to rebrand your business, this might mean a major overhaul. Your system and content all may have to change. Now is the time to start to incorporate all of those amazing ideas and put them in one place. You’re making it happen!

This also can include an audit of your current site. What do you like? What do you dislike? What items are must-haves and what things would be nice to include but aren’t necessary to the overall success of your website? When I do an initial discovery call with new clients, this is one of the things we go over. Knowing what isn't working now helps determine what will work on the new site.

What are your marketing analytics and web analytics telling you? Now is the time to blend those two things together. 

Decide which features of your current website you should keep and which ones you can cut to save on development costs and site loading speed. (Remember, when it comes to loading time, every second counts!)

Now you have a good idea of what to incorporate into your new-and-improved HubSpot CMS website. Like writing an outline before you write a research paper.

Step 2: Make a List of Templates to Create

Next, it’s time to create a list of templates your team has to build. What pages do you have and need?

The common templates my clients always ask for:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Product page
  • Contact page
  • Blog landing pages
  • General two- and three-column templates

Take note that HubSpot has a set of best practices for creating a landing page, things like a benefit-focused headline, compelling copy and an exceptional CTA. This set of guidelines ensures that your landing page is optimized for growth and traffic.

Click here to check the spreadsheet I’ve used recently to migrate my client’s site to HubSpot.

Step 3: Create and Keep a List of Your Webpages

Nobody gets left behind. 

You'll want to create a spreadsheet to keep track of the pages on your site now and where they're going.

During this process, you get a chance to look at the flow of your site. Along the way, you may find redundant pages while others can be broken up into multiple pages. 

What makes it easier for visitors to grasp the ideas on your website? That’s how you’ll decide how to split apart and merge pages.

Here’s an example:

Say you’re in the wedding planning business. You’ve got the following services: consultation, planning and full service. 

However, you have one “services page” and you want to target each service's keyword. Therefore, it may be more beneficial to expand so each service has its own page—one page each for consultation, planning and full-service wedding planning. 

You’re dividing your information up into easier-to-digest, bite-size pieces.

Or maybe you have a “product features” page and a “product pricing” page. But somehow you realize they would work better as one page instead of two. That’s the kind of tracking you’ll want to do on your spreadsheet. 

That’s the kind of magic you’re working to make your new page in HubSpot CMS better than ever before.

Step 4: Create Your Templates

Your developer can create the templates you'll need for your site, but if you’re more of a DIY kind of person, I think this HubSpot guide is helpful for finding your way around the layout editor. It’s a drag-and-drop interface, so if you know which content modules you want, it won’t be that challenging.

Here are the things to keep in mind when creating templates:

  • Make sure the templates are going to work for the future and for as many pages as possible. They don’t have to be specific—you can customize them when you need to.
  • Each section of the template should use flexible modules.
  • Instead of building complex groups, make those custom modules.
  • The less content you put into the template, the better.
  • Leave content for the actual page created from the template.
  • Use global groups for headers, footers, common CTAs or sidebars so when you want to edit them in the future, you only have to edit them in one spot. You don’t want to have to go through and change them in every single template.

Step 5: Move Over Content From Your Live WordPress Site

Once the templates are done, you’re ready to move the content from the live site.

This content includes pages, posts and user credentials (including their new roles in HubSpot). 

And take note of this next part. I can’t stress it enough: 

Use the spreadsheet you created to track the process of content migration for pages.

Moving everything over is a big job. You don’t want to get lost halfway through and leave important content behind. So track your progress, and make sure everything that needs to migrate does. 

Step 6: Importing Posts From WordPress into HubSpot

Posts from WordPress can be imported using HubSpot's Blog Importer Tool. This will bring over posts with their images and categories (or tags) as topics. Trust me, you would much rather do it this way than have to go through and tag everything again or re-upload all of those images. 

Remember, HubSpot only uses a single organizing system, not tags and categories.

This is one place that WordPress has a leg up on HubSpot CMS. Can you get an “edge” over WordPress by using a single organizing system?

The answer is, “No.”

A single organizing system is just a simpler version of what WordPress is using. Usually, we use WordPress categories to group several posts about the same topic. On the other hand, we historically use tags as meta tags. But search engines don’t use them anymore. So while they help in categorizing your posts, they aren’t helping with inbound marketing like they used to.

In most cases, it’s better to migrate the categories to HubSpot topics so you can group articles easily, but this also can depend on the specific WordPress site you’ve chosen and how you use it.

Step 7: Add Redirects

At this stage, you’ve already transferred your pages and posts. You just want people to be able to find them!

Using the correct templates, you'll want to look at the spreadsheet and add redirects to your HubSpot account. You can do this by going into the settings icon and then Domains & URLs. Here’s a quick guide to adding redirects.

Redirects will help search engines follow your content from your old site to the new one. These redirects will go live once the domain goes online in HubSpot.

Step 8: Final Touches

Make the DNS (domain name system) changes so that when your web address is typed into a browser, your new site comes up. You have to be able to connect your domain name to HubSpot, otherwise no one will see the beautiful new website you’ve created.

Again, this is done through the settings icon in the Domains & URLs tab. Here’s a guide on linking your domain name to your HubSpot site

As a reminder, you don't want to touch the MX record for email!

Now, you can enjoy your new HubSpot CMS-hosted site!

Additional Tips

You can make this switch even if you and your team have zero knowledge about HubSpot. There are so many places to find support for HubSpot right on its website

My advice is to have one of your team members go through the HubSpot Academy classes and earn the certifications. You even can do it yourself! 

Additionally, take the Design Certification courses to gain insights on the CMS. One benefit of having to go through the certification process is the potential of branching out and creating your own consultancy business. These design classes aren’t just about making your website look great; they’re about making design choices that will help grow your business. And that’s what your design should do. Your design matters to your conversion rates.

Learning a new platform can be daunting. If you’re afraid to make this jump yourself, you always can choose to hire a consultant to iron out any confusing concepts and navigate you through this migration. This will cut the learning curve in half while streamlining the process so it will align with your business goals.

Another thought? Create premium content like an ebook, video or report right away. This will nurture your funnel as you go through cultivating the traffic of your brand new site.

Install HubSpot’s Share browser extension, set up your social media accounts and start monitoring your social media activities.

Also? Make sure to send people to “thank you” pages when they fill out a form. It’s a great place to get them to reconvert or start following you on social media. You can learn about how to increase your thank-you page ROI here. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

Parting Thoughts

Migrating your WordPress site to HubSpot CMS is like moving to a new home. Remember when you asked your real-estate agent to take you on a tour around town so you could find that perfect place for you and your family? 

Didn’t you plan ahead and make a list of things to do before you moved in? Aren’t you glad that you made the right choice based on your needs and your budget? Through this process, you learned which things you absolutely needed to take with you and which things you could let go of to move onto bigger and better things. 

This is a lot like migration. You pinpoint and keep the things that are serving your business, and you get rid of the things that don’t in order to expand and implement new things to grow your business and bring your customers to you.

This process is the same formula I’ve been using for years. My process always has been the same whether I’m working on an enterprise website or a community blog. It’s like the KonMari tidying method:

Does it serve you? Does it bring you joy?

If not, you can let go of it in your migration.

Moving from one service to the other can happen without headaches and hassles. It’s totally possible. And you can emerge on the other side with an improved design that actively works to grow your business. 

I empower businesses and marketers to create automated content systems that elevate sales and delight customers. Here’s how it works.