This is Part 2 from our Moving from Squarespace to WordPress series. In Part 1 we’ve discussed about Hosting and how to choose a hosting provider, WordPress and how to install it. Part 2 is about migrating content. How to export your content from Squarespace site, import it into WordPress, common issues and errors that may occur and how to solve them.
Exporting Content from Squarespace
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.
Check out the video below or continue reading for more details:
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.
The key here is to keep your url structure as similar as possible to the one you had on your Squarespace site – so you don’t lose the traffic coming in through those old links. Luckily, WordPress allows you to customize the url structure and make it SEO friendly.
Check out the following video on how to check your permalink structure or read on below:
To do that, in your dashboard go to Settings > Permalinks. You will see a list of various options for your link structure. Choose the one closest to your old SS url.
For example, if your blog post url on Squarespace looked like:
then you will need to select the Day and name option from the list, and in the Custom Structure section add the create a blog page with a URL slug “journal” so your direct url looks like:
Save your changes. While this helps with redirecting users to your new site from old posts and mentions on various platforms, it doesn’t eliminate completely the chance of getting a 404 error. Here’s a great article by Yoast SEO on how to check whether any 404 errors occur and ways to fix them.
Other Common Issues
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.
Content left on Your Squarespace Site
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.
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.
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.