parallax background

Squarespace to WordPress Migration: Easy to Follow Guide

Wix Alternatives That Will Get the Job Done Better
August 29, 2019
Wix Prices: Worth it or Not for Your Own Website?
September 6, 2019
 

Those who are just starting with owning a website often choose Squarespace because it’s easy to use as a builder and it’s a convenient solution if you don’t want to struggle with maintenance.

Squarespace takes care of hosting, domains, security, and other aspects that are time-consuming and difficult to follow up. Squarespace is indeed a good option for basic websites, but it’s limited in terms of:

  • Core software customization — it’s closed source so you can’t modify the code beyond CSS and JavaScript
  • Template and plugin selection
  • Relative lack of third-party integrations
  • No special website capabilities (e.g. marketplace, membership, eLearning, etc.)

Thus, the main reason most users want to perform a Squarespace to WordPress migration has to do with the amount of control they have over the website. Fortunately, the migration is not as complicated as people believe.

The process of a Squarespace to WordPress migration is lengthy, but it’s not difficult and anyone can do it regardless of their tech background. If you closely follow the steps included in this article, you’ll migrate your content in no time.

Here’s what you need to know:

Before Moving on to the Actual Squarespace to WordPress Migration…

To start using WordPress, you’ll need to find a web hosting plan and register a domain name for your website if you haven’t got one yet. If you want to keep your existing custom domain from Squarespace, you can simply transfer it to your new host.

During the domain transfer, your website remains accessible through the built-in Squarespace subdomain (yourdomain.squarespace.com).

Even so, your URL structure is very likely to go through some structural changes (regarding permalinks) when the Squarespace to WordPress process is finished. Don’t worry about that now—you will later optimize all aspects of your site after migrating it to the new CMS.

Redirecting your pages to the new addresses is a must to avoid losing traffic. You’ll have to do that immediately alongside the migration, but luckily there are plugins that can help you with this once WordPress is installed and your content is imported.

Squarespace to WordPress 1: Install WordPress

installl-wordpress
 

Now that you know what a Squarespace to WordPress migration implies in terms of URLs, you need to move on to installing WordPress. Through the years, WordPress has greatly improved its installation process, and it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

To install the product, you’ll only need to make a few clicks from your hosting dashboard. Isn’t that convenient? After installing WordPress, log in with your account and you’re set for the rest of the steps required for a Squarespace to WordPress migration.

Squarespace to WordPress 2: Export Your Squarespace Content

 

Now let’s move on to exporting your content from Squarespace to WordPress. Squarespace is quite limited in terms of exporting functionality, which means that you won’t be able to get all your content back in its entirety.

Some content will be stuck on your built-in Squarespace domain, and the only way to migrate it to WordPress would be through copying and pasting it by hand.

The content that you can export using Squarespace includes:

  • Most basic pages on your site
  • Only one blog page, that will be the equivalent of your WordPress blog section
  • The blog posts included on that page
  • The Gallery pages
  • All text, image, or embed blocks

The content that you’ll have to export manually includes:

  • Product and album pages
  • Event pages
  • Audio, video, or product blocks
  • Folders
  • Custom CSS and style changes
  • Multiple blog pages

Squarespace to WordPress 3: Import Your Squarespace Content to WordPress

 

To import your content from Squarespace to WordPress, follow these steps:

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Tools and then Import. Here you will be able to use the exported content from Squarespace in the XML format, one that WordPress accepts.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on Install Now and wait for the installation to complete.
  • Select Run Importer and choose the XML file you downloaded from WordPress. Upload it and click Import to start the process.
  • Now, you can assign authors for the important content by either choosing an existing admin user or creating a new one. You can also import the users as they were seen on Squarespace. The privileges of each user can be updated later on.
 
  • After assigning the content, go to Import Attachments and look for Download and Import. You should see your files here.
  • Click submit and the Squarespace to WordPress migration is half done.

Squarespace to WordPress 4: Import Your Images

 

Some images will remain hosted on your Squarespace site. The WordPress Importer tends to fail to migrate images automatically, which forces you to upload them one by one, manually.

The better option is to use a plugin like Auto Upload Images. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it:

  • Install and activate the plugin
  • Click Settings > Auto Upload Images, and configure the plugin as needed
  • Now go to Posts > All Posts, and click on “Screen Options”, then set “Number of items per page field” to a number higher than the number of posts you have (e.g. 999), then click Apply.
  • Select all your posts by clicking the Select All checkbox, then click Apply. Now that all your posts are selected for editing, simply click Update. The Auto Upload Images plugin will now check your posts for images hosted on Squarespace and will import them automatically.
  • Wait for the process to complete and check your WordPress site again to verify if the images appeared

Squarespace to WordPress 5: Post-Migration Details

Select a theme

betheme
 

WordPress is known for how expandable and flexible it is. You can build pages using drag and drop page builders and choose between thousands of themes. When choosing a theme, note how responsive it is, how many good reviews it has, and of course, how nice it looks.

One of the themes that people tend to choose more often is BeTheme, as you get an incredible amount of features and gorgeous design in one single product. You can customize it easily and it is multi-purpose, which means it suits all needs with only a bit of tweaking.

It is by far one of the top choices on the market, and it’s a great theme to use when moving from Squarespace to WordPress because it’s powerful and yet also very beginner-friendly.

Create widgets

 

Widgets are some bits of code that can be added to your site’s sidebar or the areas that are compatible with widgets. It’s easier to think of widgets as expansion modules that you can add to WordPress using a drag and drop interface.

Normally, WordPress comes with a set of widgets that you can use by default, but there are many more that can be added with the use of plugins.

Create menus

 

Navigation menus are important for helping users navigate through your website easier, without getting lost amongst large quantities of content. Browsing through categories should be easy and efficient.

Menus are regularly placed in the header, but there are variations you may want to try as well. Some themes come with included menu builders or pre-made templates.

Fix your permalinks

 

Keeping your permalinks intact is the only way to make sure that your traffic is maintained during the Squarespace to WordPress migration.

You can use WordPress to set up the permalinks structure according to different needs and preferences, which is a convenient feature that some other Content Management Systems don’t offer. Match your permalink structure to the one you used before with Squarespace.

Add Google Analytics

 

To easily track how users interact with a website, you can add Google Analytics to your site.

It’s a useful tool that keeps you up to date with your marketing campaigns in the online environment. The stats are easy to read and you don’t need special knowledge to use the program.

Add plugins

 

WordPress gives you the chance to use no less than 55,000 plugins, all with different capabilities and features. Once you migrate from Squarespace to WordPress, personalization becomes a breeze with all the freedom available in the form of free and paid plugins.

You can use as many plugins as you want, as long as they don’t start slowing your website down.

Update your internal links

 

Your Squarespace internal links might contain outdated or invalid URLs, so you’ll need to update those to drive traffic to the correct URLs on your new WordPress site.

To make this process easier, use a plugin like Broken Link Checker which will help you identify all the links that are now broken.

Transfer the domain

 

Squarespace allows you to use custom domains, and you can move yours to another hosting provider to use with your new CMS. Keeping your domain registered with Squarespace is not a must. See the Squarespace domain transfer guide to learn how to migrate it away.

Check everything twice

If you think you’re done with your Squarespace to WordPress migration, give it another close look to make sure that everything is in place and working correctly.

Focus on navigation menus, media items, and links, as they are often the most problematic areas during migration.

Squarespace to Wordpress: Final Thoughts on the Migration

Squarespace is convenient for many reasons, but after gaining some experience as a webmaster, it may become unnecessary and start to limit your ambitions. WordPress is a far more powerful alternative and contains all the same features along with many more.

Starting to migrate your website from Squarespace to WordPress is no easy deal, but you won’t have to go through the same process again any time soon, so it’s worth the trouble and it will pay off in the long run.

If you enjoyed reading this article about Squarespace to WordPress, you should read these as well:

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 157,000+ customers.

Comments are closed.

Free cheat sheets available

Subscribe to download a set of cheat sheets for CSS, JS, and HTML

You'll receive an email with the cheat sheets in an instant.