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Thread: What to do with a html website? update it or move to wordpress.

  1. #1
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    Default What to do with a html website? update it or move to wordpress.

    My website everythingpies.com is a HTML site I built with Dreamweaver CS4. I need to change it to be responsive so it can run on mobile devices and desktop as well.

    I have never done such a conversion and this is a mega 150+ page site. To tell you the truth it scares me and I don't want to lose my ranking with Google during the change. So there's a lot to think about. It's the reason I put it off so long, but now it's the time to do something.

    Lisa, I know you mentioned you converted some of your sites over to WP. Would you pretty please look at my site and direct me? You're the one that got me in this mess. Just kidding.

    1st - should I stay with HTML?
    or move to WP? It would be Thesis. I heard WP sites get hit more with hackers and suffer more problems like being slower or data crashes. I currently use WP for my newer sites so I can live with either but love the gamut of options with WP.

    2nd - how to change the layout from a 3 column to 2 without hurting my rankings? Believe it or not this site started with SBI and I got it from Lisa.

    I'm leaning to WP but have not found good instructions on how to do the conversion in a precise manner. Not only that but changing the format or layout. I did contact a outfite that will do it for me for about $800. I can't afford that, so I need to do it myself.

    Thanks for the help. You guys are great.

  2. #2
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    Could you rebuild the entire site in WordPress? Use instant WordPress and build your site from scratch. I am in the process of doing this with one of my sites. It is a big job and requires many 301 redirects with HTACCESS but I think it is worth doing.

    Just set up a plan of action for your redirects using MS Excel or something similar to keep on track. If you undertake a large task plan out as much as you can in advance to save you having to backtrack later.

  3. #3
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    I am looking at a similar situation with a major site of mine, at least as large. Responsive design is so important, but I agree with you, it is a challenging thought as well. Forgive me if I raise more questions than answers, but I am looking for more answers as well before I jump in.

    You might want to read Lisa's article on converting established html sites to be responsive.

    One of the biggest problems with moving to WordPress is dealing with all your links. I hate to think of using 301 redirects for that many pages and I am not sure of all the side affects of having that many on one site. I do not know if you can construct a WordPress page to use the same url. If you can that would help. (Sorry I haven't had time to check that out yet, but it is important info to get.)

    Looking at Lisa's 2createawebsite site, it looks like she did not change it over to WordPress although she did a major redesign a long time ago that gives it a modern look and I thought she might have. Instead, it looks like she just uses Media Queries (CSS3). Hopefully she will get a chance to chime in here.

    One additional thought on a side issue. I saw you were anticipating using Thesis if you stay with WordPress. I have used it, and still do use the 1.85 version on one site, but unless you are a real expert with vs. 2.0 I think it might be challenging (at least I find it so and would not want to try). It is a powerful program but I would be sure you know how to use it and how to produce a responsive site with it. Just using WordPress does not make your site responsive; many themes are not.
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

  4. #4
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    I've never converted a static site to WordPress. My main site uses a WordPress theme, but it's still an HTML site. So I just basically took the code from the Prose theme and merged it into my static site's code. (Lots of tweaking in Dreamweaver) and I wouldn't recommend it if you aren't familiar with code. But I will say, StudioPress does such a great job with coding, everything went over pretty cleanly. The hardest part was putting the right code in my includes and leaving my old navigation as is. Geez, what a task that was!

    The reason I never converted that site to WordPress is because the task is daunting. If I ever do move it I'd probably outsource the job. I just don't have the time to convert all those pages over. Although I'd like to complete this task one day.

    Your layout shouldn't have too much of an effect on your rankings unless you do something drastic. I went from 3 to 2 column years ago and saw no impact whatsoever. Remember, rankings aren't just about page layout. Off page things like social, backlinks, etc. matter a lot too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa View Post
    I've never converted a static site to WordPress. My main site uses a WordPress theme, but it's still an HTML site. So I just basically took the code from the Prose theme and merged it into my static site's code. (Lots of tweaking in Dreamweaver) and I wouldn't recommend it if you aren't familiar with code. But I will say, StudioPress does such a great job with coding, everything went over pretty cleanly. The hardest part was putting the right code in my includes and leaving my old navigation as is. Geez, what a task that was!
    I was wondering how you did all that! Wow, I bet that tested your patience, it would with me! Did you have to re write a lot of the HTML, or did you change the names of the div ids and classes to suit what was already in your HTML?

    I would honestly have found it easier to rebuild with WordPress.

  6. #6
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    I just picked up a project this last week to convert an HTML to WP. The customer is a wildlife guide and does multi-fish species as well as large and small game. So, it is a large site. Plus, they want to now have the blog function to add updated information and photos.

    To start with, you need to consider the following:
    • Hosting and options- I have found CPanel to best for this. Godaddy now has servers designed for only hosting Wordpress sites. It is something I am even taking a close look at. (But, that is a separate discussion) Consider site size, load speed and number of visitors.

    • Seamless transfer - two options 1.) Build the site on a dotINFO with a robot blocker and then later push to your server or 2. (The one I chose) Set up the account in your hosting and then create a subdomain with a different domain name that allows access. When completed, you change subdomain name and the Domains names IP address and you are good to go.

    • Wordpress platform - I am a big 2011 and 2012 fan since I can make it do what I want and I understand the CSS and how to manipulate it. A great theme is great if it does what you want.

    • Create a flowchart for navigation and visitor flow

    • Create site specific graphics.

    • Layout frame of site

    • Copy site text to notepad to clean up formatting

    • Take a deep breath, quiet time without disruptions (sometimes I include a bottle of wine) and start transferring the data over). This is the biggest time sucker and why it pays to do it yourself. It is a kin to data entry.

    Anyway, that is what I am doing this week and it is working through as planned. It is more of a time thing then technical. Hope this helps you out.
    Like Bill at Facebook and Twitter.

    and now Bill's Blog.

  7. #7
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    Hi James,
    Yes, I taught myself Thesis 2.0. It's just amazing what you can do with it. It took awhile but it's all worth it

    I'm using it for my aeroponicsdiy.com site. I have real time data that gets updated every 10 minutes. Without 2.0 it was a miss in WP.

    Pretty confident I'll be able to keep the links unchanged. I came from SBI, so all files in one directory.

    My site is a recipe site and contains Google metadata snippet code. So need to find a way add such things

    Thanks All

  8. #8
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    Yes, I taught myself Thesis 2.0. It's just amazing what you can do with it. It took awhile but it's all worth it
    That's great. I worked with it for a while but there are so many other things I want to learn better I decided it was not worth it for me because once my sites are set up I would not use it enough to keep sharp with it.

    But I agree it is a very powerful theme, more than a theme in many ways—more a site building tool perhaps. In any case I just switched back to vs. 1.85 and now I use Genesis for most of my sites.
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren View Post
    I was wondering how you did all that! Wow, I bet that tested your patience, it would with me! Did you have to re write a lot of the HTML, or did you change the names of the div ids and classes to suit what was already in your HTML?

    I would honestly have found it easier to rebuild with WordPress.
    To be honest, I don't know how I did it either, Darren. It took me two full days and I almost gave up. I couldn't get my left nav to load properly but there was one missing div tag that fixed it all. I didn't have to rename divs. I just put the Genesis main content in my main content div and so forth.

    I started by uploading the theme using a fresh WordPress install in a dummy folder and then right-clicked and got the source. I added all the code to Dreamweaver in a brand new page and then broke up the sections (header, nav, etc.) into my existing includes. That's what took the longest. The header was easy but the two columns were tricky.

    Moving to WordPress would have meant setting up a bunch of 301 redirects and I didn't feel like going through all that. Although that would have been ideal in the long run. (sigh) One day.

  10. #10
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    I think I understand... so you had to copy all your blog content back into the Prose html containers with in Dreamweaver.. and you used the Prose style sheet out of the box? The left nav, you added yourself. I'm trying to visualise how you might have done it.

    How did you handle the media queries? I thought you paid someone to do that side of things?

  11. #11
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    Yep, I used the Prose stylesheet "as is" which contained the media queries so that was the easiest part. I didn't have to touch any of that. So all I did was add/merge my existing CSS to the Prose stylesheet (because I had some boxes I had styled that I wanted to still display properly, etc.) I didn't want to have to change all my classes and styles on the individual pages.

    Yes, the left nav was just CSS from the old design, so I just copied that code into my left column of the design once I had everything in place.

    So it was really about just merging the two stylesheets (Prose and my original). Then I literally spliced up the theme into header, left nav, content and footer and put the right code into the right includes. Fortunately my existing stylesheet and code was commented very nicely like "MAIN CONTENT STARTS HERE" etc.

    I actually did start with outsourcing. The guy only charged me $75 and sometimes you get what you pay for. I was never really happy with his work. So I took matters into my own hands. I knew that the Genesis themes opened nicely in Dreamweaver (which is unusual for a design that was not made for the software). So that was a BIG help. Again, I would NOT recommend this.

  12. #12
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    I liked all of this last post and was almost ready to go, Lisa, until I got to that last line:

    Again, I would NOT recommend this.
    I am also put off by the idea of having a lot of 301's. It has always seemed to me that having an .htaccess with a couple hundred 301's would surely have a negative effect of some kind but I never have found a discussion of it.
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

  13. #13
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    Lisa, where you nervous at all when you uploaded the new site design? If you're anything like me you get the butterflys (just a little bit) when you make those big changes to the live sever. Testing in a sandbox environment is one thing but when you finally make the commitment it's kinda nerve racking.

    And the thing with 301's James, is the possible duplicate content issues. All kinds of issues can arise, and Google - being a logical computer algorithm - can take your redirect efforts the wrong way.

  14. #14
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    I can't remember which podcast I was listening to, but what he had to say struck a cord with me. He said he trys to be different than the masses. Meaning if Genesis WP theme is very popular, it might be best not to use it. Why? With all of Google updates, they try to target what's widely done or used. If they realize a trend that's common with niche website business, they'll write new algorithms to throttle them.

    I feel using Thesis puts me at an advantage of not being easily targeted by Google.
    Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by applefarm; 04-12-2014 at 12:09 AM.

  15. #15
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    With all of Google updates, they try to target what's widely done or used. If they realize a trend that's common in the niche website business, they'll write new algorithms to throttle it.
    To clarify a bit, they don't think they pick on what's popular or good as such but on what tries to circumvent fairness, or in other words what tries to get traffic based on tricks rather than on valuable content. For example, they first gave value to all links until people started buying links, then they had to write code to combat unearned links. They keep adjusting to avoid what is considered black hat methods.

    Genesis, like Thesis, is just a design tool. No particular theme is likely to be downgraded unless the author includes SEO aspects that try to cheat the system. Thesis was the biggest theme out there until they upgraded to vs. 2.0. It is still a great product if you can use it well. I would choose my theme based on what I could use best for the results I want.

    If a trend supports good content Google will not oppose it, but support it, just as they first appreciated links because they represented people liking certain content and sharing it. Unfortunately, the bad guys corrupt a lot of good stuff which makes it more difficult for all of us.
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

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