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How to Properly Move from Weebly to WordPress

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How to Properly Move from Weebly to WordPress

From our experience, most folks when they start blogging do not use the right platform unless they have been guided properly. You start a blog on one of the many hosted solutions because you heard how easy they were, and it was free. As you get more into blogging, you learn about SEO, monetization, customization, plugins, etc, and all of the sudden you have that oops moment because you realized that you made the wrong choice. If you are one of the Weebly users who just had that moment, then you have nothing to worry. In this article, we will guide you step by step on how to move from Weebly to WordPress. You will be able to convert your Weebly site to WordPress and move your content properly. However, we must warn you that switching from Weebly to WordPress will require some sacrifices and technical knowledge. But we assure you that the reward is far greater. The amount of flexibility and power that you get with WordPress to grow your business is far superior. Let’s get started with moving from Weebly to WordPress.

Weebly to WordPress Migration Guide

Moving from Weebly to WordPress

Step 1. First thing you want to do is setup a WordPress site (this will use a different domain at start). We do this to keep your main website from going down while you are working on making the transfer from Weebly to WordPress. Besides, you can get the domain for free. Once you are done with the migration process, the last step would be pointing your main domain to the new site. Since you are hosted with Weebly, you would need to find new web hosting. We highly recommend Bluehost (and so does WordPress). They give WPBeginner users a free domain name and 50% off their hosting plan (final price: $3.95/month). You can’t beat that, so signup with Bluehost « using this link. Next follow our tutorial on how to install WordPress.

You would need to choose a theme for your WordPress site. You can use the default theme if you are just migrating the content and want to see if everything works properly. However, if you want to make your site look truly spectacular, then you need to read our article on how to select a perfect WordPress theme.

Step 2. Now that we have the WordPress properly setup, we need to migrate our Weebly content over to WordPress. Thankfully, WordPress has an option to import content from RSS. The hard part is getting the Weebly RSS feed to the right format. Start with finding your Weebly RSS feed URL.

It will be something like: www.yoursite.com/1/feed

If your feed URL is not working, then it means you DO NOT have a blog section in your Weebly site. Weebly clearly state that RSS feeds are only available for blogs. Feeds are not available for regular pages (sorry, there is nothing we can do for you about this). Hopefully, your feed URL is there and working fine. Now the problem is that your feed only shows 10 posts. Well, we can fix that using Google Reader. You must have a google account to use this service, but don’t we all have one anyways :)

Since your feed URL was: www.yoursite.com/1/feed, you need to type it in Google reader like this: http://www.google.com/reader/atom/feed/http://www.yoursite.com/1/feed?n=500

As you notice, there is a ?n=500 at the end. This little bit tells Google to show 500 posts from the feed rather than the default 10. Now you might not have 500 posts, but that doesn’t matter. If you have more, then just increase that number. Typing this URL in your Google reader will bring up an XML file. Right click and select “Save Page As” and save it as a feed. Congratulations, you have downloaded your ATOM feed. But wait, this is not what we needed. We need a RSS feed file not an ATOM feed file. Let’s make the conversion.

Step 3. Converting an ATOM feed to RSS feed is a must because WordPress only imports from the RSS feed file. You will probably find tons of long complicated tutorials for this. Our advice would be to take the ATOM feed file that you saved. Upload it to your Bluehost account using their file manager or FTP. Then go to one of the conversion tools like Devtacular Atom to RSS.

Once you click the convert button on these tools, click File/Save As button, and save the file as yoursite.xml on your computer.

Step 4. Now that you have the RSS feed file, you are ready to import it to WordPress. In your WordPress admin panel, go to Tools » Import. Once there, you need to select the RSS import option.

WordPress RSS Importer

Upload your RSS file that you downloaded in step 3, and click upload and import.

Once the import is complete, you should have all of your Weebly blog posts transferred over to WordPress.

Step 5. If you have pages that you want to move from Weebly, then it has to be done manually. If you have a lot of pages (i.e 25+, then it is probably worth using a plugin like HTML Import 2). For new users who don’t have a lot of pages, then it is probably worth you manually moving the pages over.

Fixing the Permalinks

Weebly’s URL structure is different than what WordPress has to offer. If you have a lot of posts and a fairly popular site, then we highly recommend that you match your Weebly permalinks with WordPress. However, if your site is relatively small, then it is best to use the WordPress URL structure which is better in the long run.

In weebly, your URLs would look something like this:

http://www.yoursite.com/1/post/2013/01/simple-post-title.html

If you want to match the Weebly URL structure, then go to Settings » Permalinks page in your WordPress admin panel. Check the custom structure box, and paste the following code in there:

/1/post/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html

The above code will add .html at the end of all your post names, and it will also keep the URL structure just like Weebly. However, it does not add the .html for pages.

If you are migrating your pages, then you would need to add this plugin: Dot html,php,xml etc pages. Once activated, go to the settings page of this plugin. Click enable on both of the checkboxes.

Dot HTML for Pages

Lastly, if you have double dash in your URLs, then WordPress will probably render errors. So all you have to do is use the Redirection plugin to add those few redirects there.

Some of you are probably wondering what is the advantage of keeping the old URLs? Well, if you have a fairly established site with a lot of search engine traffic, then you can lose all the rankings when you make the switch without keeping the old URL structure. But if your site is fairly small, then it is worth cutting your losses and truly build a powerful presence for the future.

Updating Feeds URL

If you have a lot of subscribers, then they are going to your old feed URL which is yoursite.com/1/feed/

WordPress has a different feed URL which looks like yoursite.com/feed/

All you have to do to make this switch is use the redirection plugin to redirect any visitors to /1/feed/ to /feed/.

Importing All Images

When migrating your posts, all of your images will come through. However, they will all be hosted on your old Weebly site. Once that Weebly site is gone, all of your images will be too. This is why you need import all images to WordPress. Thankfully, there is a plugin for that.

Use this plugin: Import External Images to WordPress.

This plugin will basically examine all of your posts and make local copies of all linked images from the post. Simply install and activate the plugin. Once activated, go to Media » Import Images. Then click on the Import Images Now button.

Conclusion

While the process of migrating from Weebly to WordPress is not as simple as Tumblr to WordPress or WordPress.com to WordPress.org, this is the best way that we have found to move from Weebly to WordPress. Have you recently switched from Weebly to WordPress? Did you find this tutorial helpful? Is there something that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Alex Attrill

    have a very new site i want to transfer to wordpress from weebly. post are less than 10 and only four pages photos or content is not in important as so few and new so can just copy and paste that info. but how do i move the branded domain name from weebly to wordpress

    • http://www.huskinsoncommunications.com/ Huskinson Communications

      Wondering the same thing, Alex.

  • heidipj

    Just to add to this – I haven’t not been able to find an alternative to Google Reader – i.e. a way to export more than 10 posts as an RSS feed. FiveFilters looked promising but no. I can’t believe I have to manually transfer over 100s of entries!!

    It seems be terribly bad practice for Weebly to provide no way of exporting content. But I guess they don’t care. Uncool!

    • Alan

      I replied further down- didn’t notice that newest comments were at the top. After importing 10 posts, delete the newest 10 posts from your Weebly blog and then get a new RSS feed containing the next 10. Simple but works!

  • Mat

    Hi, great article!
    One question: you say to paste the code /1/post/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html in Settings -> Permalink. However, I have some articles like this: /37/post/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html.

    So, can I modify the first number in the permalink structure? Thanks.

    • Alan

      The number may for your site. Your first blog on a weebly site is /1/…, second is /2/…, etc. I created a Weebly blog, deleted it, and then created another one that I ended up using, so all of my Weebly blog URLs begin with /2/. Just take a look in the URL bar and modify for your site if needed.

  • JC

    Hi: Have you found an alternate way to migrate the W. blog RSS format into WP yet since Google Reader is no more? We’re desperately trying to find a way so we can keep the posts, photos and information shared on this blog. Thanks very much.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Support

      We can’t think of any other way at the moment, we will look into it.

    • Daniel

      JC,

      Since Google Reader is dead, one way of doing this would be to create your own RSS file. This is actually pretty straightforward. An RSS file is basically just an XML file that you can build in Notepad/Notepad++ or any other text editor. Here’s how it would look:

      Blog Title
      Blog URL
      Blog Description
      en-us

      Post Title
      Post Link
      Full Blog Post

      Post Title
      Post Link
      Full Blog Post

      Post Title
      Post Link
      Full Blog Post

      In case you were wondering, each item represents a blog post. Now, this wouldn’t be a complete RSS file, but WordPress treats it like one which is all that counts. Once you’re done putting together the RSS file, you import it by going to Tools > Import > RSS. Tools will be on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. After the RSS import, you will need to go through each imported blog post and update the date you originally posted it (so don’t delete your Weebly site until you’ve done this!) Also, some characters are illegal in XML. For example, ampersands ‘&’ must be replaced with the following: &

      There may be other characters that present problems. I recommend you scan through all of your imported posts and edit as needed. Ultimately, this entire process isn’t so much challenging as it is time-consuming. But, without Google Reader, it seems like the best option to migrate blog posts from Weebly to WordPress.

      Hopefully this helps.

      God bless,
      Daniel

      • Jacob Winkler

        Would love to have a way that does it automatically. Can’t seem to get it with other feed readers.

  • Rianne

    Has a way to do this without Google Reader been found?

  • Jacob Winkler

    Also in same boat. Ridiculous how hard this is.

  • Martin

    This is a great tutorial however the lack of Google Reader now makes it a lot harder to export from weebly to WordPress – anyone got any workarounds that dont involve google reader now?

    Thanks

  • T. Williams

    Hi,

    What would the process look like if you’re already on Blue Host but want to go from using Weebly to WP? It’s driving me absolutely nuts trying to figure this out!

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      It should look fairly similar. Although we haven’t done any migration like that.

  • Shannon

    Thanks! This is very helpful, and it worked like a charm! I now have a WordPress duplicate of my Weebly page
    (well, theme-less and on a different domain… for now) — way less painful than I had feared.

  • Jennifer

    Would you be willing to let me pay you to convert my atom file to an RSS file for me? Please? I’m at my wits end with this process.

  • Pamela

    Is there a way to see all my post in my feed without using google reader? As you probably now by now, google reader is going to die soon and I would like to know a way of keep doing this…
    I have been looking for a way for my feed to show me all my post without success! :(

    • Nicole

      Hi Pamela,

      Were you ever able to find a service that lets you see all the posts in your RSS feed? Now that Google Reader is gone, I have the same problem!

      Thanks

      • Dana

        I’m wondering the same thing! Please help!

        Thanks in advance,
        Dana

        • Alan

          I just moved my site http://www.hskhsk.com from Weebly to my own WordPress instance hosted on Amazon AWS.

          I moved the posts over 10 at a time. After moving the posts (and importing the images), I deleted the newest 10 posts from my Weebly blog. The Weebly RSS feed always shows the 10 newest posts, so I could import them 10 at a time. Simple, and a bit time-consuming, but works perfectly!