With a new focus on pure blogging, I have decided to convert compassdesigns.net from a Joomla site to WordPress. In several previous posts I have talked about WordPress is the better platform for blogging, but Joomla is better if you want to easily add a wider range of features. Through its various incarnations, compassdesigns.net has had forums, social networks, downloads and ebook sales.
Now, however, it’s going to be pure blogging. Just me, my thoughts and the 8 people that listen to me out there.
First thing was to find a host. My experience with Simplweb, a SaaS for Joomla has reinforced to me that I don’t want to be messing around with security, performance or messy server issues. The two main choices I looked at were wordpress.com and Websynthesis. Initially I was liking the price of the main WordPress site, but as soon as you start adding options like domains etc, the price starts going up fast. So, I went to Websynthesis and set up home there. It also has the advantage of being run by Brian Clark, who I have worked with before and only makes great stuff. It’s also integrated with Genesis – a WordPress template that is one of Brian’s other ventures.
Step 1 – The Database Move
First I had to get the raw data across. A quick search found FG Joomla to WordPress which I used to suck everything out of the Joomla site. My previous experiences with moving data have always run into trouble. One step I did here was first move the date to a fresh localhost install of WordPress and then use the WordPress export/import function to get the data into my Websynthesis site. This localhost stepping stone helped sanitize the data a bit.
Step 2 – Images
I took pretty crude approach here. I just took all of the images from the Joomla site, whatever folder they were in, and dumped them into wp-content/uploads. They won’t show up in the Media Manager in WordPress (they are not registered in the database), but they will be there for the posts. I had to run a quick edit to the paths in the posts while the site was local. I did this using Search and Replace. This was to convert, for example, images/stories to wp-content/uploads. I know I have probably got some broken images, but I’ll track them down later with Xenu.
Step 3 – (Optional) Get a Drink
1 hour in and it’s time to make a drink. A Dark and Stormy is called for I think. I should probably mention that the most time I have spent in a WordPress backend before this was about two hours. I am learning on the job!
Step 4 – Install a Template
As I mentioned, Genesis is the WordPress equivalent of the great SEO templates I made at Joomlashack. So, I nip over and snag one from Studiopress. I use a sailing picture for the background, and use an online color picker to grab out a blue and use that in the child themes CSS file to modify the color. I also tweak the footer php for my copyright. Later on though, I realise it’s easier with the Genesis Simple Hooks Plugin. I’ll go back and revert that at some point.
Step 5 – Install Plugins
I have to say WordPress seems to install plugins much slicker than Joomla. I like the way that you can search and install from the backend, but I still check out the developer’s site. With any CMS, it’s good to make sure that they still have a heartbeat and are updating their stuff. I install:
- Disqus Comment System
I used Disqus on the Joomla site. It would great if Disqus could find and figure out the new WordPress-flavoured posts and glom onto those, but I doubt it will. I’ll look into this later.
- List category posts
I need to show all my tutorials on one page. This was the easiest way I could see to do this, but really I’d like to not use categories at all. I’d prefer to just use tags. Another one to research. Note, Don’t use the tag cloud.
Any site migration causes 404 hell. I’ll need this to track lost pages and redirect them to the new url’s.
- Social Media Widget
I am too lazy to create my own social icons.
- Tweet, Like, Google +1 and Share
Step 6 – Clean Up Posts
That’s about it. I think I am ready to go live here. I am going through posts, a dozen a day or so as there are a bunch of broken links/images. I’ll probably do a few and then give up and focus on new content. That’s always the tension with a new conversion/migration. Do you spend your time making all the old content perfect, or on creating new.
Hang around, look around. I hope you like the new look!