I've been marketing and Internet technology for many years now and my teams have completed more web migrations than I'd care to count. Some went perfect and had very little issues but some...well not so much. Recently I had the opportunity to go through a migration from WordPress to HubSpot's COS (Content Optimization System) and it was by far the easiest and least painful in my nearly 15 years of migrations.
I learned a lot with their process and I'd love to share it with you.
A migration from WordPress to HubSpot COS is rather simple, if you follow this step by step guide along the way.
Step 1: Find a partner agency
OK, maybe a little self promotion here but you need someone to project manage this from start to launch and post-launch. Choose an agency that has history of building sites on multiple platforms but especially WordPress. Ask them to show you their previous work and to raise any issues or items throughout the process where they may benefit from knowing.
STEP 2: Prep your site
They don't tell you this but we've learned form the past. Notify your internal steakholders that you will be "freezing" your site changes. You may find a nightmare after launch if you have two versions of your site, in different states of content. This may include blog content, which is not the end of the world and you could migrate later if needed, but keep this in mind.
Step 3: Submit your site to migrations team
The site you want to migrate must be live on the internet so that the migrations team can access the site. HubSpot will review your site for any features, designs, or functionality that cannot be migrated to HubSpot’s COS. If your website is able to be migrated, you will receive a link to your website review with specific notes about expected changes during the migration process and terms.
Important Note: I cannot stress enough, you may not be able to bring all of your functionality over to HubSpot but PLEASE don't let that deter you from a move. You may have to give up some things to get on their great platform and that is OK. Ask yourself how you'll manage a video gallery, or your events schedule or anything else you think you can't live without. Speak to others in the office and decide what can go or how you can replace it. It will be worth the move, I promise.
If you approve of the changes and terms, you'll confirm by filling out the form on the website review page. This will alert your Account Manager or Partner Agency to send you the authorization link to fill out and then they can begin your migration project.
Step 4: Hubspot places you in their queue
A typical completion time for a full website migration is from 10-21 days, depending on the site's complexity and size, as well as total number of projects to process. HubSpot maintains an internal queue of migrations-to-be-completed, so we're able to estimate (but not guarantee) a finish date for your migration job.
Step 5: Hubspot developer begins and completes your site migration
A HubSpot technician will begin by producing the template layouts and style. Once these are prepared, they will begin to recreate your pages on the HubSpot COS.
Their goal is to replicate your site as closely as possible on HubSpot’s COS, less any agreed-upon changes. From my experience, at the start of the project, all the way to the completion phases, they do an outstanding job at mimicking the functionality of your current site on the HubSpot COS platform.
Step 6: Hubspot QA Phase
I cannot speak to their QA process but I've found it very thorough. When the migration technician completes the migration, the technical services team will be notified and begin to examine your migrated website. They'll be looking to see that pages were migrated, if things look generally as expected, and they will test the site's responsive design.
If edits are required, they will send to the appropriate parties to make updates. When it is ready, they will notify the you and your partner agency.
Step 7: Client QA Phase
Check over your website migration in your HubSpot portal at Content > Website Pages, Landing Pages, and/or Blog. Because of your deep familiarity with your own website, you may find errors, omissions, or items that don't work as expected. I even asked for a few "favors" and the team was more than willing to make some simple changes for me. Your email notification will provide a link to report any issues with the migration.
Here are some great resources from HubSpot for you to use to make sure you do your i's and cross your t's:
- How to review your full site migration
- How to review your HubSpot template setup
- How to review your COS Blog migration
Step 8: Pre-Launch Checklist
While instinctively you are most likely going to want to make many changes to your site at this point. Why you ask, because on HubSpot's COS, unlike WordPress, you cannot "break" anything.
- Set up your form actions on all migrated forms
While HubSpot will replace your old forms with theirs, you still need to make sure they are wired to send to your recipients and that workflows are in place. Navigate to each form on your site and edit the actions the form takes after someone submits. You can add email addresses to be notified of submissions, Salesforce Campaigns, thank you messages or pages, and any email responses for those submitting.
- Re-install any tracking codes (e.g. Google Analytics)
Their migration process does not including moving external tracking codes. Please copy over any that you wish to continue using on HubSpot according to these steps.
- Exclude your own traffic from analytics
Make sure to exclude your own traffic so you get the best possible measurement of your visits, leads, and customers in HubSpot’s analytics. Read the step-by-step instructions here.
- Set up your Blog Options and social media accounts
You’ll want to configure your blog and social media settings before you start publishing any new content.
5. Confirm your Domain Settings
Here is a list of items you cannot forget to complete. They include:
- Upload your Favicon
- Set your location and time zone
- Upload your default logo
- Setup your email sending domain
- Setup your free SSL
Taking your site live unlocks a ton of new functionality in HubSpot -- so now is a great time to learn more about it. Whether you are working with Calibrate Brands, a HubSpot employee, or within HubSpot Academy, you're ready to start doing inbound marketing with a passion.
You can see the success of our latest migration below. The photo on the left is on WordPress and the photo on the right is on HubSpot COS (red bars are from screen grab tool).
What HubSpot COS Cannot Do
Below are some examples of content types and features that HubSpot cannot migrate:
- Database-driven pages
- Login or members-only section
- Flash websites, Flash navigation, and Flash with embedded links/multiple files associated
- Blog comments
- Progressive, multi-step forms
- Most ecommerce functionality
- Dealer locators
- Real estate listings
- Calculators and other gizmos that use server-side scripts (some JS widgets may be possible)
- Most ads (many require server-side access to drive the ad networks)
- Video files that are not .swf (.flv, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, etc.)
- User-generated content (forums, ratings, etc.)
There are ways to work around some of these features listed above. Let us know if you would like some clarity or if you'd like us to evaluate your site.
Moving to HubSpot COS could be the best move you do for your web site and business in 2017. While a HubSpot migration should not be thought of as a "redesign", it will fit for businesses that are looking for a new and stable platform to move to, as well as someone looking for the other great features in HubSpot and CRM.
If you'd like to speak to our team about a move to HubSpot and what our perfomance driven design methodology is.