Migrating WordPress: Yea, There's a Plugin for That

migrating WordPress

How difficult is it to migrate a WordPress site? It’s not.

Russell Heimlich managed to explain import/export from a WordPress site plus how WP content is organized, potential problems you might run into during migration, solutions to those problems and how to import from other CMS. All this was covered (plus questions) in less than an hour at the WordPress DC Meetup.

It’s all covered in Heimlich’s Migrating WordPress presentation.

Migrating an existing WP site is easy – you go to Tools and export your existing site. And then import it into your new site. Even myself, with just a basic knowledge of HTML and fear of all things database, was able to figure it out.

And this being WordPress, there are plugins for everything else you could want to do, from exporting your widgets to doing a massive find and replace on your new site. There are even plugins and other tools for importing from other CMS like Drupal.

WP is #1 in usability and the backend is easy to navigate as well. Why the whole world doesn’t use WordPress is a mystery to me…

Usability Testing – Kill Your Darlings

Last night was another interesting monthly WordPressDC Meetup. This time, the topic was on, “Users: Understanding and making features for them.”

Evan Solomon gave a really interesting presentation on usability testing for wordpress.com. His slides don’t really do justice to his talk, which was filled with anecdotes on improving the usability of the WordPress home page. The objective was to increase sign-ups for this blogging service. They performed A/B testing using Optimizely. This type of testing is where you present half of users one version of your web page (the A version) and the other half another version (the B version). You then measure which page does better.

In the case of wordpress.com, the simpler version did better. Less text, fewer buttons and more white space meant more sign-ups. Evan said that there was a lot of interesting items on the original home page, things that the team really liked. But they got rid of them because they didn’t perform as well as the simple page.

There are a couple of lessons here:

  1. Simple is always better. Think Google or Apple – it’s about taking things out. People who work on web sites should read Strunk & White: The Elements of Style. It’s a little book about grammar but its lessons on clear, concise writing are directly applicable to web content.
  2. Listen to users. There’s a lot of resistance toward usability testing within organizations. They don’t want to give people what they want – they cling to the broadcast model of “we’ll tell you what we want you to know,” as if there’s not a billion other web sites out there.

There’s a saying among writers that you must “kill your darlings.” That means take out the florid passages that you love but don’t help the reader. Do the same with your web site.