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How to do a Business Catalyst to WordPress Migration

 

If you are using Business Catalyst for your website, you would no doubt be aware that in March 2018 Adobe announced that it'll discontinue this product in 2021. For many BC fans, this was very upsetting, but it also left many businesses wondering "then now what?" For many, the reason they chose Business Catalyst was its holistic approach and lesser likelihood to be hacked.

Although there are countless CMS options out there now, many of our clients have chosen to revisit the biggest website software platform on the planet, trying to avoid any further "sneaky surprises". To assist them in planning a Business Catalyst to WordPress migration, we have put together this list.

Here is our guide to transferring your Business Catalyst site to Wordpress

1. Determine if its a straight migration or a new build

Most of our initial conversations with clients revolve around whether you should migrate the existing design over to WordPress or use the opportunity to deliver a new website. Both options have their merits but often there is a cost-effective opportunity to upgrade your website's design at the same time as migrating.

2. Plan the new structure of the site

For many, this is the first time that they have looked at their website in quite a while. While our business goes through changes, our website often doesn't keep up. Thus, it's important that you take the time to revise (where necessary) the structure of your site. Make sure it aligns with your business goals, vision and customer experience.

3. Create a "love" and "hate" list

This is more relevant to simple migrations but is something everyone should consider. There is nothing worse than transferring "bug bears" from your old website into a new site. In some cases, it could make your site even worse. Before speaking to a website developer, create a "love" and "hate" list of your current Business Catalyst website.

4. Back-up your data and lists

To avoid the frustration of losing vital customer data, make sure you back-up your data and lists. Business Catalyst allows you to do this quite easy via the report generator and CSV export. This will ensure that you not only have backed up data, but you also have a file that is easy to import into your new site if required.

5. Choose your development partner

I know that having to do this is painful. You were stable with the existing provider and now you have been forced to switch. We get it, we are having these conversations on the daily. The last thing you want to do though is prolong this pain with a poor choice of a website developer. The new developer must know both the Business Catalyst system and the WordPress system to allow a fast, seamless migration. Be sure to also ask them for references.

6. Plan your website security

Switching to the biggest web content platform on the planet comes with pros and cons. One of the biggest cons is that it’s the CMS where hackers get the most impact. With your migration from Business Catalyst to WordPress, it is important that you step-up your security. Ensure you have SSL compliance as well as something like Cloudflare for an extra level of security.

7. Ensure search consistency

With any website switch, you need to notify Google that you have a new site. Make sure your developer is migrating your metadata as well as performing any necessary 301 redirects from old links to your new site. This will minimise the damage to any search rankings that you may have already.

8. Smoothly transition and shut-down old accounts

When you finally come to point the domain to your new website, ensure that you take the time to clean up your old accounts. It sounds obvious, but due to the way Business Catalyst works, the account will continue to charge you in the live environment. This is even though the account isn't currently live. Ensure all logins, products and customer data is across and functional before giving the green light to transfer the domain name from BC to WordPress.

9. Use the opportunity to advertise

With any site that goes live (whether it's an exact copy or not), we recommend to our clients that you use it as an opportunity to communicate with your base. Use the news of your site launching and imagery of your new site to drive traffic back to your site and re-engage your audience.

We hope this checklist helps you in the process of planning for your migration to Wordpress. Remember any update to your website should be considered a new conversation with your client - keep authentic and relevant. Good luck!

 

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