Four Key Steps to Migrating from HubSpot to WordPress

Migrating from HubSpot to WordPress requires know-how and attention to detail. Let’s look at the four key steps along with two big questions.

The first step is to learn about your site and your requirements.

There are four major elements a migration could include:

  1. Content
  2. Design
  3. 301 Redirects
  4. DNS updates and other “Go Live” steps

Let’s look at each of the four migration elements.

Content Migration components:

  1. Move blog posts
  2. Move blog comments
  3. Move blog media – images, videos, sound  and other file types including PDFs
  4. Move meta data – including descriptions and titles
  5. Move forms
  6. Move CTA’s (calls-to-action)
  7. Move 3rd party scripts – including analytics, Exact Target, SalesForce and so on

Your project may also include all of the above. Or you may be moving pages, rather than posts, or even both.

Since HubSpot provides no FTP nor database access to your content we have written custom scripts to capture your content. We then convert it all to the WordPress format. Ultimately all migrated content is stored locally in WordPress. You won’t have images or any other content residing on HubSpot and simply linking to it from WordPress. This is because when you finally cancel your HubSpot account and the site is closed then those links would break. We avoid that entire issue by moving and storing all content locally in WordPress. The exceptions are standard content types that get linked out to such as YouTube videos and links to other sites.

The design element of the migration project may involve:

  1. Duplicating your current design by building a custom WordPress theme to match
  2. Tweaking or improving your current design
  3. Creating a completely new design from scratch to your specifications
  4. Using a design that you provide.

The duplicated designs often provoke client comments like, “I can’t tell the difference” or “It looks even better”.

Be sure that your favico.ico gets moved as well so that you have your logo shining brightly on the browser tab.

All HubSpot migration projects require 301 Redirects.

This server code ensures that the search engines and the visitors following existing links continue to find your website or blog posts on WordPress long after you have cancelled your HubSpot account. Some clients do these themselves, but they are usually other agencies or developers.

A typical HubSpot blog URL might look like this –

http://info.MyDomainName.com/blog/87653/my-blog-post/

After you move onto the WordPress platform your new posts will no longer include /blog/87653/ because that is not how WordPress creates permalinks. To be consistent going forward we will convert all of your blog posts or pages to WordPress safe URLs.  So that the search engines and inbound links don’t get confused or broken, we then create 301 Permanent Redirects. 301 Permanent Redirects are custom written code typically on your hosting server that redirect traffic from the old post to the new post. It is as simple as that.

In this case the final URL might be

http://MyDomain.com/my-blog-post/

Dropping the sub-domain info and the /blog/87653/ make your URL shorter and easier to read, which is great.

We typically perform the content and design migration work on our server so that your HubSpot site or blog is unaffected during the move. You can keep writing great content and we will move it. Although, it is true that some clients pause their publishing (not their writing) for half a week to focus on the migration.

Another benefit of using our server is that both the Development and Live sites are available for comparison which makes the approval process pretty smooth and clear.

After you approve the migration work the next step is updating the DNS and then to “Go Live”.

In most cases our clients handle this themselves. But we can still describe it here because we have helped many clients with this.

The Domain Name Servers (DNS) control Internet traffic. These are the sign posts on the Internet that allow visitors to find your site. To complete your migration the DNS needs to updated from pointing towards HubSpot to instead now point to your new self-hosted WordPress installation. We  provide hosting to many migration clients or can offer suggestions for special requirements.

The DNS is often controlled at the same place that you registered your domain name. It can also be controlled at your web host. In fact, we have seen many clients that hosted their blog on HubSpot while retaining their site on another host. And in some cases their email on a third host. All of these factors need to be taken into account. At the location where the authoritative DNS is controlled the A Record pointing to the HubSpot servers will be removed or edited and replaced with the IP Address pointing to your new WordPress host. You will want to be sure that DNS authority is not shifted and that MX Records (email) are adjusted or maintained as the case may require.

After the DNS settings are adjusted they will take effect over a possible range of time from an hour to two days depending on what time of day the change was made, the TTL (time to live), your ISP (Internet Service Provide), where you are located and other factors that you have no control over. So, be patient. You may see the change before someone in another state or country. But the project is not over, yet.

The next step is to visit the site, fill out the forms, login to analytics, verify transactions and run a link checker. Perform all of the quality checks that are needed to ensure there are no surprises for visitors or those running the site or blog. It is important to review the error logs to ensure that the 301 Redirects are functioning as expected and that no new 404 error messages  being generated. We are happy to monitor a site for 4-6 six days at your request to ensure that the migration is flawless.

Migration Project requirements:

The first is to look over your HubSpot site. We want to see how clean the code is, how many pages or posts there are and how complex the site design is. If you are using 14 unique calls-to-action on different posts and pages it will be a lot more work to replicate than if there is just one at the bottom of each page.

No CMS behaves perfectly. Maybe your site figured out how to make invalid HTML or stored an image 250+ directories deep (yes we saw that in one project) or has improperly formatted HTML leading to lots more work in the migration. These edge cases are uncommon, but they have occurred on client migration projects.

Login information that includes the URL (where to login), username and password is the biggest requirement.

  1. HubSpot login
  2. WordPress login
  3. Hosting login
  4. FTP login
  5. Database login, usually though phpMyAdmin
  6. Domain name account login

How Long Does a HubSpot Migration Take?

Although we don’t encourage it, we have had clients call us and say that their HubSpot account will expire in two days, can we help? Yes, we can. At a minimum we can capture your content quickly and then work on recreating your site in the days following. We work for a week or more on the typical migration. When we move 240,000+ posts those projects take three months. While the smallest project so far was 8 posts the average is around 150-200 posts.  With good planning we can certainly meet your schedule whatever it might be.

Is that all? Well, no. Typically a migration project improves a web site as a matter of course. Broken links are discovered and repaired. Misaligned content types are aligned. Powerful WordPress plugins are installed and configured. Page load speed and rankings in the search engines may improve. And of course your bank account should be feeling stronger each month that you are no longer funding HubSpot. Take those funds and hire a copy writer, search marketer, conversion rate optimization specialist, UX designer or PPC pro and improve your website or blog every month. We are happy to help get you started in the right direction.

Please offer any questions or suggestions in the comments below.

This entry was posted in Blog-Move. Bookmark the permalink.

3 thoughts on “Four Key Steps to Migrating from HubSpot to WordPress

  1. I had a quick question. What if the domain name changes AND we’re leaving Hubspot. What is the best way to set up 301 redirects for, let’s say,

    blog.olddomain.com/post-name => blog.newdomain.com/post-name

    if we were leaving Hubspot? Should we point the oldomain to somewhere else to host the .htaccess file so that we can set up some mass redirects?

    1. The location of the redirects remains the same, on your new server. The redirects will also have additional components, like /blog/58482/ being removed from the URL because the HubSpot and WordPress CMSs do not use the same URL structure. It is up to you whether you want the blog to remain on a subdomain or not. Shoot me an email or call me if you have more questions. Happy to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *