Wix is a visual website builder designed to create simple and relatively complex websites. However, there are some non-obvious but long-term problems that Wix users encounter after creating and launching their website.
In the beginning, the site might work great and look absolutely normal but when the time comes to slightly improve and expand its functionality, or make changes to some of its components, Wix users start experiencing many difficulties. They end up frustrated by the inflexible nature of WIX and take the final decision to transfer their site to WordPress CMS. Nevertheless, such a transfer is not an easy task for a regular user with no experience in IT. In addition to that, the maintenance and usage of a WordPress site is quite different from that of WIX, but the most important things that many users consider before transferring their site, are the awesome final results they get and the benefits that WordPress offers to its users due to its flexibility.
In this article, we will try to expose the main differences between these Platforms and guide you on how to transfer a site from Wix to WordPress independently.
Key Differences between Wix and WordPress
As we explained in our article on website builders, WIX is software or set of tools built by IT specialists with a view to helping people who have no experience in web development, build their own websites. WIX is easy to use in the sense that it offers the possibility to just drag and drop some of its inbuilt templates to create a good looking website. However, the look of a website should not be the only concern. Attention should also be drawn to the long-term performance of the site, its maintenance, and efficiency as it grows. For this reason, WIX unfortunately, does not seem to be the appropriate platform since it shows several limitations.
To bypass those limitations, WIX users have to desperately update their subscriptions on a regular basis so that they can meet the evolving needs of their sites. Yet many stay unsatisfied as they are not given an option to have full control over their are sites and manage them as they would like.
Unlike Wix, WordPress is ideal for full-featured online resources, from business cards to catalogues, online store or portal. This content management system allows you to make a website for almost any need. We do not claim that WordPress is the perfect solution for 100% in all situations, as certain web services and web applications will require web development from scratch. But to meet the needs of most business owners, WordPress’s business projects will be more than enough.
Now, what about the owners of websites that were created using the Wix designer and now require the expansion of functions and migration to a different platform? If those websites have been in existence for a long time, then they surely occupy a certain position in the search engine and also have an audience. Therefore, their owners would not want to start it all from zero by creating a new WordPress site.
For those owners, it is possible to move their sites from WIX to WordPress but since WIX does not allow direct data export, a lot of work needs to be done in order to achieve this. It is important to know that this process can take more or less time depending on the size of the website to be transferred.
Another important point to take into account is the fact that, it’s impossible to move a whole template from WIX to WordPress. So usually users who transfer, either select ready-made WordPress themes or hire freelancers and web design agencies to design the same old template, if not a unique one that highlights their company’s brand.
Fortunately, there are a lot of free templates in the wordpress.org catalogue for any for any kind of business and finding a theme similar to the old one might simplify the process significantly.
However, if there is a need to apply the exact theme used on WIX then there is no other way than to hire a professional because the Website database on WIX will be inaccessible.
Things to remember before you start the transfer
As we said earlier in this article, one of the main difficulties in transferring a site from Wix is the complete lack of access to the site database. This causes the difficulty of transferring content. If your site has several hundred pages, manual word wrap can take an incredibly long time. In addition, limited disk space for a database in Wix can lead to problems when extracting single pages from the archive.
Transferring a template from Wix to WordPress is not possible. Most likely, the theme on the WordPress site will be different from the one that you used in Wix.
Please note that an attempt to recreate the most similar object may lead to copyright infringement.
In this situation, you can either use the most similar/appropriate theme for your needs from the WordPress repository or order the development of a theme or template from scratch. To do this, you can ask for help from an experienced freelancer.
Note: Domain transfer from Wix is possible only if you are the owner of a premium Wix subscription. To install 301 redirects, in the Wix editor you need to go to the advanced SEO settings. After installing the redirection, be sure to test the correctness of its work.
Step-by-step instructions on how to transfer website from Wix to WordPress
Note. The Migration of websites described in this article implies that you have a hosting provider for the WordPress website.
In essence, moving a site from Wix to WordPress means manually copying content from one system to another. This should not be a very complicated process for websites made of 20 – 30 pages. However, for a more voluminous website, considering an automatic transfer approach will be a better idea.
The main advantage of the manual transfer is the complete control of what is happening. You will be completely sure that all content has been transferred without errors and that the structure of the site has been preserved.
Follow these steps (manual transfer):
Select a similar template in WordPress
When installing a template or theme, pay attention to the location of the main blocks and functionality that is provided by the WordPress theme. If the reason for the transfer of the site from Wix was a lack of website functions, immediately select a topic that will provide you with all the necessary functionalities. On the other hand, if there is no theme that suits the bill for you, try reproducing your old theme by hiring a web a freelancer or a web design agency. Designing a theme is not expensive and in the end, you get a set of custom functions that satisfy the narrowly-targeted needs of your web resource.
Create pages or entries for the site by copying and formatting content.
Depending on what content you plan to add to the site, in the WordPress menu, select “Posts” or “Pages” Then click on the link “Add new”.
All the content of your site might contain images and icons and coping the images from Wix to your WordPress site for commercial purposes outside Wix, will be an illegal act. So it is recommended not to copy those images. If you have no option to see the original images, right-click on the picture and select “source code” or “inspect source code”. This feature is available in all modern browsers.
Once the source code page appears, look for the picture you want to save. You should see a file with extension “.png” (name of the picture with “.png” at the end). Again, right-click that file and select “Open in a new tab”. The image will open in a new tab and now in the usual way, you can save the image by clicking on the right button and selecting Save As …
Unfortunately, this is the most time-consuming, but effective method to save all the images and icons from the old site.
Now that you have saved all the pictures from your old site to the computer. A convenient editor can allow you to format all the content of the page anytime you want. If you are using WordPress 5.0, “Gutenberg” is an editor that can help you.
Edit the internal links of the website
If the content on your Wix site contained links to other internal pages of the site, they also need to be edited in accordance with the new structure of your WordPress site. And the easiest way to carry out this operation is to transfer all major pages first, and then add the links to specific internal pages.
Creating a menu to navigate the site:
Now that all content has been migrated from Wix to WordPress, you need to provide your users with easy access to it. To do this, you must create menu navigation on the website. This is a very simple process, especially if you already have a ready-made menu structure for the future. In the administrative panel of the site, select “Appearance“, then “Menus” and add the necessary pages.
To finally place your “Menu” on the site, click “Manage with Live Preview” and choose where you would like to place it.
Customize the site’s functionalities
Probably your website on Wix contained certain functionalities like the ability to place a call or to be contacted via Skype, the ability to comment on specific pages or notes, calendars, calculators, etc. If you want to activate all these functionalities on WordPress, you will have to find similar plugins and widgets in the WordPress repository, or order the development of custom plugins, in case those in WordPress do not suit your taste.
Is it possible to automate the transfer?
In case your site consists of a large number of pages and a manual transfer is not possible, do an automated transfer by using plugins such as CMS2CMS and Bulk Page Creator. You can automate if not all, then at least part of the transfer process, it will save you a lot of time with a fairly reasonable cost for this service.
Keep in mind that CMS2CMS, might not be able to transfer all the content according to your expectations, as some errors could occur.
WordPress provides an excellent opportunity to use posts imported from Wix in the form of RSS feeds. But this approach is only possible if you use an older version of Wix because the new version does not support the RSS feed. Please note that this approach only allows a transfer of records, not the pages. Pages will still need to be transferred manually. Therefore, the use of this method is beneficial only for sites that consist mainly of records, not pages.
First, you need to find and open your Wix RSS news feed. To do this, add the URL of your site at the end of “/feed.xml“. For example, your site is “yourolddomain.com”, then the address will look like “yourolddomain.com/feed.xml” or “yourolddomain.com/feed”.Once the page has loaded, right-click on it and select “Save As” and save this file on your computer as a simple text document. Then open in the admin panel of your WordPress “Tools”, “Import”. Find the import entries from the RSS feeds in the list and click “Install” and then “Start Import”.
In some cases, an error may occur when importing an RSS feed, which is related to the volume of imported data. In this case, it is necessary to divide the contents of the text file into several files.
An automatic import of images from the old site can also speed up the process of moving the site from Wix to WordPress significantly. For these purposes, you must use the plugin, for example, “Import external images” It automatically scans the source of the page and copies the links to the images, copies the images to the new site and changes their URLs.
Redirecting visitors to a new website can also be automated using the convenient redirect plugin, which is used to set up redirects 301 and correctly handle 404 errors.
Note! After manually or automatically transferring a site from Wix to WordPress, you should definitely check the pages for “broken links“. Use the “Broken Link Checker” plugin, which will notify you in case some links on your web site are not working.
Also, do not forget about the possibility to order the transfer of the website from freelancers or from web agencies. Of course, this service is paid, but the advantages are obvious: First you get a full-fledged WordPress site without errors and mistakes. Second, it really saves you a great deal of time.