Migrating a Website to Wordpress - August 1, 2014

global clients

After reading all about those hard working Shane's out across the pond, I thought it would be best to share some of our state side success stories as well.

We were contracted out from our old time pal Steve White at ScreenPlay Productions Inc, in Dallas, Texas. Their client, Horizontal Solutions International, needed a full website conversion.

They were using Orchid, a content management system (CMS), to make periodic updates to the website. But some of the problems that they were running into included:

  1. No access to modifying the meta data so important to search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. An archaic event calendar that would not allow a user to insert an event earlier than a previous event. Basically forcing them to rewrite the entire calendar with each new event.
  3. A code heavy set up with little control for the average non-technical users to perform simple update and content addition tasks.

The solution was to migrate the site to Wordpress, a CMS with thousands of plug-ins and a community of users that are constantly adding new features that your average person finds intuitive.

Of course Wordpress is a blogging software and not really intended as a HTML editor, so there were challenges. We overcame these initial challenges by creating a custom Theme that eliminated most of the blog features from the site. In about a week we had our new site a mirror to the original, but now we had access to the SEO plug-in by Yoast.

global clients

Working with Yoast we began to work to enhance our clickability with search engines, each page was reviewed for content, certain pages were merged together, while others were deleted outright when we noticed duplicate content.

And after another week we had our site looking great, both to humans and Google bots. So that was when we took it to the next level, we made the site fully responsive. Using media queries we were able to give users on mobile devices a great viewing experience, while keeping load times down.

global clients

So did any of that SEO optimizing do any good? I am very proud to say that while the production site was only on our server for a month, Google had us listed in the top 20 searches for the clients key search terms. There were no external links pointing to our site, no social media discussions shares or like, solely based on content and best practices our production environment was already ahead of companies that have been online for years.

So a lesson learned, always include a nofollow in the header of your production server. But what a rush to see such a great payoff in such a small amount of time.


In the end it was such a great project, my first experience working with Wordpress which, while not completely sold on all of it's benefits, I can say that for a non technical user it does offer an array of high end abilities that can allow a company to maintain a site that before would have required a full time web developer.