Blaugust 2022 – Moving from WordPress to HTML – Simply Static
Posted on August 4, 2022 by Aywren
Today I’m going to jump into documenting the process I took to move my WordPress.com blog to a static HTML site – the one you’re looking at right now. This is a HUGE undertaking only made possible by the fact that I really enjoy hand-coding HTML as it was and is a hobby since the old Geocities days! Folks who aren’t as familiar with coding HTML or don’t enjoy a big overhaul project probably shouldn’t try this at home.
The first step to moving my blog from WordPress.com was exporting all of the content, which I talked about here.
The second step was importing this content into a self-hosted WordPress blog. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but this was required due to the fact that my paid package at WordPress.com did not allow for plugins.
If you already have a self-hosted WordPress, then you’re good to go. Because what I used to convert my content was a free plugin called Simply Static.
To install and run it, I had to have a self-hosted version of my blog. Thankfully, at the time, I had access to a HostGator hosting account that allows for WordPress installation and self-hosting.
Once I imported that content to the new blog, I installed Simply Static. I also tried to install the most bare-bones free WordPress theme because I knew I’d have to be removing all the theme code to put my own website code in its place. The less cleanup the better (spoiler – it was still a LOT of clean up).
Installing this plugin puts a Simply Static item in your WordPress administrator menu. Clicking that takes you to the HTML export controls. Check out the official website if you’re interested in more technical information about the plugin.
My blog is pretty hefty, so it took several hours for the HTML export to complete.
Once it’s done, you can download a zip file of all of your posts and pages. Keep in mind, this does not include the media files – that’s why it’s super important to export your media from your WordPress!
The folder you get looks something like this.
Because WordPress organized my blog by year and then by month, each year has a folder. Each of these folders have folders within them for the month. And each month has folders within them for the day. So it’s a pretty structural export.
For example, this is a post I wrote back in 2021 about Valheim.
You can see the folder structure at the top, and the post itself is an index.html file.
When I open that file, however, I get something that looks like this…
This is an HTML page that is missing its stylesheet and images. The words and basic formatting are all there for the post content, but I have to then go in and put styling around it, upload the images, and make sure pictures and links are pointing where they should.
And I have to do this for every blog post.
So yes! It’s a lot of work to make this move. Of course, this is a very non-technical post about the process - sorry for no how-to, I'd think that would be boring. Tomorrow I’ll talk more about templating and the systems that I built to make my blog work!