Convert HTML to WordPress

This is the second post I have written on this topic, the first post was Convert Static HTML Site to WordPress Easily. In that first post I covered a very simple way to convert a static HTML site to WordPress.

After almost 2 years of answering questions on that post I thought it was time to discuss the issue again.

I have done a dozen or so conversions since that post and I have found that some sites really need to take a fresh start approach to get the best result. The main reason for this is that a lot of older HTML sites are built with outdated techniques and WordPress has made some great advancements.

On these sites I create a sub folder for the WordPress install, such as /wp. This gives us designated area to work and learn WordPress without interfering with the original design. The hardest task may be getting a theme to match your original design, but I would suggest taking this time to update your original design. There are so many good WordPress Themes this should not be a problem. Once your theme is in place you can copy and paste your original content to the new install matching the page names. Depending on your original file extensions you may need to set the permalinks in WordPress.

Once this development is complete it is easy to change the Site address (URL) in WordPress to show the new site in the root. (Make sure to backup the original first!) Here is the link from the WordPress Admin panel that explains this.

If you need to learn WordPress and want to take a little time without being pressured to get the new site in place this is the best option I have found.




28 thoughts on “Convert HTML to WordPress

  1. Great article, David.

    The information in your first article was very useful to me, and combining that information with what you said above, I can already see where this is going to be useful. I have a regular HTML website with a WordPress-driven blog, and want to turn the whole thing into a WordPress site. This article answers the question that I had about getting that done. Thanks so much!

  2. We have a huge mess going at this point, with various platforms for both blogging and website design. WordPress was my first thought for blog building, but the other business owners were already locked into a Yahoo! merchant account, which remained quite antiquated until recently, when they (Yahoo!) moved to make an option for existing merchant account holders. Therefore, once I found this out, I began the process of building a small blog for one of the branches of the business.

    Pressed for time (no pun intended,) and, with a then, current, prohibiting by Yahoo! of upgrading to the latest WP version, I opted to hard code the whole thing in basic HTML. It looks ok, but now, the owner finally wants to add a new post, and now the merchant account finally urges upgrading to the latest WP version (currently 2.8.4 to 3.0.2) meaning there’s a better chance to integrate a cool theme to the whole thing… finally. Which sent me looking on what’s to be needed to make this happen, without a lot of hassle, and without risk of losing the existing hard-coded pages of the original blog. That’s how I found your helpful pages. Thanks for sharing them.

    Now, if I can only figure out how your info will assist me in converting this WP blog into something much nicer for the owner. Of course, that does nothing for the Joomla site, or the huge setup of the granddaddy of all sites for the business, already in place, but completely not ready for prime time viewing.

    Did I mention it was all a huge mess?

    Thanks again, and hopefully I can implement your strategies to make this WP move to a new theme as painless as possible.

    1. Your story is all to familiar to me. I do web design and just popped in to this post because I like to check out what’s written here.

      This is what (i think) you should do based on the info you posted:

      You should move everything over to wordpress OR everything over to a shopping cart that has a CMS built in. Using is basically puposely limiting yourself.. you need to sign up for hosting and install wordpress on your server so you have ultimate control over the install. Once you have an installation of wordpress the sky is the limit to what you can do with that site.

      It is not hard at all to move from a to a self hosted wordpress install. There is a “content dump” in the “export” tab under tools. You just export and then after the wordpress install you import into the new one. Once you have your content imported you find a theme or hire someone to custom develop a theme for you.

      IF you have no intentions of actually blogging and just want a CMS for static page content that might need occasional updates, you can totally do an ecommerce solution which gives you a GREAT amount of control over your products but you loose a little control over the CMS side..but if you arent doing a lot of content changing you wont even notice it.

      1. Your idea is correct if moving from (not is where you can host on their servers with limited WordPress capabilities.

        My post is in reference to working with only Self Hosted WordPress sites. My apologies for any confusion.

    1. Yes, that is correct. However, while developing set the site to NOT be crawled by search engines.

      Under General Settings->Privacy set the selection “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors” to ON.

      This will let you work, without the search engines crawling those pages until you switch it and turn this off.

  3. Ok, this whole thing is confusing me. Is it possible to ask you some questions via email? I have a site I am trying to convert to WP, but it is not working. I tried a converter that cost $10. It looked Ok but the menu bar would not work correctly, nor would it go where it was supposed to.

    I tried a tutorial on themefoundry and that was all FUBARED and no images showed up. I tried your version using the hybrid theme and it did a kind of half & half thing. No background colors or images showed up, it was all left aligned, but some of the styling showed up.

    I really need some help. Please?

  4. hi David, I’ve read your post and also read many post against conversation, so can you please tell me the prices for html or psd conversation to wp. actually i’m belong to design company and ever require to conversation into WordPress with some attractive plugin to make this beautiful.

  5. Hi David, I stumbled onto this site as most of others did. I have a similar situation where I have an old HTML site with over 100 pages. We decided to move everything onto a new wordpress site, with a new design altogether – we don’t care for the old site design:). My question is, if I transfer all the content over manually, do I use a 301 ReDirect Plugin to make sure all the old links from google will direct properly? Do you have a simple solution for this? Do I have to redirect every page link manually? Thanks so much.

    1. There are several solutions.

      If you name the new pages the same as the old and only the extension changes then it is easy to make a couple minor adjustments to the .htaccess.

      If your pages get renamed different, then you can use a plugin or do it manually with redirects.

      Or you could use a plugin to make the extension the same, name the pages identical and then no redirect is needed.

  6. Hey David, I hope you might be able to answer a question for me. My website is about 15 years old, all HTML, and I have updated it with a new WordPress installation in a sub folder of the root directory.

    I went through the process as stated in the WP codex of changing the URL of the WP site to the root directory. Everything went fine, and the site operated properly.

    I put 301 redirects for the pages of the old site in a .htaccess file (the new site’s pages were named differently).

    However, I am unable to do a redirect for the old index.html file. I have tried a variety of solutions through googling the issue, to no avail.

    My question is, can I just delete the index.html file? Or is there another way to do this? Thanks for your input!

  7. DUDE come on… YOu have stated just one small technique to converting html sites to wordpress. CMS. In fact when being handed a complete web page with html and css (static site) you are forced to make a complete theme from scratch. I think your making it sound easier then it is. Each website is different thus requires learning the core foundations of wordpress like the main loop, theming, templates, and etc.. THis post is mis leading and is a waste of time. Please stop stating the obvious. Obviously, wordpress developers are trying to keep their techniques of converting a complete static website into a wordpress site a secret.. I’ve read books and read many tutorials. No one really shows a complete wordpress site from the ground up.

    1. As with everything on the Internet, your skill level, or lack of, comes in to play. I have people who have used this to help them accomplish their goal, and others who need help beyond this.

      I always find it interesting how negative comments are posted with fake email accounts and names, why is that?

  8. Hi David

    Just made a note of your two articles on converting HTML to wordpress as I have a couple of sites to do

    1 should be simple just 3 or 4 pages and the second one I suspect will be more complex due to it’s size
    but needs doing none the less

    Thanks for sharing


    1. If you want to use an extension like .htm on WordPress pages, you can use a plugin.

      However, for SEO it is better to go with the WordPress “[postname]” permalink and then do redirects from the old .htm pages.

      1. Thanks for the reply David, was looking for a way to convert site that has .htm file extensions without the need for 301 redirects – is this possible do you know?

        1. As I mentioned, yes, if you use a plugin. By default WordPress does not use an extension on pages. You can set the permalink to .htm for posts, but for pages you will have to use a plugin.

  9. Where is the second post instructions , i dont see it , i read your first post and instructions but where is the 2nd ?

    1. Yes, I use this process alot to convert sites. If you want to send me details of the error, use the Contact form and I will be glad to see if I can tell you what the problem is.

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