If you haven’t heard already, Microsoft isn’t including Office Live Small Business (OLSB) in it’s new Office 365 service. That means websites that were built using OLSB are going to disappear on May 1st. If you hope to just migrate your website from Office Live, it’s not possible. OLSB is a proprietary platform. Yet there are some tools you can use if you are familiar with HTML to make the job a little easier.
WordPress is an excellent alternative platform to build your website on. The number of themes available are impressive. Here are some tips you can use to make the transition to WordPress relatively painless.
Install Web Developer Tool Bar in Firefox. This will allow you to view the css style sheet that Office Live used for your website and copy it. It will also give you access to the source HTML from your Office Live website. This can be useful if you have included formatting that you like.
Notepad++ is another essential tool. It will make cleaning up Microsoft’s messy code a lot easier. It is open source.
1. Choose a theme that gives you the option to have a similar layout if you want to preserve the look and feel of your Office Live website.
2. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings. Click on Permalinks. Select “Post name” so your URLs are search engine friendly. You can edit the URL so it remains the same as the old URL for the page you are moving to WordPress if you choose this option.
3. Look at your existing OLSB site structure. Create pages for each of the tabs you have on your Office Live site. Make sure you use the same URL as the old page. Some themes order pages by default by the time you enter them, so start adding pages from the bottom navigation tab (or tab farthest to the right). If you have two monitors, keep your Office Live website open on one monitor and your WordPress site open on the other. Otherwise switch between sites.
4. After you have created a new page in WordPress, go back to that page in Office Live. Copy the content off the web page and paste it into the appropriate modules for the theme you have chosen.
5. If the transfer process loses formatting that you liked, click on the “View Source” option in the Web Developer Tool Bar. A window will open that shows the HTML for your Office Live Page. Find the text that needs formatting changes and see what HTML was assigned to the text. For example, the HTML might be <h1>. This means that you’ll find information about how <h1> is supposed to look in the CSS style sheet. This is available in the Web Developer Tool Bar by clicking on CSS then “View CSS.” All HTML formatting has a CSS property, so finding the HTML class, style, etc. will tell you how you need to modify the CSS sheet under the Dashboard Appearance>Editor> tab. You will find at least one stylesheet with a .css extension. You may add styles if you wish to reduce the amount of changes
6. If you made any effort to optimize your site, you will find the “View Source” window useful. It makes it quick to recover the information that you’ll want to enter in a WordPress SEO plugin. Here are the HTML tags you need to look for: <Title>The title you used</title>, <meta name=”Keywords” content=”the keywords you used” /> and <meta name=”Description” content=”the description you used” />. You will only copy the information between the quotes into the SEO plugin. If you weren’t optimized, you can do this step later.
7. If you had graphics that you want to move to your new site, right click and save each graphic to a folder on your hard drive. You will be able to upload them to WordPress for insertion into your pages. If you used Office Live to size your graphics, you have two choices. You can use WordPress to size them, or you can size them in a photo editing program. For faster website upload speeds, I recommend editing the graphics before you upload them.
8. Even if you like the way the page looks when you transfer information from OLSB, switch from Visual to HTML view to make sure you haven’t transferred any tables into WordPress. Tables are an old way of organizing information that isn’t very search engine friendly. You want to reserve tables for those applications where they are essential-such as a calendar, list of products or schedule of prices.
Transferring your website from one host to another always takes time. Transferring from Office Live to WordPress may not take less time than creating a new site from nothing, though usually it will. The primary difference is this. If you have really good content on your existing site and good Google ratings, it is possible to keep all that by doing the move correctly.