How To Move a WordPress Site (or clone it)

I don’t consider myself a lazy person for the most part, but I will admit that when it comes to anything technical – I avoid it like the plague. I’m probably the only person in this house who still really doesn’t know how to work the remote (and we have little kids ’round here) and if it wasn’t for my hubby, every clock in the house would be wrong – or blinking 12:00. That wonderful trait of mine has stuck with me while working online – if it’s gonna involve coding or databases or anything like that – I run the other way.

Thank GOODNESS technical know-how is NOT a necessity to do well online – or else I’d be up a creek without a paddle…lol!

I’m also realistic. I am a one-woman show who only has so much time in a day to get things done. If something is gonna take me a LONG time to accomplish simply because I don’t know how, I either a) don’t do it, or b) pay someone else to do it.

For me, that’s a good idea. I’m someone who breaks things until they work and it can drive those around me CRAZY. What can I say? It’s a gift πŸ˜‰

For example – I will stress and get all OCD when setting up a new WordPress site. The settings have to be just-so… the theme has to look just-so…and I’ll spend too much time editing php files to remove things I don’t want or make things look a certain way and on and on and on (please, someone tell me that I am not the only one that does this?)

Each time I spend ALL that time breaking the theme and messing up the settings until I finally get it right, I promise myself that I will NOT waste time like that again and that I WILL LEARN how to clone a WordPress site.

Also, I have a site that Google totally fell OUT of love with – and I really like the site. However, the thought of recreating that site on a new domain name was NOT appealing to me at all. No telling WHAT I would break during THAT process…lol!

I know there are plenty of programs that make it easier to move WordPress sites (or clone them), but each one I’ve looked at required me messing with the WordPress data base and doing FTP stuff. Not that any of that is HARD, I just….well… I didn’t want to mess with all that (maybe I am lazy? Hmmmm….food for thought there…)

I made a Google Panda Survival Tips post not too long ago – you can read that Panda Tips post here, if you haven’t already. The rest of this post might make more sense if you’ve read it first.

In that post I talked about the (then) latest Panda update and I also showed a graphic of a Twitter conversation of one webmaster finding out from Matt Cutts (from Google) that because his site DID have violating content on it at one time, that they (Google) would NOT accept the webmasters reinclusion request.

Thing is, when that webmaster had submitted his re-inclusion request to Google, the webmaster had deleted ALL the content from his site – he was just hoping to get a clean slate with his domain.

To me, that’s a bit scary.

Then, I went on to give tips on how to Survive Panda…and then talked about things you can do if your site had already been hit.

I said to first ask yourself, “Was that site making me money?” (ok, that was actually the SECOND thing I recommended. The first was to cry, play sad songs, and eat a pan of brownies)

Then, get yourself a NEW domain and move the old “un-loved” site to that new domain.

Now I KNOW there are people who are ready to scream, “Jennifer! That is a horrible idea!!!!” and that I should say – “try and fix your site, sit there for days, weeks, or months on end and try to figure out WHY the site went down the toilet and try to get Google to love you again”

Guess what? I ain’t gonna do it.

There are groups of marketers online that can totally afford both financially and time-wise to sit, analyze, and wait.

I am not talking to those people.

I am talking to those out there that are like me – one-man/one-woman shows who have limited time and really can’t afford to see an income stream disappear for weeks or months – or forever.

If there is a way I can help someone from THAT group of people to get that income stream back – and it costs less than $10 a YEAR – that is an option I am giving. If it doesn’t work, you’re out $10 or less. However, if it DOES work, you have your income stream back!

I think it is silly to obsess over a site that broke – and not DO something about it. Especially if that site was profitable.

So, if all that makes sense to you – keep reading. If you think this is a horrible idea/advice – ignore me =)

For Those NOT Ignoring Me – Let’s Continue

So I have this niche site – it’s been online for 2-3 years or so now. It used to do AWESOME… I mean, really great.

Then one day, out of the blue – POOF – Google broke up with me.

(enter tears, sad break-up songs, and large pan of brownies)

Now I did spend some time REALLY looking at the site to see if I could even get a clue as to what went wrong. I tried a few things – and would wait… then try some more things… and wait, but it never came back.

The site had really good core content. Not just unique content, but good, informational stuff. I, personally, learned a lot making the site and to me, that is a good indicator that my site can help someone else.

One thing I know USED to be fine with the site, but now is no longer fine with Google, is that I allowed some unique auto-content on the site to keep fresh stuff dripping in. Not a ton, but the ratio of my content to other content was not in my favor. Other than that, the site was pretty harmless.

So I made the big decision to pack up my toys and move to a new domain. Hey, if it’s over, it’s over, right? No use dwelling on past relationships that are broken – move on!

I cleaned up all the auto-content and took it off my site (was one of the things I did when trying to fix my relationship with Google) and got the site to exactly as I wanted it on the new domain.

Enter Problem.

Remember how I talked about what a mess I am with technical stuff? Yeah, well that was the problem. MOVING the site was an issue for me, but by golly, I was gonna figure out how to do it for myself.

I looked and looked – but all the solutions had things going on that I didn’t want to deal with.

I wanted: Click, Click, BOOM, I’m done. Guess what? I found my click, click, BOOM!

I found a plugin that all I had to do was:

Get the plugin
— Install/Activate the plugin
— Click “back up”
— Copy the url it gave me
— Go to my new site (wordpress already installed)
— Install/activate the plugin
— Paste the url in where the plugin asks

BOOM – the entire site is moved to the new domain EXACTLY how it was on the old domain.

Everything! Posts, themes, theme changes, plugins, plugin settings, site settings – ALL of it!

No FTP, no messing with databases…just click and copy/paste click.

Now THAT is my kind of plug-in!!!!!

==>>> Check out the video about this plugin here

I moved this site with this plugin about a week ago and wanted to see it through before talking about it. I’m pleased to report my new site is doing very well in Google now.

Few notes about this process: No, I did not forward/redirect the old site/urls to the new site. I wanted to see how it all would work on its own. Also, I am making sure good, informational, and unique content is going on this new site regularly. Google loves fresh, and I also want to be sure that the new site does as well as possible and doesn’t get nailed again (however, no one can be SURE of that – just giving my new site a good chance)

Know what else I LOVE this plugin for?

I made one fresh install of WordPress on a site and tweaked it just the way I like it to be before I go adding content. Things like permalinks, and theme edits, plugins I like, and all that stuff that isn’t hard, but is annoying to spend time on (in fact, it’s a waste of time if there is another way to do it much faster).

Once I got that “pre-set up” just the way I like it, I used the plugin to make a clone of it (which means I push a button and it gives me a url to use for other sites). Then, when I start any new site, I just give the plugin that url, click and BOOM – the site is ready to go and all the way I want it. I can just go change the title of the site and start adding content.

It’s a beautiful thing!

I KNOW folks struggle with that basic set up. Things like making the permalinks right, and tweaking themes, and adding plugins, and getting their privacy pages and all that STUFF we have to do before we ever can begin to add the content to the site. And hey, it’s the CONTENT that makes money, right? No web pages online = no money coming in.

With this plugin we can do all that time-consuming stuff ONCE and we can use it over and over and get right to the money-making content.

NOW, when I start a new site, all I have to do is:

— buy the domain name/change nameservers
— add domain to my hosting
— install wordpress
— go to new site wp-admin
— install this plugin
— tell plugin what url to restore from
— DONE!

I don’t know what YOUR new site check list looks like, but my old check list was LONG and time-consuming. I like saving time… I like it a lot!

Know what else this plug in is awesome for?

Now, not everyone is into local marketing like I am (what we teach over at Power3Marketing.com), but with local clients, sometimes they just want a “clone” of a site out there targeting specific local markets. That used to be a pain in the you-know-what to do (and I’d charge accordingly…lol), but now it’s click, BOOM (and I still charge the same). Then I can just get in there, tweak it for location needs, add a little fresh content – and I am done.

Note: if none of that makes sense to you – sorry! However, if you’re in local marketing – especially a fellow Power3 Member, this might sound awesome to you!

This is what the inside of the plugin interface looks like:



Yep, that’s it! Nothing complicated or overwhelming at all!

You just click “Backup This Site” on the site you want a copy of, it then gives you a url, then you go paste that url into the plugin interface on the new domain and choose “Restore from this URL”. That’s it!

Oh yeah, it’s great for backing up your WordPress site too. As someone who once had her blog hacked and woke up to find YEARS of blog posts gone – I am a BIG advocate of protecting your site by backing it up. With a back up, it took me like 5 minutes to totally restore my site (sorry hacker). You can read the story of my blog being hacked in this issue of an old PotPieGirl “Straight Talk” Newsletter.

All in all, THREE thumbs up for this plugin. I like things easy – and simple – and this has made my life SOOOOOO much easier!

You can find the plugin here – watch a video demo and all that good stuff. Trust me, it’s awesome (Hmmmm….do I sound like a used-car salesman when I say “trust me”? lol!)

Let me know what you think!

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