Photo by Mike Baird
When you landed on Weebly’s home page a few years ago, it seemed like a dream come true. After months of debating whether and how to start a website that would be taken seriously by your colleagues and customers, you found a fast, easy solution to your problems.
With a drop-and-drag interface, attractive templates, and built-in analytic services, Weebly is a dream for those who don’t have the time or inclination to make their own website.
But, like all good things, your Weebly site must one day come to an end. Perhaps you’re getting so much traffic that you worry daily about your site getting overloaded. Or maybe you need more sophisticated blogging software than Weebly’s meager tool. Even if you’re satisfied with your site, maybe you want features like automatic backup, extra security, and other extra features that come standard with almost any hosting plan.
While we’d love to tell you that leaving Weebly is as easy as ending a relationship with a summer fling, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You’ll need to set aside a weekend to make it happen, but when you make it through the other side you’ll find that you have a website that is robust enough to handle almost anything you throw at it. Here’s the steps you’ll need to take. Remember—don’t delete your Weebly site until you’re certain that your export succeeded. You don’t want to move on from Weebly and discover that you left half your site behind.
1. Download Your Weebly Site
Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t support a one-step export option. Instead, you’ll have to get your content piecemeal. You can “Export” your Weebly Theme from the design menu, and produce an “Archive” of your Weebly site to get the graphics and other static elements of your site.
2. Use RSS to Get Your Site Content
When you download your Weebly site, you need to know what you won’t be getting everything. In order to get your site content, particularly if it’s from your blog, you’ll have to use another strategy.
If you haven’t done it already, activate your RSS feed on your Weebly site, which will allow you to import your site content from elsewhere.
3. Set up a new site, preferably with WordPress
Now that you have your old site on your computer, you can set up a new site with your hosting company, and begin the process of bringing everything over. We like WordPress, as it’s almost as easy to use as Weebly, and is likely to play nicely with your old graphics.
4. Choose a theme, and update your static graphics
Remember downloading all of your static files? In them you’ll find some of the static graphics and other elements you need to make your new site. You might be able to use your old Weebly theme in WordPress, but many people find it easier to just start over.
5. Rescue your old Weebly content
The biggest challenge you’ll face in this transition is rescuing the content for your blog and bringing it over to your new site. While WordPress has a number of good RSS importers, including WP RSS Multi Importer, you might be limited in terms of how much Weebly content you can download at a time. Now that Google Reader is gone, there are scores of RSS Readers out there. Look for one that will let you download your entire RSS feed, including graphics, and use WordPress to import that downloaded file into your new site.
We never promised that exporting your Weebly site would be easy, but with a bit of troubleshooting it’s not too painful. Just think of it as growing pains, something we all have to go through to be stronger, better bloggers and web site creators.