Most of the people are aware that Squarespace is one of the best online platforms to sell a small product offering. However, there are times when the limitations of the platform make you opt for a better platform like Shopify. In the content mentioned below, we have compiled a user-friendly guide that will help you to migrate from Squarespace to Shopify.
There is absolutely no doubt that Squarespace is a fantastic website building platform, albeit for specific businesses. If you are looking for service-based businesses, Squarespace is the right choice. The reason being, it is very user-friendly, efficient, and cost-effective. However, if you are looking for an eCommerce business, Shopify development company would be the best option.
Squarespace is the right place for companies with a small product offering. But, if the business grows in the coming time, you will have to face certain limitations. In case you already have a Squarespace store and need to shift to Shopify, you can opt for migration. If you are looking to migrate from Squarespace to Shopify, this blog has been written specifically for you.
In the forthcoming sections of this write-up, we have provided the points that make Shopify edge over Squarespace and then we have provided the steps to migrate from Squarespace to Shopify. We promise that after reading this piece of content, you will be in a far better position to take a final call on whether to opt for the migration.
Let’s start off with a few benefits of Shopify over Squarespace in terms of eCommerce business specifically.
Shopify was built especially for eCommerce businesses. On the other hand, Squarespace was incepted as a generic website building platform. It integrated eCommerce at a later date to resolve the requirements of the customers.
Shopify has a third-party app store that consists of intelligent software that has an extended feature list. It even assists in optimizing your store. With the help of the apps, it is possible to enhance sales, resolve intricate fulfilment issues, or make subtle changes in the design of the website. As far as Squarespace is considered, it consists of some essential integration. But, it does not have a robust platform for third-party apps like Shopify.
Shopify consists of a liquid code that can help you to add any number of customizations in the store. There is always a possibility to utilize a theme from the Shopify theme store. You can even customize the template or even create a comprehensively custom website that is exceptionally different from the rest.
There are endless possibilities with Shopify. It is possible to hire a certified Shopify expert that can assist you to get through your customization goals. While in the case of Squarespace it is mostly for the people who are non-technical. Hence, it becomes intricate and restrictive for it to customize your frontend and backend.
Shopify has more than 100 different shopping gateways. While Squarespace has only two. In addition to this, Shopify recently added dynamic checkout buttons that enable you to accept PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay directly through your product pages.
We have discussed this topic in detail in the latter part of this write-up. For now, you need to know that Shopify was developed keeping SEO in mind. Certain SEO basics are right up there on the product listing of Shopify. There are many more options easily available. But, Shopify wins hands down in terms of SEO especially URL mapping and 301 redirects. This way it assists in ensuring that search engines do not crawl the wrong pages.
Now, that you have looked at the various pointers that showcase the benefits of Shopify over Squarespace, in the next section, we will discuss the migration steps.
The very first step of migration is to export your data from Squarespace. Always keep your Squarespace site live while performing the steps given below:
1. Go to Home Menu and click Settings.
2. Click on the Advanced options, and then click Import/Export.
3. Click Export.
4. Select Products from the Export Site menu.
5. Click on the Download option. This way, your products will directly get downloaded as a products.csv file.
The next step is to export the content from your website, encompassing text, blogs, and images. Follow the steps given below to achieve this feat.
1. Go to Home Menu on Squarespace, and click Settings.
2. Click Advanced and then click Import/Export.
3. Click Export.
4. Click on the WordPress icon. Even though you are migrating from Squarespace to Shopify and not WordPress, click on this icon.
5. In case you have multiple blog pages on your site, a “Select Primary Blog” message will appear. Remember, only a single Blog Page can be exported.
6. Opt for a Primary Blog from the drop-down menu and then hit the “Export” option.
7. Wait for some time for the completion of the export process. This might take a few minutes depending on the number of content on your site.
8. Download the exported file.
9. Once the export completes, you will see a Download option. Click on it and save the .xml file to your computer or click Clear to erase the export.
The next step is to register on Shopify and instigate the staging site also known as the development store. This is exactly the place where you can try all the things for your new website. Check out the website look and feel and then signup for a 14-day trial. If you need more time, hire a Shopify expert who can give you complete access to the development store with no expiration date. In case you opt for the signup trial period, after 14 days Shopify fees will be charged to you. Remember, the migration process can take a bit longer to complete. It is completely dependent on the complexity of the migration. Once you have instigated the development store, check all the settings information, and properly set it up.
We have already seen the steps to export your products to a .csv file from Squarespace. Since these two platforms are direct competitors, it is not simple to import your .csv file into Shopify. There are various ways to get your products migrated. It can be done through an automated service being offered by the app store. Alternatively, you can also do it manually by entering small product catalogs. In case you have an extensive product catalog or experience difficulty while importing, we suggest you try an app known as Excelify to automate the import process.
You have already exported your XML file that consists of the blogs and content from Squarespace in the second step. The next step is to import these into Shopify. We again recommend you to use Excelify app to effortless complete this process for converting your XML file into a .CSV.
The next step, once you have uploaded all the content to your new site is to select a theme and start previewing how the information will be reflected. The very first thing that you need to check is the Turbo Theme. Although it is a bit more pricey compared to other themes available on Shopify Theme Store, it has a feature list that will come in handy at a later date.
This is the last step of migration before you close down your Squarespace site. The ultimate objective is to ensure that the traffic that is generated goes to the new store. Once you have imported your products and contents and theme is customized couped with streamlining of all the Shopify settings; finally, you need to change your domain settings.
For step-by-step information to achieve this endeavor, we suggest you follow this link. While doing this, you will need to have access to your hosting and domain settings. It might take a maximum of two days for domains to point out to Shopify accurately. Always keep the Squarespace store open till it is confirmed that all the traffic is redirected to the new site. One last thing to remember is if you have purchased your domain from Squarespace, you will have to wait for a maximum of two months before transferring it to Shopify.
While migrating from Squarespace store that has a considerable amount of traffic and sales, we recommend you to address all your old URLs and product links to ensure that your SEO rankings are retained.
Let’s look at some of the SEO considerations that you need to look while migrating from Squarespace to Shopify migration. However, before we do that, it is essential to consider this fact that there will be a drop in the SEO rankings for the first few weeks which will slowly recover when you follow the considerations given below.
A 404 error message gets displayed when an internet address cannot be found. Google hates it, and so gives the website a bad score. A 301 redirect is an indefinite redirect from a link to another. This is taken into consideration by Google search algorithms to ensure that the traffic is going to the right location.
Forwarding is changing the old address to the new one. For example, www.old-store.com/ -> www.new-store.com. The only alterations made are the stuff after “www.” and before “/.”
In case you are using the same-store URL, there is no need for address forwarding instead of that 301 redirects from any relevant links will do the trick.
A redirect is when you take the products and pages from your old site and redirect them to any URL on your new site. For example, www.old-url.com/red-hats.html -> www.new-url.com/shop/collections/red-hats.
As far as the redirects are concerned, follow the instructions given below to handle them.
1. Take a backup of everything.
2. Find your sitemap on Squarespace by referring to this guide.
3. Convert it into a CSV and download it.
4. Upload the file on Google sheets for safety purposes.
5. Create the SEO redirects. Click here to look at the steps to do it at Shopify.
Next, you have three courses of actions available:
• Forward it to the same page on the new site, i.e., About Page to About Page > Red Shirt to Red Shirt.
• Combine it with another page. This is similar to forwarding it to the same page. Maybe you can combine your About Us page with the Contact page. Alternatively, if you do not wish to have Hoodies but still have Sweaters you can send it to the most similar page.
• Send it to the homepage. Never ignore this; otherwise, it will show a 404 error. Moreover, as we have already mentioned, Google hates 404 errors.
These are some extra steps that you need to consider while migrating to Shopify.
• Scrutinize the new site with Google Search Console (both HTTP & HTTPS) by using this guide.
• Submit an alteration of the address in Google Search Console (GSC) and Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT).
• Make changes in all internal links.
• In case you have migrated any pages automatically, certain internal links might be pointed to the wrong place. Update those.
• Edit Google Analytics settings and add annotation(s).
• In Google Analytics, check out both your property and view settings and change the domain name to your new domain in the field for the default URL.
Also, do not forget to add an annotation in your Google Analytics views with a note regarding the change in domain name on a specific date you shifted it.
Here, you have it your user-friendly guide on Squarespace to Shopify migration. If you wish to get some help while migrating from Squarespace to Shopify, get in touch with a professional Shopify development company and smoothly carry out the migration process.