How to Import WordPress Content

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There may be times you’ll want to import WordPress content from one website to another, either to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or to simply make running both sites easier. That means you’ll need to transfer some or all of one site’s content, which can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before.

Fortunately, WordPress includes a default feature that enables you to tackle this task manually. The process isn’t difficult, and will both remove content from the old site and add it to the new one.

In this article, we’re going to discuss why you might want to import WordPress content. Then we’ll tell you how to do it using the platform’s import and export features. Let’s get started!

Why you might want to import WordPress content

When we talk about importing WordPress content, we simply mean copying over your posts, pages, media, and other elements from one website to another. You may import an entire site and delete the original, or just move certain parts of it. Even in the latter case, it’s better to import the content from the original website rather than just copy it over, to minimize any penalties for duplicate content.

If you have two perfectly functional websites, why would you want to move content from one to the other? Let’s go over a few of the typical reasons:

  • You’ve changed focus on one site. If some of your website’s content no longer fits with a new direction or niche you’ve decided to pursue, it might find a more natural home on a different site.
  • You get a larger library of content on one blog. The more content your blog includes, the greater the chances are of people finding it, spending a lot of time there, and returning in the future.
  • One site isn’t performing as well as it could. If you have a website that is under-performing even after you’ve poured a lot of work into it, you might want to cut your losses at some point. At the same time, you don’t want to simply lose all the content you’ve created for it.

Let’s say, for example, that you began a health blog by focusing on recipes, but the focus has shifted over time to fitness. Your new audience isn’t very interested in your old content, but you don’t want to waste the effort that went into creating it. Instead of letting those posts languish in your archives, you can import them to a more relevant home. You could add them to an existing site that fits the bill, create a new targeted site for them, or sell the content to someone who can make better use of it.

Now you’re aware of some of the reasons you might want to import WordPress content, let’s discuss how to do so.

How to import another blog’s content into WordPress (in two easy steps)

Before you start moving content from one site to another, you’ll want to first back up both sites. That way, if anything goes wrong after you import everything, you’ll have a recent snapshot that you can restore if necessary. Remember that once you export content from one site, it will be removed completely.

Once your backups are in place, you can move on to the first step.

Step #1: Export your first WordPress blog’s content

To get started, visit the back end of the blog with content you want to export. Then proceed to the Tools → Export tab. Inside, you’ll find a list of all the elements of your WordPress website. Simply choose what type of content you want to export:

Choosing what content to export.

For this example, we’re going to stick to posts only, so we’ll click on Posts and pick All for every option underneath except Start date. For those fields, you’ll want to choose a range manually to make sure you won’t miss any posts:

Choosing a range of posts to export.

Alternately, you could choose to export only a specific author’s posts, or a specific category of content.

Now, click on the Download Export File button at the bottom of the page. This will instruct WordPress to download an .xml file to your computer that contains all of the data for your WordPress posts.

Step #2: Import your content into the receiving site

Next, you’ll need to log in to the back end of your new site – i.e. the site where you want to import all of your downloaded content. Navigate to the Tools → Import tab, look for the WordPress option, then click Install Now:

Installing the WordPress importer.

This will set up the WordPress importer plugin. When complete, you’ll see a new button under the same WordPress option called Run Importer:

Import WordPress content via the importer tool.

Click this, and the next screen will prompt you to upload an .xml file from your computer. Select Choose File, find the file you downloaded during the first step, then click on the Upload file and import button:

Upload your .xml file.

Before WordPress imports your posts, it will ask you whether you want to bring them in under the name of their original author or assign them to another writer. This choice is completely up to you.

There’s also an option that reads Download and import file attachments, which will enable you to import your posts’ images:

Importing your media attachments to your new site.

You’ll probably want to enable this option, unless you don’t want to carry over your images or you want to add them manually later (which can be a chore). When you’ve made your selections, click Submit.

Depending on how much content you’re importing, this can take a while. However, WordPress will let you know when the process is done, at which point you’ll have successfully imported your first blog’s content to your second!

Optional: Manually import your images into the second site

In some cases, WordPress may not be able to import your posts’ images automatically. If that happens, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and take matters into your own hands.

The easiest way to import your images from your old blog is to use the Auto Upload Images plugin:

Of course, the content you just imported will still contain URLs that point towards images on their original home. Simply install and activate the plugin on your second site, and once it’s running, it will automatically look for URLs to any external images.

Once it finds them, the plugin upload the files to your server, and replaces the old URLs with new ones. It’s easy as pie, and you don’t have to do a thing!

Conclusion

For a variety of reasons, you may find yourself needing to import content from one website to another. Fortunately, WordPress makes this an easy task. With its built-in import and export features, you can easily import WordPress content and ensure all your hard work finds its best possible home

All it takes to import WordPress content are two easy steps (and one optional phase):

  1. Export your first blog’s content as an .xml file.
  2. Import your content into the receiving WordPress site.
  3. Optionally, import your images into the second site if necessary.

Do you have any questions about how to import content from one WordPress site to another? Ask away in the comments section below!

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