Are you using Adobe Business Catalyst to host your site? If you are, this guide will help you learn how to migrate your site before Business Catalyst’s end of life arrives.
Many Adobe Business Catalyst users are now scrambling for new options for hosting their site. This guide will show you why and how to migrate your site from Business Catalyst to WordPress.
What Is Adobe Business Catalyst?
Although it isn’t exactly the most popular website building platform, Adobe Business Catalyst is still used by many businesses. According to Built With Trends, there are currently over 35,000 websites running on Adobe Business Catalyst, with another almost 100,000 additional websites that used to use Catalyst and have since switched over to new platforms.
Adobe Business Catalyst is often chosen for its ease-of-use. It’s specifically designed for businesses and ecommerce stores – it’s a hosted solution, making setting up a website a less complicated process.
Prebuilt templates can be used to create sites, but the Adobe Business Catalyst partner company you work with takes a commission from the sales you make. While it is quick and easy to set up a site with ABC, you might find that your site can look a bit generic.
What’s Happening to Adobe Business Catalyst?
Unfortunately for its long-time users, Adobe Business Catalyst is going out of business. Adobe has announced that the end-of-life for Business Catalyst is going to be on March 26, 2021.
While there is still some time before that date, it’s worth keeping in mind that on that day, all data will be deleted. This means that your websites will effectively disappear and Adobe will stop hosting any more sites or data on their Business Catalyst platform.
It is best to back up your site and data and switch over to another provider as soon as possible. Site migration can take a while, depending on your size and manpower, and waiting too long isn’t a good idea.
Adobe provides how-to guides and support to help with the migration, and their customer support also places a priority on migration-related support queries.
How Can I Migrate My Adobe Business Catalyst Site to a New Platform?
There are a number of platforms you can migrate your Business Catalyst site to. For now, let’s focus on WordPress, one of the most (if not the most) popular content management system.
You have a couple of options. You can migrate your site by yourself, or you can have an agency do it for you.
If you want to complete the migration process by yourself, you will need to download your data and upload it to WordPress. This can be a bit more complicated than it sounds, as you will soon see.
Downloading Your Blog Posts
If you host a blog, downloading your blog content should be one of your top priorities. After all, your blog content is your top SEO asset.
However, there is no simple one-click export option to download your blog content from Adobe Business Catalyst.
One option is to create an RSS feed so that your files can be saved and downloaded in an XML format. This is probably the easiest option and more information can be found here.
Another option is installing the Business Catalyst API Discover app. This app will allow you to get the module_data syntax you need to download blog post content and other data.
You will need to render your blog posts in JSON format. You can filter which blog posts you want to export; for example, you can download only the blog posts written by a certain author.
For more information on how to use this method, go to this guide.
It’s worth noting that this method is not just for blog posts, but also for other kinds of data that can’t be exported through other methods.
Downloading Customer Data
This is an important step for ecommerce businesses. If you have an online store, you will need to download your customer information.
This is easily done by generating a list of customer contacts and exporting it as a spreadsheet. Go here for more information.
If you have an email list, you should also make sure that you download your subscriber data. This can be done by creating a Customer Report and selecting the Customers and Email Marketing option.
You can filter and select which data you want to include in your report. For example, you can include data such as customer type or customer double opt-in status.
If you have been using Business Catalyst, you might be used to having a built-in email service provider. However, WordPress does not have this, and you will have to use a third-party service, such as Mailchimp or GetResponse (this will be discussed further later).
Downloading Your Product Data
In addition to your blog content, you will need to download your product data if you run an ecommerce store. Fortunately, this process is a lot more straightforward than downloading your blog posts.
Simply go to your Products Panel and use the Export button. You can download your products in bulk (although you might need to make several downloads if you have many products).
Using the second method mentioned above for downloading blog posts, you can also download discount codes, gift vouchers, shipping options, and tax codes. This information will not automatically be configured when uploading your product data to your new site.
Downloading Online Forms
Online forms can be downloaded in JSON format (as explained above). However, if you only have a few forms, you can also get their details manually and upload them to your new site.
Go to the Web Forms panel in your Site Manager and use the HTML button to get your forms in HTML format. You can then recreate them on your new site.
Downloading Your Web Design
What about your website design and templates? Unfortunately, Business Catalyst uses HTML, while WordPress uses PHP and MYSQL.
What does this mean for you? It means that you can’t simply download your code and upload it to WordPress.
However, WordPress has many easy design options. There are hundreds of free templates to choose from, as well as premium templates from third-party developers.
You can also hire a developer to create a custom theme for your site. In that case, you can even request that they make a design that looks just like your site did when you were using Adobe Business Catalyst.
As we will see later, there is also a tool that you can use to upload HTML data to WordPress.
Customer Web Apps
Unfortunately, if you have custom functions or web apps, there is no easy way to transfer them.
You can download your Web App items by using the Export button. They can also be accessed via API.
However, recreating them on WordPress can be a complex operation, and you might need the services of a custom developer.
Creating a Plan for the Migration Process
Before you start migrating your Adobe Business Catalyst site to WordPress, you are going to need to create a plan of action.
1. Know What You Want to Migrate
The first step is knowing what you need to migrate. How big is your site?
If you have a small website, the migration process will be a lot easier and take less time. You might be able to transfer everything manually without needing any special tools or help.
On the other hand, if you have a large site, you might need to set aside enough time to download and migrate everything. However, you might not want to transfer everything.
Since you’re going to switch from Business Catalyst to WordPress, perhaps you can take the opportunity to give your website a much-needed makeover. You might want a new site design, and instead of using the Web Apps that you previously used, you may find that there are better WordPress plugins as alternatives.
There are other things to consider. For example, you might want to keep the same URL structure that you had on your Business Catalyst site.
2. Download Your Data
Once you know what you need to download, start downloading your data. Make sure you keep your downloads organized so that you know where all your data is.
Connecting to your site via FTP is probably the best way to download your data. This guide will show you the correct steps for doing that.
3. Sign Up for Hosting
Before you can upload any content, you need to have a WordPress site.
The first step is choosing the right hosting provider. If you operate a small blog, you can get away with signing up for a cheap hosting plan.
However, if you have a larger business site, and especially if you have an ecommerce store, you might want to look at upgrading to a better hosting provider that has faster speeds and less downtime.
Depending on the size of your site and the operation you run, you might even want to consider getting dedicated hosting.
Signing up for a dedicated hosting plan will be a lot more expensive than hosting your site on a shared server, but it will also mean that you won’t have to share your resources with other sites and that you will have better performance.
We will go into different hosting providers later. It’s worth mentioning that some hosting providers might help you with the migration process, either for free or for a fee.
4. Set Up Your Site
First, you need to set up the structure of your WordPress site. Unless you are going to hire a custom developer to create a custom theme or redesign your Business catalyst website design, you should choose a premade theme.
It’s worth investing in a premium theme. They are usually not that expensive and can make your site stand out.
At this point, you might want to update the URLs of your site. You can do this by editing the Permalinks in the Settings.
You can also use coding to recreate the original look of your site yourself. This can be a bit complicated, and it might not be worth the effort.
If you are interested in learning more about this option, go to this page for a detailed guide.
5. Download Essential Plugins
The next thing you might want to do is download some useful plugins and sign up for third-party marketing services. Let’s explore some important plugins you might need.
Signup Form Plugins
Contact Form 7 is a good free contact form plugin.
Other good options are:
- Ninja Forms
- Gravity Forms
- WP Forms
WordPress can be used to build an online store, but you will need to download a plugin such as WooCommerce or Shopify.
Woocommerce is a great plugin that will allow you to transform any WordPress site into an online store for free.
It’s important to keep your site safe. Although WordPress is constantly being updated and security vulnerabilities are being patched regularly, it can still have bugs that can be targeted by attackers.
A good free plugin to download is Sucuri. It will create a firewall to protect your site, monitor your site for any suspicious activity, and scan your site every day for vulnerabilities, such as plugins that haven’t been updated.
Akismet is another good plugin that will prevent spam comments.
Plugins for Backing Up Your Site
It’s important to be able to back up your site at any time. When migrating to a new site, there will always be issues and glitches, so you might want to restore it to a previous version at some point.
BackupBuddy is a good plugin that will allow you to back up your site on demand or schedule regular backups (such as once a day) where your site content will be backed up to a local folder or your DropBox account.
Sign up for Email Marketing
Unlike Business Catalyst, WordPress does not have a built-in email marketing solution.
There are many good third-party email service providers you can sign up for, such as:
- Constant Contact
MailPoet is a WordPress plugin that allows you to build an email list and create and send emails straight from your WordPress dashboard. It is free to use for the first 1,000 subscribers.
Import your Content
The next step is importing your content. As mentioned, it’s not as simple as simply downloading and uploading your blog posts.
However, WordPress has a number of tools for importing different types of content.
If you have your blog posts in an HTML or RSS form, you can use a tool to upload your site content.
Go to this page for more details on how to find and use such a tool.
Getting used to a new platform will always involve a learning curve. There are also a lot of little things you will need to configure – for example, your menus and headers.
However, WordPress is easy to use and once you get used to it, you will surely find it enjoyable.
Other Options for Migrating to WordPress
Doing it yourself is not the only option. You can also hire an agency to migrate your site for you, or you can choose a hosting provider that will provide this service.
While this can be expensive, depending on how large your site is, it can also save you a lot of time and effort.
We are not going to recommend any specific agencies. However, Adobe Business Catalyst does list a number of recommended partners for transferring your Business Catalyst site to new platforms.
For WordPress, this is WP Engine. WP Engine is a hosting platform that will give you four months of hosting for free when you migrate your site from Adobe to their platform.
You will also get a free SSL certificate (with Adobe, you would have to pay $80/year).
WP Engine doesn’t actually do the migration themselves; instead, they have partnered with WordHerd, a service that specializes in migrating websites from one platform to another.
You can also use WordHerd if you are transferring your Business Catalyst site to WordPress using any other hosting provider.
Other Hosting Providers
WP Engine’s plans start at $28/month if you switch from Adobe Business Catalyst. However, there are other hosting providers which can be cheaper.
If you want dirt-cheap hosting, Namecheap has plans that start at just $15.44 for the first year and $30.88/year after that. However, this is only suitable for those with small websites that don’t have many needs.
SiteGround is an excellent hosting provider.
Its plans start at just $3.95/month for your first annual or bi-annual billing and $11.95/month afterward. However, they also have higher-priced plans, such as the GrowBig plan, which runs $5.95/month for your first billing and $19.95/month afterward.
One of the main reasons to choose Siteground is that they offer a FREE migration service when you sign up for a GrowBig or GoGeek plan. Most other hosting providers will charge as much as $150 for transferring your website.
However, the migration service is free only for one website.
BlueHost is another popular hosting provider. Plans start at just $7.99/month, $3.95/month for your first billing.
This makes them a little cheaper than Siteground.
However, the downside is that they charge $149.99 for their migration service, which includes up to five websites.
Should You Migrate from Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress?
Of course, WordPress is not the only content management service you can use.
There are several other options available. Here are the ones recommended by Adobe Business Catalyst:
- Synergy 8
Other CMS can include Joomla and Drupal, but migrating to them can be a bit more complicated if you are doing it by yourself.
There is a reason WordPress is the most popular CMS (it holds over 60 percent of the market share). Here are a number of reasons to migrate your Adobe Business Catalyst site to Wordpress:
1. It’s Easy to Use
WordPress is easy to use and does not have a big learning curve. It is incredibly intuitive and there are many official and unofficial guides and how-to videos.
A simple Google search will give a host of information that will help you deal with any problem or issue you might experience with WordPress.
2. It’s Great for SEO
WordPress is very SEO-friendly. It is easy to edit your metadata, for example, to include the right keywords.
In addition, there are dozens of plugins that will help you boost your SEO, such as All In One SEO and Yoast.
3. It Is Safe
WordPress is constantly being updated. It is an open source software, which means that a community of developers is always discovering and fixing bugs and vulnerabilities.
There are also many plugins and services which you can use to secure your WordPress site, as mentioned above.
4. It Has Many Themes
You will never be hungry for themes in WordPress. There are dozens of themes available, both free and premium.
Themes can easily be customized, and there are dozens of developers that will create a custom theme for you.
5. It Has Many Plugins
Since WordPress is open source, there are always third-party developers creating new plugins.
There are over 50,000 plugins in the WordPress library, and that does not include plugins that are sold and can be downloaded from third-party developer websites.
Regardless of which function you want to add to your site or which customization you are looking for, you are likely to find it on the WordPress plugin directory.
Wrapping It Up
Adobe Business Catalyst’s end of life is quickly approaching. Although March 2021 might sound far off, it is better to migrate your site now; if you delay, you may find yourself facing a website deletion without any backup available.
WordPress is a top choice for those who are looking for a new hosting provider. By using the information provided in this article, you should be able to migrate your site yourself or find a migration service (WordHerd, Namecheap, Siteground, etc.) who can do it for you.