Switching to Hugo from Wordpress

Something I have been meaning to do for a while is to switch away from Wordpress. While it is quite a nice collaborative tool and has some great options for WYSIWIG editing and content, it’s also far too big a hammer to use given my modest content and collaboration needs. I don’t have guest posters, I don’t get a lot of comments, and when I do get some interactions they would often work better in another medium (Twitter for example). I don’t have a lot of dynamic content and running Wordpress myself is not something I am particularly expert in.

I had been considering several options, but when I saw Steve’s work with Hugo I was sold (this was early days in the project and it was still pretty awesome). The big stumbling block was what to do with my old content and that stalled me out for a while. Around the same time as I contemplated the switch, I finally obtained the comerford.net domain - I had watched it for some time while someone sat on it, not using it, for years. I even tried making an offer for it (at what I considered a reasonable price) but got nothing, so I decided to wait for it to expire, which it eventually did.

I now had another reason to make a switch, and a way to make a nice clean break with the comerford.cc domain which had been my home for many years. My original plan was to migrate the most recent posts manually, then put Wordpress into read-only mode (or similar) and just put new content on the new Hugo-based site, but I never got around to it (a new job got in the way). By the time I got back to looking at this, things had moved on.

There is now a Wordpress plugin called wordpress-to-hugo-exporter and it functions exactly as you would expect, creating a zipped folder of your WP content in markdown format for easy import into Hugo. Hence I now have a different plan - I have imported my content and will eventually turn WP off completely and use some URL rewriting to send the old content to the new. Assuming I make it work, it will be a far cleaner solution in the long term.

For now, the basic import has been done (it may yet need some clean up, but was essentially painless) and I will be putting new content onto comerford.net only. The site loads a lot faster, I found a theme that I like aesthetically and that I can customise without having to know PHP. Finally, I now have a workflow that I like far better than the WP flow, so overall I am pretty happy, and using the Hugo server option to automatically watch and reload on changes works flawlessly.

We will see if this translates into more actual posts and content, but at least it is a start.