In-depth Tutorial on How to Convert HTML to WordPress Website

Welcome to HTMLtoWP.co, a simple tutorial website built specifically to teach you how to convert your HTML files to WordPress. Whether you know how to code or not, we've covered multiple method for HTML to WordPress conversion for you.

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How to Convert HTML to WordPress?

HTML or HyperText Markup Language is the “standard markup language used in creating Web pages.” It’s important to note here that HTML is not a programming language since it does not have the capability to create dynamic functionalities. Instead, it is similar to Microsoft Word where you can organize and format documents or codes needed in building a website. It is straightforward and can be learned by beginners easily.

Although you’d expect that there are not many static HTML sites on the web, there are actually still a significant amount remaining. However, sooner or later, owners of these sites will decide to finally turn to the more modern WordPress sites as the need arises for their business or if they realize the many advantages of WordPress. If you are that owner, you may hesitate in turning to WordPress because of the files you will be leaving on your old HTML site.

This is not an issue at all! This is because you can actually convert your old HTML sites into a fully functional WordPress site in numerous ways. How? Stick with us in this article, and we will introduce you to the five methods on the HTML to WordPress conversion process. 

Before getting right into it, let’s get to know WordPress first and its fundamentals to be more acquainted with the whole conversion process.

What is WordPress?

Content Management Systems are software developed to manage websites without any need for coding skills.  It allows users to access the backend of their site and to make new content without coding anything.

WordPress is currently among the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) and has been used by over 38% of the world's leading websites. To begin, visit its official website WordPress.org. Download WordPress then set it up on your server.  Existing development tools that function as a website after being set up on a server works with WordPress. These tools include HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and more. Here, users can customize their website depending on specific designs or features.

What is a WordPress Theme?

"A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a website. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software." - WordPress.org.

Users will be able to explore WordPress themes after WordPress is installed on their server. Get a sense of pre-installed themes by exploring and trying some of them.  In comparison, we can consider WordPress like an Android Phone operating system to customize with different themes to suit your purpose or taste.

To sum up, converting your HTML designs to WordPress actually means that you are converting your designs to WordPress themes.

Now let's move on to the five methods you can use to convert your HTML files or site to WordPress themes. We also provided some pros and cons of each method, so you have an idea which one  fits your skills and time requirements, 

5 Different Methods of HTML to WordPress Conversion

Here is an overview of the following methods included in this tutorial: Method 1 and 2 needs you to have previous skills and expertise with HTML, CSS, and PHP; Method 3 does not require any coding requirements except that you must have a rough understanding of WordPress; Method 4 may require much more than basic WordPress expertise, so you will also need to know about WordPress loop and template structures; finally, Method 5 is open to anyone at all times.

1. HTML to WordPress Theme Conversion

Before we proceed with this method, we suggest that you explore the WordPress tutorials below. This is a list of WordPress theme development tutorials made to help you be more knowledgeable about this process.

  1. WordPress Theme Development by WordPress.org
  2. WordPress Theme Handbook at WordPress.org

After analyzing the tutorials, you can now start converting your HTML site to a WordPress Theme by following these steps below.

Steps for HTML to WordPress Conversion

  1. Start a new theme from scratch and start creating the files below: 
  • functions.php
  • style.css
  • header.php
  • footer.php
  • index.php
  • single.php
  • page.php
  1. Copy your style.css to the theme style.css. Leave the commented region at the top for it determines the stylesheet header. 
  2. Copy the code for your header from your HTML to header.php. “WordPressify” your header code by adding the native WordPress functions like wp_head() and wp_wp_menu().
  3. Copy the footer code from your HTML file to the theme’s footer.php and add the wp_footer() function. And if you plan to use widgets in managing the footer, remember to include the get_sidebar() function.
  4. Put the rest of the code to home.php for static homepages. You can, however, use index.php if it displays a list of lists. 
  5. After the homepage is done, continue developing the remaining pages by creating individual page template files for each page.

PROS:

  1. Responsive and functional codes since you have full control over their quality. 
  2. The codes are well-commented, neat, and bloat-free. 
  3. Since you are hand-coding, you have the option of following your own set of coding standards. 
  4. You can use any of the CSS frameworks you want.

CONS:

  1. It's very, relatively slow.
  2. Time-consuming.
  3. It requires your attention. Else, you might bypass essential files or pieces of code.
  4. Prone to bugs like any other code made from scratch.
  5. It needs the development of PHP or WordPress themes. 

So there you go. That's the first method to convert HTML to WordPress.

But if building a WordPress theme from scratch seems like too much work for you, you can instead start with a pre-made theme and just fill that in with your HTML code as described in the next method.

2. HTML to WordPress conversion using a starter theme

Method 2 provides a much simpler method of conversion than the one previously presented. It won't take a lot of time and hard work due to the pre-made themes you're going to use, followed by simply filling in your HTML code.

These starter/boiler themes have style.css, functions.php, header.php, and essentially all the minimum required code needed to run a theme. Using these starter themes, you can immediately begin converting your HTML sites into WordPress themes.

Here are our handpicked starter themes you should check out:

  1. Underscores - WordPress-built starter theme
  2. Understrap - A starter theme that combines Underscores and Bootstrap
  3. WP Bootstrap Starter - Bootstrap-based starter theme.

To use this method, the user only has to take a quick course in WordPress theme structures. Instead of having an in-depth knowledge of all its features, this approach simply allows you to learn the basics.

To start with, open your HTML files. Then, choose a starter theme and fill your HTML codes all over the current theme's code structure.

There are also themes like Understrap, which has a Customizer feature that allows you to customize global its headers, footers, colors, typography, and layout.

Using starter themes to convert HTML to WordPress is actually a good opportunity to learn WordPress themes through experience. As such, if you're just new to the scene and would want to learn more about WordPress themes, this method is an excellent and suggested place to start until you can gradually start creating themes from scratch.

PROS:

  1. Faster than the previous one. 
  2. The theme’s pre-made code structure ensures that you have high quality, lightweight, and well-commented code. 
  3. Helpful and semantic SEO codes.
  4. Less prone to bugs than the first method.

CONS:

  1. It may be faster than the first method, but it's still a wearisome method of converting.
  2. It includes the creation of PHP or WordPress themes.

That covers the 2nd method of HTML to WordPress conversion. Now let's jump to the next one.

3. HTML to WordPress conversion using a page builder

Page Builders are drag-and-drop software used by developers to quickly convert HTML to WordPress themes without any coding skill or experience.

However, for this method, you will only be using your HTML files or sites as a reference to recreate the HTML site using page builder blocks/modules. Instead of completely redoing everything, you can also reuse the CSS and JS already available in your files to speed up the conversion process.

This is a method that mixes rich base themes with powerful builders all throughout the conversion process. It is also an excellent method for users who may not know how to code, but can successfully configure pre-built themes.

Base themes are used here to determine the global layout elements needed to prepare the site structure. These elements include header, footer, colors, typography, the width of the layout, etc. Page builders will then be used to build the content of all the website pages.

Among the most widely known Page Builders are Beaver Builder and Elementor. We also provide a selection of the top themes and page builders which you can check out here.

PROS:

  1. Among the simplest ways to convert HTML to WordPress. 
  2. Recommended for designers who already have basic frontend knowledge of HTML/CSS.
  3. It does not require any background knowledge in PHP or WordPress. 
  4. Faster than the above methods on the list, especially if you already know how to utilize the themes and page builders.

CONS:

  1. It may pose a high learning curve when just getting started. 
  2. Some page builders produce highly bloated codes.
  3. More often than not, websites built using this method are a bit slower than those built from scratch.

4. Automated WordPress Conversion Using Software Tools

This method presents an automated tool that will help you convert HTML codes directly to a WordPress theme: htmltowordpress.io.

This is a rather useful method if used for simpler projects. That being said, if used for more complex projects, the quality of the code may be low quality than when manually coded. We've observed that in the end, codes produced by third party tools will never equal the quality of the codes developed by real humans.

So, we strongly believe that design and development are two different things that must always be handled separately. But if you're interested in using 3rd party software, you should definitely check out htmltowordpress.io.

Another 3rd party software you can also use to convert your HTML designs is through ExportKit. You can also check out their tutorial here.  

For 3rd party methods, here are the pros and cons:

PROS:

  1. High-speed method for converting HTML to WordPress.
  2. Only requires you to know the simple WordPress template structure.
  3. Less costly than the others on the list.

CONS:

  1. The more difficult the project, the more bloated the resulting codes.  
  2. It is not highly suggested for complex HTML sites.

5. Hands-free Conversion With 3rd Party Service Providers

This is by far the easiest method within this list seeing as, unlike the others, this doesn't require you to do a great deal of work. Also, your project is completed at the estimated time. Hiring HTML to WordPress developers is, indeed, by far the smartest way to do the conversion process. With the fast-growing WordPress industry, there are many WordPress service providers on the market out there that can provide you with quality codes.

Find the ideal service provider for your project in our list of the best HTML to WordPress service providers.

PROS:

  1. An entirely hands-free HTML conversion to WordPress.
  2. No coding skills are needed.
  3. Rather than wasting your time coding, you can instead focus more on growing your business.
  4. Hiring the right developers who can deliver high-quality code to you is always possible with the right budget.

CONS:

  1. A decidedly more expensive method than the previous ones in the list. 
  2. Finding ideal developers who can provide you with pixel-perfect and high-quality conversion services can be difficult and time-consuming. 
  3. You will have less control over the quality of the code. However, be confident that, at the end of website development, you will receive high-quality code. Also, service providers, in general, will continuously show you demos of their current work at every stage of the development for your feedback and approval.

So there you go, that's the 5th and last method we had for you.

Conclusion

HTML to WordPress conversion is really not rocket science. If you know how to code, you can easily pull it off by following theaforementioned methodse. And even if you don't know how to code, there are still other ways you can do it.

We hope you've found this comprehensive tutorial useful. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.