said 1 year, 1 month ago:
@petaminter12 I did this a while back with one of my business sites.
It’s a bit of work, but completely doable. There are several options, and other people may be able to give you different advice. Here’s what I did (and the details I remember).
I installed WordPress and marked it to be private (no search engines) while I was recreating the website (static HTML pages) in it. It seems like there was something I did about the home page, but I don’t remember that detail. Then I exported the blog contents and imported them into the WordPress site.
At this point, people were still interacting with the HTML and separate WP blog. When I had the new WP site perfect and ready to go (layout, content, etc.) I marked the new WP as public (available to search engines). There is something else I did with the website URL inside WP so people started to access the WP and not the static HTML. I wish I could remember more details for you.
You asked an important question about SEO. You can use the WP settings to duplicate the URL and permalinks from your blog in most situations. If you can’t get the new permalinks to exactly match, you can set up redirects so that anyone with a bookmark to an old blog post gets sent seamlessly to the new blog. There are several ways to do redirects, and depending on your situation, they can be easy to a little complicated. And you might need some assistance from your web host (I did).
My understanding is that the redirects also direct the Google bots so they don’t lose your content. I was told recently by an SEO guy that even if the permalinks shift a little, Google will figure out what happened. There might be a temporary drop in search results ranking, but that it would be restored. I’m not an SEO expert, so you might want to get someone to confirm that is true.
In my case, getting my entire website in one tool where I can updated it and maintain it together was worth every bit of effort I spent to make the transition. Good luck to you.