If you’re not familiar with Optimize Press, it’s a WordPress theme built specifically for marketing. It makes it super easy to create email capture pages, sales pages, membership areas and more. It’s been all the rage in internet marketing circles for a couple years now. I use it for the member area of my artist site. I’m also developing a new site for my teaching studio with it.
Recently, they released Optimize Press 2 and it’s got a ton of big changes in it to make building sites even easier. The problem is, the new version is built on a whole different engine. So there’s no quick and easy way to upgrade to Optimize Press 2 without taking your site offline while you rebuild or only going halfway with the plugin.
What You’ll Learn
- The problem with just using the plugin version of OP2 instead of the theme version
- Your 6-step plan to upgrading your site to Optimize Press 2 from version 1
- The exact (free) tools I used to upgrade my sites
- The Jetpack mobile workaround that “kind of works”
I looked all over for some good tutorials and didn’t find any, so here we are. Now, Optimize Press 2 comes in both “theme” and “plugin” flavors. The company’s recommended way to upgrade is to install the new plugin version, recreate your pages in it, then delete your old pages. That’s explained in a tutorial inside the OP members hub. Look for the one named “Optimize Press 1 to OP2”.
There are a couple problems with that.
- It only works on pages. So if you’ve got a blog too, those posts are stuck in version 1.
- While OP2 is a reflexive theme that looks great on mobile, OP1 is not. So you’ll have a mixed site that might irk your mobile surfers.
- With both platforms in one site, it’s easy to get confused and use the wrong one to design something. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But I know me.
The question is: How do you fully upgrade your site to Optimize Press 2 without pulling it offline?
I have the answer, my friend… Follow me to the Promised Land.
Be sure to read through all these steps first before attacking the project. I’m going to assume you know how to do some of this stuff. As well, there are a ton of instructional videos on the Optimize Press Hub site to help you in learning how to use their tools. I won’t be repeating all that here. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Create a brand new WordPress site in another folder on your server. This will just be a temporary work site. So don’t worry about fancy names or domains or anything. Just stick in another folder and install WordPress with whatever tool your CPanel has. I’m on Bluehost and they have the Mojo Marketplace thing that does installs easily. Yours may have Fantastico or something similar.
Install the Optimize Press 2 theme on your new WordPress site. You’ll need to use one of your license keys to license this install. Later on, when you delete this work site, you’ll be able to free up that license key for use elsewhere.
Recreate your site in OP2. I wish wish wish there were an easier option than this. But there isn’t. The new system is so different, it doesn’t directly translate from the old one. So you’ll have to spend some time recreating all your pages and posts in OP2. Do a lot of copy/paste. And if it’s a really big job, head over to ODesk and outsource some of that work for cheap.
Now… At this point, one of two things can happen. If your OP site is on the root of your domain, simply point the domain at the new folder and you’re done. You might even just be able to rename the old site folder (ie. mysite_old) and then rename the new folder (ie. mysite). I haven’t tried that yet, so don’t quote me on it. There might be database issues to contend with. And I’m pretty database ignorant.
In my case, I have my OP site in a subfolder of my top level domain. And there are a couple thousand people that already have that URL bookmarked, so I don’t want to change it on them.
Install the Duplicator plugin on your OP2 site. It’s just called “Duplicator” and it’s available for free in the WordPress plugin repository. I looked a bunch of both free and paid options for moving a site from one folder to another. This was by far the easiest to deal with.
If you’re a real newb to website stuff, there may be a bit of a learning curve. But it’s really not that difficult with this plugin. If you’re not sure about your skills, try transferring the new site into a scratch folder of some sort first to make sure you don’t screw up the process. Then you can do it for real. That’s what I did.
The instructions for the plugin is concise and very helpful. You’ll find them at http://lifeinthegrid.com/support/knowledgebase.php?article=3
The one part that freaked me out a bit was creating and linking a new database through CPanel. Turns out it’s pretty easy. Here’s a video that explains it:
Follow the steps in the Duplicator instructions, create the database, move the site, and test it out. Make sure that the folder you’re moving the new site into is EMPTY. That means your site will be offline entirely for a few minutes while you delete it and make the transfer. Like I said, try in a scratch folder first to make sure you’ve got it going.
The real deal honestly doesn’t take more than 10 minutes depending on the size of your site. If you’re really worried about losing traffic during that time, do it in the middle of the night or at whatever time of day your traffic is lowest.
Once you’ve moved the new OP2 site to the correct folder, you can go delete the work site. Be sure to also log in to the Optimize Press site and unlicense the key you used on the work site so you can use it somewhere else.
And there you have it kids… The easiest and fastest way to upgrade from Optimize Press 1 to Optimize Press 2. The real work is in recreating your pages. If I find a faster way to do that, I’ll let you know. But that Duplicator is the real magic that makes moving the new site around easy. And you don’t have to take your old site down until the new one is ready.
I just noticed that inside Jetpack, with the WordPress 3.7 and up, there is a mobile theme function. You can turn that on and get a quick mobile version of your site going, even with Optimize Press 1.
It’s pretty average looking, but gets the job done. There are two things I don’t like about it. Some of the Optimize Press shortcodes aren’t rendered and just show up as code. Things like testimonials and some of the formatting. It’s not terrible, but not pretty either.
Also, it defaults to showing a list of blog posts and categories below the main page content. And there doesn’t seem to be a way to turn that off. If you’re like me and only using pages in your OP site, you don’t want all that empty garbage at the bottom of the page. If you use the blog function, all good for you.
So, it’s not a foolproof solution, but it will work for mobilizing your site until you can get your new OP2 site up and ready.