Tim O’Reilly, founder of the terms “open source software” and “Web 2.0,” once said, “We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.”
No matter how much I love WordPress, he’s right. Software gives us the power to do, but what good is all that “doing” if we don’t have control over the data that lives within that software? And, by golly, there is a lot of data within our WordPress websites.
So, pick your poison. Would you like access to data related to:
- Members or customers?
- Post or page content?
- Or something else entirely?
There’s a wealth of data sitting within WordPress. Perhaps you don’t currently have a need to do anything with it, but there may come a day when you want to be able to move it around with ease.
Some of you may already be familiar with something called phpMyAdmin that was created for this purpose. It syncs up with your site’s MySQL database, enabling you to move data in and out of it. But that’s not always the most user-friendly of platforms (especially for implementers), so it’s best to leave the data importation and exportation work to a WordPress plugin.
10 WordPress Plugins for Importing and Exporting Data
If we go to the extreme end of moving data, there’s the full website migration. Maybe you’re moving your site to a different server or WordPress installation, or maybe you’re duplicating your site so you don’t have to start a similarly-designed one from-scratch. But there’s really no need to export data into a table if you can use a plugin to take care of that for you.
WordPress does have a basic import function that enables users to take blog content from one site and move it to another, but that’s really all it can do for you:
WordPress does have an export function as well, which is a little more robust and will let you export more than just blog post content:
As a web developer, you likely have other reasons for wanting to import and export data in WordPress. Typically, for more granular and maybe even analytical purposes.
Perhaps you need to update metadata, but don’t want to tackle the update of each post piecemeal. Maybe you just want to get customer or sales data out of WordPress and to be able to look at it all in one convenient location. And there may be other times when you want to export very specific parts of your site not available through WordPress’s export function in order to save time recreating them on other sites (like with widgets).
Being able to easily import and export data using a plugin can definitely come in handy then. If you’re not comfortable using phpMyAdmin or want to skip running to your control panel every time you want to access your data, you can use one of these plugins to export those data sets into a CSV, Excel, XML, or PDF file.
Here are 10 WordPress plugins that will give you the power to import and export your data with the greatest of ease:
If your ecommerce store is hosted with WooCommerce, this plugin gives you the ability to export order details from WordPress so you have a tangible document by which you can review and manage your store’s orders. You can pick and choose which data fields matter most, rename them for clarity, reorganize for convenience, and export into the file format of your choice.
This plugin takes what WordPress does and truly enhances it. Rather than focus on importing the basic content from some other site or exporting your pages’ content, you can pull in everything from post comments to SEO, and customer reviews to ecommerce data.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the settings you’ve applied in the Theme Customizer tool either aren’t correctly or consistently applied. That’s no one’s fault really. While it’s an easy tool to use, there are a lot of modules you have to go through to get everything set up properly. This plugin allows you to export all of your theme’s Customizer settings so you can view them in one place and ensure you covered all your bases.
Not everyone will have a need for a plugin like this—especially if you have a small website—but for larger sites with hundreds of pages of blog content or ecommerce products, this plugin would be a big help. What it does is simple. It exports your page data so you can check for issues with titles, URLs, or categories.
One of the signs that you’re working with a high-quality customer (or user) relationship management tool is the ability to bulk upload user data into the system. With this plugin, you can now do that in WordPress.
Let’s say you have a widget that you’re particularly fond of and that you know is highly effective in terms of generating conversions for one of your client’s sites. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to easily recreate it on another site without having to build it from-scratch? You can use this plugin to export the data out of one site and get it into another.
This premium WordPress plugin works solely for WooCommerce shops, and it’s a doozy of a plugin. You can do the typical import and export as with other plugins like this, but there is advanced filtering, enhanced field management, and you can even schedule the import or export of data at specific intervals.
Here is another premium plugin to help you with literally all of your import and export needs. Want to get your WooCommerce product data out of there? How about information on your plugins? What about your posts’ featured images? In addition to importing and exporting pretty much every bit of data that resides in WordPress, this plugin helps map your fields so you’re not stuck spending time renaming your data in order for it to sync up properly.
If you’re unsatisfied with the import/export plugins that only handle one specific type of data migration task, take a look at WP All Export. Not only is it versatile in what it can import or export, but it also comes with a drag-and-drop, so organizing your data before exporting it out of WordPress is a breeze.
Here is the import equivalent of the plugin above. If your goal isn’t to get your WordPress data out of the CMS, but instead to import content from other sites, import a data feed from somewhere else, or you need some other form of externally sourced data, you can use this plugin.
Data is an important element for any business. It’s what tells you when something’s not right or when something has remarkably gone right. It’s especially critical to the work done within WordPress, which is why things like Google Analytics and A/B testing play such a major role in the lives of web developers. Now you have another means for extracting data from a site and using it for your own analytical purposes, sharing it, or moving it elsewhere.