How To Move a Site to Flex2 Theme

The Office of Digital Strategy will assist you with all the following steps if you require it. Digital Strategy will also first need to create a beta site for you to begin your site move.

1. Request a URL

The user will submit a request for a new site. We will then discuss if the new site is actually required, or if it should simply be a subfolder of a current site.

If we proceed, the user will need a new URL (either a beta for an existing site, or a brand new URL for a new site). They need to send in a request via UserVoice, and we will submit the request to the help desk for them. This process usually takes 3-5 business days.

Internally, we need to add it to the We then send the following to the help desk: 
Please point to

2. Create a Slickplan Sitemap

Before any data transfer or setup even begins, it would be best to log into to GSU's Slickplan account (, create a new account for the site in question,  and have the web administrator of the site plan out their new site.

Take this opportunity to go through the current site and decide what pages and information will stay, what needs to be added, what will change, and what will not be moved over to the new site. Use color-coding to denote which pages will need changes, which will be removed, which will be added, etc. The following color code list is what other departments and schools are using, and would make it universally clear which color stands for what status:
  • Red (#FA6664) = Kill this page
  • Yellow (#EFD50B) = Content/Hierarchy needs to be updated
  • Green (#22E711) = Transfer to beta site as is (No content/hierarchy changes needed)
  • Purple (#DD5BEA) = Unsure (What the heck is this page? Does it still serve a purpose?)
  • Light Blue (#80F9EE) = Create new page
  • Pink (#F963B6) = Subpage that does not appear in any site navigation menu or obvious hyperlink BUT contains content that is pulled into one or more higher-level landing pages
  • Blue (#8097FA ) = Page should link from Utility Bar menu
  • Orange (#E58B31) = Wildcard
  • Grey (#8E8E8E) = Page Transfer complete
The site administrator will need to add any notes that will assist us or others in understanding the reasons for pages, or their functionality, where needed.

3. Create Blank Pages in the New Beta Site

Once the Slickplan sitemap is complete, and all parties involved agree to the final map, begin creating blank pages using the Slickplan layout as your roadmap.  Make sure that you attach all child pages to their parent pages as you go. Do not worry about any data or page layout at this time. This is mainly for getting the base site created and prepped for later items, like setting up the menus. 

4. Create Your Site's Navigation Menu

Next the site administrator will want to make sure that the main navigation menu is set up correctly. Go to Appearance > Menus and generate the menu. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that this main, primary menu is set to be the "Primary Navigation Menu" for the site. It needs to be set up as your Mobile Navigation Menu too in order to have it display on mobile devices.

Then create all of the sub-navigation menus that you will need, attaching them to the main navigation menu where required.

5. Turn on all the GSU Flex2 Theme and Relevant Plugins

Under “Appearance,” and “Themes,” Digital Strategy will need to select and activate "GSU FLEX2" on your new beta site.

Go to your site’s Plugins page. Activate the following plugins if they are not activated already:

  • WPBakery (formerly WP Visual Composer)
  • Custom Sidebars Pro
  • Smush It Pro
  • Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress (If Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress was not previously activated on your site, it will ask you to “Start the quick Setup Wizard.” Start it. Then it will ask you to “activate it.” Activate it.)
  • Templatera
  • Ultimate Addons for Visual Composer
  • Slider Revolution
  • CSS & JS Toolbox PLUS
  • WP Smush It Pro
  • WP-Mail-SMTP
  • Essential Grid

Determine if any special plugins are required and activate them if you need to.

Choose Appearance/Customize. We will set the site title under Site Identity. We then choose the Primary Navigation Options and Color Scheme Options depending on how the site administrators want their pages to appear. Then choose the default layout under Site Layout. Save the choices.

6. Add Page Templates

The website administrator will then browse, download and install any templates they like to the new website. A majority of the site content should be able to fit into predefined templates. 

However, should the website administrator have a special need or use case for a new/custom template (which can be discussed with the Office of Digital Strategy), that may be explored in this step.

If a custom template has been, or needs to be, created...

It is highly recommended that the web administrator create templates for their pages prior to importing them from the old site in order to ensure uniformity throughout the new site.

To create templates, log into the site dashboard, go to Visual Composer in the left column, and then select Templates. Start by adding a New Template.

We can give the template a name. Give it a descriptive name that will let us know what it will be used for, like "Contact Pages Template" if we plan to use this as a template for Contact Pages.

Then we can create the basic layout that this specific kind of page will need (including rows, columns, images, sliders, etc).  Once everything is set up, save the template. Once the web administrator start creating new pages, they will have the option to "Add Template". They can select the template that they need for the specific page that they are creating.

To save an entire existing page as a template, click on the three-block icon at the top of the Visual Composer page (simply called "Templates"), and it will display the option to name and save the current page as a template.

7. Use GSU Elements

In populating the pages with information, we will need to use new Visual Composer elements created specifically for GSU that can be found under the Visual Composer tab "My Elements". Here the site administrator will find GSU-approved templates for buttons, tabs, accordions, and toggles. We will generate these for the user ourselves. See the article on Georgia State Flex Theme Elements for these elements' setups and uses.

Other GSU elements that users should use can be found at These include sliders, grids, knowledge base, expandables, and other supporting effects. Please browse the library at and download any other elements that you may require.

8. Export, Then Import, and Check Your Site's Data

On your old site, using the import/export plugins, you will need to export your Widgets, and then import them into your new beta site.  You will also need to export and then import all of your added Toolset Types configurations for faculty and staff and posts using Export/Import under Toolset Types on your Dashboard.  

Use the Broadcast plugin to pull in required posts (and images used in posts). We will walk the site administrator through the Broadcast process, and allow them to choose which posts they want broadcast to the new site.

Due to the multiple and large changes between the old themes and the new Flex2 Theme, not to mention the way that WPBakery allows pages to be created, it is recommended that you create your pages on the beta site and then copy and paste all your content over a page at a time.  This is not difficult, but depending on your site’s size, it may take some time to transfer your content this way. This step will also allow you to go over all your pages' information and data and make any changes or corrections as you go.

As pages and posts are created, the site administrator needs to add Yoast Search Engine Optimization elements to them. These include focus keywords, meta keywords, and snippet. Also, when images are uploaded to the site, make sure that they have Alternate Text assigned to each of them as well. This is mandatory.

9. Test the Entire Site

After the site is built, the web administrator will need to go page by page and test every element of the site. Verify that all links work, all images are displaying, and all forms and any other plugin that have been activated are functioning correctly. This may be time consuming, but it will make for a much smoother GoLive experience for everyone involved. Testing the entire site prior to GoLive can save us literal hours during the actual GoLive.

Larger, outward-aimed sites will be required to print out all the main landing pages of their site and have VP for Public Relations and Marketing Communications Don Hale review and edit the copy. Plan accordingly, as this may take more than a week to have these printouts reviewed and edited, and then reviewed again.

We also need to check and test redirects and make sure that only redirects that we need are activated. Sometimes redirects are autocreated, and we just need to verify that unneeded redirects are removed prior to GoLive.

10. Digital Strategy Items

Digital Strategy will be responsible for checking the following items at this point:

  • Gravity Forms needs to have its license added before the page goes live. This is something Digital Strategy will add.
  • Print Friendly needs to be deactivated as well. 
  • SMTP mail settings need to be verified and added if they are not already.

11. GoLive (See article for Process for GoLive)

After your site has been tested from top to bottom, and all parties involved have given it the green light to go live, Digital Strategy will work with you to set up a date for your site's GoLive. We will coordinate with you the best time to switch your beta site with your live site. We will then go through the site and verify that everything transferred correctly. Once this is complete, your site will be ready for business.

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