How to programmatically import your external blog post links into WordPress

I recently imported all the links to external posts I’d written into this blog.


I wanted to collect/showcase all the content I’ve written over the ages in one place.


Some content was located in other WordPress sites and other posts were not.

So, WordPress XML imports wouldn’t work for everything.

I also didn’t want to duplicate all the post_meta and content for all the posts but rather just link out to them.


Glad you asked!

In the end, I decided to simply use javascript to grab an array of the post titles, dates and URLs via the browser console.

Step 1. Grab the data

Grab your post data.

From the WordPress admin page viewing my posts.

Set the ‘Number of items per page’ to as high as you need to view all the posts at once, then run this script in the browser console.

var row = document.querySelectorAll('#the-list tr')

var data = [];
for (var i = 0; i < row.length; i++) {
  var title = row[i].querySelectorAll('.row-title')[0].innerText;
  var link = row[i].querySelectorAll('.view a')[0].getAttribute('href');
  var date = row[i].querySelectorAll('.column-date abbr')[0].getAttribute('title');
  data[i] = { url: link, title: title, date: date}
console.log(JSON.stringify(data)) // blam all of the posts in a nice lil javascript array

I grabbed all the posts I created while I was at HubSpot from this page using the below script.

var article = document.querySelectorAll('.post-item');
var data = [];
for (var i = 0; i < article.length; i++) {
  var url = "http:" + article[i].querySelectorAll('.post-title__link--preview')[0].getAttribute('href');
  var title = article[i].querySelectorAll('.post-title__link--preview')[0].innerText;
  var date = article[i].querySelectorAll('meta')[1].getAttribute('content');
  data[i] = { url: url, title: title, date: date}

Now I have my data to import!

Step 2 - Import into Wordpress

This code goes in your functions.php file. Alter it to suite your needs. (aka post author number and category number )

function insert_wordpress_posts_from_json(){
  // Add your json block here
  $json = '[{
  "url": "",
  "title": "Bulk Edit & Manage Web Leads Directly from WordPress",
  "date": "2014/01/30 2:08:17 pm"
  }, {
  "url": "",
  "title": "How to Create Awesome Lead Tracking Forms for Your Site",
  "date": "2014/01/12 12:07:18 am"
  }, {
  "url": "",
  "title": "How to Create Awesome Unordered Lists with Icons for Your WordPress Site",
  "date": "2014/01/07 9:54:30 pm"
  // convert to usable PHP array
  $jsonToPHPArray = json_decode($json, true);

  // Loop over that shit
  foreach ($jsonToPHPArray as $key => $value) {
    // Check if post by that title already exists or not
    $post_exists = post_exists( $value['title'] );
    if (!$post_exists) {
      // format to correct wordpress specific date  '2010-02-23 18:57:33'
      $postdate = date('Y-m-d H:i:s', strtotime($value['date']));
      $url = $value['url'];
      $new_post = array(
      'post_title'    =>   $value['title'],
      'post_date'     =>   $postdate,
      'post_status'   =>   'publish',
      // change this to your wordpress id
      'post_author'   =>   3,
      // change this to your correct category ID
      'post_category' => array( 5 )
      // create post in wordpress. Yay!
      $new_post_id = wp_insert_post($new_post);
      // add custom post meta to imported posts
      add_post_meta( $new_post_id, 'what_ever_post_meta_you_want', true );
      // This is to be google friendly when using Yoast WordPress SEO
      add_post_meta( $new_post_id, '_yoast_wpseo_canonical', $url );
// I am triggering in the admin head, but you can fire this however you want
add_action('admin_head', 'insert_wordpress_posts_from_json');

Wordpress and PHP have some shitty memory limits so I kept the array to around 25 items per import.

Have fun!

P.S there are probably other ways to do this. This worked for me.