What is the Best Strategy for Re-skin then Migration, then Multisite??

Dear Team WPMU,

I now present to you the main reason I require your support: I need to re-skin a Production Site (Live Site), then migrate it, then convert it to a multisite installation.

The current site is an install of WordPress in the following directory:

http://www.aur.edu/american-university-rome

Let’s call that “Website Alpha.” Note that Website Alpha is NOT in the root directory.

Now, I also have a separate install of WordPress in the root directory. Let’s call that “Website Beta.” I had planned to use Website Beta as the sandbox, after which I would have turned off Website Alpha and switched on Website Beta, but I now suspect that might not be the best strategy.

Note: you presently cannot access the root due to a .htaccess redirect which you helped me figure out (thank you, again, Jack and Tom!).

I would again emphasize that I do not need to re-do Website Alpha; I only need to re-skin it with a new theme / home page, then migrate, then convert to multisite.

I have the following tools at my disposal:

– DesktopServer

– BackupBuddy

Knowing all of that, my question is this:

According to the WPMU experts, what is the best strategy to apply here to pull this off?

My tentative plan:

1. Use BackupBuddy to create an archive of Website Alpha.

2. Use DesktopServer to create Website Beta by importing the archive created from BackupBuddy; re-skin.

3. Deploy Website Beta to the same directory as Website Alpha…? (Here I am unsure how best to do this.)

4. Use BackupBuddy to migrate Website Beta (now the live website) to the root directory. I suspect this is best as it will address all of the URL changes. What I don’t know is if this also creates a .htaccess file to redirect Website Alpha’s old location URL’s to the actual location now on Website Beta. In other words, what was once:

http://www.aur.edu/american-university-rome/academics

Is now:

http://www.aur.edu/academics

5. Convert Website Beta to multisite; delete Website Alpha.

Does that sound like the best plan? Or would you recommend a different strategy?

Please advise. I look forward to your thoughtful reply.

Cheers,

Tim