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Converting to WordPress from Joomla or Drupal

Over the last 13 years that we’ve been building great websites for great people, we’ve worked with dozens of different content management systems (CMS).  Of these, the platforms that we’ve worked with the most are the ‘big three’:  WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.  As of this writing, WordPress accounts for 58.7% of the market share of all content management systems, and 24.5% of all websites and is increasing that share each year.  Joomla and Drupal lag far behind at 2.8%/6.7% and 2.1%/5% respectively (http://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all).

Content Management Overview

We have both built and inherited hundreds of sites on each of these platforms over the years, so are intimately familiar with how they work, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.  As WordPress has grown over the last five years, so too has our affinity for it as the CMS of choice for most of our clients, both new and old.  We rarely come across a functionality requirement that can’t be handled by WordPress in a more efficient and expandable way than it could be with the other two platforms, and we find that customization is much easier for us, which allows our client’s budget to go farther.  Perhaps most importantly though, is that WordPress is simply much easier for any non-technical person to do what it is made to do: manage content.

The creators of WordPress and the greater WordPress community really strive to make WordPress very usable for non-techie users, without sacrificing the ability for techie folks like us to customize and expand the platform as needed based upon client requirements.  Conversely, Joomla and especially Drupal, seem to be made by techie people for techie people, or at least by techie people who don’t have a good understanding of how non-techie people like to interact with technology.  Some additional reasons we prefer WordPress to Joomla and Drupal include:

  • WordPress has a much larger development community, so there are more plugin options to expand functionality, and the core system and plugins are much more supported.
  • Security and functionality updates in WordPress are usually as easy as just clicking a button.  Conflicts can arise, but when they do, it is much easier for us to troubleshoot the issue and resolve it than with Joomla or Drupal.

“Okay, I’m convinced!” you might be saying.  “WordPress is better.  But I have a Joomla (or Drupal) site that’s already built out and has hundreds of existing pages.  What do I do now?”.  Luckily, we have extensive experience converting both Joomla and Drupal sites to WordPress, and it’s not as massive an undertaking as you might think.  First, there are many open source (free and community supported) plugins and scripts available specifically made for the task of converting database content (articles, nodes, views, pages, posts, depending on what CMS language you’re speaking) from Joomla and Drupal to WordPress.  Secondly, we are experts at database management and transfer, so we can modify these scripts as needed, and if necessary create custom scripts to meet the specific needs of the project.  Additionally, we are intimately familiar with the template structure for all three platforms, so we have a ‘bag of tricks’ for converting these into WordPress templates.  Templates make up the bones of the site, as well as the look and feel, whereas database content makes up the specific content.  The last part of the equation is plugins (called ‘extensions’ in Joomla and ‘modules’ in Drupal), which are common among all three platforms and expand upon the core functionality of the CMS.  Here again WordPress makes things easier, as more often than not there is a WordPress plugin that does whatever the Joomla or Drupal counterpart did and does it better.  However, in a conversion this can often be the trickiest part, depending on how much data needs to be moved over, and how precise the functional requirements are.  There is always a solution though, and our creative problem solving team has loads of experience reworking even the most complicated and custom Joomla extensions and Drupal modules into WordPress plugins that accomplish the same thing in an easier to use package.

We have found that every client we’ve worked with on a Joomla or Drupal to WordPress conversion has been extremely happy with the transition, and we’ve completed more conversions that we can remember.  Moreover, you will usually save money in the long run by investing in a conversion.  You’ll be able to do more yourself without relying on your development team, and the work that you do need us for such as more complicated upgrades and regular maintenance is much more efficiently handled, saving you money.

If you have an existing Joomla or Drupal site and are curious about upgrading to WordPress, please give us a holler using the form on the right.  We’ll be happy to hear from you!

 

2 Comments

  1. James Hammond · March 21, 2016 Reply

    Hello, thanks for the informative article. For a few years I have been told only drupal will work for my application, which is possibly correct, but I frankly dont know. It could just as easily have been a case of technological self preservation on the part of the consultant I used.

    What I do know is it has cost me more to develop less with less attractive results. Perhaps time to change?

  2. Mark L · May 10, 2016 Reply

    Hi James – It has been our experience that WordPress can do everything that Drupal does, often better, and almost always with less development time required. That being said, there are some cases where moving an already existing system from one CMS to another can be more trouble/cost than is practical. Feel free to reach out to us with the details of your site and we’d be happy to let you know what we think – just use the contact form on the right.

Leave a Reply to Mark L Cancel reply


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