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Why’s & How’s of WordPress to Drupal Migration

August 08, 2018 Written by Andrei Klubnikin, Senior Content Manager
Today we won’t discuss WordPress and Drupal advantages or drawbacks: both CMS solutions have their strong and weak points, boast solid market presence and enjoy developer community support. The decision to migrate a WP-based website to Drupal is always driven by business needs: unlike custom web solutions, ready-made content management systems are designed to facilitate a particular process (easy content sharing, assigning multiple user roles, e-commerce processes automation, etc.). What can those needs be? How could you migrate a WordPress website to Drupal painlessly and with no damage to SEO? You’ll find the answers here.

Why Migrate a Business Website from WordPress to Drupal?

  • You prioritize business & customer data security. Compared to other CMS solutions, Drupal is more of a complex programming environment than just a plug-and-play system which supports rapid website development and deployment. Unsurprisingly, the CMS core and its extensions are managed by a dedicated community of developers who focus on security and release updates on a regular basis. Drupal complies with OWASP standards, can be configured to encrypt a website’s whole database (or parts of it), offers refined access controls and features built-in security reporting, which is particularly important in the age of ransomware and IoT-triggered cyberattacks.
  • You have ambitions plans for your company’s future. Designed to help companies keep up with the ever-changing business environments, the CMS supports mobile-first initiatives, allows for rich digital experiences and offers over 40 thousand ready-made modules which cover the functionality missing from Drupal core. What’s more, it enables businesses to plan website architecture with scalability in mind, set up auto-scaling to cope with traffic spikes and grow it from just three pages to three thousand pages without major recoding and performance issues. Even greater flexibility can be achieved by decoupling Drupal – an approach which allows developers to separate the back-end of a website from its presentation layer and share website content to other applications (including web-based, mobile and wearable apps) via an API.
  • You want to boost your content marketing efforts. Drupal de facto supports various types of marketing content (blog posts, podcasts, videos, graphics) you need to increase online visibility and drive quality traffic to your website. However, it’s advanced user management (option to create multiple user accounts and user groups, define their permission rights to manage parts of a website and assign tasks to them) that makes Drupal a perfect choice for businesses that heavily rely on content marketing, such as social media and marketing companies, news agencies and educational portals.

What are the challenges of WP to Drupal website migration?

Insight into WP to Drupal Website Migration Process

Website CMS migration (or re-platforming) is the process of transferring an old website database and its web pages to a newly-built website. It often results in design and URL changes stemming from technological differences between the user-friendly WordPress and sophisticated Drupal and could have a disastrous impact on your SEO unless you entrust the task to a reliable Drupal development company. It is seldom possible to mirror the old website’s business logic, too, that’s why re-platforming in most cases equals building a new website from scratch. Custom-written and WordPress-only extensions have to be configured manually or replaced with Drupal equivalents.
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Thus, the “website migration” term refers to migrating your website content – and there are a handful of tools that would allow your development team to do it in a timely and efficient manner. These include:
  • WordPress Migrate (a Drupal module written specifically for WP which enables codeless content migration).
  • Migrate (facilitates content migration from any CMS).
  • Pathauto (automatically creates URL/path aliases and ensures clean code structure; works in sync with Migrate Extras).
  • WordPress Kickstart (a Drupal package that features all of the above-mentioned modules).
  • Drupal 8 built-in migration tools (including Migrate API).
Website migration process explained
The success of the entire website migration process is largely driven by in-depth business and systems analysis. Your development team should study the WP source code to identify custom-written website components, determine how business objects interact with each other, estimate development efforts and create a through re-platforming strategy that would allow you to migrate your WordPress website to Drupal without losing any traffic and revenue.
Below we’ve listed several tips you should definitely include in your migration plan to meet your business objectives.

Tips to Painlessly Migrate a WordPress Website to Drupal

  • Prepare a detailed project plan taking into account stakeholders’ opinion (content and marketing team, business development department, SEO specialist).
  • Identify content which should be added or removed from your website.
  • Formulate SEO requirements (including URL, meta data, redirects, sitemaps, pagination, analytics, copy and page load time optimized for desktop and mobile devices).
  • Create wireframes (to detect and fix UX issues early on).
  • Identify priority pages that drive the most traffic and conversions or boast the greatest level of engagement and benchmarks based on your WordPress website performance. You can also use tools like BrightEdge to set up a migration admin dashboard and monitor KPIs in real time.
  • Duplicate website content and upload it to a staging server to implement and track changes.
Website migration is a good opportunity to address legacy software issues, expand your brand reach and deliver the ultimate customer experience across multiple platforms. In order to avoid migration pitfalls which, among other things, include heavy fluctuations in organic traffic and subsequent revenue losses, you should address a company with the relevant Drupal website development experience, set realistic goals and devote enough time to pre-launch testing.

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