The benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress

It seems that every day dozens of UK companies are looking to carry out a WordPress migration. But there are benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress, so it’s not always right for every business.

WordPress’s market share varies quite widely according to the source you choose to believe. But with estimates ranging from 38% to 70%, it is still undeniably the most popular website content management system (CMS) and sits way ahead of its competitors. And it’s been voted the best CMS for the 7th year running too.

Because of its popularity, it typically comes at the top of the list for consideration. If you’re currently thinking of moving your website to a new CMS, here’s what we consider are the benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress.

As a bit of an aside, it’s important to note that we’re talking here about WordPress.org, the powerful software that’s “self-hosted”. It’s different from WordPress.com, which is hosted by WordPress and which is far more limited in its capabilities.

The Benefits of Migrating to WordPress

 

1. Great for SEO

WordPress has a simple URL structure and so the search engines – including Google – have always loved it.  The coding behind WordPress is simple, allowing the search engines to easily index websites built on it. On top of this, there are some popular SEO plugins that assist even more, and which you can easily manage in-house.

2. Extremely customisable

Because it is so widely adopted, there are thousands of add-ons – called plugins – available for WordPress. Most of them are inexpensive or free, and they perform all manner of powerful functionality, such as ecommerce, form processing, social media integration, forums, galleries and slide shows, and much, much more. And there are limitless ways that the software itself can be customised, so you can produce a unique design that perfectly reflects your business branding and portrays your company values.

3. Easy to use

WordPress is widely considered to be the most user-friendly CMS. It is quick and simple to manage, and doesn’t require extensive knowledge of coding for managing the content. It is easy for your marketing staff to publish new posts and pages, add and resize images, or edit existing text. And your IT employees will be able to handle the backend operations, such as updating plugins and updates to the WordPress software. So, you won’t need to pay a third-party company for the day-to-day management of your website.

4. It’s free

WordPress doesn’t tie you to a bespoke CMS requiring monthly or annual maintenance fees. If your current website is built on a custom CMS, then you are almost certainly paying each time there is an update. Whether it’s a simple security patch or a major update to the software, you have to pay for your supplier to do the update for you. WordPress is free, open-source software and they don’t charge for it. Of course, you do need to carry out a certain amount of updating and maintenance with WordPress. But there are no fees for the WordPress software upgrades. Some large companies can handle the upgrade process via their IT department, although many prefer to outsource it to a specialist agency, in case of any issues.

5. WordPress has a built-in blog

WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, so it has excellent blogging capabilities. Blogs are great because they add content to your site. And when you add a blog post, WordPress also adds other pages to your website too. Additional pages, in the form of archives, categories and tags are all automatically added to your website, and the search engines will index these. Not only that, but the search engines also like regularly-updated websites, and blogs are the simplest way to achieve this.

6. Longevity and scalability

WordPress websites are highly scalable. You can extend the functionality when you need to, by adding new capabilities. You may want to incorporate ecommerce later on, perhaps using Woo Commerce, or expand to add a community forum or a social networking application. And as long as you put in place sufficient hosting, it can handle huge amounts of data, without any compromise in performance. So you can continue to add pages, posts, images and media almost indefinitely. This gives your WordPress website a reassuring longevity, allowing it to continue to grow and develop over time.

7. Access to developers

Due to its widespread distribution and popularity, WordPress benefits from a vast developer community. Many more developers and coders are proficient in WordPress than in other content management systems. Companies can feel confident basing their websites on WordPress, knowing they will always have options in the future.

The Drawbacks of Migrating to WordPress

 

1. Cost

The very act of migrating your website to WordPress is going to cost you. If you have a large or complex website, as many SMEs and larger enterprises do, then it is a serious undertaking to migrate to WordPress. You may be able to undertake it in-house, if your staff have the necessary expertise. But it is more likely that you will need to work with a WordPress developer, and one that has experience in carrying out WordPress migrations. There are many automated CMS migration services on the market, but more often than not, some customisation will be required. The extent of any adaptation or tailoring will depend on the complexity of your site.

2. It’s time-consuming

A thorough and “proper” WordPress migration is time-consuming. It has to be efficiently planned and executed, with time allowed for the almost inevitable snagging and debugging. Contingency plans are vital to a successful WordPress migration. It may take weeks or months from scoping to final implementation, so you need to ensure you have the necessary time to invest in a WordPress migration.

3. It’s complex

A WordPress migration is not a straightforward task. It is a complex project and needs to be approached thoroughly and systematically. For it to go as smoothly as possible, you may want to use a company with experience of managing WordPress migrations. Some WordPress migrations are simple, but for business-critical websites, a professional approach guarantees success. An experienced agency will be adept at anticipating and overcoming the typical bottlenecks and issues that such a large IT project often encounters.

4. WordPress is not the best at everything

Although it’s the most popular website software, there are some applications where WordPress is not always the best option. It’s great for corporate sites, ecommerce operations, and for content marketing purposes. But some of WordPress is built by volunteers. Aspects such as translation of the admin area, for example, are not professionally outsourced and volunteers can add their own translations. For global operations, where employees in other countries manage the website in languages other than English, then the quality of translation can sometimes be lacking.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are both benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress. But with fewer drawbacks, and with the widespread popularity of the system, it seems WordPress offers the best option in most cases. Certainly, if your website is crucial to your company, the time and budget needed for a WordPress migration always represent a sound business investment.

If you’re having problems with your existing CMS and are weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress, then take advantage of a free one hour WordPress migration consultation with one of our experts. Simply follow the link below.




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4 responses to “The benefits and drawbacks of migrating to WordPress

  1. WordPress does have issues at scale, since posts and postmeta are not the best way to handle the data, sure you can create custom post types, but your still limited by the database design in WP core.

    1. Hi Luke,

      Thanks for getting in touch, it’s a good point and you’re right. Speed is one of our key considerations for every site, in fact – just this week we’ve had some incredible results with taking what was a 13 second load time and reducing it consistently to a fraction of a second!

      I think the key thing to note is that WordPress itself isn’t slow, but the database that holds all of your website’s posts in it can become slow at larger scales. This can absolutely have an impact when a website has to do something complex whilst churning through tens of thousands of posts, however this is something we always consider in our initial planning stages when importing data across into a new website, and there’s always a way to help speed things up somewhere.

      It’d be great if we can help improve the speed of your website, do give us a call.

  2. Great post! I think one of the main issues when it comes to migrating to WordPress (or from any one CMS to another for that matter ) is the potential for loss of SEO/rankings ( at least in the short term ) due to things like changing the URL structure since this can result in 404 errors when someone clicks on a search result and the URL contained in that search result no longer exists.
    I know there are ways to mitigate against this by either mirroring the URL’s of the old site or by using redirects but it’s not ideal. Even changing/removing images that were previously existing on the old website can have a detrimental effect- this is especially true when it comes to product images which are indexed in Google Image Search.

    I love WordPress though – for me, WordPress has had the same kind of impact on the Web as the printing press had on the written word all those centuries ago. Long live WordPress!

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