Embracing WordPress for content management

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your website can be a tough decision. Let’s face it, you’ll be stuck with it for at least and handful of years, so it’s important to choose wisely. And, who knows how technology will evolve in that time? With the approaching end of life for Drupal 7 in January 2025, many of our clients have faced this conundrum.

Alpen Lily Web Studio specializes in content management services that streamline and optimize digital strategies. Our expertise in CMS migration, particularly from Drupal to WordPress, has become increasingly vital as our clients like Walton’s Grizzly Lodge, North Tahoe Public Utility District, BADRAP, and Fuhrman Leamy Land Group need to transition away from the aging Drupal 7.

“The move to WordPress has completely changed the way that we manage content, site updates, and post important information to our customers and residents and visitors,” said Justin Broglio, public information officer for the North Tahoe Public Utility District. “[Our] old Drupal sites had become slow, cumbersome to manage, and inefficient. It would sometimes take several hours to simple make a calendar edit or upload a new PDF form and then replace the link across multiple pages and locations.”

“The move to WordPress has completely changed the way we manage content, do site updates, and post important information to our customers, residents, and visitors.”

– Justin Broglio, Public Information Officer, North Tahoe Public Utility District

Here we’ll explore the our clients’ transitions from Drupal, a robust but complex system, to WordPress, known for its extensive customization capabilities and user-friendly interface. The imminent end of life for Drupal 7 has made this transition necessary, and by exploring these case studies, we aim to highlight the significant improvements in functionality and user engagement that can be achieved.

Why migrate from Drupal to WordPress?

Let’s start with the basics. Aside from the impending end-of-life for Drupal 7, there are many reasons to migrate a Drupal site to WordPress rather than upgrading to the new version of Drupal. We’ve explored this topic in-depth in another blog post. The decision to migrate from Drupal to WordPress is influenced by several critical factors that affect the long-term viability and management of a website. As the end of life for Drupal 7 approaches in January 2025, many organizations are faced with the necessity to transition to a CMS that ensures continued support and development. Here are the key reasons why migrating to WordPress can be a strategic advantage:

Ease of use: WordPress is renowned for its user-friendly interface, making it an ideal choice for content managers and editors. Unlike Drupal, which often requires more technical expertise, WordPress allows users with minimal technical skills to do a lot more. This simplicity translates to faster updates and reduced training time for staff, which is critical for organizations looking to maintain an agile digital presence.

Large community support: WordPress boasts one of the largest online communities, providing an invaluable resource for troubleshooting, innovations, and support. For businesses, this means easier access to expertise and updates, ensuring that the website remains secure and functional with minimal downtime.

Extensive plugin ecosystem: Because of this large online community, WordPress has a vast repository of plugins, which extend the functionality of the basic system to limitless possibilities. Whether you need enhanced SEO tools, social media integration, or sophisticated security solutions, WordPress plugins are available to meet almost any need. This contrasts with Drupal, where similar functionalities may require custom development, thus increasing complexity and cost.

Scalability and flexibility: WordPress offers remarkable scalability and flexibility. The platform can handle anything from a basic blog to an extensive e-commerce site with thousands of pages. As a business grows, its website can adapt without the need for a complete overhaul.

SEO advantages: WordPress is built with SEO in mind, offering features that simplify the process of optimizing your content. With tools such as integrated responsiveness for mobile devices and automatic generation of meta tags, WordPress inherently boosts your site’s visibility in search engines.

By transitioning from Drupal to WordPress, organizations not only mitigate the risks associated with the end of life of Drupal 7 but also gain a platform that is robust, user-friendly, and capable of supporting their digital needs well into the future. Through strategic migration CMS projects, Alpen Lily Web Studio ensures that this transition not only meets but exceeds client expectations in functionality and performance.

Case study: Walton’s Grizzly Lodge Redesign

Walton’s Grizzly Lodge, a historic summer camp nestled in Northern California, faced a significant challenge as their website’s underlying technology, Drupal 7, neared its end of life. Recognizing the need for a sustainable and secure digital presence, the decision was made to migrate their website to WordPress. This migration was not just a technical update; it was an opportunity to fully revitalize the camp’s online image.

Migration objectives

  • Ensure technical sustainability: By moving from Drupal 7 to WordPress, the camp aimed to modernize its website, enhancing both security and functionality.
  • Elevate online presence: The redesign focused on more accurately portraying the vibrant camp experience through enhanced visual and interactive elements.
  • Improve user experience and accessibility: Simplifying navigation and content accessibility was crucial, ensuring that families could easily interact with the camp’s offerings online.

Migration and redesign strategy

  • Technical transition: The migration process was meticulously planned to ensure cost-effectiveness and minimize disruptions for users. This strategic transition not only addressed the immediate needs but leveraged WordPress’s flexible and user-friendly platform to rebuild the website with improved design and functionality.
  • Revitalizing online image: The new website design vividly captures the essence of Walton’s Grizzly Lodge, featuring high-quality images and videos that invite users into the world of camp adventures. The redesign aimed to make the online experience as inviting and engaging as the real-life camp.
  • Responsive design implementation: A key aspect of the redesign was ensuring the website was fully responsive, providing an optimal viewing experience across all devices, whether accessed via desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Results

Walton's Grizzly Lodge Drupal 7 websiteWalton's Grizzly Lodge WordPress website

Walton’s Grizzly Lodge: Before with Drupal and after with WordPress redesign

The migration and redesign of Walton’s Grizzly Lodge’s website not only prepared the organization for the future by moving away from an outdated CMS but also transformed their digital footprint into a more engaging, accessible, and visually appealing platform. This case showcases how technical necessity paired with a visionary redesign can significantly enhance an organization’s online presence.

Case study: North Tahoe Public Utility District redesign

The North Tahoe Public Utility District (NTPUD) embarked on a significant website redesign and migration project to enhance the accessibility and functionality of their online presence. This project was particularly crucial as it involved consolidating their recreational and parks department offerings into the main website, ensuring a seamless user experience across all district services.

Migration objectives

  • Enhance user experience: Focus on improving the website’s navigation and accessibility, making it easier for the public to find and use services.
  • Consolidate online services: Integrate the separate recreation and parks website into the main NTPUD site, providing a unified experience for users.
  • Reflect community growth: Update the website’s content and design to mirror the expansion of district services and community engagement.

Migration and redesign strategy

  • User-centric design approach: The redesign prioritized user experience, drawing on insights from the previous website to optimize accessibility and usability.
  • Integration of services: Smooth integration with third-party tools for program registration was a critical component, ensuring that community members could easily register for and access district programs.
  • Collaborative development: Thanks to close collaboration with design partners and district representatives, the project successfully captured the essence and needs of the NTPUD community.

Results

The revamped NTPUD website now offers a more integrated, user-friendly platform that reflects the district’s commitment to serving and growing with its community. This case study exemplifies how thoughtful web design and development can transform a public utility’s digital interface, making it more accessible and efficient for its users.

“Utilizing WordPress, Alpen Lily has helped bring our small public utility district into the modern web era and made our critical content and important resources available to our customers in an easy-to-use website that works great on your smartphone and is fully accessible,” Broglio said.

Case study: Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe migration to WordPress

The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe (HSTT) has been a long-term client of Alpen Lily Web Studio, collaborating on website projects for more 15 years. This enduring partnership has witnessed multiple digital transformations, with the latest project involving a migration from Drupal to WordPress, emphasizing ease of use and training for the HSTT team.

Migration objectives

  • Transition to a user-friendly platform: Migrate HSTT’s website to WordPress to enhance ease of management and training for the team.
  • Maintain long-term digital strategy: Continue supporting HSTT’s growth and evolution through effective digital solutions.

Migration and redesign strategy

  • Training and support: Provided comprehensive training to HSTT staff on the new WordPress system to ensure smooth operation and content management.
  • Preservation of design and functionality: While transitioning to a more user-friendly CMS, the core design elements and functionality that HSTT had used successfully over the years were maintained.

Results

This migration has set the stage for HSTT to continue expanding its online presence effectively. The shift to WordPress allows for easier content updates and better management, ensuring that the website remains a vital tool in HSTT’s mission to serve their community. View details in our portfolio.

Case study: BADRAP migration

BADRAP, an organization dedicated to advocating for and rescuing dogs, faced the need to transition their content-rich Drupal website to WordPress. The organization loved their existing website design, which effectively communicated their mission and engaged their community. Therefore, the migration strategy focused on retaining the original design while enhancing functionality and user experience, particularly for mobile users.

Migration objectives

  • Preserve existing design: As the organization was satisfied with their current website’s aesthetic, the goal was to replicate the design in WordPress without loss of detail.
  • Migrate extensive content: The website contained a substantial amount of critical content, including detailed profiles of dogs and resources for people, which needed to be transferred accurately to the new platform.
  • Enhance mobile experience: Given the traffic from mobile devices for many of the site’s users, improving the mobile responsiveness of the website was a crucial aspect of the migration.
  • Maintain SEO ranking: It was imperative to migrate all SEO data effectively to ensure that the new site maintained its search engine rankings and visibility.

Migration and redesign strategy

  • Design replication: The team employed WordPress’s flexible theming system to recreate the existing design, ensuring that the look and feel of the site remained unchanged while benefiting from WordPress’s robust framework.
  • Content transfer: Special attention was given to migrating the extensive content library, ensuring all data was transferred accurately and remained easy to manage.
  • Mobile optimization: The new site was optimized for mobile devices, improving speed and responsiveness, which enhanced the user experience for mobile visitors.
  • SEO preservation: By carefully migrating all existing SEO metadata and employing WordPress’s superior SEO tools, the site’s search engine positioning was preserved and even enhanced.

Results

The migration to WordPress was highly successful, resulting in a website that retained the beloved design of the original while significantly enhancing functionality and user experience. Mobile users now enjoy a smoother and faster experience, and the organization has maintained its strong search engine presence, ensuring that BADRAP continues to reach a wide audience with its message and resources.

This case study exemplifies how strategic migration and careful planning can preserve the best aspects of a legacy site while capitalizing on the advancements of a new platform, addressing both technical needs and user expectations.

Case study: Fuhrman Leamy Land Group migration

Fuhrman Leamy Land Group, a landscape architecture and land development services company, required an update to their digital platform due to the impending end of support for Drupal 7. With a focus on preserving the original design, which resonated well with their clientele, the migration to WordPress was aimed at maintaining the aesthetic while introducing user experience improvements.

Migration objectives

  • Retain original design: The firm was committed to keeping the visual design of their site intact, recognizing its effectiveness in their branding and client communication.
  • Improve user experience: While the design remained the same, the migration presented an opportunity to enhance the site’s usability and functionality with some changes to the look and feel.
  • Cost-effective solution: Operating within a budget, the project needed to maximize value without compromising on essential features and performance.
  • Seamless transition: Ensuring a smooth migration without downtime or loss of content was crucial to maintaining the firm’s professional image.

Migration and redesign strategy

  • Design replication in WordPress: Utilizing WordPress’s customizable themes, the original design was replicated to match the old site’s look and feel, ensuring brand consistency.
  • User experience improvements: Minor tweaks were made, notably on the site’s Home page, to enhance navigation and interactivity, improving overall site accessibility and user engagement.
  • Budget management: The project was strategically planned to adhere to the project’s budget, prioritizing essential migrations and optimizations without unnecessary expenditures.
  • Efficient content migration: Special attention was given to transferring all existing content reliably to the new system, ensuring data integrity and continuity.

Results

The migration to WordPress successfully met the dual objectives of cost-efficiency and improved user experience. Fuhrman Leamy Land Group’s website retained its original design, which continued to serve the firm’s branding needs effectively. The enhancements in user experience not only made the site more engaging but also more intuitive for users to navigate.

This case study demonstrates Alpen Lily Web Studio’s capability to manage efficient and budget-friendly migrations without sacrificing quality and performance, ensuring that even smaller sites can benefit from the latest web technologies and CMS capabilities.

Strategic Drupal-to-WordPress migrations

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the necessity for robust, user-friendly, and sustainable content management systems becomes ever more critical. The migration from Drupal to WordPress, as illustrated through our diverse case studies, not only ensures technical sustainability but significantly enhances online engagement and operational efficiency.