In the world of CMS (content management system) websites, we’re seeing a lot of migration from ExpressionEngine to the WordPress platform. The question is why. At first glance, they have many things in common. Both are robust Open Source CMS systems capable of creating small business and content-heavy sites, up to highly complex eCommerce sites. Both allow website administrators to create and modify their websites without using code. And both have strong security features. But there are critical differences.
Is WordPress or ExpressionEngine Better?
When it comes to popularity, WordPress wins hands down, accounting for more than 59.8% of all CMS websites. ExpressionEngine accounts for only 0.3 percent of CMS websites (W3Tech Survey). But that’s not to say ExpressionEngine doesn’t have its champions. It’s not a matter of which is better, but how they are different.
As just a few examples, many developers appreciate that ExpressionEngine enables them to apply stronger user management and security features, syndicate and display content from other sites using RSS feeds, and use plug-ins for dynamic data pulls that compile information from multiple sources into a single page or post. Other developers gravitate toward WordPress because of its rich library of highly customizable themes, more than 60,000 plugins to extend features and capabilities, user-friendly interface for managing navigation, and drag-and-drop page builders. Many, many more features come into play when picking a “favorite.”
The following factors and considerations below are a good place to start.
Four Major Factors When Comparing ExpressionEngine vs WordPress
How is ExpressionEngine like WordPress—and how is it different? Four of the most basic ways to break down ExpressionEngine vs Word are as follows:
Ease of Use
As a broad comparison, WordPress is considered easier to learn and requires less technical know-how than ExpressionEngine. Why? WordPress focuses on pre-built template-driven design that makes creating and managing a site’s content, SEO, theme, templates, and so on relatively easy, even for largely non-technical users. At the same time, it still provides everything needed to build large, dynamic, feature-rich sites—including large eCommerce sites such as Walmart, Etsy, and IKEA. ExpressionEngine typically requires greater expertise to leverage its full capabilities.
Whereas most people would say WordPress wins on ease of use, ExpressionEngine is all about freedom and flexibility for content, design, and functionality. Developers don’t have the constraints of sticking to WordPress PHP, code, and add-ons. While ExpressionEngine may require a little more effort, it also provides the ultimate control, where an experienced developer can create a unique website template, building it exactly how they want it to look and function with ExpressionEngine. Still, developers may sometimes miss all the ready-to-use templates and add-ons that make WordPress so appealing.
Updates and Security
Is WordPress or ExpressEngine more secure? Many people consider WordPress to be more vulnerable to hackers. On the plus side, WordPress pushes core and add-on update notifications, which can be applied automatically or with a few clicks. Updates for ExpressionEngine itself and any add-on updates are done manually and require specific procedures that take additional time, expertise, and downtime. ExpressionEngine can create security risks for companies with limited website budgets or digital expertise. On the positive side, ExpressionEngine allows users to create and manage multiple user roles and may better protect your website from hackers. That said, WordPress and ExpressionEngine use different techniques to boost security, so it’s best to say it depends on your unique situation.
An ExpressionEngine site tends to cost more than a WordPress site. Unlike WordPress, ExpressionEngine Pro requires an upfront licensing fee for installation on a publicly visible domain. Further, ExpressionEngine is usually more resource-intensive and requires a more expensive hosting plan than many WordPress options—often by twice as much.
Additional Factors for Moving from ExpressionEngine to WordPress Migration
The four areas above represent what many consider the biggest factors when deciding which CMS platform to choose. However, there are many other aspects to migrating a site from ExpressionEngine to WordPress.
Finding an Experienced WordPress Migration Specialist or Web Development Company
Compared to WordPress, it’s tougher to find those with high-level ExpressionEngine experience, which can increase development costs. In addition, if clients want to make relatively straightforward changes themselves, WordPress is a natural choice. It’s relatively easy to learn and is often already familiar to savvy marketers.
Replicating or Replacing Your Current ExpressionEngine Website
An expert WordPress developer can probably get very close to recreating the look of your existing ExpressionEngine site. Another option is to take the opportunity to give it a complete overhaul or a moderate refresh. The same is true for replicating or modifying add-ons, e-commerce functionality, content, and media. Like Expression Engine, WordPress allows you to create custom post types and taxonomies to organize and curate content.
Maintaining ExpressionEngine’s Link Structure and Website SEO
The WordPress website management system has a very flexible permalink structure, often enabling you to keep your existing URL structure to maintain SEO and link juice. When this isn’t possible, developers can use redirects, although this isn’t an ideal solution. If you are currently unhappy with your rankings, transferring to WordPress provides a good opportunity to refine your URL structure for better internal linking and SEO—but be careful of the impact this may have.
Exporting or Tweaking E-commerce Functionality
WordPress doesn’t offer eCommerce functionality as part of its core features, but plugins save the day. The most popular option for selling physical and digital products is WooCommerce. A developer can export XML or CVS files and then format and develop them for WordPress.
Auto-Migrating ExpressionEngine to WordPress
An automated conversion tool can prevent you from a manual transfer from ExpressionEngine to WordPress. For example, you can auto-migrate with CMS2CMC, which moves entities including pages, posts, categories, comments, images, users, SEO urls, and attachments. Note that you may need a developer to check the migration and make some tweaks here and there.
Our Boston Web Design Agency Offers Expert ExpressionEngine to WordPress Migration Services
Are you exploring if WordPress is a better fit than your current ExpressionEngine website? Or have you already decided that WordPress is right for your company website? Our award-winning Boston-based website design agency is here to walk you through this important decision.
Our expert web developers can recreate your site to your satisfaction or partner with you to create a new site that delivers the ultimate user experience. From there we can support your website with one of our maintenance packages to help your company thrive and grow.
If you’re considering migrating your website from ExpressionEngine to WordPress, contact our experts today.