Expression Engine accounts for about 0.1% of the total CMS usage, so if you want to move your Expression Engine site over to WordPress, we can help.
Why might you want to move to WordPress from Expression Engine?
EE is a complex CMS, and whilst that in one sense may be of benefit, it means that it’s not as accessible as something like WordPress.
As it is far more niche than WordPress, the support community is also a lot smaller, so getting help can take longer if you get it at all.
There is also a lack of add-ons. As of writing, there were about 100 or so on the site, some free, some paid. Compare this to 55,000 plugins for WordPress.
If you need something done, there’s a plugin for that.
It’s also extremely hard and quite complicated to update Expression Engine without significant downtime, another reason to move over to WordPress.
The SEO battle.
Having a website is all about search engine optimisation, and WordPress wins out over Expression Engine hands-down.
There’s little point in having a website if no one ever finds it, so whatever CMS you are using, if you don’t have the granular control over SEO that you get with WordPress, this might be the only reason you need to move to WordPress.
These are often one of the biggest considerations when moving from Expression Engine to WordPress.
As mentioned above, WordPress has 1000s of free and paid plugins that allow you to add specific functions to your site. Expression Engine has around 100 add-ons available.
You will need bespoke development work if you need your site to do something that cannot be achieved via a plugin.
The sheer difference in the number of plugins for each CMS suggests that Expression Engine will cost you more in terms of working with developers.
Save time and money moving forward.
Updates in WordPress are one-click, and they can now even be automated. EE requires a manual update, which requires special knowledge, takes time and can’t be done without downtime.
This alone can save you £1000s over the lifetime of your website.
WordPress also makes it easy to manage your content, SEO, theme, templates and so on. As WordPress is a vastly more popular CMS, you’ll find that design and development costs moving forward are far more affordable.
WordPress is famed for its range of pre-built themes. With Gutenberg, we also have blocks and pre-built patterns, which can come in handy for some sites.
With Expression Engine, you only get access to the template system, and whilst this is exceptionally flexible, it’s again more complex and something that requires the input of an experienced developer.
Thinking about moving from Expression Engine to WordPress?
Both these CMSs are robust and secure.
They have their pros and cons, which we don’t go into in this article, but moving from one CMS to another is often driven by the desire to take more control over a website.
If you constantly need to call your developers to make, what you think, are relatively straightforward changes to your site, it might be time to move to WordPress.
Using an automated migration tool to move from EE to WP.
Some tools automate content migration from EE to WordPress, but we have found these clunky.
There is a method to export content from Expression Engine as an XML file that WordPress can ingest.
This can be modified to include meta data, featured images, and so on to make this process a little more complete and save you time and budget.
Manual Migrations from Expression Engine to WordPress.
Whilst this takes longer, it can sometimes be the only option depending on the complexity of your current website.
Our process of migrating Expression Engine to WordPress splits the task into several stages, so everything is done right.
We recreate your EE content modules and templates into custom Gutenberg blocks, testing and optimising as we go before we move the content over.
The team at Toast can provide as much help as you need for this process.
We build a shell website for some clients, and our clients then move the content themselves.
Other clients prefer us to take care of the entire process, moving everything and delivering a ready-to-launch WordPress site.
Factors to consider when moving from EE to WP.
Replicating or replacing your current website design.
There are two options when moving to WordPress:
- Keep your design the same
- Use this move as an option to rework the design
Some clients we work with are perfectly happy with the design of their site, they just want to move CMS. Others prefer a complete rework.
As a full-service agency, we can help with you either option. Our creative team can redesign your site, and we can build out a new theme, or the development team can replicate your current design as closely as possible.
Maintaining your link structure and SEO when you move from Expression Engine to WordPress.
WordPress has a very flexible permalink structure, so it’s often possible to keep your existing URL structure for SEO purposes.
Where changes are required, we can use redirects (sparingly) to deal with anything that needs to be changed.
Depending on your rankings, this can also be an opportunity to rethink and rework your URL structure to improve internal linking and SEO. This should not be done lightly as there can be a serious SEO impact.
Creating new functionality and content types.
You may have add-ons or e-commerce on your current website, so these will need to be replicated in WordPress.
E-commerce would need to be moved over to be developed in WooCommerce, and there is potential to export products from Expression Engine as XML or a CSV so this can be formatted and imported into WooCommerce. This can be quite a complicated procedure.
If you are using Expression Engine Add-ons, these functions can be matched by using equivalent WordPress plugins. We’ll find the best WordPress plugins to suit your needs, and we can also create custom functions or bespoke plugins where needed.
Like Expression Engine, WordPress allows you to create custom post types and associated taxonomies to organise and curate your content. However, your content is organised in EE, we can recreate this in WordPress.
Featured images can be ingested into WP using a custom XML file from Expression Engine. Regarding other media, these files can be bulk uploaded from an FTP download or site-scrape. We do generally find that it’s better to add media to the new WordPress site as the pages are built out rather than in bulk, as this can keep your uploads directory leaner and avoids uploading files you don’t need.
Getting started with a move from Expression Engine to WordPress.
Expression Engine to WordPress migrations are large projects and take time.
We’ve migrated smaller sites and large websites with 100s of URLs.
Everything we do is managed via spreadsheets, site crawls, and a deep understanding of your current EE CMS, and as WordPress experts, we can make sure your new WP site is solid, fast and fully optimised.
Dave is Toast’s Managing Director and also heads up the digital team. He’s been a designer, illustrator and WordPress designer/developer for over 25 years and has worked on various projects across many industry sectors. Dave’s primary area of focus nowadays is website planning, design and UX, SEO and website optimisation, which makes a real positive difference to businesses bottom lines.