Should Your Association Migrate to WordPress? Why WordPress Beats Drupal

A content-rich or membership-driven website for your association is imperative. It’s a cyber business card that allows prospective members to meet you and is an equally important resource for your current members. While the debate of Drupal vs. WordPress can become a question of preference, WordPress still dominates the market with a 28% share of the CMS hosted real estate. Drupal claims 4.7%. Is WordPress really worth the dominant market share? WordPress and Drupal are both competitors who specialize in the same concept: providing a powerful and flexible platform where users can build a customized website without having to build a CMS from scratch. Websites built on these platforms can still integrate third-party Association Management Systems (Abila’s NetForum, Imis or SalesForce) SEO with every brick of their site while enjoying a fully customizable finished site that looks professional.

We’ll compare the top 3 reasons why associations are migrating from Drupal to WordPress.

#1 Drupal vs. WordPress: Content & Community

There’s no doubt that WordPress dominates in the arena of free offers. WordPress has over over 58,000 plugins and premium plugins such as the popular GravityForms (easy to use form builders), YoastSEO (manage website SEO), and Advance Custom Fields (fully customize field data). Compare that to the 30,000 modules, with no premium module options, that are formatted for Drupal websites (keeping in mind there is a difference between Drupal 6, 7 and 8 modules). What makes WordPress more accessible for the web content manager? Here is a hint: WordPress comes out-of-the-box as a true Content Management System. Drupal, on the other hand, is a powerful framework; think of it as “lego blocks” that can be assembled to create a powerful content management system.

  • Back end: Web managers with limited technical experience have the pleasure of saying that they can edit the backend of their website without a developer holding their hand. The user-friendly dashboard allows web managers to start writing/editing pages or posts within seconds of logging on to the user-friendly administrative dashboard. The Drupal vs. WordPress debaters can rest easy when it comes to loading media: users can quickly embed images and video, and can assign alt tags.
  • Mobile Responsive: With over 80% of the nation using smartphones and tablets to access the net, you definitely need to have a mobile app. With WordPress, your administrative editorial dashboard can be accessed from mobile device. How does Drupal fare in the Drupal vs. WordPress debate for mobile friendliness? Drupal doesn’t have an app. While this may seem incredibly myopic of the Drupal team, it’s a critical component that they haven’t yet developed completely.

#2 Drupal vs. WordPress: Setup & Maintenance

Because there are 72 million more WordPress websites than Drupal, there tends to be more developers, forums, blogs and general questions posed and answered online in regards to setting up, maintaining and troubleshooting WordPress websites. Who wins this round? The Drupal vs. WordPress debaters in WordPress’ corner can claim ease of maintenance as a win. What features make Drupal a less-likely candidate for user approval in the maintenance category?

  • Developer Availability: Far more developers are familiar with the ins and outs of WordPress than there are developers whose main focus is Drupal. This means you may be shelling out more cash to pay a Drupal expert for augmentations to your site or upgrades to the new Drupal 8 CMS.
  • Average Cost: Even though both CMS platforms are free, you’ll still find yourself as a non- coder having to pay some amount to add customized features to your website. The average cost of a WordPress based association website can range upwards of $50,000. Drupal’s average cost is $100,000. The average monthly cost isn’t much better, with a projected $1,000 expenditure on your WordPress site and a $2,500 monthly dent in your pocket from Drupal’s core module customization.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Drupal has far less user acclaimed SEO plugins available than WordPress. Drupal is more focused on scalability rather than ranking. Ranking may be one of your biggest deal breakers if you’re operating a business that offers a product or service and search ranking is a part of your marketing strategy. A great WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast, which help content managers write according to search engine parameters. .
  • Staying up to Date: The Drupal vs. WordPress argument is again in the favor of WordPress when it comes to core upgrades. WordPress upgrades happen every quarter. The upgrades don’t let your site skip a beat as WordPress ensures that themes, plugins and code are updated to the latest version. It also comes with an “automatic” upgrade feature. Drupal’s upgrades aren’t nearly as seamless. This CMS doesn’t provide the coding for upgrade features. This means that if you aren’t a developer, you’ll have to contract with one to help you manage the code for the latest upgrade. For example, an upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8  is a time-consuming migration effort. Migrating Drupal 6 to 7 or 8 requires requires a complete rebuild.

#3 Drupal vs. WordPress: Security

Keeping your website secure from malware and cyber threats is at the forefront of the minds of many companies. Sensitive data such as Social Security and credit card numbers should not be stored in the CMS itself, but should rather be accessed through third party systems such as Banking merchant accounts.

Both WordPress and Drupal are equally secure, but it is critical to continuously keep the platforms up to date with core and plugin updates. Drupal does have a marketing edge on security, with the most well known website that uses Drupal being That’s right, the central government of the United States trusts Drupal for one of the most secure and complex websites in the world. However, let’s not forget that the web department of the Administration spends millions each year on secure hosting and resources. They have a dedicated 24/7 operation that is monitoring and managing the website.

WordPress’ security is not lacking when it comes to server and network security. Well known brands who have chosen WordPress in the face of the Drupal vs. WordPress debate include HBO, CNN, and TIME, amongst many others. WordPress is particularly popular among publication websites such as TechCrunch, NBCSports, Ted, and Dow Jones. Smaller WordPress sites such as independant bloggers or WordPress sites left unattended have experienced security breaches; however, the sheer number of security options available for WordPress make the CMS far more adaptable to your organization’s specific defense needs. WordPress site vulnerabilities are not an issue with the WordPress platform, but rather in not maintaining core and plugin updates.

Drupal vs. WordPress: Why Migrate?

Both Drupal and WordPress are scalable, flexible and secure. WordPress is truly an easier platform to implement, maintain and use for any size organization. It has the same third-party system integration capabilities as Drupal, similar administrative workflow, has the ability to manage thousands of articles, and is able to deploy multiple microsites on the same installation with the multi-site installation feature.

Regardless of the CMS, associations must think about what valuable online content and resources they will offer their members. After all, a solid content strategy is key and good content is king.

Where do you stand in the Drupal vs. WordPress debate? Give us your opinion. We’d love to hear about why you migrated from one to the other and how the platform you’re using meets your specific needs. Shoot us a note to [email protected] or contact us to start a WordPress project today!

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