Agricology : Migrating from Drupal to WordPress

Background

Agricology is an independent knowledge platform supporting all farmers and growers to transition to more sustainable and resilient farming systems.

Their current website was on the Drupal content management system which was soon to be unsupported. In addition, there was a lot of in-house frustration that editing the website was hard and they often had to ask the existing developers to do basic content updates. It was also felt that website wasn’t that easy for users to navigate and find what they were looking for. As a result, a full review of the current website would be needed before planning the migration over to the WordPress platform.

Our Solution

To carry out UX research and benchmarking to discover key user behaviour. On the back of this to plan and design a new website theme with much improved user navigation, search and filtering. The existing website data would be imported from the existing Drupal system into WordPress.

UX research and wireframing

A thorough UX review of the existing website was done to pinpoint all the major issues with the existing website from a user perspective. Benchmarking of key competitors was done to give some balance to the findings. A detailed video review was provided for the client so they could fully understand the final report and the implications.

After the initial research, wireframe mock-ups were done for key pages and main website functionality for both desktop and mobile. This ensured that the whole user experience was crafted inline with the finding from the UX research.

Website design

Our designer worked closely with our UX researcher to ensure the designs were modelled accurately on the wireframes. The brief was to ensure that the new platform was easy to navigate whilst being visually appealing.

WordPress Development

Once the designs were signed off we built a new responsive bespoke theme, working closely with our design team to ensure that everything was pixel perfect. Advanced search and custom post filtering was set up as per the requirements in the wireframes.

Data Management : Drupal to WordPress migration

Careful planning was needed to ensure we had a smooth migration of data from Drupal to WordPress. Frederic Giles excellent Drupal to WordPress plugin was an invaluable tool to help map the different data sets and fields over to the WordPress infastructure. In addition, the entire library of image and file assets was backed up and copied on to the new server.

Once the data was imported there was a big clean up task to remove redundant data and fields.

Content Management

We had to plan ahead for the different post types such as projects which would be in two formats : legacy layout and Gutenberg layout. All exisiting custom posts were mapped to fixed custom field areas and styled in keeping with the look and feel of the website. Moving forwards we built new block template layouts for Agricology to use for their different post types.

We also provided a number of online training sessions so the team at Agricology were confident in using the Gutenberg editor.

Planning for SEO

One of the biggest challenges was dealing with a large amount of redirects needed due to page URL changes. We worked closely with the Agricology team to ensure all key pages with a listing in Google were checked and redirected accordingly.

We also spent some time on speed optimisation, this included optimising images and logos as well as introducing caching and deffered loading of certain scripts.

In summary

Overall, Agricology have been thrilled with the new website, it has allowed them a lot more freedom in creating and laying out content. We work with them closely each month to ensure the website’s software and plugins are kept up to date as well as keeping on top of any technical SEO errors that occur. We are also there as a support team for their content editors should they need any assistance.

An overview of what we did

  • Comprehensive UX research and benchmarking to provide insights into visitor behaviour
  • A fresh new design look and layout
  • Full data migration from Drupal to WordPress
  • Improved search and filtering site wide
  • Comprehensive redirect strategy to protect Google listings
  • Speed optimisation to improve site performance

“I cannot recommend Andy and the team at Dreamabstract highly enough. Andy and his team have worked on two very different website projects and have been absolutely brilliant on both. The first project was the redevelopment of an existing website and the second was the creation of new site.

During both projects the team were fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for more from them. From great creativity to problem solving they had us covered off in all aspects and supported us brilliantly throughout the process. Professional at all times and able to bridge the knowledge gap on our end with ease.

I also use the team to carry out our website maintenance in an ongoing capacity and they are excellent at this as well.

Simply said, they’re great!”

Matt Smee, Agricology

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