Screenshot of crop of Bookstr.com: Top of New WordPress Home Page
Bookstr.com: Top of New WordPress Home Page

Drupal to WordPress Migration for Bookstr.com

Digital Strategy Works is pleased to announce the completion and launch of a major project we’ve had underway for some time now. Bookstr.com, a New York City-based authors and books blog needed to migrate from Drupal to WordPress for a host of reasons. The company was acquired and its Drupal site was a legacy aspect of prior ownership, but the Drupal site was much more difficult to maintain and upgrade for a small staff without an internal development team. Bookstr made the decision to move off of Drupal and onto WordPress, which would give them a bit more control over updates and maintenance, and provide additional tools for their writers and editors to publish content, create quizzes and polls, and cross post content into social media. And, the All in One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress SEO would allow them to better control their on site SEO, as well as update their Google and Bing sitemaps.

Digital Strategy Works performed the migration from Drupal to WordPress of over 9,000 posts and 40,000 images. Drupal to WordPress migrations at this scale are not easy, because the migration cannot take place from web server to web server. Servers time out after trying to run long processes. The Drupal database must be downloaded and installed on a local machine (your computer). Using a premium plugin and other software, the Drupal content with its associated images could then be migrated into a fresh WordPress install.

The caveat to this migration comes when trying to then upload a heavy WordPress site with thousands of URLs and tens of thousands of images back up to a web sever when the hosting company (in this case, Pantheon) only allows for the client’s account to have a set amount of storage. In the migration process, we learned a great deal about how to migrate Drupal content into a WordPress shell, then move that WordPress site up to its hosting environment. It was no small task. After running the process a number of times, we were able to complete the migration successfully.

Screenshot of Bookstr.com New WordPress Home Page
Bookstr.com New WordPress Home Page

For this project, we were also asked to take the pre-existing Drupal “theme” and rebuild into a WordPress theme template. In a Drupal to WordPress migration, the Drupal theme that was built for the Drupal platform will not work on the WordPress platform. A new theme had to be created and with additional options for advertising, as well as to fix issues that were broken in Drupal, like Most Popular Posts, a sidebar widget which displays the most popular posts on the site for a period of time.  For the redesign, we used the Make Theme by Theme Foundry, which is an excellent theme for publishers, as the base “child theme,” for the site. Make comes with page-builder functionality for custom layouts of pages and posts, as well as the ability to create and distribute widget content in page, posts, and sidebars. We worked with our internal developer and our offshore development partner, Hashtag Systems Inc, to modify a “child theme” built alongside the Make theme framework. Hashtag contributed a great deal to getting the pop-up overlay in mobile and desktop to function properly. And, they helped style the hero post grid carousel for mobile devices, so that posts in the hero banner would look as good in mobile as on desktop.

The old Drupal site did not have an ad management software package, so we installed and configured Ad Sanity, a popular WordPress plugin to help Bookstr manage it’s Google Adsense placements, while also giving the company the opportunity to sell, manage, and track ads sold directly on their site.

In these Drupal to WordPress migrations, redirecting Drupal URLs to WordPress URLs is essential. We were able to export all prior Drupal URLs and match them with their corresponding WordPress URls, so that Google page rank was passed onto the new site.

The final piece of the project was to build a pop-up to help Bookstr capture email addresses for special promotions. And, we assisted the company by adding DMARC to their DNS manager, so that emails originating from the Bookstr.com domain are not seen as spam by companies that black list spammers.

We also armed the client with All in One SEO Pack, the most powerful SEO plugin for WordPress. It’s truly the most powerful professional SEO plugin for anyone who is serious about on-site search engine optimization for WordPress. Given the content mix of Bookstr, the plugin will allow their editorial team to not only plan their SEO strategy, but also manage social meta optimization, as well. Sitemaps were submitted to all the major search engines and we connected Google Analytics to Google Search Console for ease of tracking SEO performance.

Need us to migrate your Drupal site to WordPress? We can help. Just contact us today to discuss your project and get a quote.

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