Many website owners using WordPress eventually reach a point where they want more flexibility and ease of use in updating their site. WordPress is a powerful open-source CMS (content management system), but it requires working with code and learning the ins and outs of themes and plugins. For non-technical users, this can become an obstacle to maintaining and expanding their website.
An increasingly popular alternative is to use a drag-and-drop website builder. These builders provide an intuitive visual interface and handy tools to create and edit webpages. With drag-and-drop builders, you don’t need coding skills or WordPress expertise to manage your site. They offer simplified workflows, extensive design options, and built-in features covering essential website functions.
In this guide, we’ll walk through the reasons you may want to switch from WordPress to a drag-and-drop builder. We’ll also cover what’s involved in transitioning your site content and how to avoid common pitfalls. By the end, you’ll understand the key factors in determining if moving to a drag-and-drop builder is the right choice for your website.
Advantages of Switching to a Drag-and-Drop Builder
Here are some of the top benefits of using a drag-and-drop builder instead of WordPress:
- Easier site editing. Drag-and-drop builders provide an intuitive visual interface for modifying pages. You can rearrange or update design elements and content just by dragging and clicking.
- No coding required. Builders eliminate the need to work with HTML, CSS, or other code. You don’t have to learn programming basics.
- Pre-designed templates. Many builders come packed with professionally designed templates to instantly give your site an appealing look.
- Responsive design. Drag-and-drop tools make creating mobile-friendly sites simple. Pages will automatically adjust layouts to fit different device sizes.
- Built-in ecommerce. Most builders offer integrated ecommerce features for selling products through your site without extra plugins.
- Streamlined performance. Builders optimize sites for speed and provide hosting to improve site loading times.
- SEO tools. Features like meta tag creation help improve SEO to gain more traffic from search engines.
- Lower long-term cost. Once launched, a drag-and-drop site can have lower monthly maintenance expenses compared to a WordPress site.
For non-technical users wanting a stylish, feature-rich website, the advantages of a drag-and-drop builder make it an attractive alternative to WordPress.
Disadvantages to Consider
Despite the many benefits, there are a few potential downsides of switching from WordPress to consider:
- Less customization. WordPress offers near endless customization with plugins and code tweaks. Drag-and-drop tools have more constraints.
- Limited support options. Most builders only offer email and chat support, while WordPress has vast developer resources.
- Possible learning curve. Builders have simplified interfaces, but they still take time to learn for those new to website building.
- Multi-site management challenges. Managing multiple websites through one builder account can be difficult compared to WordPress networks.
- Additional fees for features. Many builders charge extra for add-ons like ecommerce, form building, and expanded hosting capacity.
- Lock-in to builder platform. Once you build a site with a particular builder, it can be difficult to migrate away in the future.
For users wanting maximum design flexibility and access to developer communities, WordPress may still be preferable over drag-and-drop builders.
Choosing the Right Builder for Your Needs
If you decide to switch from WordPress, it’s essential to select the right drag-and-drop builder for your specific needs. Here are key factors to consider:
- Design style – Builders have varying design templates, color schemes, fonts, and editing options to create your desired aesthetic.
- Ease of use – Look for an intuitive interface, helpful tutorials, and drag-and-drop simplicity suited to your skill level.
- Features – Make sure the builder has key features you need like blogging, contact forms, pop-ups, social media integration, and SEO optimization.
- Ecommerce – If selling products, ensure the builder has strong integrated ecommerce capabilities and shopping cart features.
- Support options – Check if the builder provides email, chat, phone, and community support in case you need assistance.
- Cost – Builders have monthly or annual pricing plans ranging from around $5 to $50 a month based on features and level of support.
Take time to thoroughly evaluate leading drag-and-drop builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Weblium based on your most important criteria. This will help find the best platform for your site.
Migrating Your WordPress Content
When you’ve selected your new builder, it’s time to work on transferring over your existing WordPress content. Here is an overview of the migration process:
- Export WordPress data – Use the WordPress exporter under Tools to extract your posts, pages, images, comments, and other content.
- Optimize media – To avoid excess hosting fees, resize images and videos to fit builder requirements.
- Install WordPress plugin – Install the builder’s custom WordPress plugin if available to assist the transfer.
- Import WordPress data – Follow the builder’s instructions to import your exported XML WordPress file.
- Manually transfer remaining content – Some content like menus and widgets may need manual recreate in the new builder.
- Test thoroughly – Vigorously test that all pages and links work properly before deleting your WordPress site.
- Update URLs – Install redirects at your domain host and update sitemaps. Submit new URLs to Google Search Console.
- Turn off WordPress site – When completely satisfied with your new built site, shut down your WordPress hosting account.
Patience is required, but a carefully executed migration can successfully transfer all the hard work put into your WordPress site over to the new builder platform.
Potential Issues to Anticipate
Be prepared for a few snags when undertaking the WordPress to builder transition:
- Content formatting errors – Formatting like bold text and bullet lists may display incorrectly in the moved over content.
- Link errors – Links can get disconnected. Thoroughly double check links to pages, images, downloads, etc still work.
- Missing media files – Not all images, videos or other media items necessarily transfer over properly.Verify all are present.
- Page layout changes – With different page building options, migrated page layouts might need adjustments to look right.
- Styling changes – Custom CSS styling won’t carry over. You may need to tweak themes and styling.
- Custom functionality losses – Plugins that added features like forms and galleries will need replacements in the new builder.
Take it slow and pay close attention to detail when reviewing your migrated site. Identifying and fixing issues early allows you to get your site back to normal faster.
Recreating Key Functionality
A core part of the transition process is determining how to replace your essential WordPress plugins and functionality in the new builder platform. Here are tips on key elements to evaluate:
- Photo galleries – Builders have their own photo gallery modules you can populate with your migrated images.
- Contact forms – Most builders include easy contact form building tools to recreate your existing forms.
- eCommerce – Configure the new ecommerce settings and manually recreate product listings and cart flows.
- User accounts – If had user registration and accounts in WordPress, check if the builder has equivalent membership options.
- Email marketing – Import email lists into an integrated builder email tool or connect a new third-party email service.
- Calendars – For event calendars, look for a compatible builder calendar widget or app integration.
- Forums – To continue forums, explore if the builder supports forums or integrates with a third-party forum service.
While not always identical, builder equivalents do exist for most major WordPress functionality. Focus on smoothly recreating the features most vital to your website and users.
Optimizing and Relaunching Your Site
With all your existing content transferred over and key features reestablished, it’s time for final optimization and officially relaunching your site on the new builder platform:
- Site speed – Use speed check tools like Google PageSpeed and GTmetrix to catch any final performance issues.
- SEO audit – Run through SEO fundamentals like meta data, alt text, internal links, schema markup to ensure no gaps from the migration.
- Mobile testing – Check that speed, navigation, and formatting display correctly on mobile devices.
- Security scan – Perform scans for vulnerabilities, turn on HTTPS, and address any findings.
- Domain mapping – Point your primary domain to the new builder site when ready to go fully live.
- 301 redirects – Put 301 redirects on your old WordPress URL paths to route traffic to relevant new pages.
- Search engine submissions – Submit your new sitemaps to Google, Bing, and any other search engines.
- Analytics setup – Install any analytics software and integrate it with the builder. Insert tracking code if needed.
- Promotion – Let visitors know about your new site through announcements, emails, social posts. Drive excitement and traffic.
With careful attention to optimization and promotion, your migrated site can gain traction quickly out of the gate. Monitor analytics closely at launch and remain responsive to user feedback.
Transitioning from WordPress to a drag-and-drop builder brings opportunities to achieve an easier-to-manage website along with a friendlier design. However, migrating an existing WordPress site requires thorough planning and patience to successfully retain functionality and SEO. Avoid pitfalls through detailed testing and optimization. Overall though, builders can empower non-technical users to take their website to the next level.