How To Migrate From Joomla to WordPress

June 5, 2020
Posted in Case Study
June 5, 2020 Brett Farmiloe

How To Migrate From Joomla to WordPress [SEO Perspective]

Selecting the right website platform is a key aspect to being successful in SEO.

Do you go with WordPress? SquareSpace? Joomla?

For one of our staffing agency clients, we decided that migrating from Joomla to WordPress was the right decision.

In this case study, we’ll share how to migrate from Joomla to WordPress. And, we’ll share the SEO results that came after.

Overview: Migration Steps From Joomla To WordPress

First off, if you’re looking for a tutorial on how to migrate from Joomla to WordPress, then this post is for you.

We’re going to tackle the Joomla to WordPress migration from a different angle: an SEO perspective.

You see, our staffing agency client was concerned about the migration to WordPress for a few key reasons.

  • Maintaining SEO Presence. The client had a decent level of visibility for certain keywords. They wanted to maintain their organic search traffic.
  • Functionality. The client collected resumes through an embedded Joomla form. They needed WordPress to do the same.
  • Appearance. The site looked good. The client just wanted to have a stronger foundation from an SEO perspective. They wanted to maintain the professional appearance they’d worked hard to establish.

With the scope of the migration in mind, we set off to perform the migration.

Challenge: Site Structure of a Joomla To WordPress Migration

A change in website platforms alters the structure of a site. This can bring about a laundry list of challenges, including:

  • Page Templates. Maintaining a functioning page template during a Joomla to WordPress migration is a must. But, it comes with a set of challenges that are overcome with careful template and design considerations.
  • Internal Links. Platform changes alter the linking structure of a website. As content is imported from a Joomla site into a WordPress environment, many internal links will need to be updated. What’s an internal link? This is an internal link to a Markitors post about internal linking.
  • 404 Pages. Because urls change in a platform migration, the result is more 404 pages (broken links). As a pre-launch test, you’ll want to set up a custom 404 page and implement 301 redirects prior to launch day.
  • New sitemap. Joomla and WordPress generate different versions of an XML sitemap. Prior to launch, reviewing the XML sitemap and making plans to submit to Google Search Console is a must.
  • Analytics. Google Analytics and Conversion Tracking must be set up from scratch to ensure there is not a disruption in data collection.

To be honest, this Joomla to WordPress migration required rolling up the sleeves and finding solutions. Most of these solutions weren’t clean. We hard coded a lot of the pages. Luckily, this was a 25 page website with some flexibility on being close to the original page structure.

Note: This migration checklist is a good resource to address challenges before they happen.

Solution: New WordPress Website

Goodbye Joomla, hello WordPress.

Or in WordPress lingo, “Hello World.”

The solution we ultimately decided on with the client was a new WordPress site. A few benefits of WordPress pushed things forward:

  • Ease of Use. Their internal marketing manager didn’t know how to use Joomla. Just WordPress. Investing in WordPress opened up a new set of responsibilities for the marketing manager.
  • SEO Performance. We felt the migration would better support their long-term SEO initiatives. As you’ll see in the next section, this proved to be a good decision.
  • Control. Having a site that you know how to manage expands the possibilities. Rather than hiring a Joomla web developer to make minor changes, the team felt empowered to do things on their own.

Result: 4-5x increase in Organic Search Traffic

This is a pretty graph for an SEO professional.

wordpress vs joomla seo

The migration took place in November 2018. Organic traffic increased by 4x. The number of organic keywords grew 10x. Things grew sustainably. It’s everything you’d want to see in an SEO campaign.

Don’t you just love that graph? Years(!) of no growth. And then, upwards!

Of course, there’s more to an SEO campaign than “just getting on WordPress.” But, migrating from Joomla to WordPress did help set the foundation to support our SEO efforts with content, Digital PR, and Technical SEO.

So what’s that mean for you? Are you considering a switch over to WordPress for SEO purposes?

We’d support that move. Before leaping to conclusions though, you may want to consider taking three quick steps.

  • Run a SEO Audit. See what structural issues exist on your current website platform.
  • Bring in an SEO expert. Very rarely do website developers and SEO professionals have overlapping skill sets. Site developers are great at building sites that look nice and function well. SEOs add perspective around performance and technical functionality. The right call is to hire both an SEO expert and a web developer.
  • Contact Us. We can help you determine whether a switch to WordPress would be worth it from an SEO perspective. And if you do get set up on WordPress, we can help you create your own beautiful SEO graph.

Brett Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company voted a best place to work 3 years in a row. Born and raised in Santa Rosa, he frequently contributes content about SEO, Careers, and Culture to media outlets. And, as a dad of 3, he's about that minivan life.