Why You Should Migrate Your Business Catalyst Site to WordPress (and a Checklist to Help You Do It)

business catalyst vs wordpress

If you’re a Business Catalyst user, you know that Adobe is going to discontinue the service. The platform isn’t taking on any more users, and you only have until March 2021 to find a new platform and hosting solution for your business.

Switching web hosts and platforms is never fun. However, you can take it as an opportunity to grow your business, by choosing a solution that provides you with more features. That’s where WordPress and WP Engine come in.

In this article, we’ll talk about why WordPress is a good option if you need an alternative to Business Catalyst, and how to get started with the process. Let’s get to it!

A Quick Comparison of Business Catalyst and WordPress

First, it’s important to understand that Business Catalyst and WordPress are fairly different out of the box. The former is a perfect example of Software as a Service (SaaS), as it includes a Content Management System (CMS), eCommerce tools, email marketing, analytics, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and hosting in one package.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a CMS that was originally built for blogging. After 15 years, however, it has evolved via themes and plugins to offer much more flexibility. In practice, WordPress can be more versatile than you might imagine, which could be a welcome surprise if you’re moving away from Business Catalyst.

Now that Business Catalyst is nearing its end of life, you’ll need to start looking for a reliable alternative. WordPress has the seal of approval from the Adobe team, so it’s a great place to start.

3 Reasons WordPress Is the Best CMS for Business Catalyst Users

As you can probably tell, we’re big fans of WordPress. Let’s talk about why it can be a great option for you as well!

1. It’s an Affordable Solution

Business Catalyst wasn’t overly expensive. However, WordPress beats it handily when it comes to price. First, the software itself is free. It’s also open-source, so you can host it anywhere you want.

That means you’re free to choose the cheapest web host you can find, or look around for the best service. Either way, setting up a new WordPress website should only cost you what you’ll need to spend on a domain and hosting.

To be fair, WordPress can get expensive if you use premium themes and plugins. However, there are thousands of free options available in both categories, so you have plenty of choices. Plus, with the money you save on software licensing, you can put your budget towards design, development, and hosting.

2. WordPress Is Highly Customizable

A lot of people think that WordPress is ‘just’ a blogging platform. It might have started out as one, and it still shines in that area. However, nowadays WordPress has long since broken out of that shell.

Right now, you can set up a WordPress website in less than an hour, install an eCommerce plugin, and use the platform to power an online store. There are also themes and plugins to turn your site into a portfolio, company site, review site, community forum, and more.

Business Catalyst had plenty of advanced functionality, such as its CRM, analytics, and email marketing features. Using WordPress, however, you can easily add CRM features to your website through plugins. You can also connect your site to Google Analytics.

The same applies to email marketing. With the right tools, you can easily connect WordPress with your favorite email marketing platform, so you won’t miss out on any of the features Business Catalyst offered.

3. It’s the Most Popular CMS on the Web

There are a lot of popular CMS options for you to choose from. However, WordPress is in a league of its own when it comes to popularity. This CMS powers over 30% of all websites, and that’s not a typo.

Out of the websites that use open-source CMSs, WordPress corners the market as well, with around 59.7% of all users. Joomla and Drupal are its closest competitors, which hold 6.7% and 4.7% of the market share respectively.

To be fair, you shouldn’t settle on a platform for your website just because it’s the popular choice. However, WordPress’ popularity offers some very tangible benefits for you, including:

  • Constant updates
  • A vibrant community of developers and enthusiasts
  • Thousands of free and premium plugins and themes

WordPress is always innovating, and if you ever run into an issue with the platform, you’ll find dozens of guides and tutorials on how to fix it. Add to that the sheer customizability of this CMS, and you have a winning combination.

More importantly, if you’re switching from Business Catalyst, you’ll need a stable platform for your website. Ideally, you’ll use the same CMS for years to come because it offers all the features you need, and the possibility of growth. The last thing you want is to end up switching platforms again in a few years.

With WordPress, you can be sure the CMS isn’t going anywhere. The platform won’t reach its ‘end-of-life’ anytime soon, as so many people are invested in its growth. Plus, we’re talking about open-source software with a highly active community of developers, so there will always be people to pick up the work as others leave.

Improve the Digital Experience With WordPress

Business Catalyst had a great run, and the platform will be missed. However, you can take the discontinuation of the service as an opportunity to switch to a CMS that provides you with even more features, such as WordPress.

Some people within Adobe have outright recommended WordPress for their Business Catalyst users, which is about all the endorsement you need. When you’re ready to make the jump, check out our plans!

Why Moving to WordPress is the Right Choice: A Feature Parity

There are dozens of options for CMSs out there each with its own benefits and challenges which makes the prospect of selecting one more difficult. Some typically applied criteria used to select as CMS include fast time-to-market, availability of developers, great security, superior SEO-capabilities, mobile/responsive and Web App functionality, among others.

WordPress is a content-first CMS. That means, at its core, it’s a CMS for publishers and business owners. WordPress powers more than 34% of the Internet, and its wide usage has resulted in a vibrant community that generously supplies resources, documentation, plugins, themes, and access to developers.

Right out of the box, WordPress is not equipped with managed hosting or the various Business Catalyst features that made ABC an all-in-one solution. By utilizing WP Engine’s Digital Experience Platform and by extending the platform with trusted plugins and themes, WordPress can match almost all the features beloved by Business Catalyst users and in most cases extend them to be more powerful, flexible, secure, and easy to use.

Below, we’ve mapped out some of the most common needs from an Adobe Business Catalyst customer and matched them to native WordPress features and WP Engine capabilities.

Ready, Set, Migrate

WP Engine is committed to making the transition from Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress and WP Engine as easy as possible. However, the migration process between the two CMSs is complex. There are two primary reasons for this. First, because of the way data is structured in each CMS, it isn’t possible to move that data between the two platforms without complex logic. Second, the theme or presentation of the site requires porting between two different templating languages.

While manual migration is always an option, WP Engine has partnered with WordHerd, a professional website migration company, that has mastered the process and has tools that drastically reduce the time and stress of doing it yourself. The experts at WordHerd have years of experience with complex migrations with Adobe Business Catalyst websites and ensure no step is ignored during the process. To begin the migration process with WordHerd, get a free proposal here.

For those who want to complete the process of manual migration, we’ve compiled a checklist based on the migration of major aspects of your site: pages, posts, products, customers and secure zones, and web apps. Don’t wait, start your migration now.

Page Migration

Ensure content is valid HTML before migration, sanitize and remove any extraneous code.

Update all hyperlinks to relative paths within the WordPress environment.

Download and import media to the WordPress media library, update paths to WordPress equivalents.

Download, import, and set a featured image in each page.

Maintain hierarchies (parent/child).

Generate redirects for any URLs that might have changed from their original.

Maintain SEO meta titles and description.

Maintain SEO schema within the HTML elements used on the website.

Post Migration

Ensure content is valid HTML before migration, sanitize and remove any extraneous code.

Create and assign categories.

Create user accounts in WordPress for associated authors, assign to relevant posts.  

To ensure accurate archiving, set post dates and times to match the originals.

Set appropriate publish status (Draft, Published, Private, etc.).

Update all hyperlinks to relative paths within the WordPress environment.

Download and import media to the WordPress media library, update paths to WordPress equivalents.

Download, import, and set the featured image for each post.

Generate redirects for any URLs that might have changed from the original.

Maintain SEO meta titles and descriptions.

Maintain SEO schema within the HTML elements used on the website.

Product Migration

Ensure product description is valid HTML before migration, sanitize and remove any extraneous code.

Maintain all product attributes (price, stock, weight, dimensions, etc.).

Maintain up-sell and cross-sell products.

Maintain all product variations and adjust pricing when applicable

Create and assign categories.

Download and import media to the WordPress media library, update paths to WordPress equivalents.

Download, import, and set a featured image in each product and variation.

Generate redirects for any URLs that might have changed from the original.

Maintain SEO meta titles and descriptions.

Maintain SEO schema within HTML elements used on the website.

Customers and/or Secure Zones Migration

Migrate all customers to WordPress users.

If customers are associated with secure zones, create specific WordPress roles to match.

Use Restrict Content Pro to protect secure zone content and allow only certain user roles to access it.

Implement registration and login for new and existing secure zone users.

Web Apps Migration

Web apps are the most complex features to migrate from Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress because they require custom functionality that is not otherwise available and therefore transferable from Adobe Business Catalyst. Adobe Business Catalyst contains a built-in web app module as opposed to WordPress, where web app functionality is created via custom post types.

Below is an example of the steps you would take to create a replica of a commonly used web app – an FAQ:

Create a custom post type (CPT) in WordPress called FAQ.  

Create any associated taxonomies, if any, that were present in Adobe Business Catalyst. For example, you may group FAQs into certain categories based on topic. In this situation, you would want to create a Topics taxonomy and associate it with your FAQ CPT.

Once your CPT and taxonomies are in place you can then begin migrating your content, which may include:

    • Migrating all content while ensuring it is valid HTML, plus sanitizing and removing extraneous code.
    • Create and associate “Topics” to the new taxonomy.
    • Update all hyperlinks to relative paths within the new WordPress environment.
    • Import all media to the media library and update paths to WordPress equivalents.
    • Set post dates and times to match the originals, which will ensure that archiving is done properly.
    • Generate redirects for any URLs that may have changed from the original.

Additional Considerations

Menus: Create and set related pages and posts to menus.

Web Forms: Create web forms in plugins such as Gravity Forms and replace in corresponding pages.

Tables: We suggest creating tables in a more maintainable way. In order to do this, we migrate table data to TablePress. This allows content editors of any skill level to easily make copy updates in tables.

Page Templates: If you use page templates in Adobe Business Catalyst and you want to maintain the same design, you can recreate the templates in WordPress and assign them to match existing page relationships.

Photo Galleries: There are a number of photo gallery plugins that you can migrate your gallery images to. However, WordHerd recommends using built-in WordPress functionality whenever possible.

Advanced Custom Fields (ACF): If your pages or custom post types require additional data, WordHerd recommends using ACF. In order to do so, you will need to create all fields, associate them with the corresponding post type and then migrate the data.

Visual Builders: If you plan on using a visual builder in WordPress, you will need to recreate the layout of each page and place content in its associated location.

These steps are a great guide for migrating from Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress yourself. However, as you can see, there are many details that can easily be overlooked and/or simply take a lot of time. If you’re looking to migrate from Adobe Business Catalyst to WordPress in an automated fashion, WP Engine recommends WordHerd. Get a free proposal from WordHerd here.

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS for a reason, it offers more possibilities to help your business grow. With the end of life Adobe Business Catalyst announcement there’s no better time to move your site than now.

For more information about WP Engine and the Business Catalyst migration program, please visit our landing page where you can learn more about the program as well as listen to a webinar that shares a lot more helpful details about the process.

Get started.

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