Wordpress sites the Drupal way

Using a Drupal structured approach to building sites in Wordpress

John Newton's picture
John Newton

We have been building sites both in Drupal and Wordpress for many years. That said, Drupal was our ‘go to’ platform. It provided a much greater level of structure both in terms of modelling data requirements and building code. Wordpress was ideal for smaller projects where a restricted budget and speed of development were key. While Wordpress administration screens for site editors have always been well laid out, the logic behind elements of site building on the platform would often take a bit of getting used to. Highly structured Drupal sites made more sense for site editors - feedback we received proved this consistently over the years.

Nowadays, things are somewhat different. While Drupal offers an even better structured admin experience, we’re making more use of the recent changes in Wordpress to further improve the architecture and experience for editors. We are making more use of custom post types. In the past, these might have been coded from scratch but we’re now making extensive use of plugins like CPT to help us better structure data types and so make life easier for site editors.

While site layouts have traditionally been template-driven in Wordpress, we’ve spent time getting on top of Gutenberg and alongisde ACF putting more control into the hands of editors to enable more page building possibilities. We do a lot of configuration as these tools can be overwhelming but with the right set up, this approach can provide content editors with a straightforward and extremely powerful set of site building and content management tools.

Lastly, the Drupal block system is possibly one of the most powerful features of the platform in Drupal 8/9. I don’t think Wordpress manages to provide quite as good an alternative. That said, its widgets interface does offer a flexible way of enabling site editors to edit and extend their websites as their sites grow and adapt to changing needs. We’ve been using the Custom Sidebar plugin and building our own widgets to help take a more adaptable approach to page building that mimics the power of the Drupal blocks system.