As of Wednesday December 7th, we’re back running on WordPress. The experiment of running the blog on Hugo lasted just shy of 3 years. Which was both helped and hurt by the lack of content during that time. I’ll dive into my logic for migration a little deeper here, but if you want the compare and contrast of the two systems, I wrote about that previously.
Before you ask about the content migration… Yes, that was painful. Getting WordPress to Hugo format wasn’t great… but wasn’t too bad way back in the day. But getting Hugo (Markdown) back to WordPress was an adventure. I will share the code and a full breakdown of how I did it… soon. But not tonight.
So lets answer the most pressing question everyone asks: Why WordPress?
Primarily because I’ve very familiar with it and used it for years in the past. But also because it’s so popular for a reason. Yes, WordPress does a lot more than blogs today – in fact there is a LOT of functionality pointed at business websites/generic CMS in WordPress these days.
Themes are a great example of “Why WordPress”. With Hugo there were some repositories of themes, but installing and using those themes is not for the faint of heart. It takes a LOT of work to change themes. Modification of those themes also requires you get a very deep understanding of the Hugo template/theme systems. With web technologies constantly changing, you have to keep up with those changes and make periodic updates or risk bits breaking. With WordPress? You can install, preview & customize thousands and thousands of themes in a matter of minutes. Sure, you can make your own if you want to get deep – but you don’t have to. Or you can buy a paid version of some theme and get fancier features. But in general, WordPress doesn’t require you understand anything more deep than color and basic layout options.
The other major reason is automation. This blog is now a green check on my Mastodon profile because there is a link verification plugin for WordPress. On Hugo that never happened, even though a single line of HTML is easy, because I didn’t want to go futzing about with editing template files. When I publish this blog entry, assuming I did the configuration correct, there will be an automatic post to Mastodon… because there is a plugin for that. Heck, you can even add ActivityPub features to WordPress with a plugin. That’s just not possible with a static website – unless you build tooling into your CI/CD pipeline which is not easy and quite time consuming.
Now the other question I’ve gotten is “Why not X?”
And the answer almost the same as the above. WordPress is bigger than just about anything else out there and the plugins and themes already exist. Drupal was originally the generic CMS of choice with WordPress being “the blog” but I think both are probably fairly similar today. Honestly, I didn’t evaluate Drupal again. Though I did look at Ghost JS again since it’s a popular lightweight blog… or at least it used to be. I thought I had found the wrong project the first time around since the site is all about audience / business / newsletters / hype. The word “Blog” exists just once on that main page and it’s almost tangential – from the marketing it seems blogging is no longer their focus.
And that’s why I’m back here on WordPress. I don’t want to tinker with CI/CD pipelines anymore. I don’t want to spend an hour on a new computer getting all the requirements installed to checkout and update my site. I don’t want my editor and co-authors to be scared to write. I just want to write a blog and get on with my life.
Of course my consistency at writing has sucked over the last few years and that hasn’t been entirely Hugo’s fault (or even mostly Hugo’s fault). So I can’t promise that the migration