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Why we chose WordPress for ThirdAndGrove.com

Oct 24 '14

You may have noticed that we recently updated our website with our new brand. We also changed platforms and moved thirdandgrove.com from Jekyll to Wordpress. This may seem at odds with the fact that we build and run high-traffic Drupal sites for major US brands, so I wanted to explain the thinking behind our choice.

I view my primary responsibility as Third and Grove's CTO is to be a zealous advocate for sound client technology choices. This means disciplined, dispassionate thinking guide any technology recommendation I make, not my love of awesome tools like Drupal. Sometimes that means we tell a client the best technology for the problem is something we don't specialize in and we recommend they find another agency. Sometimes that means we use technologies we don't love. But it always means we recommend the right tool for the right job.

The first version of our site was built using Jekyll. Jekyll is a blog-aware static site generator, and is great for sites that have mostly static content, don't need a WYSIWYG editor, and include a blog. The only user interaction on the site is comments, so we implemented DisqusGithub Pages provides free, performant hosting for Jekyll sites so we hosted the site there. And since publishing the site and adding new blog posts involved using Git and Jekyll at the command line the engineers found it easy and fun to make updates to the site.

But as our team grew it became a hassle to convert blog posts written in Google Documents by our non-technical staff into a Jekyll-friendly markdown pages in Git. We shouldn't be using engineering time to update our blog. We should be using it to help our clients rock.

Why Wordpress?

Our website is a small collection of content pages and a blog. Every one on the TAG team blogs, so the interface has to be simple and intuitive. Outside of the blog our content changes infrequently. As an added bonus most of our front-end engineers are very familiar with building Wordpress sites, while in their Drupal work they focus only on theming and not site building. So using Wordpress meant more of our engineering team could support the site as needed.

Most of the time Drupal is the absolute best choice for high-traffic, enterprise CMS installations (and we speak from experience), and out performs expensive, propriety systems on ease-of-use, performance, and functionality. We love Drupal and think it has a bright future with version 8. But that power comes with complexity and that complexity isn't always needed for simple sites like thirdandgrove.com. Given this, Wordpress was the best platform.

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