Why I switched from WordPress to Zoho Sites
As a lifelong advocate and developer for WordPress, I find myself asking, “Did I just switch from WordPress to Zoho Sites“? The answer: Yes, I made the switch from WordPress to Zoho Sites… and I could not be happier.
What pushed me to change?
Zoho Sites is included with Zoho One. I was paying for Zoho Sites but not using the platform. I also was paying $20 a month for a decent Amazon Lightsail instance. That is $240 a year. As I age, I realize my life is full of monthly fees. I started looking into the Sites platform. I spun up a “lkjhlksdjf” demo website and started playing around. After selecting a template, I started dragging, dropping, and right-clicking. I looked at the settings in the back end and what immediately stuck out was an SEO section. After using Yoast and Jetpack for so many years, I was curious, so I clicked. From the page info to the SEO settings, I wasn’t really missing much in terms of SEO. In fact, the only notable thing I missed was the character count overture being highlighted of 60 characters per title and 160 for descriptions on-page SEO metadata. Not a biggie. I then noticed the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. It was as easy as putting in my two unique Google identifiers. No installation of plugins for Headers/Footers and code copying and pasting. In and of itself, that obviously was not a reason to switch from WordPress to Zoho Sites, but it was super easy to make the config changes. I started thinking, imagine how much time I could save building my client websites and maybe, even my own…
The ‘Integrations’ settings immediately stuck out to me. There were settings mentioning the other Zoho applications. Then it hit me, “duh,” it makes sense to have Zoho product integration settings in the ‘settings’. I clicked on Zoho SalesIQ, Zoho PageSense, and Zoho Marketing Automation. It was easy peasy! Just turn the settings on. No code copying and pasting, and I knew if Zoho ever changed the code forcing me to copy and paste new code, I wouldn’t have to, and it would just keep working.
I started playing around with the page builder…
Previously I used Divi and Elementor page builders. Those are almost $100 a year. As I started dragging and dropping, I noticed the new sections and new elements. I clicked, and Boom, all kinds of section templates and page elements!
Two other menu items immediately stuck out to me.
- The Forms tab allows me to insert Zoho CRM forms (Web-to-Lead, Web-to-Contact, and Web-to-Case) directly on the page.
- I could insert Zoho Forms. This is the most important kind of form. The purpose-built forms I’ve created. Now, I can use the advanced Zoho Form application settings, including integration to CRM, email notifications, workflows, and much more.
- There was even a Newsletter Signup page element. It can be configured to be integrated with MailChimp or Zoho Campaigns.
As I continued dragging and dropping, I started looking at the settings of the different sections and components. Something hit me, I hadn’t seen anything that Elementor of Divi could do that wasn’t available to me in the few clicks I had done. Now, let’s not be fools here. There is a reason that software is almost $100. They do have advanced features and options, but after clicking around I discovered, I didn’t really need them or miss them. I noticed I could show and hide page elements to desktop and mobile devices to create a great mobile experience.
Easy and intuitive settings, easy page building… I started wondering, ‘why have I been using so much time doing WordPress updates’ (OK, that only takes a few minutes) but then site speed ran through my mind. I didn’t have to worry about creating and maintaining the CDN plugins and CDN Settings. I was using W3 cache and Amazon CDN. Using those options did speed up my site, so it is worth using those plugins if you have WordPress. I uploaded some high-resolution large picture files and started setting them as hero images. I started previewing the demo pages I created. The site loaded fast, including the pages with multiple HD images. I noticed something, Zoho was actually compressing the images I uploaded. I didn’t need a jpeg compression plugin which is another $10 saved. I am not sure exactly how the Zoho Sites web platform works with respect to minifying CSS files, what database technology they use, what web servers and configuration they use, because the truth was, I didn’t even care. My site was loading fast, and TBH, faster than I expected.
The issue of security popped into my mind. I didn’t have to face the question of ‘do I buy WordFence pro, or just use the free version.’ Do I set up available plugin update notifications to be sent to my primary email account so I can be assured I know when there is a high-priority update to be done? I didn’t have to worry. I outsourced the worry of site backups and security to Zoho. Albeit, I still occasionally and manually download my site (download.zip) from Zoho Sites just to CMA.
I was using the Modern Tribe Events module, and I started thinking… “dolt,” how can I add my events to the Zoho Sites web pages, and that’s when it hit me. Doesn’t Zoho have an events application that’s included in my Zoho One licenses? Yup, Zoho Backstage. While it was a new software platform for me to learn, having worked with multiple event packages in the past, I picked it right up and had it operating and branded in less than a few hours. This is for another post, but wow, I was smiling ear to ear as I had access to this awesome events management platform also included in my Zoho One licenses.
The truth is…
I realize Zoho Sites is not as complex as WordPress. Nor does it have all the bells and whistles many businesses need that WordPress and its plugin ecosystem provides. I just know Zoho Sites has what I need, and it’s super easy to configure and update! I still have several WordPress mini instances on Amazon Lightsail because I enjoy tinkering. I have adopted Zoho Sites as my website host and platform because I just couldn’t find a reason not to, given my particular circumstances.
Thanks for reading…
We have recently migrated back to WordPress primarily because of one reason. Our blog content is not discoverable by Google. Basically, Zoho does not add blog posts to its sitemap. Without being in the sitemap, most search engines will not find the post. We were adding our new blog post URL to the Google search console, but Google has (they say it’s temporary) discontinued letting webmasters notify Google of a single URL. Our blogs are very important to us. I think it would be easy for Zoho to make blog posts included in the sitemap, but they said it was not something they will be looking into because ” Sitemaps include pages only, pages are pages, and pages are not posts” #BOO