Choosing the right CMS for your business

There are many reasons for a business to have a website. Even if you don’t necessarily do business online, having a website is a critical component to building your business and remaining competitive.

Here are a just few reasons why:

Your customers expect it

Nearly two-thirds of small businesses based in the United States have a website, and it’s projected that almost all will be mobile friendly by 2019. Small businesses rely on websites to engage existing customers and attract new ones, while providing information on their mission, contact information, and other details supporting their legitimacy. If you don’t have a website but your competition does, chances are that you’re losing out on opportunities and revenue.

24/7/365 marketing

9-to-5 is so 20th century. A website operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing potential customers with the ability to learn more about your goods and services on their time. A properly designed website, even one without e-commerce capabilities, can be used to educate potential customers and provide ways to contact you for more information, or even schedule appointments when your brick and mortar location is closed.

Expose your business to a wider audience

A website can be so much more than an online brochure for your business. Properly leveraging services like Youtube and social media platforms allow you to share information across multiple channels, allowing you to reach a much larger audience.

Improve customer service

Customers love added value, and a website that shares tips, related to your goods or services, that provide information on maintenance and troubleshooting help extend engagement well past the sale and keep your business in mind for future needs.

Content Management

A content management system, often abbreviated as CMS, is software that helps users create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for specialized understanding of the technologies in use. Essentially, it handles all of the odds and ends so that you can concentrate on creating quality content that communicates information on the goods and services your business provides.

Thanks to content management systems, maintaining a website doesn’t require anywhere near as much technical knowhow as it did in the past. While there are plenty of systems to choose from, we are going to concentrate on the 2 most popular systems available today: WordPress and Drupal.

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. Originally released in 2003 as a blogging platform, it has grown over the past 15 years and now powers over 30% of the top 10 million websites and makes up 60% of the CMS market. Drupal was released in 2000, a few years earlier than WordPress, powers about 2.1% of all websites, and has a 4% share of the CMS market.

Source: w3techs.com market share trends for content management systems for websites.

The ratio of WordPress to Drupal sites is 15:1, and this number may make the choice seem like a no brainer – but not so fast! Choosing the right CMS for your business’s website doesn’t necessarily mean going with the market share leader; it’s about finding the system that best fits your abilities, needs, and business goals.

Each CMS has its own advantages

While there are plenty of similarities between both systems and you can create amazing sites with either, there are differentiators that will play a large role in making a decision. Let’s dive in to 3 factors that play a role in making the right decision: ease of use, customization, and security.

Ease of use

Usability is a key factor when deciding which CMS is the best fit for your business. A system that is easy to use reduces reliance on an outside agency to perform basic, and often time-sensitive, editing and other tasks. Fewer hours maintaining your site means more time engaging in other revenue generating activities.

WordPress

WordPress is a very user-friendly CMS with an intuitive, polished UI; much more so than Drupal. If you have a large team creating and adding content to a WordPress-based site, the reduced learning curve will make a huge difference – in both time and money.

Drupal

While not quite as intuitive as WordPress, Drupal’s UI is easy to learn and work with. The learning curve is a bit steeper, but is well worth the time to learn – particularly if you intend on using some of the system’s more advanced features. I’ve maintained Drupal-based sites for magazines and other online properties with 30+ content creators and millions of page views each month without any problems.

Ultimately, a proper understanding of how to use each system is important, and once you know how to create content and handle day to day tasks, site operation is a breeze.

Need a hand with something? Both systems have vibrant, helpful communities of developers, evangelists, and agencies that can help you build and learn how to properly maintain and operate your site.

Want to learn more? Look for WordPress and Drupal meet-ups in your area! You’ll learn more about each system, first hand, by people who actively use them, and gain real-world insight that will help you make the right choice.

Front row (right): DPCI President Joe Bachana, Matt and Kevin at DrupalCamp NYC 2016

Customization

There are millions of websites online right now, with more launched every day, and the need to stand out from the competition is critical. Your website needs to accurately represent your company: the goods and services it offers, it’s culture, and differentiators that will convert visitors in to customers.

WordPress

WordPress currently has over 55,000 plugins and 3,000 themes, available for download from their site – many of which are free to use. While WordPress’ functionality can be extended to meet many, if not all, of your needs, it does lack some of the more advanced customization options offered by Drupal.

Think WordPress is a good fit for your business, with the exception of one or two features that you really need? Not a problem! There are plenty of shops that can build custom plugins and themes to meet your needs, and the size of the community leads to competition – and often lower costs than similar solutions for Drupal.

Drupal

According to its official directory, Drupal has over 39,000 modules and 2,500 themes. Unfortunately, only about 10% of them work with the latest version (8.x) of the system. While add-on support may be a bit lacking for Drupal, it’s an absolute heavyweight when it comes to internal customization.

Drupal’s database can be endlessly configured to meet your needs – often in ways that WordPress cannot, out-of-the-box. Drupal’s taxonomy and categorization options absolutely blow WordPress out of the water, so if you have content that needs to be highly structured and organized, Drupal warrants some serious consideration. Plugins such as Views, and Nodequeue allow you to present information on pages, in a granular manner with ease.

Paid plugins/modules and themes are also available from 3rd parties, and often offer additional functionality over free versions. Need custom work to meet a particular business need? No problem! I highly recommend Joe Bachana and his team at DPCI, located in Times Square, for all things Drupal-related. Their highly structured and disciplined approach to development always exceeds expectations and they’ve been my go-to shop since 2008.

Security

Both systems, on their own, are fairly secure and updated on a regular basis to address problems as they are discovered. Of course, other factors have an impact on the security of a site – mainly the use of 3rd party add-ons and human error.

WordPress

The core of WordPress is secure and well maintained, but a plugin ecosystem of over 55,000 plugins has the potential to introduce vulnerabilities that can be exploited. According to a survey from Wordfence, plugin vulnerabilities accounted for over half of all known entry points for malicious activity. Choosing plugins that are actively maintained, and patched when issues are found, is important and selecting a reputable shop to assist in the development of your site will reduce risk considerably.

Drupal

A properly configured Drupal site can be amazingly secure, and Drupal publishes detailed security reports on a regular basis. The system’s enterprise-level security makes it a popular choice for government organizations, educational institutions, and other large, security-conscious, companies.

 

Source: Sucuri

Ultimately, either choice can be secure if the correct development approach is used, and your users are educated on the responsible use of your system of choice. Properly configured hosting environments also play a large role in security, and making the right choice is equally important as the CMS you decide to use.

Making a Choice

This is the point where most companies would make a recommendation on which system to choose, and I’m not going to do that. The appropriate selection should be based on your needs, and not the preference of a service provider. Keeping the 3 factors above during your decision making process will aid you in making the right choice.

Still not sure which is the right fit for your business? Get in touch! We’ll have a conversation about your business and your goals, assist in making the right decision, and even build a custom hosting solution to meet all of your needs.

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