The ultimate comparison of WordPress to other popular CMS platforms

WordPress… chances are you’ve heard this name dropped before when you were looking for a way to create your website. A school project, creating your own website for your business or the search for an Agency such as Swift. During this search, WordPress is undoubtedly going to have caught your eye. Apart from WordPress, you will no doubt have come across advertisements from Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Joomla, Magento and numerous others. But which one should you choose?

Your individual needs will determine which Content Management System (CMS) is best for you. In this article, we have put down our opinion regarding the most popular CMS systems. Is WordPress the right choice for you or another CMS? If you’re curious, be sure to read on! 😉

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What is WordPress?

Before I tell you what WordPress exactly is, I have to admit that we at Swift offer a professional WordPress solution . As a Marketing (read “Content”) Agency, we made the decision precisely because of its versatility to only program in WordPress. “More bang for the buck” so to speak, when it comes to weighing Custom Development or standard modules.

Recently we were contacted by a company if they could give a demo on the CMS they had developed (SaaS solution). During this positive conversation, he concluded that it would not be of interest to us or our customers and called me, with a laugh, “A WordPress evangelist.” Aside from the fact that I find it an amusing anecdote, this comparison is written with rational glasses on. Anyway, WordPress then:

WordPress is a versatile, open-source CMS that offers website owners a great deal of freedom. It is available in two variants: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The differences are significant, not just the domain extensions.

WordPress.com is a popular free option for those just starting to set up a basic blog or website. It is hosted on the WordPress SaaS (software as a service) platform and offers a number of free themes to start with.

On the other hand, WordPress.org allows website owners to build self-hosted websites with their own domain names. While still open source, it offers much more flexibility and control in terms of what you can create. No matter what kind of website you want, you can build it with WordPress.org.

WordPress.org allows users to fully customize and scale their site, whatever their needs. From personal blogs and membership sites to large websites and E-commerce sites, WordPress is equipped to support sites of all sizes. There is no limit to what users can do.

In terms of customization, WordPress.org offers both free and paid themes. In addition, users can integrate apps and plugins to further customize their sites to what they need. The downside is that specific customization sometimes requires additional coding and the assistance of a developer required. For many website owners, however, the creative freedom is worth the cost of this professional help.

Swift therefore offers the latter solution. With us you can have a website built that is completely personalized and yet you retain the freedom to manage the website yourself, as the website owner, and make adjustments without our help, if you wish. The best of 2 worlds so to speak. In this case, the website is also completely your property. That is independent of a SaaS solution or service provider.

Comparison of WordPress and Drupal

Drupal is a full-fledged CMS that caters to the same audience as WordPress. Unlike WordPress, which started as a blogging platform, Drupal is a CMS from the beginning. Like WordPress, it is both free and open-source.

The similarities between WordPress and Drupal begin to falter when we look at the back-end interface. WordPress lets its users get used to the “ecosystem,” while Drupal brings users right in without much guidance. On the other hand, both platforms offer users a modular experience that gives them the flexibility to create and scale the kind of site they want. Like WordPress, Drupal offers plug-ins and add-ons, but it seems to be geared toward users who have at least some experience with web design.

Ultimately, WordPress seems better suited for beginners/do-it-yourselfers, while Drupal has a steeper learning curve. It is generally a more technical platform. Is web development not your daily occupation? If so, choose WordPress rather. In our view, it would be very optimistic to think that you shouldn’t need a developer to support you. In addition, as a company you are going to limit yourself in what is possible “by default” unless you are going to hire a dedicated developer on freelance or in-house. A website, like your business, will not stand still. If he does, he will soon fail to give the right impression about your company.

Comparison of Wordpress and Joomla

Joomla is a CMS similar to WordPress in that it is an all-purpose platform. From the beginning, it was designed as a full-fledged CMS. WordPress, on the other hand, began primarily as a blogging software, which was then scaled up to a CMS. That means the foundation is still rooted in blogging features. As someone who has watched WordPress evolve into a full-fledged CMS over the past +10 years, I can tell you with certainty that as a new user you won’t notice that this was once merely a blogging platform.

Joomla is a platform that developers can use out of the box with simple code, such as CSS, HTML, PHP and JavaScript. It seems less friendly for beginners because the back-end is more technical to navigate than WordPress is. Users with a technical background should be able to use the platform easily.

Customizing a website in Joomla is more difficult than WordPress, especially for beginners. However, it supports standard website designs, while WordPress has its own methods within the platform. If you want to build a powerful website, Joomla is a good choice, but if you want to publish blogs and other content regularly, it may not be ideal.

“As someone who has watched WordPress evolve into a full-fledged CMS over the past +10 years, I can tell you with certainty that as a new user you won’t notice that this was once merely a blogging platform.”

Comparison Wordpress and Squarespace

Squarespace is a SaaS platform that includes all the basic features users need to build a website. When you build a site through Squarespace, it’s possible to get your domain name, hosting, design, email marketing and support all in one place, for one monthly fee. Users do not need design or coding experience to build a professional-looking website on Squarespace.

Compared to WordPress, Squarespace offers a fairly seamless experience. The learning curve is lower, and help from a developer is not as likely (although it can be helpful sometimes). If you want an attractive, functional website with as little stress as possible, Squarespace is probably a good choice.

WordPress offers a lot more customization options, so with some tweaking and maybe a little coding, it is possible to customize and scale it further than Squarespace. Wordpress also offers a large number of plugins, paying and non-paying through a large community , that are not available on the Squarespace platform. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what kind of site-building process you prefer.

Comparison Wordpress (WooCommerce) and Magento

Both WooCommerce and Magento are wonderful platforms and very similar. Before you start wondering “WooCommerce?” Didn’t we talk about WordPress? Right! WooCommerce is the E-commerce solution of WordPress, as the name suggests. WordPress itself does not offer an E-commerce solution. However, this functionality has been molded into a free plugin.

Choosing the ultimate solution for your future online store will never be easy, as no single platform will perfectly meet the needs of every user.

While WooCommerce is user-friendly and offers low-cost payment solutions, Magento, at a higher cost, offers users high security and high performance. While WooCommerce is more efficient for small-scale stores, Magento works better for large companies.

We have specialized in building WooCommerce web shops but have to be honest that this is not the right choice for every customer. If you want to set up an extremely large webshop, think +50k main products. May be wiser to opt for a Magento. Again, it is important to mention that you are not going to be able to do this without a developer, this for both a WooCommerce webshop and the Magento webshop. You can build a webshop yourself very easily but it’s the small details between making or breaking your online business that make us say that this in not possible.

One of the biggest trade-offs between WooCommerce and Magento is budget. A good Magento web store is going to be substantially more expensive than a WooCommerce web store. Are you sure now that you are going to put hundreds of thousands of products online and do you have the budgets? Then opt for Magento. If you are a start-up / SME, then chances are you will have more than enough with a WooCommerce store, which can also offer endless possibilities.

Conclusion

In this article, we have very briefly compared the largest CMS platforms to WordPress.

WordPress is and will remain the largest share in the professional market, a whopping 65% of all CMS websites are created in WordPress. This is due to its versatility and solutions for both individuals and professional users. WordPress is the most suitable solution for an SME when we put everything in the scale.

The greatest asset of WordPress, an infinite possibility of plugins is also its greatest pitfall. You can very quickly develop an addiction to wanting to add functionality quickly yourself. But even we as professionals have dared to struggle with this at times. Even if the most insane functionalities are just a mouse click away. The trade-off has to be whether it is pure enough to add to the website. In fact, an overload of plugins here can slow down the website very much. We usually see this phenomenon much less with the other platforms as well because the versatility of plugins and different developers is just a whole lot less.

Here again is the side note, leave the work to a professional.

SaaS solutions, in our opinion, are completely out of the question. They offer too little personalization and the website you create is tied to a subscription. If you cancel your subscription you will also lose your website. This is not so with all the other CMS platforms we have discussed here.

Below, we make a comparison to put all the advantages and disadvantages clearly into a matrix once again. In this table, we’ll lump all SaaS solutions together for a moment:

Wordpress (65%)
Saas CMS
Drupal (3.0%)
Joomla (4.6%)
Magento (1.4%)
Website design is separate from hosting
Best price-quality ratio (professionals)
Developer / knowledge of coding required.
Budget-friendly solution
Simple base to set up.
Additional plugins (functionalities)
Suitable for SME
Suitable for very large webshops

Interested in getting started with this?

Would you like an objective look at your current website? Or do you need a good advertising strategy with unique visuals? We are very happy to help you!

Kristof Geudens from Garvis

Kristof Geudens from Garvis

bal swift

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