Choosing The Right CMS:
Craft cms Or Wordpress?
WordPress is usually the go to content management system for most people. In fact, it’s so popular that it has cornered 33% of the CMS market with over 60 million websites using it. However, just because a product or service is popular, it does not mean that it’s the best option out there. WordPress does come with its issues which include security problems, lackluster templates, and a messy codebase.
You also have issues with the fact that WordPress is so accessible, paradoxically. There is a world of difference between a developer that knows how to use WordPress to build a website using pre-built themes and addons, and a developer who knows how to customize WordPress itself. The latter is the kind of developer that can build high performance, high quality websites that can scale, but you have to make sure that you hire the right person for the job, and not someone who is not really skilled but still charges the price of a fully customized site.
To address some of the issues with WordPress, you have a more specialized CMS in Craft. Of course, going outside the box into the unexplored territories that are not the industry norm can seem risky for most clients. This is why we’ve written this short guide on Craft, where we hope to explain the benefits of using this CMS over WordPress.
1. Better Security
Perhaps the biggest problem with WordPress is its vulnerability to security breaches. There are many reasons for this issue. To start, WordPress is the target of most attacks simply due to its popularity. Any attacker who wants to spread his malware as far and as wide as possible will be incentivized to go after WordPress. On top of that, most WordPress websites are poorly maintained, and they often use outdated plugins and software. This creates a wide opening for cybercriminals.
One of the most famous incidents happened to a Panama-based law firm known as Mossack Fonseca in 2016. During this incident, attackers managed to get their hands on 11.5 million files, or about 2.6 terabytes of information. The vulnerability that allowed this attack to happen? It was an outdated version of the Revolution Slider plug-in, which is a WordPress piece of software that allows you to create sliding image effects. That is quite the oversight, but at the same time, something that is very hard to anticipate, given that Revolution Slider is the most popular plugin of its kind. To make matters worse, Mossack Fonseca was targeted because it was the fourth largest offshore law firm, and because it dealt with important figures around the world, including national leaders and politicians.
Of course, this is one of those examples that really stands out, but it is one of many that shows a trend where attackers will exploit outdated plugins. In September of 2018, attackers managed to compromise thousands of websites using a similar technique. A few months later, another wave of attacks compromised the WP GDPR Compliance plug-in, and by the time January 2019 rolled around, the wildly popular WP MultiLingual plugin was exploited by a disgruntled former employee of the development team in order to gain the contact information of the plugin’s users.
It might seem like the solution to all these problems is to keep your plugins updated. However, the issue is that most plugins are updated AFTER a vulnerability has been exploited by hackers.
Craft on the other hand tried to prevent security issues proactively, by routinely checking the CMS’ codebase with the help of third party auditing software. To put things into perspective, since Craft was launched in 2012, it experienced just 8 minor security problems, while WordPress went through over 1,500 exploits that range in severity from minor to catastrophic. Craft will also back up your website and its contents as an added security measure. This will help you take down and redeploy your website on a new server in case of an attack.
2. Easier SEO
When we’re talking about SEO, it’s important to note that Google does not favor one CMS over the other. Instead, the search engine is focused on a variety of other factors relating to your content and website performance which may be influenced by the CMS that you use. Your choice in CMS can also make it easier for your marketing team to manage all the factors that come into play when improving your search engine ranking.
Both Craft and WordPress handle SEO tasks through a plugin. For WordPress, you have Yoast, which is designed to automatically take care of a large number of technical and on-page SEO issues. It will generate sitemaps, construct canonical URLS, and identify keyword gaps in your blog’s content, to name just a few of its capabilities. Yoast will also allow your developers to edit the .htaccess and robots.txt files for maximum optimization.
Craft uses the SEOmatic plugin, which is advertised as a “turnkey SEO system.” What this means is that SEOmatic will automatically optimize your website as soon as it is installed. Let’s take a look at what it will implement on your website:
- JSON-LD structured microdata
- HTML metatags
- Sitemaps for all public URLs
- Humans.txt authorship accreditation
- Robots.txt directives
- Tags for Facebook OpenGraph and Twitter Cards
To top it off, it does all of these things without the need to create any new template code.
SEOmatic will also allow you to look under the hood, and customize the metadata and a variety of other elements in order to get the precise results you want. This plugin will always apply the newest SEO best practices as laid out by Google, and it will do so in real time, as your team adds new pages, blog posts and other elements to the site.
WordPress websites are also known to have speed issues. Of course, speed issues can be addressed with proper optimization, but slow clunky websites are more often the norm than not with WordPress.
Speed is a very important factor in determining the success of a website. For example, if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, half of all mobile users will leave. That’s a huge number, because half of the world’s internet traffic is mobile. However, not only are you losing on potential traffic, you’re also losing a potential competitive advantage if you do not speed up your site. On average, it takes 15 seconds for a website to load! This means that all you have to do in order to stand out and add a few dozen percentage points to your conversion rate is to beat a 15 second loading time. And we’re not joking about the conversion rates either. For every extra second that it takes for your website to load, your conversion rate falls by 4.42% during the first five seconds of loading, and continues to fall after that at an average rate of 2.11% for nine seconds.
Craft is built with website speed in mind. It is a much more streamlined CMS that does not come with a lot of plugin “baggage”. It is also a CMS that places less emphasis on being accessible from a development standpoint. WordPress is built on the idea that anyone can pick it up and use it to build a website. It’s why it’s so popular. However, this advantage comes with several drawbacks, one of which is a lot of bloat that slows down the CMS.
When you build a website with Craft, you start with the essentials and add from there. This is a huge boon to performance and development time, since you do not have to optimize the website after you’ve built it. When paired with some powerful cloud storage options and rapid CDNs, a Craft website can be up to speed from day one, ensuring that your users have a pleasant experience and that the website performs well in metrics such as the conversion, retention and bounce rates.
4. Lack of themes
Template themes are awesome if you are a beginner or an intermediate web developer. They cut a lot of development time from your projects, and you are able to create beautiful websites with little to no coding experience. It is one of the reasons that WordPress is so popular. WordPress makes it much easier to build a functional, good-looking website quickly, easily and at a low cost.
However, template themes do come with their own sets of issues. In order to be accessible to as many people as possible, they have to come with a ton of extra features that get in the way of performance. You then have the issue of picking out a theme that is fully functional. There are several popular themes which are well coded and well maintained, but they will make your website look generic. If you want to have a unique website, you will have to pick a lesser known theme, which does not have a code that is as well maintained. Alternatively, you can customize a popular theme, but that will cost more and it will be more time consuming. There is also one last option: creating a theme from scratch, which can take as long as customizing an existing one.
Craft does not use premade themes. Each website is built from the ground up, ensuring that it is unique and performing to a very high standard. This does end up costing more than using a prebuilt theme, but if you want performance and a unique website, you would have to modify or build a new theme from scratch in WordPress as well.
The basic formula for WordPress has not changed much over the years. You have the CMS itself, the plugins and the templates. You take those together and you build upon them. However, as the years go by, the platform becomes more and more complex making it harder to implement the changes you want in order to see the vision for your website come to fruition.
With Craft on the other hand, customization is the name of the game. There are no assumptions about your content, no archaic rules/guidelines that you have to follow in order for your template or plugin to work properly. This allows a developer to set up a website that you can customize yourself without any real limitation.
This flexibility also means that creative website ideas can be implemented for a lower cost, since the developer is better able to modify the CMS to fit your needs. Using various flexible data structures, a developer can build a custom website that does amazing, useful and very entertaining things, without long development time frames or extra costs.
As we’ve started to mention under the previous section, Craft can be customized to be super client-friendly. With Craft your developer can set up a dashboard that is clean, easy to understand, and perfectly fit for the daily tasks of maintaining and updating your site. What sets Craft apart from WordPress is the simplicity of this dashboard. WordPress can become very cluttered as plugins are added to the site, and creating a simple button or slide becomes a nightmare that takes a few emails back and forth with your developer before you get the hang of it.
If you’ve worked with WordPress, you are also familiar with the clumsiness of tweaking a website until it’s just right. You make the change, then you click Preview, and then you go back, make another change, and click Preview again. Craft comes with a Live Preview function, which opens the content editor and the preview version of your website side-by-side. Any change you make in this interface can be previewed within the same screen with the click of a button.
7. Large community
Craft is catching up with WordPress in terms of the size and quality of its community, though it still has a long way to go. It is currently used by some pretty big names out there including Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Salesforce and others.
The size of the community is important because it allows Craft’s development team to gather more and more data, and then improve the platform based on the insights they gain from analyzing all that information. Craft also has a robust customer support service, with the company being active on Twitter and StackExchange. Any issues you or your developer may run into will be addressed by a technical expert from Craft’s customer support staff.
1. The monetization model
Now, let’s take a look at some of the areas where Craft falls behind WordPress. The monetization model for WordPress is a bit more flexible. If you want, you can install WordPress and build everything for your website for free. You basically have access to the entire platform at no cost. On top of that, you have free themes, free plugins, and freemium versions of both. The only time you have to pay is when you install premium versions of plugins and themes.
Craft also comes with a free version, which will allow you to build a fairly decent website for your company at no cost. The free version of the CMS offers powerful front-end tools, a very flexible content modeling feature, multi-site capabilities, and localization. However, if you want to unlock the full potential of the platform, you will have to pay a one-time licensing fee of $299. There is also an enterprise option that offers you the ability to specify your licensing requirements and needs, and then negotiate the price with the Craft team. Craft has an eCommerce licensing option as well, with a Lite and Pro version at $199 and $999 respectively. These costs will usually be discussed up front with your development team which will help you make the right choice for your needs.
2. The plugins are limited
Craft is also behind WordPress when it comes to plugins. WordPress has tens of thousands of plugins, while Craft has only a tiny fraction of that. If you want to set up a website by yourself, but you have little technical knowledge, WordPress plugins can do wonders for you. However, if you want to set up a professional website with customized-functionality that runs like a well-oiled machine and is very secure, then you will have to build your plugins from the ground up anyway. In other words, things start to become equal when we’re talking about larger and more ambitious projects.
3. Developing with Craft is not for novices
While Craft is built with ease-of-use in mind, it is not built for novice developers. This CMS requires some in-depth knowledge about web development, which makes it much less accessible to the average junior developer. If you do not have technical knowledge, then you cannot really use Craft to build a website. The good news is that if you want to take advantage of all the benefits that Craft can bring to the table, an experienced developer can help you out.
If you are currently interested in building a website for your company, contact us today, and we can discuss your project requirement. Based on what you need for your website, we can recommend one CMS over the other, and help you get your website to market in the fastest, most effective and most cost effective way possible.