Which is the winning platform for businesses?
Both Sitecore and WordPress are popular digital platforms, but when it comes to choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your organisation, which comes out on top? It’s important to be able to differentiate platforms to clearly identify which features are best suited for your business.
Both technologies often make company shortlists, but how do they really compare? What should decision makers be considering when looking at Sitecore vs WordPress?
Round one: The king of content management?
Sitecore couldn’t ever complete with the speed in which WordPress can be deployed. If you’re looking for a quick set up, then you can have a website in less than 15 minutes. All you have to do is pick a theme, throw some content in a pre-defined template and go live. Perhaps controversial from a Sitecore Platinum Partner, but at Kagool we love WordPress. That is for quick and easy blogging, which is why we even have our own Kagool WordPress blog.
Sitecore takes longer to deploy due to its bespoke design and build. Everything about Sitecore websites are unique to the organisation’s requirements. Understandably it takes longer than 15 minutes to design websites that are robust, versatile and deliver a high level of functionality and security.
Ease of use
WordPress came on the market in 2003 and is a free, open-source CMS. It has excelled as a blogging platform for over a decade and with 59.8% of all websites using the platform is documented as being the most widely used CMS. Meaning anyone can access and manage it using its template themes. This strength has become one of WordPress’ biggest flaws.
Organisations that are looking for a unique brand identity might struggle to achieve this online without a team of skilled developers. Organisations without development resource risk being bound to the restrictive themes.
WordPress is simple to use until you want to change anything or be original with content, then you need to get out your wallet and start considering endless plugins.
In the Sitecore vs WordPress battle, Sitecore wins for enterprise level organisations. Sitecore boasts a lot more functionality and is easy to use. Its content editor toolbar echoes the look and functionality of Microsoft Word, which makes it easy to use as most people are familiar with that interface. But with a Sitecore license, clients receive training to ensure that they can get the best out of the technology.
Audit trails and workflows
Sitecore describe themselves as an ‘experience platform’ and this goes for users as well as website visitors. This is obvious in how Sitecore’s features are streamlined in comparison to WordPress’. On WordPress, reusing content across your website is a manual chore for marketers, which is fine if you have the time. In this example, Sitecore allows editors to publish content in multiple locations on the site using the same content source. This is ideal for quickly updating online deals or competitions.
A great feature that WordPress lacks is an audit trail. In Sitecore, all content that is published is stored, even if the content is updated later. This is a useful reference tool for businesses should they need to look back at exactly what content was published and when.
Workflows in both platforms are good in terms of functionality. Though WordPress’ workflows aren’t as advanced as Sitecore’s which would be better suited to small businesses or freelancers. Sitecore workflows can be set up in a hierarchy for line managers to review and approve content before it’s published. This is particularly useful for larger content teams or teams that work across multiple locations.
Round two: Marketing capabilities
Integrating WordPress with other systems is likely to require some development support. Personalising content to users based on information from external systems is beyond WordPress core functionality.
On the other hand the integration features of Sitecore are one of the key differentiators for enterprise businesses. With Sitecore you can also integrate with many popular of third party platforms out of the box. This includes EPOS and CRM systems. 2 way integration with Sitecore enables marketers to personalise digital messaging to audiences based on information gleaned from third party systems. Integration is the key to unlocking the true potential of Sitecore.
Sitecore is well equipped for marketers. Its marketing tools are far superior to WordPress’ which relies heavily on third party plug-ins. Sitecore’s offers the option to use personalisation to improve user experience as well as conversion rates. Marketers can choose to display personalised content for website visitors based on their user journey or segment. Testing, email marketing, commerce and other features give marketers a large selection of tools.
This sets Sitecore leagues ahead of WordPress and highlights that WordPress was developed for blogging. The release of Sitecore 9 sees the software adding some brilliant new functionalities. Sitecore Cortex provides machine learning and marketing automation capabilities that that will help marketers create seamless customer journeys.
An important part of marketing is testing content and learning from the results to further improve future marketing activity. Testing functions are key to this. So, what does Sitecore and WordPress have to offer? As mentioned before, WordPress at its core is really a blogging tool that can add plugins to extend its capabilities. Testing in WordPress is no different. On its own it has no testing functions, but there’s lots of plugins you can buy for split testing (e.g Nelio or MonsterInsight).
Sitecore doesn’t require any additional budget for this feature as testing functions are built into the platform. Marketers can use A/B or multi-variate testing with ease in Sitecore without needing to pull in any extra help from third parties, keeping their user experience easy and streamlined.
Round three: Scalability and security
A key selling point for WordPress is that it can be managed in-house. That’s brilliant – until there’s been a security breach or the need to scale up (unless you happen to have a dedicated PHP developer). Unfortunately, it’s WordPress’ commonality that has made it open for attack.
Due to the reliance on third party plugins produced by hundreds of vendors, there’s a lot of different technologies that need to be kept up to date. If they’re not all closely monitored, then there’s a serious risk of hacking, especially on ecommerce sites. In fact it was recently reported that 70% of WordPress installations are at risk of hacker attacks.
Sitecore offers a variety of scalability options through the configuration of the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB). Sitecore’s architecture allows websites to cope with sudden changes in traffic volumes and perform better by adapting the xDB environment to:
- Run as a standalone environment
- Scale vertically
- Scale horizontally
Sitecore’s scalability benefits don’t end with coping with erratic audience volumes. Whether organisations require scaling capabilities for multi-territory or multilingual websites, Sitecore’s got the architecture and power to be leveraged.
Unlike WordPress, most useful features are integrated within Sitecore itself, which leaves little room for security vulnerability. It should therefore be no surprise that this robust and versatile platform come with enterprise level security to match its functionality standard.
Round four: Cost and support
We’ve already covered a lot of the two platforms’ differences, but cost and support are just as significant. The first main difference is licenses. WordPress doesn’t require a license and is free (ish). Well, WordPress itself it free, but if you want to benefit from the same capabilities as Sitecore then some budget should be considered for plugins and development time. No fee, no license, no support, is what you get with WordPress. That’s not to say there isn’t hours of video tutorials and self-help forums online. It’s just whether you have the resource to spare hours to them.
Sitecore comes with a license and a price that’s based on the scope of the project. To give some perspective in terms of Sitecore vs WordPress, the resource that would be necessary for a network of 30 websites for different territories, translates as one Sitecore project vs 30 WordPress sites. There’s a lot of value attached to Sitecore pricing. Customers gain a website to help them generate business as well as a service level agreement (SLA) which offers infinite Sitecore support.
The winner of Sitecore vs WordPress is…
If your website is business critical, you’re embarking on a long-term digital transformation project, security is a priority, or you’ve got high traffic volumes then Sitecore is your champion.
If your website receives low levels of traffic, you’re keen to deploy a simply website quickly and you’re not bothered by risk then WordPress is best suited for your business.
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