29 May 2018 | 4 Minute(s) to read
Popularity vs quality
WordPress is probably the most popular CMS (content management system), a system that all our clients have definitely heard of. According to W3Techs stats, WordPress powers 30% of all websites on the internet - this is more than 19.5 million sites!
But here at Smokeylemon we don’t use it. Not for ourselves and not for our clients. Our CMS of choice is SilverStripe and WordPress is a bit of a swear word around here, but let me explain why.
As WordPress is relatively easy to set up and install, it is frequently used by people wishing to set their personal website up themselves without using web developers, and for that, it serves its purpose well. It’s best for amateur websites, ones that don’t require customisation. If you’re happy using a preset theme that 100 or so others also have and aren’t expecting to make any changes or improvements to your website, then WordPress is for you.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some well-designed themes available. The problem is once you decide you want to change something - add a custom plugin - that’s when things get tricky.
On the other hand, SilverStripe is fully customisable meaning you can have the website you dreamt of. There is so much scope when designing and building a website with SilverStripe - the sky really is the limit!
Smokeylemon’s strength is bespoke website design and build, focusing on what the customers’ customer needs, rather than using themes or having to compromise the design because of CMS limitations. This leaves WordPress as the less appealing system the majority of the time.
Just to create customisations to a WordPress site takes considerably longer than a SilverStripe site, so your costs are higher. But when WordPress issues updates, your custom plugin can become broken, making your website unusable and the costs of getting your site back working each time can quickly rack up.
Above are six themes advertised on the WordPress website.
Being the most popular platform is not a good thing when it comes to security. Every website can be susceptible to hackers to varying degrees, but a custom website would mean that a hacker would have to target your website specifically. Our SilverStripe sites are custom-made, unique and therefore secure.
Hackers can target millions of WordPress sites at the same time using a bot (a software application or script) to automatically exploit any known vulnerabilities. The website security company Sucuri reports that 78% of the sites with security issues they work on are WordPress sites.
SilverStripe is a trusted platform used by government organisations (it is New Zealand Government's "common web platform"), businesses and non-profit organisations around the world. Plus it all began in Aotearoa! #supportnzmade
Above are four examples of websites that we have recently designed and built using SilverStripe. Check out our portfolio for many more examples.
4. Key strength: Blogging
Below is a table of differences between WordPress and SilverStripe. Check out the key strengths row; SilverStripe's is ‘custom development’ with WordPress’ as blogging.
Blogging is a great way to engage with customers but it’s not what your whole website should be based around - unless you’re a blogger. If you’re a blogger then having a bespoke layout may not be at the forefront of your needs. Weigh up your needs and go from there, but also keep in mind the future.
5. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Another important consideration is how SEO (search engine optimisation) friendly SilverStripe is.
There’s a tab on each page dedicated to metadata, allowing you to edit page titles, keywords, the URL, descriptions, and even create page redirects with ease. This makes it easy to update your site in line with what people are searching for - meaning your site will appear higher in search results.
SilverStripe has even thrown in a function that alerts you when one of your links is broken. And while Wordpress has plug-ins for SEO that can result in professional outcomes, it isn’t as user-friendly.
We have mentioned five key reasons why you should avoid using WordPress as a CMS and we could keep adding more: slow loading, lack of technical support, extra costs...
Sure, WordPress’ weaknesses can be managed. But it takes work and constant monitoring to keep a WordPress site fully working and secure. We would rather devote time and money to your SilverStripe site’s quality than spend it dealing with WordPress issues.
The takeaway is that both platforms have merits but if you want your website to be flexible in the future then SilverStripe is the way to go. Do it once and do it well.