A Business Case for Craft versus WordPress
February 4, 2016
Craft is a better solution for custom websites
WordPress has provided a lot of functionality in its software to help someone set up and run a blog in a short amount of time. This is great for the person or company that wants to run a blog, but it creates more of a challenge for building a custom website. To build a custom site, a developer must work around and disable some of the features of WordPress to meet the needs of the custom site.
Craft has an opposite approach. It is a very simple software that you build upon to access the powerful functionality that is baked in. It is much easier to start building a custom site using Craft because you do not manipulate the software first. This leads to quicker development which saves the client money.
WordPress is not a true CMS out of the box
WordPress was first developed as a blogging software not a CMS. WordPress focuses on functionality that powers a blog with simple supporting pages without structured content. WordPress can only be made into a true CMS with the use of plugins, most of which come from various third parties.
Craft is a robust CMS out-of-the-box. It is less reliant on third-party plugins to create custom sites. It is a much better option for creating all of the different content types required to create a site that meets a client’s business needs.
Security, software updates, and higher cost of maintenance
Because of WordPress’s popularity, it is more of a target for hackers. I have had several WordPress sites hacked in the past. One strategy that helps make WordPress sites less vulnerable is to vigilantly apply software updates because many of these updates address security vulnerabilities.
WordPress software updates can break third-party plugins which can affect site functionality of sites that rely on those plugins for site customization. The use of plugins makes a site dependent on the plugin developer updating his or her plugin in a timely manner when WordPress updates might break the plugin. Not all plugins have active development.
Craft sites tend to be less dependent on third-party plugins so there is less chance of compromising site functionality when Craft needs to be updated. The only plugin I have used in Craft consistently is a custom plugin that dboy (the agency I work for) developed to integrate job search functionality. We continue to develop and enhance that plugin so we know that it will continue to function and be updated as needed.
All this is to say that the maintenance cost over time tends to be a lot less for a Craft website than for one powered by WordPress.
Simpler, more user-friendly interface
Craft has a simpler interface that makes it more user friendly for the client. It can do things as a CMS interface that WordPress cannot. For example, multiple tabs can be used to organize different sections of a page. The Craft interface can be customized and streamlined to allow the client to focus solely on creating and maintaining site content.
Advantage for integrating third-party APIs
One advantage of using Craft versus WordPress is that the architecture of the Craft software better serves the needs of integrating third-party APIs. We can build and reuse plugins that will save on future development costs.
Software that takes better advantage of current web technology
Craft is a newer product that takes advantage of current Web technologies in a way that WordPress cannot. The core of WordPress was built more than a decade ago, and much of that core functionality is still in the software today.
Better client-serving functionality out of the box
One great client-serving feature of Craft is the matrix field. We relied on this field type for a locations entry on a custom site. The client can control and change the order of those locations, adding as many or few as needed. Because all of the data is already defined, developers can control the markup so that those fields display consistently and will not break the design.
I found Megan Zlock’s post on the Viget site helpful in organizing my thoughts. Megan goes into more detail about some of the good, bad and ugly points of Craft versus WordPress.
7okft wrote a similar article to this one, Should Your Agency WordPress or Craft Your Website. They go a lot more in depth about the security advantage and cost of Craft over WordPress.
Update: (8/23/2016) I just saw that the Craft Podcast did an episode making a business case for Craft. I have not yet listened to it.