Are you looking for a content management system (CMS) to power the backend of your business’s website? Sitecore and WordPress are two popular CMS platforms respectively built for distinct types of businesses.

If you're in the market for a CMS, you might be wondering which option suits your needs.

When considering Sitecore versus WordPress (or any CMS alternatives, really), it’s important to know how they compare and what you should be looking for to determine the right fit for your business.

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The 4 Principal Qualities of Great CMS Solutions

To add value to your business operations, your CMS should have the following qualities:

  • Ease of Use: Your CMS must be simple to understand and use. Its interface should be uncomplicated. If it's easy to use, you'll work faster, save time, and increase productivity.
  • Flexibility: A CMS can handle multifaceted aspects of business administration — not just your business website content storage needs. Top CMS solutions come with plenty of flexibility in terms of function and customization. Ultimately, you want a tool that allows for collaboration and design freedom.
  • Marketing Tools: Extended capabilities can make your CMS an important marketing tool. Through various integrations, you can use your CMS to create opportunities for visitor engagement, break down customer insights with data analysis, and reach prospects on any device.
  • Maximum Security: Even in the middle of a pandemic, businesses are getting hacked (ask Marriott). Hackers look for vulnerabilities in the system and access to any critical tool, if exposed, could be used to take down the business. You don't want to use a CMS that will put you in danger.

Sitecore vs. WordPress: CMS Showdown

When choosing a CMS, it's important to consider what your business needs. The features offered should directly relate to your goals. If they don’t, keep looking — there are so many solutions on the market built to address even the most niche needs.

Sitecore and WordPress are two of the most robust CMS tools on the web. However, they are fundamentally different.

First, WordPress is significantly more popular than Sitecore. It's used in more websites, under all categories, across the globe.

WeBuiltThis graph showing increased usage of WordPress

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Second, Sitecore involves a managed platform while WordPress is built on open-source software that can be used on your choice of platforms. In essence, this means that you need a paid license to use Sitecore while WordPress is free to use (plus any costs associated with the platform where you host WordPress).

Despite these disparities, the platforms can be compared across the four principal CMS qualities. Let's use these qualities to determine which option comes out on top for you.

1. Sitecore vs. WordPress Ease of Use: Core Functionality, Content Editor

Two major factors affect how easy it is to use a CMS: the core software functionality and the content editor. In other words, we’re looking at how easy it is to manage and create content on the respective platform.

Sitecore is an enterprise-level platform that powers more than 130,000 businesses in many industries including sports, banking, and travel. It's a robust, standalone, commercial software.

On the other hand, WordPress powers 35% of the internet. It’s fundamentally a quite basic CMS platform. While you don't pay for the platform itself, the components that it consists of — theme designs and plugins (which extend functionality) — usually come at a cost.

Sitecore makes it easy for you to update your site content using features such as content reusing. In WordPress, populating various site locations with content requires manual action that can be time-consuming.

Versioning, also referred to as revisions in WordPress, allows you to create a version of your website and preview your updates before publishing. Both platforms are very similar when it comes to this.

Both platforms provide robust content editors with WYSIWYG capabilities. This is an important feature for modern CMS tools because it allows users to create content without the need for coding skills as well as preview pages. Here's a look at WordPress's WYSIWYG editor. 

WordPress WYSIWYG editor open to default "Hello world!" post

2. Sitecore vs. WordPress Flexibility: Administration & Customization

When we refer to flexibility, we’re referring to the level of control the CMS gives you in terms of both administration and customization features. The former makes it easy for users to access and work on your site, and the latter is concerned with design freedom.

Both platforms have great workflow functionality. In Sitecore, this is more advanced and intuitive. Sitecore creates a hierarchy of users and permissions, allowing members to make changes and managers to review and approve content prior to publishing. Site changes can be traced back to the user who made them.

For out-of-the-box solutions, Sitecore offers the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA). The feature allows different teams to work simultaneously by reusing templates, layouts, and components across many sites. This speeds up production because everyone can get started on the project once a basic user experience (UX) plan has been set up. Here's a look at the toolbox with reusable renderings. 

SXA toolbox

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For custom solutions, you have to do your custom development. If you want to deploy the CMS on Azure, you'll need a small team to help with the launch and ongoing maintenance.

By comparison, WordPress is easier to use and empowers you to get started much quicker. This is made possible by ready-to-use themes and cloud-based hosting. However, most themes must be customized to your branding and website goals to be useful in converting visitors to customers.

As a general rule, Sitecore is ideal if your business is looking for a custom solution and has the capacity to build it. WordPress works if you need a simple solution that doesn't require a lot of technical effort.

3. Sitecore vs. WordPress Marketing Support: SEO & Integrations

A CMS with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) tools improves your marketing efforts by helping you address various aspects of on-page SEO including URLs, meta descriptions, alt tags, page titles, compliance, authentication, and duplicate content.

For what it doesn't provide, the CMS should allow integration with third-party tools including social media, analytics, and marketing automation tools.

Sitecore is well-equipped to handle various digital marketing needs. It has superior marketing features including content personalization which improves UX and influences conversions. Other relevant marketing tools help with testing, ecommerce, and email marketing.

Sitecore email experience manager

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Sitecore 9 adds more marketing capabilities, including machine learning and marketing automation.

On the other hand, WordPress doesn't have much marketing support built-in. It relies on third-party tools for basic marketing capabilities and some key integrations are likely to require some development support. Sitecore allows out-of-box integration with popular CRM and Electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) tools.

4. Sitecore vs. WordPress Security: Scalability & Protection from Attacks

Sitecore's architecture is built with Microsoft .NET Framework. It’s backed by a community of top developers and is reputed for stability. The architecture allows your site to cope with sudden changes in traffic volume and scale seamlessly. Additionally, this scalability helps you adapt your websites to multiple territories and languages.

By having the most useful features built in, Sitecore ensures you won't be exposed to attacks associated with potential vulnerabilities from third-party options. Furthermore, the platform offers built-in security tools to keep your database safe. These are the types of precautions all businesses need to take.

WordPress works well for small businesses because most ongoing updates can be easily managed in-house. This can save your company a significant amount in maintenance fees.

However, in the case of a data breach or a sudden need to scale quickly, a lack of development help on standby could expose your company to potential losses (unless you have a dedicated PHP developer to help during one of these instances).

Because extending the functionality of WordPress relies on third-party tools developed by hundreds of people, there are many aspects of website maintenance that need to be constantly monitored.

The platform reduces risk through frequent updates. However, an over-reliance on third-party tools and add-ons to fill the gaps is still a threat to sites using the WordPress CMS.

Sitecore vs. WordPress: Have You Made Your Decision?

Choosing a CMS isn't a simple decision. You have to consider how easy it is to use, its flexibility, marketing support, and security. Because there are so many tools out there, comparing the best options is a great way to figure out what you need.

If you're choosing between Sitecore and WordPress, there are a few important distinctions that can help you make a decision. Generally, Sitecore is an enterprise-level platform typically used by mid-sized to large enterprises. If you're a small business, freelancer or non-profit, WordPress may be more suitable.

If you're still looking for your perfect solution, consider CMS Hub.

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Originally published Apr 15, 2020 6:36:35 PM, updated July 13 2020

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