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Content management systems (CMS) have been popular since the early 2000s as a way for anyone to create content on the web without having to be a web developer. The current most popular platform, WordPress, was released in 2003 primarily as a blogging engine and has quickly grown to become the dominant CMS on the web—over 12.7 million sites are built on WordPress, just under 50% of all sites built on a CMS.
WordPress’s closest competitor is rising star Drupal, initially released in 2001 and currently powering more than 735,000 websites. Compared to WordPress’s adoption rate, this number might not even seem worth talking about, but let’s take a minute to consider some of the sites currently using Drupal—more than 150 sites for the federal government (including whitehouse.gov) as well as WWE.com, Twitter.com, and many, many more.
If you’re planning on building a new website, you’ve probably been faced with the decision to put it on WordPress or Drupal. And like any business owner, you’re probably interested in ensuring your site gets as much web traffic—and converts that traffic into leads—as possible. This means a combination of being visible in search engines and being able to present users a welcoming experience that encourages conversions. So which is better—WordPress or Drupal?
Before we get into the differences, get a free analysis!
Benefits of Using WordPress
For most small business websites, WordPress is the way to go. The WordPress editor is extremely easy to use and functions almost exactly like a word processor. You don’t need to be “techy” at all to understand the basic features of WordPress, and by and large, those basic features are all you’ll need to make a fully functional website. If you want to get more complicated and add things like forms or image sliders, there are thousands of plugins (32,978 as of this writing) to choose from that can help you do pretty much anything.
Beyond its ease of use, one of the driving features behind WordPress’s popularity is its customizability—2,656 free themes to download as of today and an uncountable number of paid themes mean at the click of a button you can create a site that perfectly meets your business needs. If you can’t find a single theme you like, you can customize any existing ones or meet with a web design company to create a whole new theme just for you.
Benefits of Using Drupal
While it may seem dwarfed by WordPress’s massive user base, Drupal is growing extremely rapidly and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Drupal allows for much deeper, more technical site architecture, with built-in caching, scalable databases, and InnoDB default, as well as ready SOAP, REST, and JSON integration. For advanced site features, Drupal currently has over 8,000 modules that let you fully customize your site with a vibrant, passionate community available for support.
That said, average users will likely find a much steeper learning curve with Drupal along with fewer “out-of-the-box” customization options—currently there are 1,268 free Drupal themes available, but customizing these themes really requires a familiarity with code that the less tech-savvy might not be comfortable with.
Which is better for SEO?
You’re going to hate me for saying this, but when it comes down to it, both Drupal and WordPress are very similar in terms of “SEO power.” Certain things give and take away the edge: WordPress has less going on in the backend which tends to lead to slightly faster page load times, but Drupal has better security, which Google likes to see. Both have highly customizable SEO plugins, including Yoast, SEO Ultimate, and All-In-One SEO Pack on WordPress and the SEO Checklist module on Drupal.
In the end, the best choice is the one that meets your business needs and goals:
- WordPress is better for building relatively simple sites with regular landing pages and blog posts, doesn’t require a lot of user interactivity (aside from contact forms), and doesn’t need hefty security features.
- Drupal is better for building enterprise-style sites that need multiple different content types, different user roles and permissions (Administrator, Logged-In, Anonymous, etc.—Drupal lets you create virtually unlimited user roles) and deeper site features.
Which do we prefer?
At Blue Corona, we can work with both Drupal and WordPress (and almost any other content management system out there). That said, we find that most of our clients have great success on WordPress—it tends to give their sites everything they need without too much technical “bloat” that makes it difficult for us or them to make changes. In fact, many of our clients come to us with websites not on WordPress, and we begin our relationship by taking the existing site and moving it onto the CMS in a one-for-one swap—maintaining the original design and functionality of the site while making it easier to update. Clients for whom we’ve done this often tell us they love their existing site and can’t imagine anything happening to it. Then when we move the site over to the new system, they can’t tell the difference!
Need a new site?
Whatever platform you choose, the most important thing is that your site attracts traffic, leads, and, ultimately, sales. You can do this on either WordPress or Drupal—ultimately the important thing is going to be technical skill of your site creation, the quality, relevance, and timeliness of your content, and the authority you build with that content. At Blue Corona, we can help with all of the elements that go into running a successful website, as well as services like phone call tracking with lead attribution, Google penalty recovery, and more. If your website is too hard to manage without a content management system, or if it’s not performing like the 24/7 sales rep it should be, call us today!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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