This week we have been looking at WordPress compared with the competition. We have looked at hosted vs. self-hosted website management, WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org, and how WordPress with Woocommerce stacks up against the other eCommerce solutions.
Today we are diving into WordPress vs. Craft CMS.
Craft CMS is not the most prominent alternative self-hosted content management system to WordPress. Several other players like Drupal and Joomla have a larger market share, but Craft is our favorite alternative to WordPress.
Why We Love Craft
Craft comes with zero assumptions about content and data setup. As developers, we set up the entire field structure and templates to turn that data into web pages. This architecture means ultimate control for the back-end client experience and front-end display. In other words, what we create is what comes out on the front end, period.
Setting up a website from zero also means more effort, and so Craft websites are more expensive to create. Craft is the builder’s toolbox; it is the scaffolding and foundation, but we have to construct every wall, nail every nail, and hang every fixture for it to work. WordPress has many tools that are more akin to a modular home, using someone else’s construction and it is more painting and moving the occasional wall.
When To Use Craft vs. WordPress
We have built complete web applications with Craft as the backbone. WordPress just isn’t going to handle that elegantly. Square peg, meet round hole. If someone wanted an MVP of a web app, WordPress might work, depending on the scope.
Here is our rule of thumb: how much custom data is there?
If a website requires a lot of custom data structure and output, Craft is our choice. Why? All that control in the design and build means there is nothing extra. Tools like Advanced Custom Fields make a similar experience possible in WordPress, but it requires an add-on. Craft is literally all custom fields.
The next level is user management. Craft has excellent user management with highly granular access control out of the box. The ability to reference users in templates via TWIG creates a simple but powerful way to interact with users on the website. Integrating that with Craft Commerce means complex subscriptions and content controls can be connected to payments in a way that would take some workarounds or multiple plugins in WordPress.
Craft is no slouch here either. Their commerce edition has a ton of handy tools that integrate with the rest of the templating and field system. If you have a large store or just complex products that require custom coding, Craft with Commerce may be the best solution for your eCommerce setup.
Craft is also highly secure. WordPress has become much safer over the years, and on the right hosting set up with up-to-date core and plugins, you don’t have to live in fear of hacks. But Craft websites are just a smaller target, and the ecosystem is tighter.
If security is of the most serious concern to a client, we may recommend Craft.
At the End of the Day
It is about the project! What you want to accomplish and build defines what to us. We will recommend Craft every day for large, data-intensive projects. If you have a lot of particular user requirements, we will likely also point to Craft.
WordPress is pretty much our go-to for everything else. It is perfect for marketing sites, simple to medium complexity eCommerce, and blogs. If you value quick iteration and agility in digital marketing, WordPress will probably be perfect for you. Their self-hosted version has an excellent mixture of flexibility and control.
If you want to lock down content creation to particular tasks from very defined user groups and have perfect control on template output, Craft will be great for your project!
When to Use Craft
- Complex data input and display.
- When you need advanced user management
- Security is the most significant concern.
- Complicated eCommerce setups
- You have a large budget for all custom development
When to Use WordPress
- For a marketing website.
- When you value iteration and speed
- Simple to medium eCommerce configurations.
- You desire flexibility over control.
Comparing WordPress to the Competition
Hopefully, this week’s posts have helped shine a little light on WordPress vs. the competition. We may return to this topic again. There are plenty of other rising services we didn’t even touch, like Webflow, and within WordPress, a battle rages over which themes and tools create the best web experience on the front-end and back-end.
If you are unsure which solution is best for your website, schedule a consultation here. There is no obligation to work together, and we would be happy to hear about your needs and help you choose which direction your website should go.
Even if you want a second opinion about something with your current web vendor, schedule a meeting.