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Drupal or Wordpress: 7 Things to Consider Before Selecting a CMS

Drupal vs. Wordpress - Questions to ask

Drupal or Wordpress: it is the age old question that Rootid gets from our clients consistently. They both have their strengths and challenges, so we have put together a series of questions to help you decide which content management system may be better for you.

If you Google Drupal vs Wordpress, you will see the full vigor with which this debate rages across the internet. Rootid works in both Wordpress and Drupal, so we are the Switzerland of the debate, so to speak.

Over the years we have come up with a series of questions to help determine the requirements our clients have for their website project. It’s important to note that these are a starting point for the conversation.

Knowing more specifics about your project would be vital in making this decision.  Below are some questions that will help you get started.

How many pages will your website have?

Generally speaking, Drupal performs better at larger scales, especially if you have a lot of different types of content (think events, news, press releases, blog posts, etc.).  

Though Wordpress has made huge strides in this over the past several years, our opinion is that if you have over 500 pages (this is a recommendation not a hard stop), and you produce content consistently in a lot of different areas, Drupal will do a better job of managing and delivering that content.

On a scale of 1 to 5 how technically savvy would you consider your staff (1 being a technical neophyte)?

Wordpress has a reputation for having a better WYSIWYG editor (think of the interface you use in your email - that’s a WYSIWYG editor). In our opinion that’s true. Though Drupal has made a lot of strides in this area, especially in Drupal 8, Wordpress really takes the cake in this area and therefore is better for less technical teams.

Also, the way that Wordpress allows you to manage layouts on the page using shortcodes, and manage media through their WYSIWYG editor, makes it a better choice for users that might be less technically savvy.

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Will you be maintaining the software, or do you have a budget for developers to maintain the site?

Open source software, just like any other software, is really important to keep up to date. Updates help maintain the security and efficiency of your website.

At Rootid, we always recommend that you have a development team run the updates, as sometimes bugs are introduced that need patches applied. Think of it like buying a car - there are continued maintenance costs to make sure your car runs safely and effectively.  Build this into your web budget!

If your team does decide to run the updates yourselves, do it on a development server first, if case bugs are introduced.

Generally, if you are going to take on this responsibility, we find Wordpress easier to manage for updates.

How many internal users will be using the site? How many authors vs roles (editor, contributor, member, etc.)?

Though Wordpress does have a lot of plug-ins for building complex user roles on your site, Rootid believes that Drupal manages different roles and users configurations better than Wordpress.

Drupal has the user permissions structure built directly into the core software and can get extremely granular with what users are allowed to do. This allows administrators to fine tune what different users and roles are allowed to do.

Does the site need to be internationalized?

If you need to have a website that can be displayed in multiple languages, Drupal takes the prize. Again, Wordpress does offer a plug-in for internationalization, but we’ve found that Drupal’s internationalization module performs far better than its Wordpress counterpart.

What CRM do you use?

If you want to integrate your CRM into your website, I would recommend that you do deep research on how it integrates into Drupal and Wordpress. Most of the major CRMs, like SalesForce, Sugar, Salsa, etc. integrate into both Drupal and Wordpress on some level. But those integrations are not all created equal.

Be sure to sit down with your internal team, and your web development team to generate clear technical requirements about your integration needs before deciding which CMS is best for you.

I would call this a tie for the two CMS’s, but we bring it up to point out that this could be one of the most influential parts of the decision. So, do your homework! Or, have someone guide your team through a technical requirements discussion.

Is your current website run by a CMS?

If you are currently using Drupal or Wordpress there is a lot of value in keeping a CMS that you currently use. Unless your current CMS is woefully under serving your needs, or it does not align with your vision for the future of the website and your technical needs, we recommend keeping what you have. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so to speak.

Note that if your looking for a re-development because your business processes aren’t working with your current CMS, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re using the wrong CMS. There are a million different ways to build a workflow in both of these CMS’s, so do your due diligence to put together technical requirements, map out workflows, and assess what is and is not working before making a decision on any tool.

With that in mind, you should know the soft costs associated with re-training your staff and changing your business processes can be a large. It takes a lot of time and company resources to train staff on a new CMS.  

Finally, the hard costs of migrating content from one system to another, can also be large if you have a lot of content to move.

Making Your Website a Fundraising Machine

Your CMS is going to be critical to raising donations online. The technology and strategies are always changing the best way to raise money online. 

That's why Rootid put together this comprehensive guide to provide simple solutions that help you raise more money. Most are easier than you might think.

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Andrew Goldsworthy - Rootid Co-Founder

Andrew Goldsworthy

Andrew has over 15 years experience in user interface and online marketing strategy for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits. He has also worked extensively in fund development and online marketing for Habitat for Humanity. Andrew is passionate about using the power of technology to empower mission driven organizations and social business. He's also an avid outdoorsman. Frequently camping, skiing, fishing and fending off mosquitos.