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Craft CMS vs WordPress

5 min read

At Factored we design and build bespoke websites and a key component of our work is the systems we use. A content management system or CMS is a system that enables users to manage their websites, allowing modifications to pages and content without needing to edit any code. The two content management systems we predominantly use are Craft CMS and WordPress.

Platforms

WordPress is the world’s most used CMS. It powers 39% of all websites and has a content management system market share of 63%. WordPress was first released in 2003 and has evolved to become a fully-featured system, making it an ideal solution for a range of projects. WordPress websites can either be built using a theme or can use custom templates developed specifically for the requirements of a project. All of our websites are bespoke, this allows for the creation of unique designs and functionality.  

Craft is a newer CMS; it was first released in 2013 and has quickly become a popular choice. Craft shares many similarities with WordPress, but with some key differences. Craft has more of a focus on flexibility and complete customisation, making it a good choice for more complex projects. Craft does not offer themes as it's intended to be a CMS specifically for building bespoke websites. 

Features

WordPress and Craft both have a range of useful features. There are similarities and differences between the two platforms, which are important to note when deciding which to use.

Plugins

Both WordPress and Craft support the use of plugins. Plugins provide a way to add additional functionality to a content management system, for example, an e-commerce plugin could be used to convert a website into an online store. WordPress has a very large development community due to how widely used it is and has thousands of plugins available. Craft doesn’t have as many plugins as WordPress but still has a large number. Both platforms have a selection of widely used plugins to cover commonly needed functionality, such as the ability to add forms and handy SEO tools. It's important to only use tried and tested plugins by reputable developers, as poorly built or outdated plugins can potentially introduce security vulnerabilities to a website. If a website needs more unique functionality it’s also possible to develop a bespoke plugin for either platform.

Custom Fields

An essential feature to allow content to be easily updated on a website is custom fields. Craft has built-in functionality to use a number of different fields types. In WordPress, we opt to use the ‘Advanced Custom Fields’ plugin, which adds functionality to use over thirty field types. In both CMS’ the use of custom fields allows us to provide an easy way for users to update various areas of content and imagery across a website. We've utilised these custom fields to develop a page builder for both content management systems, this helps our clients to create truly unique and complex page layouts by using the various components.

Multi-sites

For companies which have multiple websites, both WordPress and Craft can be set up as a multi-site. A multi-site allows you to manage multiple websites from a single dashboard. User permissions can be utilised in multi-site setups, allowing different staff members to have access to edit specific websites. In WordPress, the websites are treated more like separate entities, with their own entries and images. Craft allows for more overlap between websites, images can be shared and entries can be published on individual websites or across multiple. This functionality can be very useful for news sections, where websites may need to share some of the same articles as well as having their own unique content.

Forms

Most websites will need to use forms, whether it’s just a simple contact form or something more complex. Craft and WordPress have a number of different form plugins available; these have different features to suit different requirements. More basic plugins can be ideal if only a simple form is needed however, there are also more powerful form builder plugins which provide an easy way to build forms and add them to pages with little coding required.

Multilingual Sites

Multilingual websites need to display the same content in multiple languages, allowing users to choose which language they would like to view the website. In Craft there is built-in functionality for setting up localized websites, this works using features also found in the multi-site system. A new website is needed for each language however, these can all share the same entries but with fields set up to be translatable. Whilst editing you can switch between the different languages to enter the appropriate content. It’s also possible to create a multilingual website in WordPress by using a plugin. This allows translated versions of the content to be added for each page in each language, working in a similar way to Craft.

E-commerce

For e-commerce Craft and WordPress can both be good options. Craft Commerce is a plugin built by the creators of Craft and much like Craft itself is designed to be flexible and customisable. It allows for a completely custom setup to suit the needs of the store. Craft Commerce also works alongside other plugins to add further functionality, such as different payment gateways. WordPress’ most popular e-commerce plugin is WooCommerce, it’s used by millions of websites and similarly to Craft Commerce it allows a customised solution to be created and can be further extended with other plugins.

Ease of Use

A key benefit of both of these platforms is how easy they are to use. Craft has a very simple and easy to understand interface. This makes updating a website easy and intuitive. Craft also has a ‘Live Preview’ feature which displays a panel showing a preview of the page you’re working on. WordPress is also relatively simple, with links to all the sections you need in a side navigation and an easy-to-follow layout. The popularity of WordPress also means that a lot of people are already familiar with how to use it.

In Summary

Both Craft and WordPress work well for a variety of projects however, they each have their own strengths. Craft is usually the better choice for more complex or large projects, as the amount of flexibility it offers makes it ideal for complicated structures and templates. WordPress is a good choice for simpler projects; it’s less of a blank slate than Craft, so can work as a better starting point for projects which don’t need Craft’s added flexibility. It’s important that for every project we carefully evaluate which system best suits the requirements in order to provide an ideal solution.

To discuss your web project and the best CMS for you please get in touch via email hello@factored.studio or ring 01524 388104.