Finding the right content management system for your website can be challenging. Will it work for our workflows? Will it be easy to manage and update? Will there be updates to the technology on a regular basis? What CMS should I use? It’s easy to get lost in analysis paralysis when it feels like your decision could have major business implications.
The good news is that many established content management systems will likely work for your needs. It’s really a matter of clearly identifying your needs and finding a website development agency to help you build your site in a way that effectively addresses those needs.
That being said, there are a number of factors to consider when thinking about a content management system. Particularly if you are thinking about Umbraco vs. Wordpress.
Let’s dive into some of the benefits of Umbraco and how it compares to Wordpress. Will Umbraco work for us? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Wordpress?
Is Umbraco Similar to Wordpress?
While they are both content management systems, they are structurally different and serve slightly different purposes. Wordpress started off as a blogging platform that slowly morphed into a content management system. Its sole purpose was originally to support bloggers, making it easy to post and tag content. It is also built on PHP.
Umbraco, on the other hand, was built specifically for content management and integrations. It was built for website editors to easily manage content and media. Its tagline is “The Friendly CMS” because it was structured with the editor in mind. It is also built on .NET as opposed to PHP.
Key Differences Between Umbraco and Wordpress
The key differences between Umbraco and Wordpress really come down to structure and layout. Wordpress is built on PHP, is blog-focused and, perhaps most importantly, relies on 3rd party plugins for most functionality.
The concept of plugins with Wordpress is oftentimes used as a selling point for Wordpress, however these plugins are created by 3rd party developers. Some of these developers are professional shops with credibility, willing to keep their plugins updated for security vulnerabilities and to update with each new version update. However, some of these developers are not as credible and established and do not take the same precautions. This leads to security vulnerabilities which can lead to a hacked site. This is not necessarily as much of an issue for personal bloggers or mom and pop shops, but for a credible organization, getting hacked can cause a loss in credibility or, worse, sales and revenue.
Umbraco on the other hand is built with security in mind. It does not rely on add-ons or plugins to function and therefore is not vulnerable to the same types of attacks. It is generally more secure than Wordpress, making it one of the benefits of Umbraco.
Each also utilizes different ways of editing content. Wordpress relies heavily on a WYSIWYG editor to create content whereas Umbraco utilizes a drag and drop content block editor. There are a handful of plugins you can use to create drag and drop functionality in Wordpress, however they typically do not account for layouts on different devices and replace ease of use for the editor with a poor user experience.
Benefits of Umbraco
There are many Umbraco features that make it easy for site editors to create, maintain, and organize content. Below are a few of the most popular Umbraco benefits.
No License Fees
There are no license fees for the Umbraco CMS. Your only costs are ongoing hosting and maintenance as needed.
The Block Editor in Umbraco's page builder feature allows users to utilize content blocks to construct pages as needed. It essentially utilizes a library of content blocks with various options to give users more control over each individual content block versus specific areas on a page.
Umbraco gives users the ability to create page templates for use in easily creating new pages and content moving forward. Page templates are great for building landing pages and specific types of content that will need to be used again in the future.
For example, if you build a number of landing pages for paid search campaigns, building a page template for a paid search landing page can be a great way to save time and effort as you create more pages in the future.
Dynamic Image Editor
For many, editing images on a content management system can be a frustrating experience. Finding out that your focal point is off or an image is cropped incorrectly typically means exporting from the site, loading in Photoshop, resizing the image, reuploading to the site, and crossing your fingers that it worked. It is not an efficient process and is certainly not something a marketer or designer wants to spend time doing.
Umbraco offers users an easy image editor in the interface to help modify images so they fit appropriately for all use cases across the site. This is especially helpful for images that are used in multiple areas on the site that need to be quickly adjusted.
Umbraco Forms is a great tool to utilize to build out forms of all sizes and complexities. It gives you the ability to create custom workflows that fit with your organization so you can track entries appropriately and integrate with your business processes.
SEO for Umbraco is extensive and integrated. It has many tools to integrate SEO optimizations as you create pages, giving you and your team as much control as needed to optimize your pages for search engines. This includes the ability to edit onsite page elements and to mark-up pages as needed.
Umbraco was built with all languages in mind. It greatly exceeds the capabilities of Wordpress in this respect as it is integrated directly into the CMS for easy translations and language management.
It also provides the ability to govern translations and published content. Once a translation is complete, it can either be published immediately or be sent for approval before publishing. Umbraco also gives you the ability to set the publishing permissions for certain pages to ensure the right languages are published before the page goes live.
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Disadvantages of Umbraco
While there are many reasons to choose Umbraco as your CMS, it is important to know about the disadvantages as well.
It Might Be Too Much for Bloggers
If you are looking to create a site focused entirely on blog content, Umbraco might be too much for your needs. It is meant to be a full-bore content management system. If you are only looking to blog, it’s likely not the best choice for you.
It’s Lesser Known
While Umbraco is continuing to grow exponentially each year, comparatively it might be a lesser known CMS and may take some getting to know. While it has some truly incredible features, learning a new CMS can oftentimes require a leap of faith. Our recommendation would be to get a demo of the system first to experience the features first-hand before committing. Umbraco is a great CMS that, in many ways, outperforms Wordpress. However, getting your team or organization on board may require education and demonstration.
Not Ecommerce Ready Out of the Box
Umbraco does not have ecommerce functionality ready to roll in a standard installation. While it can certainly be bolted on utilizing trusted tools such as uCommerce or Vendr, it is not built first and foremost as an ecommerce platform.
Benefits of Wordpress
Below are a handful of benefits the Wordpress CMS offers.
No License Fees
Wordpress also does not have a license fee. It is completely free to utilize the Wordpress CMS.
On Page Editing
Wordpress utilizes a content editor named Gutenberg to allow users to edit content as it would be seen on the live site. This differs slightly from Umbraco which relies on the Block Editor to create and structure content. While this may be a streamlined user experience, it often does not account for various device layouts and sizes creating issues with more mobile devices.
Wordpress offers thousands of plugins that can be used to enhance your website. These plugins can be anything from SEO plugins to image gallery plugins to integration plugins. As noted, plugins can be a great way to easily integrate a tool with your site, but you should trust the developer and their update processes to ensure you are not creating a security vulnerability on your website.
Yoast SEO Plugin
Many users love to rave about the Yoast SEO plugin. It has been around for quite some time and offers a number of options for serious SEOs to play with. The reality is that a regular user will likely not use all of the options available, but there is no denying it gives a lot of control over the SEO features on the site.
Wordpress is one of the most popular CMSs on the planet, owning approximately 40% of all content managed websites. It is familiar and has been used for many different sized websites. You’ve likely had some interaction with Wordpress (or have at least heard about it) at some point in your life. This is great if you want something familiar, but also means that hackers are more familiar with it as well.
Disadvantages of Wordpress
So what are the limitations of Wordpress? Below are a number of disadvantages to utilizing Wordpress.
Excessive Plugin Use
The use of plugins on Wordpress sites not only has the ability to cause security vulnerabilities, it can slow your site down. Each time a page loads, it has to load plugin functionality as well. The more plugins you have, the slower your site becomes. This is especially true if these plugins are not regularly updated.
Plugins also often come with functionality that you don’t need but that will still run. This means you might use 10% of a plugin's features, but 100% of it runs on your site. The result is a slow page load speed and poor user experience.
As noted earlier, Wordpress generally experiences more security breaches than other CMSs. Hackers find vulnerabilities in the website code or backchannel into your site through vulnerabilities in plugins. Once in, they can control your website by changing content, manipulating site code, taking your website down, or worse.
A good security team can help to mitigate risk of these issues, but many do not have the support or staff to properly address the risk.
Because there are so many developers for Wordpress, there are frequent updates needed to the core system, themes, and plugins. If these all are not updated often, it can cause issues with site functionality and speed. In some cases, it can cause issues with how your pages are displayed and how certain website features operate. If you do not have staff or a process in place, your site can quickly become out-of-date and cause you more issues.
Also Not Ecommerce Ready Out of the Box
Like Umbraco, Wordpress also does not have ecommerce functionality in a standard installation. There are also a handful of options to add ecommerce to a Wordpress site, but it is not inherently an ecommerce platform.
Who Should Use Umbraco?
The ideal user for Umbraco is really any mid to large organization focused on efficient editing experiences and customized user experiences. It is especially ideal for businesses that have integrations with marketing automation tools, CRMs, analytics tools, and even internal/external databases. It works well for B2B lead generation organizations, although it can be used in a variety of different applications.
Umbraco is also a great solution for organizations that need multi-site and multi-language management. It gives admins the ability to quickly edit and organize website content among different sites so they don’t have to manage multiple logins and so they can appropriately provide permissions to editors of specific sites. As mentioned earlier, it also provides a number of integrated options to provide translations for pages along with governance of multiple languages.
Ultimately, there are many Umbraco features and benefits that make it a great option for organizations of all types. The CMS has the ability to grow and scale with your organization and your business needs.
Who Should Use Wordpress?
Wordpress can be used in a variety of applications, but the ideal user for Wordpress is typically personal bloggers and smaller organizations who do not have the resources to build a more sophisticated website.
Wordpress can be stood up relatively easily and pre-developed themes can be found for cheap, just beware that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive themes may be prone to buggy experiences and a lack of regular updates. Developers can also be inexperienced and inefficient. Always ask for reviews and references, and vet out theme creators to ensure they have successfully developed a portfolio of stable, well-built themes.
Web Development Services from Marcel Digital
At Marcel Digital, we build websites that work for you and your business goals. We customize our approach to ensure that we are providing solutions that meet your needs and the needs of your editors and your organization.
- Umbraco Website Development
- Umbraco Website Maintenance
- Hosting for Umbraco Websites
- UX and Usability
- Custom Web App Development
- Web Design
- Website Migrations
We’ve built powerful, customized solutions for hundreds of clients. Here are a handful of Umbraco website development case studies where you can see some Umbraco website examples:
We are eager to help you with your next website project and would be happy to discuss more of the benefits of the Umbraco CMS with you and your team. Reach out to us today or check out an online demo for more information.
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About the author
Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.