At Big Red SEO, we’ve been asked about the difference between WordPress & Drupal for many years by our web design and SEO clients. While we’ve discussed the pros and cons of the two platforms with current clients (typically face to face), we thought we would also provide guidance to those who are online.
Below, Conor Treacy, our technical web design expert provided his own thoughts about the two software platforms, and what our recommendations are in selecting one of the two website platforms. While there are many Content Management Systems (CMS) on the web, WordPress and Drupal are probably the two most popular and final choices people have to decide between. Joomla is popular, but it’s not exactly a CMS, so for the purpose of discussion here, we’ll leave that one off the table.
Which One is the Best CMS?
This is a loaded question. There really isn’t a BEST, there’s only the best for the situation you’re in. Both systems have both pros and cons. At Big Red SEO, we’re biased toward WordPress for our design and client needs as we find that WordPress is very user friendly and functional for those looking to manage their own website. Here’s a quick rundown on a few things.
Drupal: The Overview
Drupal is the considered the grandfather of the CMS systems. It was released in 2001 and continues today to be an open source PHP program running with MySQL as the Database backend. It’s had a huge following over the years and with the release of Drupal 7, it’s really come a long way. It’s flexible in terms of templates, and they’ve really done well in recent months with the release of “responsive themes”.
Popular Websites that are Using Drupal
- Turner Broadcasting – http://www.tnt-tv.be
- Georgia Technology Authority – http://www.georgia.gov
- Bikes, Gear & More – http://www.bikesgearmore.com
- The White House – http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog
As you can see, these are massive sites with a lot of demand. So the software is definitely powerful to expand to where you need it. Here’s our summed up list on things with Drupal;
Advantages of using Drupal
- Scalability – From a simple blog to thousands of pages and millions of users, Drupal can handle it
- Programmer Friendly – Drupal is very basic out of the box. As a programmer, the sky is the limit
- SEO Capabilities – Drupal was designed from the start to be search engine friendly/compatible
- Stability – Drupal is very stable, even with thousands of users accessing at the same time
Disadvantages of Drupal
- Learning Curve – There’s a huge learning curve. Nothing is simple, and everything takes a manual to figure out
- Free Plugins – If you’re looking for free, you better start programming. Most good plugins for Drupal are commercial
- Web Themes – While Drupal does have some themes, there’s very few that are free, unless you want it to look like 2001 on your site
- Server Resources – Better spend the extra money on a better hosting package. Drupal sucks up resources very quickly
- Upgrades – No easy upgrade path. Often requires uninstallation of plugins and reinstallation after upgrades.
Our Recommendations for Drupal
Drupal is a great platform if you’re an experienced programmer and have extra time to learn code and figure out nuances. It’s a perfect fit into an enterprise environment where there’s an IT Staff to support the system and expand beyond the box that it comes in. There are limited free options when it comes to Drupal, so get ready to open the wallet. Even if it’s only $10-$20 at a time, it will add up in the long run. You’ll spend more in web hosting fees, so take into consideration your short and long-term goals.
WordPress: The Overview
WordPress first released their product in 2003. There’s both a community version and a hosted version. As of July 2013, there’s more than 68 Million websites operating with WordPress. There’s more than 355 million people using it to read more than 10.7 billion pages each month. There’s nearly 46 million new posts on blogs and 60 million comments each month. That’s a lot of people using the software!
Popular Websites that are Using WordPress
- Mashable – http://www.mashable.com
- New York Times – http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com
- CNN – http://www.cnn.com/exchange/blogs/
- Forbes – http://blogs.forbes.com
- GM – http://fastlane.gmblogs.com
- Jay-Z – http://www.lifeandtimes.com
- The Rolling Stones – http://www.rollingstones.com
- Best Buy – http://www.bestbuymobile.com
- Big Red SEO – https://www.bigredseo.com
The list of WordPress sites reads like a list of who’s who in the web world. Of course, we had to add Big Red SEO to the end of the list there, too!
Advantages of using WordPress
- Flexible – WordPress can be molded into anything – A blog, a static website, an eCommerce Store or portfolio site
- Programmer Friendly – WordPress is designed for easy customization even with limited HTML and CSS skills
- SEO Capabilities – Very capable, especially when you add plugins like Yoast or All-In-One SEO
- User-Friendly – From the experienced to the beginner, WordPress interface is very intuitive. Add a theme, upgrade a plugin, all easy
- Plugin Library – There are thousands of plugins for WordPress, and most of them are free to use
- Stability – WordPress is very stable, even with thousands of users accessing at the same time
- Upgrades – You’re notified on the dashboard for any upgrade – WordPress, Theme or Plugin
Disadvantages of WordPress
- Security – Since the software is so popular, it’s an easy target for hackers. With so many plugins, there’s hundreds of holes for hackers
- Themes – While WordPress had thousands of themes, after a while they start to look the same. You can extend it to your hearts content though
- Scalability – WordPress was designed as a blogging platform, not as a curator for hundreds of thousands of posts
Our Recommendations for WordPress
WordPress has been our go-to choice for many years when we design for clients. The big advantage is that a client can login, edit a post, and be done in just a few minutes without having to wait for a web developer to make the updates. Post revisions are saved, so if you make a mistake, you can revert to an older version if needed. Upgrading is a breeze with just a few clicks.
Big Red SEO works very hard for our clients, and over the course of the past 15 years, members of our team have tested and played with hundreds of pieces of software. When it comes to CMS Systems and Blogging Platforms, WordPress gets our vote every single time. From the ease of use for the client, to the developer back end, WordPress just performs better. The largest site we’ve worked on using WordPress was just under 15,000 pages receiving nearly 100,000 visitors and 200,000 page views each month. Even with that number, we had no issues. Some of it could be attributed to our web hosting company (Hands-On Web Hosting) which keeps things running smoothly, but the WordPress platform has been a dream to work with over the past ten years!
What are Your Thoughts on Drupal vs WordPress?
Have you used either of these products? Is there a specific thing that you like that you just can’t live without? If you’ve used both programs, what were your thoughts and what would you rate as the best items? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know about your experience with Drupal, WordPress or both.
If you have any questions about web design or the process of SEO, feel free to contact us at (402) 522-6468. We would be happy to help you with any and all of your business needs!