Not WordPress? WordPress Alternatives!

Drupal vs WordPress

When choosing a CMS, many people turn to WordPress by default. This is the platform that the majority of others are using, so they feel that they should be doing the same. While there are definite benefits of WordPress, there are other options to consider before making a final decision. One such option is Drupal. Over the years, Drupal has gained ground on WordPress, and despite being far behind in terms of overall users, it still has a strong following. When it comes time to compare the pros and cons of Drupal to what WordPress has to offer, it is best to be honest with where both CMS platforms stand. For the sake of this article, we are going to take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of Drupal, as well as the reasons why others use the platform and what to expect when getting started.

Benefits of Drupal

While most people automatically assume that WordPress has more benefits than Drupal, this is not necessarily true. This CMS has its own set of benefits, with some of the following being most important: Contains all the basic features that a web designer could need to ensure the appropriate layout. This includes everything from user account registration to menu management to layout customization. From creating a basic blog to running a community forum, Drupal has the features necessary to offer the right blend of form, function, and power. Plenty of templates and tools for building the right type of site. Everybody is familiar with what WordPress brings to the table in terms of themes and plugins. But did you know that Drupal offers a lot of the same? For those who don’t have any knowledge or a lot of time to build a site, Drupal has all the pre-defined configurations one could need to get up and running. Flexible content creation. Let’s face it, a website is not a website unless it has the appropriate content. With Drupal, this is never a concern. While text based content is a great place to start, you can use this CMS to display a variety of others including video, images, and polls. This is one of the many reasons why Drupal is the CMS of choice for businesses. Advanced admin controls. For personal bloggers, this may not be that big of a deal. However, those who need to provide access to more than one user this is a feature that should never be overlooked. Users have the ability to setup new user accounts, along with user permissions. In other words, you can be the admin of the site but grant access to others who are only able to post content. More than 7,000 available plugins. Is this as many as WordPress? The short answer is no. That being said, the plugins offered by Drupal can help users reach many of the same goals. From SEO plugins to those for controlling content, there is something for everybody regardless of what they are trying to accomplish. Connect with your readers. In today’s day and age, there is nothing more important than connecting with your audience. Drupal makes this a breeze, thanks to the ability to easily integrate feeds, social media links and much more.

SEO Optimized

One final benefit to note: the Drupal CMS is optimized to take full advantage of the search engines. While there is only so much the design of your website can do in terms of driving organic traffic, when it is powered by Drupal you are at an advantage from the start. If traffic is not of importance to you, this may not resonate in your mind. However, those who are trying to increase traffic, regardless of the reason, realize that a properly designed website can be a big push in the right direction. To compare, you can see some of the SEO tricks WordPress can do at My-WP-Pro.

Drawbacks of Drupal

Despite the fact that there are many benefits of using Drupal, just like any CMS there are a few drawbacks as well. Fortunately, if you are aware of these disadvantages from the start you can approach your website in a manner that will allow you to avoid potential problems. Below are several well known drawbacks of Drupal: New users are often times overwhelmed by the backend setup and design. This is one area in which Drupal cannot stack up to WordPress. That being said, the good thing is this: once you are familiar with Drupal and how to navigate the system, this is no longer a concern. In other words, the learning curve for Drupal is higher than WordPress for many people. Once you get past the initial rush of chaos, you will never have to worry about this again. The Drupal community is not as large as WordPress. This doesn't mean there is nowhere to turn for help. What it does mean is that you may have to scour the internet for the information and advice you need. In some cases, you will find that there is a lack of documentation for the modules that have been created. This means that making changes can be more of a challenge than you would like. Slow loading. If you are used to using WordPress, you know that most sites load fast and are easily scaled. Along with this, there are plugins that can help improve speed and overall performance. With Drupal, this is not the case. In fact, it is well known that this CMS is behind WordPress when it comes to loading and scalability. This is the case because the large number of tools being used to power the site.

Final Note on the Drawbacks of Drupal

Just because there are drawbacks of the Drupal CMS it does not mean you should automatically write it off and choose another, such as WordPress or Joomla. Instead, you need to compare the pros and the cons and decide what you can live with. You may realize that none of the disadvantages of Drupal are enough to stop you from using the platform.

Why Others have Selected Drupal

Sometimes, you need to see why others are using a particular CMS before making a decision yourself. It is easy to say that you are going to use Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or another option, but until you truly know why others are doing so you may have a difficult time trying to answer the question on your own. Here are three of the primary reasons why a growing number of people and organizations are using Drupal:
  • Flexibility. When it comes down to it, no two websites are meant to be exactly the same. Even when the design is similar, the webmaster is looking to accomplish something 100 percent unique based on his or her vision.
With the use of Drupal, your website will be in good hands moving forward. You can be rest assured your site is built securely from the ground up, and that updates will keep you feeling good about where you stand for many years to come.
  • The ability to handle multilingual pages. What? Is this really that big of a deal? For some people, this never comes into play when choosing a CMS. For others, especially those who do business in more than one country, this is an absolute must.
When compared to the ability for WordPress to handle this requirement, Drupal is way out in front. You can configure your pages for multiple languages based on your audience. This makes it much easier to cater to a large variety of people, ensuring that every visitor to your site is able to see the information you are providing.
  • Customization options. This goes along with flexibility, but is worth noting on its own. You can customize your Drupal website to meet all your needs (or those of your business) while also ensuring that each and every visitor is well taken care of.
Now that you have an idea of why some others have selected Drupal as their CMS of choice, let’s take things one step further. Let’s look at just a few of the most popular organizations and companies currently relying on this platform:
  • The White House
  • The UN’s World Food Programme
  • FujiFilm
  • The British Government
  • Stanford University's Humanities Center
  • Harvard University's Science and Engineering department
  • Google's Measurement Lab
As you can see, if Drupal is good enough for these organization it is worth considering regardless of your wants and needs.

Drupal for Personal and Business Use

When it comes to personal blogs, Drupal is not nearly as popular as WordPress. However, organizations of all types and sizes have found that Drupal is the best option for them. If the White House thinks enough of Drupal to use it, it is safe to say that there are plenty of benefits, including security. Regardless of if you plan on using Drupal for personal or business use, the possibility for designing your site in a quick and efficient manner exists.

Getting Started is Simple

Many people agree that the learning curve associated with the Drupal CMS is more advanced than WordPress. Initially, this may appear to be a roadblock as well as a challenge that is not worth taking on. Once you learn how to use the platform, you will find it easier to make changes and move throughout the system without any delay. Here are the four steps associated with creating a Drupal website:
  1. Install Drupal. Since the installation process is simple and straight forward, regardless of your hosting company, you should be able to complete step one in no time at all. Some web hosting providers even offer assistance for installing this CMS, just the same as they do for WordPress.
  2. Configure Drupal. At first, it will seem like you are in a foreign land with no idea of what to do next. There is no denying that it may take a little bit of time to get familiar with the system and how to configure your website. For now, focus on the basics such as how to add information to your website, setup menu, change themes, and eliminate elements that you are not interested in displaying.
  3. Choose the right theme. Just like WordPress, you are going to have access to a variety of themes. In most cases, especially for beginners, you will find it easiest to pick a theme that has already been created and then make changes to suit your needs. This will ensure that the theme has all the necessary basics.
  4. Install Drupal modules. Unlike WordPress, Drupal is powered by a modular content management system. The nice thing is that there are tens of thousands of developers who have developed modules. These are similar to plugins for WordPress.
Some of the most commonly used modules include:
  • Google Analytics
  • Node gallery
  • Backup
  • Migrate
  • Views
  • Page title
  • WYSIWYG
  • Lightbox 2
With so many modules to choose from, be sure to learn more about your options, including the pros and cons of each one, before adding to your site.

Deciding between Drupal and WordPress

Comparing Drupal to WordPress is no easy task, since everybody is looking for something different out of their CMS. The best thing you can do is use this information, with an emphasis on the pros and cons, to make the choice that will best benefit your website now and in the future. One thing is for sure: if you decide to use Drupal instead of another CMS, such as WordPress or Joomla, you are not going to be alone. It may seem like this platform is not as popular as others, and in terms of sheer numbers this may be true, but there are many who believe that it is the best option out there. When comparing Drupal to WordPress, be honest with yourself about what each platform offers as well as what you are looking to accomplish. In its own way, Drupal is a killer CMS with the flexibility to provide most users with the experience they are looking for from a high quality product.

Posted by George on Fri, 31 May 2013

Joomla VS WordPress

In the world of CMS’s, there are two names that obviously stand out as the heavy hitters. Both WordPress and Joomla are fully capable open source software that are free for all users and relatively easy to customize. People who are loyal to WordPress, often do not give Joomla a second look, however, it is a viable alternative to WordPress. Each content management system has a large customer base that may not know the benefits and features of the other. In this article, we will spend some time focusing on the differences and similarities of these software programs as well as their features and benefits to the user.

Benefits of WordPress

WordPress has long been known for its user-friendliness. It is a pretty basic platform for the beginning blogger. However, more advanced users can easily customize features to make it uniquely their own. The ease of use of WordPress makes it faster to upload content and work within it. Simply put: WordPress is not difficult to understand or operate. Let’s take a look at some other distinct features of WordPress:
  • WordPress as a content management system is a great software for beginners because it is easy to install and operate.
  • With the many themes and customization options available, WordPress has virtually endless options to tailor it to your needs.
  • The internet is full of compatible plugins that enhance the look, feel, and operation of your blog or website, making it more eye appealing and accessible.
  • Finally, WordPress is the widest known and used content management system out there. It is a name that is trusted and used by users all over the world.

Benefits of Joomla

Joomla CMS has hit the ground running as a viable alternative to WordPress. Like WordPress, Joomla has a loyal user base because of its user friendliness and customization options. However, there are some unique benefits of Joomla that make it a solid competitor to WordPress:
  • Joomla is made for the ease of website maintenance. For those that want a streamlined and simple software program that does not need extensive programming knowledge, Joomla is definitely for them.
  • Like WordPress, Joomla has the features that every website host needs to add and update his or her content. This includes maintaining images, articles, and menus throughout the website.
  • Joomla has a number of customization options. There are many free plug ins and themes that make it unique to each user.
  • Joomla is also a flexible software, and 100% open source. This enables free range to the user—creating the website design they want and need.

Why Use WordPress

There is a reason why WordPress content management system is the leader in CMS’s. It is known to be the best platform for blogs and websites due to its simplicity. It is easy to install and easy to operate. The beginning novice and the advance blogger both find that WordPress meets and exceeds their needs for uploading and managing web content. With all the additional customization options such as plug ins and themes, the user can also make this open source software unique and representative of who they are and what they want to get across to visitors. These plugins are also easy to install and utilize—and offer a real sense of flexible customization. The loyal users of WordPress may automatically announce it as the winner over Joomla, however, there is much to be said about Joomla and its benefits.

Why Use Joomla

Much like WordPress, Joomla is an easy to use platform for content management. The users of Joomla have found that this software allows for effortless content management with an added advantage of website security. Since installation is simplified, there is really no need for background programming knowledge whatsoever. A user can simply install this CMS and start uploading their content. Content such as pictures, graphics, articles, and menus are a breeze to add and maintain; Joomla provides all the tools and resources needed to do this and many other content augmentation. The extensions supplied by the Joomla CMS also allows users to boost website performance and flexibility. All in all, Joomla has found its niche with a strong user database that recognizes its features as meeting or exceeding those of WordPress.

Comparing and Contrasting Joomla and WordPress

Now that we have looked at the unique benefits of Joomla and WordPress, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences of the two content management systems:

Ease of Use

Both Joomla and WordPress are known for their ease of use. While WordPress seems to be the leader in actual user friendliness, Joomla seems to offer more features. With the additional add-ons and customization options, each software is viable in its own way. However, there seems to be an added benefit for the Joomla subscriber. As opposed to WordPress, Joomla has the hold of helping the end users. Joomla’s strong loyal base is typically more focused on making sure that the software remains up to date and in touch with the needs and wants of the user.

Functionality and Flexibility

If you are looking for a more personal touch for your website or blog, many people propose that Joomla reigns king. With its thousands of available extensions, themes, and customization options, Joomla secures a spot as the easy to use and easy to customize CMS. With all of its options, Joomla helps the user increase the functionality of the website, while making it easy to navigate and enjoy. Time and time again, Joomla has continued to beat out WordPress with their features and extensions. This will only create a greater rift in the competition as time goes on.

Why Joomla is a viable alternative to WordPress

In all fairness, WordPress is a great content management system. It installs easily and is user friendly. However, the vast majority of users that have utilized both software tend to lean toward Joomla simply because it offers more flexible and customizable features. Joomla is steadily gaining popularity because it is powerful and flexible at the same time. You can manage your content with ease while creating a website or blog that is eye appealing and easy to navigate. After all, the ultimate goal of creating your website is to attract and keep visitors coming to your page. Joomla is also great for websites that have multiple users or custom database work; whereas WordPress is typically only suited for small to medium businesses with one or two user privileges. WordPress does not offer much in the way of a user license system, user registration, or encrusted content rights. For intricate and larger database work, WordPress simply cannot compete with Joomla’s unsurpassed handling of these options.

Recommendations

Both Joomla and WordPress are fine content management systems. They each have their own sets of features and options that make it easy to use and highly customizable. Though WordPress has been the go-to software for content management, Joomla has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of CMSs. Not only does it provide the ease of use that has in the past been afforded only to WordPress uses, but Joomla also possess the power and functionality that designers want and need in their websites.

Questions to Ask

At this point, you have a better idea of what both Joomla and WordPress have to offer. That being said, you may still be up in the air as to which one is best for you and your design needs. With this in mind, you need to ask and answer the appropriate questions. By simply digging deeper into your personal requirements, you may find that one CMS stands out in the crowd while another doesn’t have nearly as much to offer. Here are five questions to ask and answer as you continue to determine if you are better off relying on Joomla or WordPress:
  1. What am I trying to accomplish with my website? For example, some people are looking for a personal blogging platform while others are focused on taking their company’s online web presence to the next level.
  2. How much flexibility do I need? When it comes to CMS flexibility, nobody stacks up to WordPress. While Joomla offers the ability to get the look and feel you are after, if you don’t have experience with designing on this platform you may run into issues along the way.
  3. What type of support is available? Since WordPress is the number one blogging platform in the world, it is safe to say that you will have the most resources at your disposal if you rely on this CMS. However, it is also important to note that there the Joomla community is growing by leaps and bounds with each passing day. There used to be a time when there was not much information available on this CMS. Fortunately for those who decide to move forward with Joomla, this is changing quickly. Note: even though you may not realize it right now, you will likely need some sort of support along the way.
  4. How many theme options and plugins will I need? This is an important question to answer, because once again WordPress is top dog. When it comes to themes, no CMS compete with WordPress. The reason for this is simple: there are more WordPress developers than Joomla developers. The same holds true with plugins, with developers focusing most of their time on the WordPress community. If you feel the need to compare more themes while relying on multiple plugins to power your site, WordPress is the way to go. Note: this does not mean that you have no options with Joomla. It simply means that you are going to have more options if you opt to build your site on WordPress. Of course, if you have the necessary skills it does not matter what CMS you rely on, you will be able to get the appearance and function you have been dreaming of.
  5. How much experience do you have? In today’s world, more people than ever before are interested in having their own blog. The same holds true for the majority of companies. if you don’t have any experience building a website from scratch, you will need to rely on some sort of CMS – making both Joomla and WordPress a good choice. However, most agree that the learning curve of WordPress is much smaller than that of Joomla. This also ties into the fact that there are more resources available to WordPress users. If you happen to run into a bind or need to ask a question, there is always somebody who can provide an answer.

Tips for Making a Final Decision

You may never be 100 percent ready when it comes to making a decision between Joomla and WordPress. Sure, all of this information can be used to help you make a choice but in the end you may have some reservations about moving forward. Keep this in mind: even if you choose Joomla, you can always change to WordPress in the future if you find that it is a better fit, and vice versa. In other words, you are not locked into the CMS that you choose. It is best to stick with the same CMS, to ensure cohesion and allow you to learn as much as possible, but in the long run if a change is necessary you should not fight it. Here are three tips for making a final decision:
  • Be patient as you compare the pros and cons, many of which are listed above
  • Make a list of what you are looking for a CMS to offer, and then use this information to your advantage
  • Ask yourself all the right questions, allowing your answers to guide you in the right direction
At this point, you have everything you need to make a confident decision. If nothing else, you should be able to compare Joomla to WordPress, as it pertains to your situation. Both have plenty to offer, but you can only choose one for your website.

Posted by George on Fri, 17 May 2013

Wolf CMS vs WordPress - Pros and Cons

Initial Reaction

Different. These are just different approaches to solving the “easy” CMS puzzle. While WordPress is simple on the surface, getting it to do exactly what you want can become difficult. Whereas, Wolf our more in your face initially which makes it confusing, and less abstracted away from the underlying code. It is tempting to say Wolf is more for the “power user” and WP for would rather the gritty details be hidden and just taken care of - but I think there is more to the picture than that.

More soon.

Posted by George on Sat, 4 May 2013

Wolf CMS Review

Posted by George on Sat, 4 May 2013

About

I am a WordPress advocate but from time to time it is good to step back and examine what else there is out there. Mono-culture is not good. This site is my way of expanding my horizons and giving a little back to those other great projects.

WP is a great CMS, but it isn't the only choice. There are many worthy alternatives which often get overlooked. Explore them with me.

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