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Things to consider when choosing a CMS for a business websiteComparing Drupal and WordPress is a topic that keeps on giving. This time, however, we won’t discuss the content management systems’ numerous advantages and occasional downsides. You need a business website, and both CMS solutions perfectly meet the purpose.
There are several things you need to consider when choosing a website CMS:
- Your dev budget and overall commitment. New businesses usually operate on a shoestring and cannot afford to develop a decent website from scratch. It’s no wonder many entrepreneurs opt for a hosted CMS solution like WordPress.com and Shopify, purchase a custom domain name and make use of 3rd-party plugins and design themes to give their websites a unique look and expand their feature set. Self-hosted content management systems like WordPress.org and Drupal, on the other hand, offer a lot more freedom in customizing, operating and scaling your website – and with freedom comes responsibility (and extra costs associated with website development and maintenance);
- The business tools you’re going to use and must-have CMS features your IT, sales and marketing departments can’t go without. From a marketer’s perspective, a CMS should support a wide range of activities including blogging and email marketing campaigns. Your sales managers obviously want to integrate it with a CRM solution. As your business grows, you might need to pair it to ERP and project management software, too. Therefore you should prioritize the stakeholders’ requirements and find common ground;
- Your growth strategy. Suppose you want to launch an online store with 3 thousand products on your catalog. Will Drupal or WordPress ensure its high performance once you add more items (up to 50 thousand) to your catalog?
No matter which CMS you opt for, a great business website should be easy to use and navigate, provide detailed information about your company, products and services, be mobile-friendly, perform well and have your brand written all over it.How much does it cost to build a website that meets these requirements and what features should it have? We set down to talk with Zakhar, senior PHP developer at R-Style Lab, to shed some light on the matter.
Drupal vs WordPress business website: cost breakdownLet’s assume you’ve settled on a self-hosted business website; now it’s time to define the scope of work!
Theming & front-end development
- Creating unique themes. Both WordPress and Drupal use PHP – a mature web development language that powers over 80% of all websites. In the early days of PHP frameworks, however, spaghetti code (that is, a bunch of source files with no structure whatsoever) was a familiar sight for web developers – and today they have to deal with these relics of the past, too. That’s why your development team will have to define PHP templates, separate a website’s business logic from user interface and create/configure themes and subthemes for WordPress and Drupal, respectively;
- Functional behavior. A WordPress or Drupal theme consists of multiple elements like sliders, buttons, pages, blocks of tabbed content, etc. Your dev team needs to define how these elements are going to work and interact with each other;
- Mobile optimization. With 52.29% of users browsing the web via smartphones and tablets, mobile optimization has become crucial to business survival – and that’s why developers will take the time to create adaptive layouts and redefine module functions.
However, going custom will help your company stand out from the competition and create memorable customer experiences. Also, outdated open-source plugins that are no longer patched by their vendors may contain security vulnerabilities, so it’s highly recommended that your dev team takes the trouble to fix them.
- Category pages. Your dev team needs to organize website content and set up page categories including your products and services. If necessary, they might need to implement custom filters enabling users to look for certain types of content;
- Landing pages. These include your home page, the About Us page and Services pages;
- Menu. With 50% of potential sales opportunities being lost because customers can’t find the information they’re looking for on a company’s website, it is true to say that clear navigation (or lack thereof!) can make or break your business. No matter what CMS you opt for, your dev team needs to define navigation rules and design intuitive menus;
- Taxonomies. A taxonomy is a way to organize website content by grouping similar products/articles together. If you want to set up a men’s clothes store, for instance, you need categories (Footwear, Underwear, Outwear, Accessories) and tags (Jeans, Sunglasses, etc.) to navigate customers through your online catalog – and these categories are configured manually;
- Blog. Your vendor will spend some time defining the types of blog posts and enabling social features (social sharing, ratings and comments);
- Authorization/user profile. You need a simple user profile module which allows customers to log in/sign up via a social media account, confirm the registration via email and edit personal data;
- Web forms. These include Get a free quote and Contact Us forms.
Content ManagementYour development team needs to configure content creation, editing and moderation modules (including the option to appoint multiple website editors and moderators).
Features supporting SEOFinally, there are several features that will improve your website rankings. These include redirects, metadata management, Alt and Title image attributes, the integration with Google Analytics, URL generation and the features supporting page speed optimization. So, how much does a Drupal/WP-based business website cost to build? The numbers are in! Assuming the fact that all the work is done by a single developer, you will have a full-fledged WP website developed in 9 weeks. Due to Drupal’s overall complexity, your project will last a little longer – that is, 11 weeks.
Now we shall multiply the dev efforts by the median US ($ 120-140) and Eastern European ($ 25-35) developer hourly rates. If you address a US-based vendor, the cost of creating a website for a business will range between $ 46 thousand (WordPress) and $ 55 thousand (Drupal). If you partner with an Eastern European software developer, you can do the same job for $ 8.8-10.6 thousand (WP) and $ 12.6-14.7 thousand (Drupal).The question that remains, however, is what CMS should you settle on? According to Zakhar, Drupal has established itself as a high-end CMS solution targeted at enterprise and government-level websites with strict security and scalability requirements. The content management system, for example, is used by 5% of the world’s top 10 million websites including tesla.com, bbc.com and whitehouse.gov. With Drupal, you can start with a simple 10 page website and grow it up to 3 thousand (!) pages without major recoding. WordPress is another story. There’s nothing you can’t do with the CMS. Thanks to its out-of-the-box nature and numerous free and paid plugins and design themes, you can also reduce website development costs. However, major recoding might be required to enhance WP’s scalability and performance and fix critical security vulnerabilities. That’s why the choice of a content management system is largely determined by your business goals, growth strategy and the type of data you’re dealing with. If in doubt, make sure to consult a software development company with a stunning web dev portfolio (and click here to check ours while you’re at it)!