WordPress versus the world of alternative Content Management Systems (CMS)

June 9, 2022 Gabriel WordPress

WordPress powers 43.0% of the web (June 9, 2022) but does that mean it’s the best choice for your website’s CMS (Content Management System)?

WordPress has a CMS market share of 64.1% but could there be a better system out there? Absolutely!

But should you use something else? No! And here’s why:

Let’s say that you build your website using a new CMS that looks awesome. It solves all kinds of previously unsolvable problems, is easy to use and the price is right. Why not give it a try?

We’ve seen this before.

As time goes by, the company behind your CMS finds that their market share just isn’t where it needs to be in order to make their system viable.

WordPress has so many developers contributing to making it better that it just keeps improving at an astonishing rate. Because it’s so popular, developers are spending their time and energy developing plugins and integrations for WordPress before any others. It makes sense! Why would a developer take time to learn a platform that has such a tiny part of the CMS marketshare?

Slowly, you notice that promising CMS you adopted just isn’t getting regular updates anymore. You’re getting frustrated that it’s hard to find developers who have any experience with it and every time you want to add functionality or integrate with a 3rd party system like a CRM, email platform or scheduler, you have to find someone who can custom code the integration from scratch.

Eventually, the CMS is dead in the water. It’s not being maintained anymore. The company behind it can’t put any more of their resources into it. They might even schedule it for end-of-life forcing you to build a new website.

You gambled on a new system that looked promising and it just didn’t gain the momentum it needed to be a viable competitor in the CMS space.

We see this all the time.

A client found a Content Management System that we’d never heard of: Umbraco

I told them that my biggest concern about Umbraco is their lack of market share. Their market share was so low I had trouble finding any data that included it but finally found this report from August 2021 where you can see that Umbraco represents just 1.8% of the top 10,000 websites that were considered in a survey.

Another report shows Umbraco powering less than 0.1% of surveyed websites.

Marketshare should not be the only reason to choose a platform but with just 0.1% of the market, it’s worth considering if Umbraco will survive as more and more websites adopt or continue to use WordPress.

I think WordPress is a great Content Management System. In fact, I happen to agree with the rest of the world and think it’s the best CMS out there BUT that doesn’t mean that there aren’t or can’t be better systems out there. I’m saying that before you adopt a new CMS, let it gain significant marketshare (or fizzle out).

Minimize your risk and exposure and go with a platform that has already proven itself in the space. That’s where WordPress comes in.

There are many WordPress alternatives. Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla and Drupal are other Content Management Systems but let’s look more carefully at them.

Content Management System market share

Shopify, Wix and Squarespace versus WordPress

Aside from the lack of marketshare and the risk that represents, these 3 CMS are proprietary platforms. Their Software as a Service (SaaS) model comes with a monthly or annual fee that gives you limited access. You rent their system for the life of the relationship and for that reason, are not able to migrate the website away from their platform without rebuilding it. To be clear, you may own your domain name (yourname.com) and website content, but the website itself cannot be moved or migrated to another platform without rebuilding it from scratch.

At Gecko Designs, we think it’s important that you own your own website! Why? Because it keeps your provider honest and motivated to keep you happy! If you’re not happy with the service you receive, you can take your WordPress website somewhere else and pick up where you left off. Freedom!

Joomla and Drupal versus WordPress

What about Joomla or Drupal? These Content Management Systems are open source which means they are not proprietary like Shopify, Wix or Squarespace. That means you can own your own website and move it from one web provider to another as you see fit.

I would argue that the features and functionality of Joomla and Drupal pale in comparison to WordPress but let’s let the numbers do the convincing here:

Joomla powers 1.6% of the web.

Drupal powers 1.2% of the web.

With marketshare numbers like that, we worry about developer support, extendability and the availability of 3rd party integrations.

Is WordPress always the best choice?

Nope!

WordPress is great for most website applications but it’s not always a perfect fit. When we find that WordPress isn’t the right choice, we usually find that the other options aren’t either.

In cases like that, we’ll custom code a solution that can accomplish exactly what our clients need but this can be costly and leaves the client with a system that other developers may be unfamiliar with.

Don’t be your developer’s guinea pig

We inherit a lot of websites from clients who leave their developers and bring their websites to us. Oftentimes we’ll see a developer’s work who wanted to try out a new platform that looked interesting. They did it on their client’s dime and left their client with a system that they can’t grow with. We think that’s a disservice.

Our recommendation? Choose a proven platform that has been widely adopted across the internet. Trust in the success of other websites that have moved to WordPress and are now focused on their content, not their platform.

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