For those not too familiar with the different web technologies out there and wanting to setup a business website, you may have heard of a few of the more popular web solutions out there, such as: Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress and Magento… But how do they differ?
Let’s start with some similarities… All of the above are ‘Open Source’ solutions, which do not need extended licencing, to install and operate the software on a web server. So, how does this benefit you… Well, because there are no additional licensing fees, the Software (which includes the Magento Community edition) is free to use as long as you have the technical skill for the setup, configuration and development of the website. Owing to the open source licensing of this software and the technologies these platforms are based on, you will be able to install these web solutions on a Linux based web server environment, which in turn means your website hosting cost is generally going to be a lot less than that of a Microsoft Window’s Server/ Hosting environment.
We will cover Drupal and Joomla! in a lot more depth at a later stage and will focus more on a web 101 comparison of WordPress and Magento – These are two very powerful web solutions if utilised to their strengths.
So, why WordPress and Magento?
WordPress is primarily a CMS (Content Management System) solution, originally designed and developed as a blog interface. As with Drupal and Joomla!, WordPress has grown significantly over the last few years and this is largely due to its ‘Open Source’ attributes.
All of the top CMS solutions have advanced in a relativity short space of time and offer a huge range of plugins (extensions), many free of charge, that allow one to create and manage personal and/or business websites to cater to almost any need. So why is it so important to select the right technology if they can almost do anything?
As with everything, these systems have their strengths and weaknesses and often certain things associated with these technologies come down to personal preference. Even amongst the ‘computer nerd’ circles, many an argument has and still is being had as to which is the better solution between the top three open source CMS platforms: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress?
The truth is, sometimes it does just come down to personal preference… Yes, some have strengths over others and visa versa. For instance, as far as usability, particularly on the Admin Panel (Backend) of the WordPress platform, it is hard to beat… Especially for staff members within a business that are not very web or technology savvy, but are expected to be the web administrators for your company website.
WordPress has come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years and there is very little, if anything it cannot do in comparison to Drupal or Joomla!, particularly for your run of the mill website solutions.
WordPress is great for service orientated businesses or businesses looking to implement an information driven website.
How about WordPress and Magento then?
Well, that is where we have a true distinction – As mentioned above, WordPress is a predominantly a CMS solution and although there are plugins (extensions) such as WooCommerce that can be installed on top of a WordPress website to enable WordPress to function as an eCommerce store (online store) – It does not really have the power of a true eCommerce solution, such as Magento.
As WordPress was primarily built as a CMS solution, Magento was primarily built for eCommerce. As with WordPress and the other top CMS solutions in the market place, Magento also has a host of plugins (extensions) to expand on it’s powerful ‘out-of-the-box’ solution. Although Magento is primarily an eCommerce solution, it does have CMS components built into the vanilla version of the Community and Enterprise editions. The earlier versions of Magento did not offer a built-in blog facility in the vanilla version, but this could be installed as a plugin. Now days, with many of the themes (website templates) available for Magento, the blog facility has been included within the theme along with some very cool features.
As of early 2015, Google has tweaked its search algorithm to promote the use of ‘Responsive’ (Mobile-friendly website themes) that have been designed and developed to automatically adjust a website’s layout, look and feel in line with the general template theme for use on tablets and mobiles/ cellular phones – This is due to the ever increasing demand and use of the Internet services via such mobile devices. Themes for website platforms, such as the above mentioned CMS solutions have followed the same trend. So, whatever technology you choice to use, ensure it is ‘Responsive Ready’.
Back to Magento… If you are looking to use your website primarily as an eCommerce store and open source is the way you want to go, Magento is hard to beat. There is a reason it has been favoured as the number 1 open source eCommerce solution for the last few years.
Magento quite literally puts WordPress and all of it’s eCommerce plugins to shame when it comes to eCommerce. WordPress plugins, such as WooCommerce, may be a little more intuitive for new comers with little or know I.T background… BUT if power, smooth operating processes and retail rich features are what you are looking for to drive your eCommerce store, it is a no brainer!
Take the time and learn what Magento has to offer, as it has far more scope than almost all of the other open source solutions out there. Don’t take shortcuts to get a ‘simple’ eCommerce solution installed on WordPress and then find you have been caught with your pants down when your business grows.
Make the right decisions from the start for the medium to long term, even if it is something other than WordPress or Magento when selecting an open source solution.
There is plenty of information on the web for all the top open source CMS and eCommerce solutions, as well as the various technologies, as mentioned above… So do your homework and choice the technology that will best serve your business, both now and in the future, it will save you time and money!
*If you need any assistance, feel free to Contact Us today…