While both Sitecore and WordPress are popular content management systems (CMS), their differing features and functionality make them each better suited to different types of businesses with differing goals and needs. Since it's important to choose the right CMS for your business, we've outlined the major differences between the two content management systems, and have provided insights for which option would be the best choice, depending on your business' situation.
- Target Use
- Target Audience
- Ease Of Use
- Data Capture / Customer Intelligence
- Training / Certifications
- Technical Limits
- The Best Option For Your Business
- Source code: Commercial
- Web framework: Microsoft ASP.NET
- Programming language: C#
- Database server: MS SQL
- Source code: Open Source
- Web framework: WordPress
- Programming language: PHP
- Database server: MySQL
Sitecore Sitecore's commercial software results in a higher level of support, more robust features, and more organized contributions and bug fixes. Since Sitecore uses commercial software, it requires a purchasing license. If your business favours a high level of support, robust features, organized code contributions, and bug fixes, as well as the high level of security that comes with a commercial Microsoft framework, Sitecore would be a better option for your business.
WordPress WordPress' open-source system means that developers contribute to and modify the software without a formal schedule. This may mean that you could be waiting for a particular bug fix without knowing when it's going to be resolved. The good news about using an open-source system is that licensing fees are more affordable than those of Sitecore. If a tight budget is a concern, and robustness and support aren't of high importance, WordPress would be worth considering.
- A customer experience platform (CXP) that has seamless two-way integration with other applications, websites, & business systems
- Use of website as a lead generation or brand awareness tool
- Website personalization, marketing automation, & dynamic content
- Task based, single purpose website
- Requires plugins to expand capabilities
Sitecore Sitecore is a great option if businesses are looking for a platform that offers top marketing features for a seamless digital experience. This includes personalization and marketing automation, as well as integration with other applications, websites, or business systems. These features allow marketers to generate customized and tailored content for each website visitor based on their customer journey or segment profile. Marketers can even reuse and publish content to more than one location using the same content source, which saves them time. Sitecore is also a better choice for businesses that have a globalized web presence, as websites can easily be made multilingual and localized.
WordPress WordPress is a better option if you are looking for a single-purpose, static website without the complex bells and whistles that maximize lead generation and brand presence. WordPress can achieve similar capabilities to Sitecore, however, this can only be done through multiple plugins that carry their own individual maintenance and risks.
- Large corporations (>50 employees) with dedicated marketing & IT teams
- Small businesses and sole traders (<30 employees) with small, or no marketing & IT teams
Sitecore Sitecore's high level personalization and marketing automation features make Sitecore a great choice for businesses who prioritize lead generation and a seamless brand experience. Given Sitecore's powerful marketing features, Sitecore requires the knowledge of trained marketers and developers, or consultation with a Sitecore partner like Fishtank Consulting to get the most out of the system.
WordPress WordPress is a better choice for sole traders, or small businesses without a dedicated marketing or IT team. It's a simpler system to use and activities like content authoring can completed by someone without any previous CMS experience.
- Requires a level of knowledge & training to get the most out of the system
- User friendly
- Fast to get going with
Sitecore Due to the complexity of Sitecore, users require a certain level of training and knowledge to get the most out of Sitecore’s features. This includes content authoring, email sending, data and analytics, marketing automation, and so on. However, once a user has completed the initial learning curve, content authoring and usability accelerates. For instance, the content editor toolbar has a similar look and feel to Microsoft Word, which results with most users feeling a sense of familiarity with the interface. Sitecore is the best choice if businesses would like a tool that offers deep marketing and digital functionalities, and are willing to educate and train themselves to get the most out of it.
WordPressWordPress' simplicity makes the CMS more user friendly initially, so it makes a great option if businesses want a simple tool that doesn't have a high level of complex marketing features. A user can easily publish a static site in less than 15 minutes.
- Requires expertise from an external Sitecore partner to implement and get the most out of the system
- Doesn’t require an external partner to implement and get the most out of the system
Sitecore Sitecore’s complexity and powerful features require a certified Sitecore partner to implement a Sitecore instance and assist your business to get the most out of the platform. If you’d like to take advantage of Sitecore’s powerful features, and are happy to invest in a Sitecore partner to do so, Sitecore is the best option.
WordPress Due to its affordability and simplicity, WordPress has a larger number of users, and therefore developers, and is simpler to implement and use. WordPress is the best option for your business if you are after a basic CMS, without a high level of complexity.
- Offers a high level of analytics and data insights that spans across website path analyzing, a/b testing on both component and page level, email analytics, and the ability to set weighted website goals and view their success rate
- Data can be extended seamlessly beyond the platform to applications such as CRM systems or social media platforms with two-way integration
- Low level of analytics and data insight
- Requires external tools if a user would like integration across multiple platforms
Sitecore Sitecore is the best option if your business uses deep data and analytics to make business or marketing decisions. Sitecore has a number of detailed analytics and reporting tools to help you manage and analyze data across multiple channels, including website, mobile, email, commerce, and even offline.
WordPressWordPress is the best option if access to data and analytics in your CMS aren't of high importance to your business, and if your business doesn’t require integration with external tools.
- Price is competitive in enterprise space
- Price is competitive in open source space
Sitecore Every Sitecore instance is custom built by a team of knowledgeable developers who are experienced with developing for the ASP.NET framework. This system is built with commercial source code that requires licensing fees, but comes with a service level agreement (SLA) that provides catered support to you as a Sitecore client. Sitecore is a good choice for businesses who require a custom build, want the benefits of a commercial source code, and are willing to invest in its powerful features.
WordPress WordPress is an affordable system due to its open-source code and template availability, however, there are additional costs associated with WordPress such as hosting, as well as plugin and template purchases. In terms of the level of support available, there are hours and hours worth of video tutorials and self-serve forums; it factors down to whether or not you have time to dedicate to them. WordPress is a good option for businesses on a budget, who don't want to invest in a custom-built website with backed support.
- Safer .NET compiled enterprise language, built-in safety features, firewalls and secure architecture
- Open-source code leaves WordPress more vulnerable to hacking, while lacking liability
- Plugins leave you open to security vulnerabilities
- Spammy form submissions are common on WordPress forms
Sitecore Sitecore’s .NET compiled enterprise language makes it more secure, robust, and a much safer option than a system built on an open-source code. Sitecore is a solid all-in-one solution that does not need plugins, as its capabilities exist within the system itself. Sitecore also contains built-in safety features and firewalls that make it a great option if security is important to your business, or if your business collects sensitive information.
WordPress WordPress’ open-source code and use of plugins make it highly likely to fall victim to hacks and security breaches. According to ZDNet, roughly 90% of all the CMS hacks Sucuri investigated and helped fix in 2018 were WordPress sites. Websites built on WordPress are also commonly targeted with spam form submissions. If security and protecting sensitive information aren’t a concern to your business, WordPress is the best choice for you.
- Comes with an Experience Accelerator for out-of-the-box solutions, however requires custom development for custom solutions
- Requires knowledge & work of a small team to deploy in Azure
- Cloud-based hosting and ready-to-use themes
- Produce a website in less than 15 minutes
Sitecore Sitecore comes with an Experience Accelerator for out-of-the-box solutions, however custom solutions require custom development. Deployment in Azure also requires the knowledge and work of a small team. Sitecore is a good option if your business requires a custom solution, and is willing to wait for it to be built.
WordPress WordPress is easy to use and quick to get started with because of its cloud-based hosting and ready-to-use themes, however, WordPress’ ready-to-use themes are simple, generic, and usually not built for marketing success.
- Free online resources
- Paid online & professional training courses for developers, marketers and UX designers
- Free online resources created by users and developers without a central/official location
Sitecore Sitecore offers free online resources in the form of blogs, documents, and videos, as well as paid online and in-person official training courses that lead to certifications for developers, marketers and UX designers. Sitecore is a great option if your business would like to be trained and educated to get the most out of the platform.
WordPress WordPress has free online resources available that have been created by users and developers, however, there are no official certification courses available.
- Anything is possible in Sitecore, but requires development
- Difficult to unlock any higher order programming challenges
- Lack of true architectural patterns
- Convoluted plugin design creates inefficient sites that may have problems scaling
- Data structures are mostly limited to posts/content
- Within the constraints of a WordPress website, it’s difficult to take advantage of the latest technologies
SitecoreJust about anything is possible in Sitecore with development. Sitecore is a great option if your business wants a CMS without constraints or technical limits. For instance, Sitecore can be configured to automatically scale vertically and horizontally when sudden changes in website traffic volume occur as it can run as a standalone environment.
WordPress WordPress has many challenges when it comes to its technical limits. It’s difficult to unlock any higher order programming challenges, and the system has a lack of true architectural patterns. A convoluted plugin design creates inefficient sites that may have problems scaling. Data structures are mostly limited to posts/content. Within the constraints of a WordPress website, it’s difficult to take advantage of the latest technologies. WordPress is the best option if your business doesn't need any custom development or latest tech integrations.
If your business is embarking on a digital transformation, and wants to take advantage of the latest personalization, marketing automation and AI CXP technology, with the safety of a commercial source code, Sitecore is the best option for you. It's best to take advantage of a certified Sitecore partner like Fishtank Consulting to help you develop, deploy and get the most out of Sitecore.
If you have a small business without a dedicated marketing and IT team, or you're a sole trader and simply want a stand-alone website that's easy and fast to get going with, WordPress is the best option. Keep in mind that WordPress websites are prone to hacking and security breaches, and technical advancements with WordPress are limited.
Have further questions or want to get started with Sitecore? Feel free to reach out at [email protected].
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been revised and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.