You need a new website designed, but you’re not sure which content management system (CMS) is the right choice. When it comes down to it there are two different kinds, open source CMS and proprietary CMS. Open source CMS like WordPress are like public parks, free for everyone to use and collectively cared for. Proprietary CMS on the other hand are like private property, you have to pay to enter and rely on the owner to care for it.
Websites by the Numbers
Perhaps you aren’t aware, but WordPress is kind of a big deal in the online sphere. When most people think of WordPress, they probably think of WordPress.com, but WordPress.org is the real industry behemoth. The data we’ll be going over here comes from W3Techs, and WordPress accounts for 60.8% of all CMS-using websites in their database.
But what about in the wider web? How does WordPress stack up against the competition across the entire internet? 39.6% of all websites use WordPress as their CMS as of January 2021. For reference, the next largest CMS is Joomla! — another open source CMS — and it only accounts for 2.2% of all websites. And proprietary CMS fall behind even more. Sitefinity and Kentico represent 0.1% of all websites each. We like underdog stories as much as anyone else, but there’s a reason all these people, businesses, non-profits, and governments place their trust in WordPress.
Staying up to Date
Alright, but maybe you think that people simply choose WordPress as their CMS because it’s the biggest name out there. That’s certainly a fair assumption, but if we take a closer look at the data it becomes clear that there’s a major flaw with proprietary CMS when it comes to staying up to date.
53.7% of all WordPress users are on the newest version of the CMS while another 43.6% are only one version behind. Kentico has only 2.3% of their total users on the newest version of their CMS and the largest portion, 20.2% of users, are three versions behind. And don’t even get us started on Sitefinity. 0.1% of Sitefinity users are up to date while a whopping 68.4% of its users are nine versions behind.
There are two possible reasons for the discrepancies in the numbers of users on new versus old versions of Kentico and Sitefinity when compared to WordPress. The first is that WordPress is extremely simple to update — which it is — while the proprietary CMS are more difficult. When looking through the reviews of Sitefinity one complaint that kept coming up was about how difficult it is to update. The second possibility is that users of these proprietary CMS don’t view the version updates to be worth it for whatever reason. In reality, it’s likely a combination of these two factors.
The World is your Oyster
One of the most common misunderstandings about WordPress is that it’s specifically for blogs. While most WordPress.com sites are indeed blogs, the WordPress.org CMS is a powerful tool for sites of all kinds. Whether you need a personal blog or a website for your newspaper, corporation, non-profit, university, or even national government, WordPress can handle it. You can even set up an online shop with WooCommerce, the largest e-commerce platform in the world. Meanwhile, many proprietary CMS are designed specifically for one industry, meaning all of their sites look and function the same.
But having the freedom to make a website that fits whatever your particular needs are isn’t where the freedom of WordPress ends. WordPress, like all open source CMS, allows you to make whatever adjustments you desire. That’s the magic of open source code. Proprietary CMS don’t want you to see their code — because then it could be replicated for free. This means that proprietary CMS have you in a stranglehold. You can’t make large-scale changes without their help, or if you can, you’ll need to pay for expensive training sessions. And if you ever want to take your website business elsewhere you’ll need a new website made from scratch because they won’t let you take their code with you. With WordPress, if you don’t like the company you’ve hired to design your site, you can simply hire someone else to pick up where they left off, or even do it yourself.
One size fits All
Along with the incorrect assumption that WordPress is only for blogs, many people tend to believe it’s only for low-traffic websites as well. This is by no means the case considering some of the biggest companies and websites around use WordPress as their CMS. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these companies, like Microsoft, Adobe, Sony Music, The Walt Disney Company, and more. Entire national governments use WordPress too, including the United States, Canada, and Sweden among others.
But do you know what we really like about WordPress? The fact that it’s easily scalable with your business. Regardless of how large your business grows, or how quickly it grows, WordPress is able to keep up. Whether your site sees a large increase in users or you need to add more pages, posts, and features, WordPress will continue to support it.
It’s Dangerous to go Alone
In today’s online landscape security is a major concern. Even if your site doesn’t store sensitive client information, a security breach never looks good to potential customers, and can even bring your site or business to its knees. But which type of CMS has the best security? It must be proprietary CMS since they’re owned, operated, and updated by a single company, right? Unfortunately, this is another common misconception. Proprietary CMS simply don’t have the resources that open source CMS like WordPress do.
Think of it this way, a proprietary CMS likely has a relatively small number of employees who continuously work to improve the security of their service. On the other hand, WordPress is worked on by a community of millions, meaning security risks can be located and fixed much more frequently and quickly.
Security aside, it’s also important for the longevity of your site that your CMS stays around and consistent. If one of the important workers leaves the proprietary CMS you use, you may be left stranded until they can find a replacement. With WordPress, if one community member leaves, there are 10 more ready to pick up where they left off. And what if the entire proprietary CMS shuts down? Then your company is really stuck and you’ll be left scrambling to find a new website. This isn’t an issue when working with WordPress. Since there is no one group controlling every aspect of development, WordPress is structured to last. It won’t simply disappear because there are too many people, major companies, and world governments who have a stake in it.
The Bottom Line
Maybe at this point you’re still not convinced that open source CMS are all they’re cracked up to be. But they say that money talks, so maybe you’ll be convinced by what your budget has to say. At the end of the day, open source CMS are free for anyone to use while proprietary CMS are paid services. So right from the start a proprietary CMS is costing your business more money. On top of that there are likely to be costs involving additional features, potential training of your employees, and even the cost of a new site if you decide to leave their CMS. With WordPress the only things to pay for are the convenience and expertise of a professional web design firm — or a premium plugin on rare occasions.
But what you really need to ask yourself before making your CMS decision is, “what does my business need, and what am I willing to pay for?” WordPress is so flexible that it can be used to make whatever your business desires, which leaves the quality of their service as the only thing proprietary CMS really have to sell you on. You’d think a CMS reliant on quality service would want to feature their customer reviews, but as we’ve found out, this isn’t the case. Sitefinity, for example, prominently features the fact that you can read their customer reviews. But upon further inspection, you need to sign up with your name, company, email, and phone number before you can access them. And even after giving all this information to Sitefinity, the “read reviews” button still doesn’t work.
That’s not a good look.
Here at Media Proper we exclusively use WordPress because we know that it’s the best option around — even better than creating our own proprietary CMS. By combining the power and flexibility of WordPress with the professional experience of our team we’ll craft a beautiful website both you and your customers will love to use. Contact us today to learn more about how WordPress with Media Proper is the right solution for your business’ online needs.