There are plenty of content management systems out there, but two immediately come to mind for anyone who’s spent time in website development.
The Silverstripe CMS and WordPress have long battled for website supremacy, and there are plenty of supporters on both sides. We happen to fall into the former camp and have spent many years getting to know Silverstripe like the backs of our hands.
To the team at Newedge, it feels like a constantly reliable, supportive and always improving friend. We can make it do things other web design firms could only dream of and have used its security and power to create the best possible web presences for our customers.
However, we appreciate you might need some convincing. Here’s why Silverstripe beats WordPress into a cocked hat in the ring.
We don’t deal in off-the-shelf website templates, which is why Silverstripe suits us perfectly. The framework on which it’s built can be customised by anyone with the right set of skills (and we have a particular set ourselves), and that means no web project is off the table - no matter how complex it might be.
By comparison, and while WordPress can be customised out of the box to a degree, it tends to rely on plugins if you want to get clever with it. And that ushers in all manner of issues (which we’ll get onto later).
A talented developer can turn Silverstripe into a beautiful website, functional web app or secure internal intranet, and there really isn’t another CMS on the market that’s as flexible.
The plugin issue
This bears revisiting, because it really is a clincher when it comes to the might of the Silverstripe CMS over WordPress.
WordPress has limited inbuilt customisation, unless you want to really get under the hood and risk disturbing its codebase. And no one wants to do that.
There are thousands of plugins on the WordPress marketplace to counteract this, but they’re all built by third party developers. Some are fantastic and continually updated, while others are created and then left to fester. The problem? Security and compatibility; one update to the WordPress core system can knock out incompatible plugins or keep those running that are no longer secure.
What’s more, plugins aren’t unique, and if you rely too heavily on them, you’ll end up with a website that is anything but.
Silverstripe doesn’t use plugins. Instead, it’s built in such a way that it can be fully customised by people in the know. This means it can remain secure, compliant and capable of delivering a truly unique web presence.
If you’ve ever used Silverstripe, you’ll know it benefits from an uncluttered interface that’s immediately easy to grasp. WordPress, on the other hand, appears to get more complex with age as the developers heap more tabs, screens and buttons onto an already bulging interface.
Usability in a CMS is vitally important for two reasons:
1) In order to reduce development times and therefore cost, it needs to offer a lightning-fast interface for developers so they can efficiently and safely navigate their way through projects without second guessing the interface or inadvertently falling down rabbit holes.
2) Once the website is built, the business for whom it was created needs to be able to dive in and start adding and adjusting content at will. Minimal training for doing this reduces the costs associated with the website build and means they can get cracking with a user interface that’s brilliantly intuitive.
The addition of a preview mode in Silverstripe makes it far easier to keep an eye on changes as you work, compared to WordPress, which relies on a rather more cumbersome way of previewing progress.
The big one: security
Data privacy and protection is at the foremost of most people’s minds in the digital age, which is why it’s vital you rely on a CMS for your website that puts privacy first.
WordPress is treated to regular updates, but there really is no escaping the plugin issue. Any CMS that introduces third party development just to gain additional functionally is opening a security hole.
Silverstripe doesn’t suffer from this. It’s updated regularly to mitigate against modern cyber-attacks. It’s also in use to a lesser extent than WordPress, which makes it much less of a target for hackers.
The final word
There’s no escaping the fact that WordPress was initially developed as a blogging platform, and at times, it still feels just like that.
For some projects, WordPress is fine, but if you want a scalable, unique, secure website that you can dive into and edit at will with minimal training, the Silverstripe CMS should always be your first port of call.