As web developers we have the opportunity to find the best tools to meet our clients’ needs. Most times we are in a position to recommend a content management system, and we work hard to make sure our solutions will efficiently meet the objectives of the project. At other times a system, such as Wordpress, is specifically requested by the client.
At this point we can choose to concede to the client’s wishes, or in some cases, push for another solution. Why would we challenge the client on their CMS selection? Simply put, we will fight for a quality project that meets the clients needs. We don’t have any special obligation to one CMS or another. Our only concern is to do good work that everyone can be proud of.
So, why not use Wordpress?
The answer to the question of whether you can accomplish your project in Wordpress is probably “yes”. The real question is should you. Wordpress began as a blogging platform, and it continues to carry that legacy. As a result, it tends to be better suited for simple websites, such as brochure or portfolio sites.
If Wordpress has one advantage it’s popularity. There are many free and affordable templates, a large developer community, and an abundance of 3rd party plug-ins. But that popularity also has a downside. Wordpress is prone to occasional security breaches, requiring frequent updates, and damage control costs for businesses targeted by the data breaches.
Despite the abundance of templates, it can be complicated to produce a truly custom design. If required functionality is not exactly matched by available plug-ins, it can be difficult to modify them. And, the frequency of updates means that plug-ins can become unstable, and require replacement. Wordpress is free, but nothing is ever really free.
- Best suited for simple websites - blogs, brochures, & portfolios
- Large developer community
- Wide selection of free and affordable templates
- Wide selection of 3rd party plugins
- Ease of use (backend mgmt)
- Security issues
- Plugin stability
- Complex templating system
Why we like ExpressionEngine
ExpressionEngine was built with flexibility and extensibility as primary features, allowing it to be tailored to exactly match the project requirements. This makes it a superior choice for sites with unusual functionality, or with plans to grow and change over time.
Websites built with EE are free to be as customized as necessary. The templating system is simple and powerful. It effectively separates markup and styles, allowing CMS data to be output and displayed in whatever way is needed.
EE is also the superior choice for websites concerned with security. Although some of its stellar security record is surely the result of obscurity, the developers of EE (EllisLab) work hard to keep security strong. To date, there has never been an EE security breach in the wild.
ExpressionEngine is not free. And while this may seem like a downside at first, it turns out to be a benefit. The fees help pay for ongoing development, and for technical support that far exceeds the forums and blogs you’re limited to with Wordpress.
We could go on …
- Multiple content channels (types)
- Membership & user management
- Easy & flexible templating system
- Easy to grow & develop over time
- Ease of use (backend mgmt)
- Security & stability
- Superior technical support
- PaleoSun is most experienced with EE, reducing dev costs
- Probably overkill for simple websites
- One time license fee can be a barrier for very small budgets
It has been our experience that most of the projects that come our way require something more than Wordpress, even if our clients don’t realize it yet. For now, EE is a good choice for those more complex projects. But again, our responsibility is to do a good job, and we’ll go wherever that responsibility takes us.