There is no shortage of high-quality CMS platforms to choose from when building a website. Two of the most prolific names include Sitecore and WordPress, and each one brings something unique to the table. However, which one is a better experience in 2023?
Today, I plan to answer that very question by comparing them to a variety of topics.
Sitecore vs WordPress: Overview
What Is Sitecore?
Sitecore launched in 2001 and was one of the earliest CMS platforms available. Since then, it has only evolved and can help users edit content, create workflows, manage users, and just about everything else you would expect a CMS platform to do.
And it even has that familiar windows look to help make it accessible to new users.
Sitecore is a very popular choice when it comes to enterprise-level businesses, and it excels at large-scale websites due to its repertoire of features. But as a result, it is much more complex to use.
Using the platform typically means a longer development cycle.
Nonetheless, for those at the enterprise level, it is a terrific tool as long as you can afford it. While there is a 30-day free trial for Sitecore, the core experience is locked behind a pretty hefty paywall.
At enterprise levels, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars on your license.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source CMS that launched in 2003 as a simple blogging platform. As the platform continued to evolve, its popularity soared as a result of its robust tool kit and versatility in regard to website design.
Today, it can be used to build any type of website and dominates with a market share that exceeds 40%.
The platform is perfect for a business of any size, and since it is free to use, it can save you a lot of money. WordPress really excels when it comes to beginners as the platform does not require any coding knowledge.
Instead, all of the heavy lifting is done by the plugins and themes you install. Each one adds the features you need and it’s as easy as choosing a few settings. With thousands of options to choose from, there is something for everyone.
So What’s the Difference?
To sum it up, Sitecore is more popular among enterprise businesses, whereas WordPress is more popular with small to mid-size businesses. Overall, WordPress is far more popular due to being more accessible to a broader audience.
Combine that with the fact that one is free and the other could cost several thousand dollars, and that may be the deciding factor for most.
Sitecore vs WordPress: Ease of Use
For most users, the difficulty of learning the platform is a major consideration. As even if a platform can do something, it’s pointless if you do not have the skill set to do it, or if it takes twice as long to accomplish.
Let’s take a look at how Sitecore and WordPress stack up to one another when it comes to accessibility.
Sitecore utilizes the .NET framework, which gives developers a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing a coding language. That said, you will need to understand coding to really get the most out of Sitecore.
However, since its intended audience is at the enterprise level, these are companies that can hire the necessary staff.
Thus, it’s not a huge deal-breaker for most. The good news is that the platform offers users a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. This means you won’t need any coding to actually create content. Instead, the editor provides everything you need.
Another great feature to make your life easier is by implementing content reusing. This allows you to easily populate pages with certain reusable items. However, outside of the editor and content reusing, Sitecore can be a harder platform to get into as a beginner.
WordPress Accessibility: Winner
WordPress is the most popular CMS by a mile, and that doesn’t happen if the platform isn’t accessible. Thus, when it comes to accessibility, WordPress is typically seen as the industry leader, and you can see that in its most recent updates.
In the latest iteration, you now have access to site-wide editing tools that allow you to make global changes in seconds.
All of this is achieved without writing a single line of code. Instead, you can use plugins to add any feature you may need. Need help improving your SEO? No problem, install the Yoast SEO plugin to help. It’s really that simple.
The main editor of WordPress is called Gutenberg, and it is a block-based editor. This just means you add a block that contains the necessary features, very similar to a plugin in that regard.
Need to add an image? Just add an image block. It’s really easy to learn.
There’s no contest when it comes to accessibility as WordPress is the clear winner. As software, the WordPress installation is extremely simple, whereas Sitecore is a much more involved process due to it catering to enterprise-level businesses.
WordPress is far more accessible at lower skill levels due to not needing any coding knowledge. Though, you can certainly make coding adjustments if you know how.
This is one of the reasons why WordPress is so popular. Virtually anyone can use it with ease regardless of skill level.
Sitecore vs WordPress: User Management
In any team environment, you need to be able to ensure that users have the necessary permissions to carry out their everyday work. Both platforms have their own systems in place that work to great effect.
Let’s take a better at which offers a better user experience.
Sitecore User Management: Winner
As a piece of enterprise software, Sitecore really excels when it comes to managerial tools. It has an extremely robust selection of user management tools right out of the box. And there are even more options to choose from.
One of the biggest differences is that an approval system is built into the platform.
Most CMS platforms are very basic and create roles that can carry out certain tasks, but none of them natively include a review process. Sitecore does this.
Higher roles must approve content before it can be published, which is extremely important for larger websites.
Team members can more easily share information and templates with the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA). As a result, the environment was created for teams, and it really shows at every level of the platform.
WordPress User Management
WordPress utilizes user roles to help administrators give access to certain areas of the website. It’s very intuitive at its core. If someone writes content, you can make them an author. If they are a manager of the content department, they are an editor.
Or if they need full control over every aspect of the website, you can assign them to be an administrator.
It’s a simple but effective role system. And out of the box, that’s really it. Where WordPress really shines is when you use plugins to create custom roles that have more specific functionality in mind.
For example, you can customize a role to have access to certain plugins on your website, and restrict content for others. And yes, you can even add a plugin to require approval before content is published.
Sitecore definitely has the advantage when it comes to user management, but WordPress can provide a similar experience after adding multiple plugins. Sitecore also makes it easier to share content between users, which is ideal for team environments.
That said, some websites don’t need all of those bells and whistles, so this may not be a big factor for some.
Sitecore vs WordPress: Design
Having a fully functioning website is not enough anymore. Instead, you need a website that performs well and looks great. For that reason, you need to take advantage of all of the design options at your disposal.
While both platforms offer tools, I do think there is a clear winner here.
When it comes to design, Sitecore is no slouch. It provides users with a feature-rich canvas to create their website the way they want it to be, but, it is worth mentioning that it can be tricky to do this. And yes, you will need to code things yourself.
While it is far from beginner-friendly, new users are not Sitecore’s target audience. Instead, the core audience won’t have an issue as most will be proficient with coding in some form.
You can customize the frontend layer however you want in Sitecore, but it can come at the expense of development time. You see, the more complex you make it, the longer it is going to take, and that can be a big issue if you are in a rush.
Again, it’s all about the target audience. You can customize the page layouts into anything. You can also save these layouts to use them again. This can save you a lot of time when you are making similar pages.
WordPress Design: Winner
WordPress is used to make all kinds of websites. This includes everything from a single landing page for a product to a full-fledged online store. And regardless of what you make in WordPress, it will usually look pretty good thanks to the theme you use.
Of course, most web developers will go the extra mile and customize the theme and page layout to match their vision.
Most importantly, you are not limited to the tools within WordPress. The platform allows you to also use page-builder tools that give you a brand new set of functions. And there are a ton of them you can choose from.
This gives it a unique advantage over most platforms that limit you to one set of design tools. And now with the full-site editor, WordPress has made it even easier to make global changes to design elements like colors and fonts.
While both platforms can produce high-quality web content, WordPress is a step above Sitecore. It has more options when it comes to design thanks to being compatible with page-building tools like Elementor.
Most importantly, it is much quicker to design content for WordPress, which can help keep development costs low.
Sitecore vs WordPress: Pricing
Without a doubt, one of the most common deciding factors when choosing anything is the price. In this case, the winner is pretty cut and dry, but it is worth mentioning the costs associated with both options.
Let’s take a look at the affordability of Sitecore and WordPress.
Sitecore has licensed software, which means you need to pay for license renewal on a yearly basis. That fee is not small, and for its target audience, you could spend $75,000 just on the license fee per year.
Obviously, this is too expensive for most small and medium-sized businesses not to mention just those who want to put together a blog.
However, enterprise-level businesses can usually afford the annual fee.
Yet, that’s not really where the pricing stops. You also need to think about the actual cost of development. I have mentioned that WordPress is much easier to use, in fact, a lot of platforms are much easier than Sitecore.
That means developers who know it are going to cost more. Thus, the overall development costs from just labor will be much higher than other platforms. Due to the complexity, even maintenance is more expensive.
WordPress Pricing: Winner
WordPress is an Open-source CMS, which means it is free to use. The only actual cost to WordPress is web hosting, but that’s true for every website. However, there are some other costs that can spring up when using WordPress.
But just keep in mind they are all optional.
For example, I have mentioned plugins and themes throughout this comparison. And while WordPress has thousands of free options to choose from, they also have thousands of premium options you can use as well.
Normally, these are pretty inexpensive by themselves with the average cost being around $50 for a premium tool. But if you begin using a lot of premium tools, well those costs can add up fast.
Not to mention that there are plenty of top-end plugins that can set you back hundreds of dollars.
There’s simply no contest here, WordPress is free and Sitecore will set you back thousands of dollars. Plus, hiring web developers that are familiar with Sitecore is much more expensive than doing the same for WordPress.
If you’re looking to save money, go with WordPress.
Sitecore vs WordPress: Final Results
WordPress comes out with a clear advantage over Sitecore.
Sitecore does offer more out of the box, but that’s not necessarily a positive since you probably won’t need everything.
Instead, WordPress allows you to add the features and tools you need by installing plugins. This helps keep WordPress simple and accessible to beginners. And it is significantly cheaper to design content for.
Which platform do you prefer?