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WordPress VS. Drupal

     -     Mar 30th, 2012   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

Which is better, WordPress or Drupal? This simple question has been debated endlessly by developers and proponents of each respective solution, but the idea of ‘better’ needs to be used in some kind of context.  The question we really want to explore is, ‘Which open-source CMS is best for CPA and accounting websites?’ Today we’ll explore the answer.

First, let’s address the most important things to consider when choosing a CMS for your site, then we can dig deep into which of these two systems meet those needs best. Consider the following: 

  1. Does your CMS platform include support and documentation outside of what your current web developer is providing you?
  2. Is the administrative side of the website intuitive and well organized?
  3. Is there  WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor?
  4. If you aren’t a coder, could you still create web pages easily?
  5. Does it do what you want? What is the main function of your website? Does the system perform that function?

WordPress was started in 2003 as a self-hosted blogging tool and it is considered open-source because it was a community of users that generated all of the code and tools that you see in the system today. Since 2003, WordPress has evolved from a blogging platform into a full fledged content management system with thousands of plugins, widgets and themes.  In WordPress, as long as you have a coder or developer who is savvy, you can let your imagination run wild, because this system can do anything that you can imagine.


Since we have functionality covered, let’s address the user interface.  When choosing a CMS is should be less about what you want your site to look like, and more about how well you will be able to manage your site after your developer gives you a username and password. The backend of a WordPress site is intuitive, you don’t need to worry about accidentally deleting important code, and functionality is titled in a very straight-forward manner.  The WYSIWYG editor mimics a word document, and makes it extremely easy to add video, mp3s, PDF’s or any other media to any page.  The ease of use also lets you create a new webpage for your site with the click of a button.

On top of great functionality, the pages that it creates load quickly, and the system is completely standards-compliant. One thing to look out for are javascript files – which can be found in some of the community created plugins and may be cumbersome to page load time in some instances.

WordPress CMS cannot be beat when it comes to documentation and community.  What this means is that if for any reason your main coder or developer or web company shuts down, or becomes part of the witness protection program – there will always be someone else who understands the guts of your website.  With their codex that handles basic instruction, to bug forums, and even step by step plugin creation instructions, WordPress has really covered documentation to the fullest. 

All-in-all WordPress meets 5/5 criteria, and does so in a beautiful and intuitive way for both the developer and the end user.  The platform offers unlimited freedoms in design and is well documented and well respected in the digital community.

Drupal was started in 1999, originally as a simple internal news message board – the project became open source a year later as interest grew. Much like WordPress, it was the community of users that first began using Drupal which helped propel it to becoming one of the top-pick open source CMS.  Drupal has been used for a variety of sites including e-commerce, corporate sites, and even the White House website is on the system!

Drupal has some very interesting administrative user functions – such as the ability to group pages of like content, however it lacks a built-in WYSIWYG editor (one can be added as a plug-in).  Much like WordPress, the plugin library of user generated add-on’s is enormous, and you can create virtually any kind of website that you want.  One thing to consider is that this was not a blogging platform – so if having a blog built directly into your site (or partially into your site) – WordPress is a simpler option.

In terms of being standards compliant, Drupal ranks highly! Beware that their code output is more complex then WordPress as well, but still within the realms of compliance.  When it comes to documentation – Drupal also ranks highly.  They have both online forums on their dedicated site, as well as a strong user community and documentation all across the internet! Overall, I’m giving Drupal a 3/5 – it does not have a WYSIWYG editor built in by default, and since Drupal plugins can be finicky (ie they may not always work TOGETHER on the same site), this may not be easily remedied by a beginner, I also docked a point for the non-simplistic code output – the simpler the better when it comes to code!

There is always somebody rooting for one side or another.  Drupal and WordPress are both extremely powerful CMS, and both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.  In terms of what system is the best fit for a CPA and Accounting firm – I would strongly lean toward WordPress.  Aside from having the advantage of a ridiculously intuitive administrative system, the ability to run a blog and a website, with or without e-commerce, from the same system and manage it from the same administration area is a serious advantage.  Because we already know that content development is key to the marketing of any website – the ability to manage two different areas of content (ie. Blog & Web pages) allows the CPA firm an additional advantage.  Drupal is a great CMS, but for what a typical CPA and Accounting firm will need their website to do for them – its just more cumbersome, and added complexity.

Ultimately its your choice, but your web design and marketing company will usually have a preference and can help guide you on the reasons a specific CMS will perform better for you in your situation.

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