A content management system (CMS) is a type of software-based technology, used to build and manage websites and other digital products. A CMS allows you to easily create, edit, and publish digital content across a range of online channels, such as the web and mobile. This is the most common technology platform used by businesses to build assets such as websites, with almost two thirds (63%) of all sites on the Internet now delivered via a CMS.
With that in mind, it’s clear why most businesses today are heavily reliant on this technology. Whether you’re developing something new from scratch or switching from an old platform to a new one, selecting your CMS is an extremely important decision with a lot riding on it. But with such a vast landscape of digital solutions to navigate, and so many different options available, finding the right CMS can be overwhelming.
To help you through the process of finding the right CMS, this article compares four of the most common options for large businesses. We’ve also listed their pros and cons, and provided some additional considerations that will be useful for you to think about along the way.
First, the Criteria
A CMS can be used to build various digital products and assets, from websites and mobile apps to bespoke systems like staff portals and internal training platforms. Particularly in large businesses, it’s common to need to create some bespoke features, functionality, or digital processes as well. Whatever it is you need, you should aim to find a platform that’s capable of delivering on your specific requirements.
Here are some points to include in your criteria when researching the options for your CMS:
- Bespoke development capabilities
- Easy integration with existing systems and legacy technology
- Scalability and performance in peak traffic
- Enterprise-grade security
- Quick and easy editing capabilities
Now we’ve covered what a CMS should be able to do when you start implementing it within your business, let’s look at the different platforms available to you.
Option 1 – Drupal
- Drupal is a highly secure platform, which is a crucial quality for a CMS to have.
- It’s very intuitive for users who have coding experience or advanced content management skills.
- It has a great community of users surrounding it, which contributes a lot of value and is able to provide support.
- It also has hundreds of unique thematic options to choose from when designing your site.
- Drupal can be hard to work with for non-technical users, as it lacks simplicity and provides limited customisation.
- It can take a long time to get up and running, which means your costs will be quite high if you work with an agency partner.
- It’s also worth noting that the version of Drupal most businesses use now (Drupal 7) will be reaching end-of-life soon.
Option 2 – Sitecore
- Sitecore is purpose-built for large businesses, guaranteeing an enterprise-grade experience.
- Sitecore is a robust CMS with a high level of in-built security.
- It actually provides a fully-managed ‘digital experience platform’ that comes with more capabilities than the average CMS.
- It also offers great personalisation and excellent pre-built features.
- Sitecore is an expensive option, even if you have a large budget to work with.
- It requires you to procure licenses to begin using it, and also restricts certain capabilities unless you progress to higher tiers of licenses.
- It typically runs with hierarchical, complex workflows that might be frustrating for small or agile teams.
Option 3 – Umbraco
- Umbraco’s scalability makes it very suitable for large businesses.
- It’s free to use and open-source, with an active community of users supporting it.
- It allows you to manage a high volume of pages easily and efficiently.
- It’s another platform that comes with a high level of in-built security.
- It can be difficult to work with for the average user. As with Drupal, Umbraco is mostly suitable for more technical users who have coding skills or some development experience.
- This complexity again increases the likelihood of higher costs with your agency partner (if you go that route).
- It’s common for sites built with Umbraco to be reported as slow, for both back-end editing and the front-end user experience.
Option 4 – WordPress
- WordPress is extremely scalable and dynamic. It can easily grow and evolve as your business grows, continuing to meet your changing needs.
- It’s renowned for its ease-of-use. Because of this, it enables you to deliver your projects quickly and efficiently.
- It’s highly customisable, making it ideal for bespoke development. With the right knowledge and skills, you can build almost anything with WordPress.
- It also typically comes with a very low total cost of ownership (TCO). You won’t need to add on new features or capabilities, nor pay for costly extra work to handle platform upgrades or updates.
- If you apply too many plug-ins, WordPress sites can slow down and experience dips in performance, but a good agency partner should encourage you to minimise the use of these.
- Some still see WordPress as an unprofessional platform used mostly for small blogs, but that old myth couldn’t be further from the truth today.
- WordPress is a secure platform, but plug-ins can create vulnerabilities if they’re not tested well or taken from untrusted sources. Again, a good agency partner should guide you with this to reduce the risk and prevent any issues.
Interested in learning more? Check out our related article here, where we explore the benefits of WordPress for large businesses in greater detail.
A Brief Word on Agency Partners
As touched on earlier, you’ll also need to consider whether you want to take the approach of working with an agency partner or not. For large businesses, most development projects tend to involve complex requirements that are almost impossible to manage without the support of an experienced agency.
An agency partner can provide you with strategic guidance, platform-specific skills and tools, and expertise to help you gain as much value from the technology as possible. While it’s perfectly valid to decide to implement a new CMS without an agency working alongside you, doing so will probably make things a lot more challenging, a lot more expensive, or possibly both.
All the platforms mentioned here have their benefits. But they’ll each be significantly easier to use, and will deliver far greater return on investment (ROI), if you have an experienced partner involved.
How to Choose the Best Option for Your Business
Keep in mind that every business is unique and every web development project is different. These platforms are all good options in their own way, but a solution that works well for the majority of organisations might not be the right choice for you.
Whether you’re building a bespoke website or migrating an existing site to a new platform, you have to be thorough in your assessment and make the right choice for your specific business.
To really understand the pros and cons of these options, you first have to be clear about exactly what you need and what you’re aiming to achieve. You’ll then need to determine which solution best aligns with your requirements, budget, and strategic objectives.
If you’re in the process of assessing solutions to help you deliver a bespoke development project, read our comprehensive guide to evaluating and selecting the right platform here.
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- What’s the purpose of your project?
- What objectives do you want to achieve?
- What exactly are you looking to build?
- How much budget do you have to spend?
- What existing technology do you need to integrate with?
- What features and functionality do you need?
- What skills and expertise do you have in-house?
- Stick with your existing platform and update or build on to it
- Buy a custom, purpose-built, ‘out the box’ platform or piece of software
- Work with an agency to adopt a new platform and/or build something bespoke.
- Bespoke development
- Customisable design, features, and functionality
- Migration from legacy systems to a new platform
- Seamless scalability
- A secure infrastructure
- Performance in peak traffic volumes
- Integration with back-end systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, PowerBi, and more
- Ease-of-use in both the front and back-end
- Quick and easy editing capabilities
- Multi-site development for multiple languages across different countries
- Responsive or ‘headless’ design for web and mobile, enabling omni-channel customer experience.
- Clear strategic thinking
- Tangible results.
- Make a critical client engagement process increasingly efficient and effective
- Provide each user with a personalised experience that includes tailored investment information and updates
- Obtain more data about user engagement and leverage that to improve other services
- Accelerate and increase investment in client funds, driving significant commercial growth for the firm
- Use an industry-first digital tool to gain significant competitive advantages.
- Your brand
- Your company values
- Your colour scheme
- Your typography
- Imagery and other visual content
- Structuring of pages
- And other visual components that are used to tell your brand’s story across your website’s design.
31 October, 2022
Understanding and Evaluating Enterprise Options for Bespoke Web Development
Evaluating and selecting the best option for a bespoke web development project is an important decision, with a lot riding on it. But with so many technology providers, platforms, and agency partners out there today, that decision can be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll guide you through this evaluation process, explore the options available, and help you choose the right technology platform for your own web development project.
We all know that a large business or enterprise relies on technology to function. With dozens of sites across different countries, hundreds of employees, and thousands of customers, technology is the heartbeat of your organisation.
You need sophisticated technology to facilitate mission-critical digital assets like your website, mobile applications, staff portals, communications channels, and various other systems. Many businesses also leverage technology to facilitate processes or capabilities that are entirely unique to the organisation, like internal training platforms or bespoke tools for certain departments.
With that in mind, it’s important to find a platform that can meet your specific requirements and enable you to accomplish your strategic objectives.
Modern enterprise systems need to be dynamic, scalable, and intuitive, and achieving that involves some complexity behind the scenes. For that reason, it’s often necessary to take the route of a bespoke development project to ensure your business gains exactly what it needs in terms of both functionality and capability.
A content management system (CMS) is the most common technology platform for businesses to deliver these projects, with almost two thirds (63%) of all sites on the Internet powered by a CMS today. This is a type of software used to build websites and similar systems, allowing you to easily create, edit, and publish digital content across a range of online channels and devices. But determining the best CMS, let alone choosing the right one for your own bespoke development project, can be a daunting challenge.
So, let’s explore the situations in which it’s wise to adopt a CMS to deliver a development project. We’ll then walk you through the next steps, giving you the confidence to make the best decisions for your business along the way.
Enterprise Challenges with Technology
There are plenty of situations in which a marketing team might be struggling to identify the right technology platform for a project like this.
Perhaps you need to find a way to deliver something very niche, like building a new website or internal system from scratch. Maybe your project requires you to build a website on a new platform, and that platform needs to integrate with your internal systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, PowerBi, and other back-end applications.
Or, you may be trying to solve a challenge, like finding a suitable way to replace your current legacy systems. If, for example, your current website is built on a CMS like Drupal, and it’s no longer capable of meeting your requirements, you’ll need to find a new platform and migrate everything over.
A CMS is an ideal solution in each of these scenarios, and many others. Of course, with such a vast technology landscape to navigate, finding the right CMS is no easy task. It’s even difficult to know where to begin for most enterprise marketers.
So, let’s take a look at how you can approach this evaluation process in a cost-effective, efficient way.
How to Approach an Enterprise Web Development Project
Firstly, as an aside, it’s important to regularly review and reassess whether your CMS is fit for purpose, even if you don’t have an immediate requirement for something new.
Modern technology is advancing so rapidly. With that, your users’ expectations – both employees and customers – are evolving as well. You need to keep up with the pace of change and ensure your technology can still meet the current demands it faces from those users.
Back to the task at hand, though. Before you begin looking into different CMS, you should try to define exactly what it is you need from them.
Whether you’re building a bespoke website or migrating an existing site to a new platform, make sure you know exactly what you want to achieve by doing so.
Start by asking questions like:
Make sure you have a very specific brief and clear set of requirements to take to whichever solution providers and agencies you’ll be speaking to. If you don’t, you’ll struggle to fully understand whether the platforms you’re evaluating can actually deliver what you need.
Once you’ve got that, you can decide which approach is the best for your project. This could be:
It’s worth noting that most web development projects for large businesses will have complex requirements that are almost impossible to achieve without strategic guidance and ongoing support from an experienced partner. An agency partner will work closely with you to understand your strategic objectives and requirements, then provide you with platform-specific skills, tools, and expertise to achieve those. We’ll look at this in more detail later in the article.
Defining Your Requirements
As mentioned above, it’s important to have a specific set of objectives for your project and know what requirements are necessary to achieve those. These will also ensure the partner or agency you work with understands your brief and is able to deliver the exact finished product you’re looking for.
When scoping this out, there are some common capabilities and qualities most enterprise-grade platforms should have in order to meet expectations. Here are some things you should ensure your new platform – and the agency you work with, if you decide to go that route – can provide for your business:
Your Options for Enterprise CMS
Drupal is popular among enterprises because it’s a highly secure platform. It’s also great if your team contains technical resources with good coding ability, as it’s very intuitive for people that have more advanced content management skills.
On the other hand, Drupal can be very difficult to get up and running, and is lacking in terms of simplicity. Because of this, your agency costs will also likely be higher than with other CMSs if you take that route.
Even if you do have that technical skill in your team, however, the platform itself is somewhat limited with customisation. It’s also worth noting that the version of Drupal most businesses currently use (Drupal 7) is soon reaching end-of-life. This has caused many Drupal users to migrate their existing sites to new, more intuitive platforms, such as WordPress.
Sitecore is a robust CMS that provides more capabilities than the average platform. It’s popular because it actually offers a fully-managed ‘digital experience platform’ that delivers most of the qualities mentioned in the previous section.
Sitecore comes with a good level of personalisation and is well suited for bespoke development projects. However, it’s an expensive system, requiring the procurement of licenses to begin using it. It also restricts certain capabilities unless you progress to higher tiers (and costs) of your licenses.
From a practical perspective, Sitecore operates on quite hierarchical, complex workflows, which may not suit more agile or smaller teams.
The scalability of Umbraco is great for large organisations, as it allows you to manage a high volume of pages and build out your website to meet the changing needs of your business.
Similar to Drupal, Umbraco is mostly suitable for users with more advanced content management skills and some development experience. This makes it difficult to use for the average marketing team, which increases the likelihood of higher costs, either through more expensive agency projects or even the need to hire someone in-house.
WordPress is the platform that powers almost 45% of the world’s websites. It’s so popular because it’s affordable, flexible, dynamic, and very easy to use.
There is a common misconception that WordPress isn’t robust or scalable enough for large businesses. However, this continues to be proven as a myth, as some of the biggest brands in the world are now using WordPress for their CMS, from Nike to Bloomberg.
We’ll provide a detailed breakdown of the benefits and advantages WordPress offers in the next section.
Which is the Best Option?
It’s important to remember every web development project will be different, and each of these platforms are good options in their own way. That’s why you should make your decision based on the solution that best aligns with your objectives, requirements, budget, and other factors.
One common point related to all these platforms that’s worth noting is that each of them are exponentially easier to use, and will deliver far greater return on investment (ROI), if you have the support of an experienced specialist partner to guide you. An agency with platform-specific skills and expertise will ensure your business gains the maximum value from the platform you select, and help you leverage it strategically to harness its full potential.
Business Benefits and Opportunities with WordPress
Using WordPress is an excellent option for any business. For large organisations in particular, there are a number of qualities that make it particularly beneficial.
Scalability and Agility
The WordPress platform is highly scalable. This means that the size and complexity of your website, and the amount of traffic passing through it, won’t be a concern. WordPress can also grow with your business and easily adapt to continue meeting your changing needs. Scalability is one of WordPress’s most prominent advantages for enterprises.
Low TCO and Strong ROI
Of all the options listed above, WordPress comes with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). Unlike most platforms, you won’t need to bolt on new features or capabilities with WordPress, nor will you have to worry about costly extra work to manage platform upgrades or updates. Additionally, because WordPress is so flexible and rich with dynamic features and capabilities, it’s proven to deliver strong ROI.
Flexibility and Customisation
WordPress is ideal for a bespoke development project because it’s highly customisable. You can use its flexibility to build bespoke features and functionality into your website or create an entirely unique system.
Because of its great usability and simplicity, WordPress allows for a very fast time-to-market, meaning you can deliver your project quickly and efficiently. However, it should be noted that most businesses will need the support of a skilled agency to be able to achieve that.
WordPress is very easy to integrate with other systems, such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and others. This means your business will experience minimal disruption due to integration, whether migrating to WordPress or starting a new development project from scratch.
In the back-end, WordPress is renowned for its usability. As a CMS, it’s extremely easy to use, meaning you can get up-to-speed quickly and share responsibilities across more members of your team.
The performance, speed, and ease-of-use with WordPress are all enterprise-grade when building websites on the platform. This means user adoption and retention will be high, ensuring the success of your project and driving greater ROI.
When working with WordPress, you’ll also gain advantages that will deliver added value to your business, especially if you have the support of a specialist partner who can help you unlock the full power of the technology.
The project doesn’t stop with the initial implementation of WordPress, either. As your requirements change, or your project evolves, WordPress is the best platform to adapt with you and deliver value to your business in the long-term.
Why WordPress is the Future of the Enterprise
WordPress is the most popular and widely used CMSs in the world today. And that popularity has been consistently spreading into the enterprise market over the past decade or so.
This is no coincidence, either. It’s unsurprising to see how quickly WordPress is growing in popularity, as more and more businesses realise the vast potential of the platform and the benefits it can deliver.
When taking into account its unprecedented scalability, flexibility, and usability, not to mention its low TCO, WordPress is one of the leading options for bespoke web development projects for large organisations.
When it comes to evaluating the options for your own project, remember to carefully consider how each platform aligns with your requirements and objectives. Once you’ve identified the CMS that is most suitable to deliver what you’re looking for, consider the value that could be added to your project by working with an agency partner who specialises in that technology.
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23 May, 2023
SoBold Selected as a Finalist for The Drum Awards for Marketing for Digital Transformation
We’re thrilled to announce that SoBold has been nominated as a finalist for an award at The Drum Awards for Marketing.
We’ve been nominated for our team’s outstanding work developing RedeWire, a unique, “game-changing” online portal for global financial services business Rede Partners LLP.
The Drum Awards for Marketing
The Drum Awards for Marketing are intended to highlight agencies and marketing teams that truly understand their clients. Focusing on outcomes, not outputs, these awards are designed to celebrate teams who have demonstrated the measurable value their work has delivered for their clients.
We’ve been nominated as a finalist in the transformation category. This category rewards creative and innovative thinking from agencies who have created a change in model or product to enhance experiences for their clients and their end-users.
The criteria on which the finalists were selected for this category included:
We’re incredibly proud to be named as a finalist for this award, especially since innovation, creativity, and strategic thinking are qualities that we actively strive to put into every project we work on for our clients.
“Game-Changing” Innovation – the RedeWire Platform
Global private equity (PE) fundraising advisory firm, Rede Partners, has a mission-critical process of keeping a large network of limited partner investors (LPs) updated with relevant, timely information about opportunities to invest in client funds.
The previous method of communicating this information to LPs was a large static PDF doc, produced once per quarter, shared with LPs via email. That approach is standard within the fundraising advisory industry, with many of Rede’s competitors using a similar approach.
But the Rede team recognised this needed to become more engaging for their clients, and our team here at SoBold provided an opportunity to innovate and transform this process.
We worked closely with Rede’s stakeholders to understand their challenges and define a clear set of strategic objectives. This allowed us to identify a way to remove this long-winded, one-way communication process with LPs and create a dynamic, interactive online portal.
RedeWire is the first of its kind, and has been identified as a “game-changer in the industry” by Rede’s LPs.
RedeWire successfully met Rede’s complex set of requirements, allowing them to:
The portal has already exceeded expectations for adoption, as it has made one of Rede’s critical points of communication with investors more efficient, effective, and engaging.
What they Had to Say
Gabrielle Joseph, Head of Due Diligence and Client Development at Rede Partners LLP, said:
“Originally conceived as a game-changer within our industry, we are thrilled with the outcome of RedeWire and have had several clients highlight how intuitive and easy to use the platform is.”
“Throughout the project, SoBold clearly understood our vision and provided thoughtful solutions to our needs. Choosing to partner with this team was one of the best decisions we’ve made, and we couldn’t be happier. We look forward to continuing to work with the team as the site evolves.”
One early adopter of the RedeWire platform also provided highly positive feedback, saying:
“This is a massive time-saver for everyone. I can’t believe how fluid and user-friendly it is. It will be a useful tool in 2023. We’re super impressed.”
Waiting for the Results
The results will be announced at the live awards show on June 15, 2023, in London. Congratulations must also go to our fellow finalists, Yodel Mobile, Braze, and Coterie Marketing.
Please keep your fingers crossed for us until then, and keep an eye out for the results this time next month!
In the mean-time, you can discover how financial services businesses should approach bespoke web development projects to successfully embrace digital transformation here.
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1 November, 2022
SoBold announce Cyber Essentials certification
SoBold announce their Cyber Essentials certification for the third consecutive year which demononstrates their commitment to delivering secure technical solutions to their new and existing clients.
Cyber Essentials is scheme which helps guard your organisation against a range of common cyber threats. SoBold’s resilience across a range of internet facing devices was tested and approved, ensuring there were not any major critical vulnerabilities discovered
SoBold Technical Director, Sam Phillips said:
With an ever growing cyber threat, Cyber Essentials certification is becoming more and more important to maintain. Protecting both our clients data and websites is of the upmost importance and successfully passing the more thorough Cyber Essentials guidelines new for 2022 shows our commitment to this.
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26 May, 2023
Contentful vs WordPress: Which Platform is the Best Choice for You?
Deciding between two content management systems (CMS) is no easy task. Your CMS is an important long-term investment, so you must ensure you choose a platform that will meet all your requirements, both now and in future.
If you’re currently weighing up the pros and cons between Contentful and WordPress, there are some key differences between the two platforms that you should be aware of.
To make this evaluation process easier for you, and help you pick the best option for your business, this article provides a direct, objective comparison between these platforms.
Different types of software will provide you with different capabilities and limitations. The Contentful and WordPress platforms can both deliver quality enterprise-grade websites, but they each take a slightly different approach.
Contentful is a cloud-based “headless” CMS. Being headless means that the back-end of the platform you use to publish, edit, and manage content is not directly connected to the front-end of your live website.
Your content is managed and stored in one central hub, hosted within the cloud, and this is the back-end of your platform (also known as the “body”). APIs are then used to take your content from the back-end and present it in website form.
A headless CMS gives you a high level of flexibility and customisation with your website’s front-end. These same APIs allow you to publish your content in different formats in different channels as well, facilitating a multi-channel approach to marketing.
This makes Contentful a flexible platform that can meet a range of different content requirements, but it is admittedly more complicated than the traditional approach to website management.
WordPress is a traditional CMS that provides a more straightforward approach to managing your website. You can use WordPress to build sophisticated, dynamic sites with a simple, user-friendly set of tools.
While most businesses use WordPress in the traditional way, the platform can be leveraged with a headless approach as well, allowing it to match the scalability and multi-channel capabilities of solutions like Contentful.
WordPress gives you the flexibility to choose how you’d like to develop your website, based on the complexity and size of the project, and the objectives you’re trying to achieve. In the likely case that you’re working with a web design and development agency, that can all be handled for you by your partner.
The Scalability of Each Platform
Your business will grow and evolve over time, so you need a platform that can quickly and easily scale up with new features and functionality. You also need to ensure the platform can handle high volumes of traffic and maintain performance as your audience grows. That’s why scalability is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a CMS.
How Scalable is Contentful?
One of the main benefits of a headless CMS is that the infrastructure allows you to grow your digital presence rapidly, on a large scale.
The back-end offers easy customisation, and the cloud-based nature of the platform allows you to scale up dynamically whenever you need to.
Its multi-channel capabilities also inherently promote the idea of developing your content in different formats at a larger scale, while always maintaining consistency. This enables you to produce individual pieces of content once and easily repurpose them across different channels a number of times, saving valuable time and resources.
This can all be done without any concerns over technical issues like server capacity or network bandwidth, because the platform is delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
How Scalable is WordPress?
WordPress is a highly scalable platform in its own right, currently used to power the websites of some of the largest and most successful businesses in the world.
The platform is agile and scalable enough to grow seamlessly alongside your business and adapt to your changing requirements, whichever way you decide to use it.
As mentioned earlier, taking the headless approach with WordPress can provide the same enhanced scalability and pervasive multi-channel capabilities as Contentful, if you require those aspects from your CMS. This can also deliver benefits with speed of development and time-to-market, saving you valuable costs with your agency partner.
Expanding your WordPress site with the more traditional approach is made even easier than most other CMSs as well, thanks to the platform’s unique block-based editor. This is a method of building websites that provides great benefits in the areas of flexibility, efficiency, and ease-of-use.
WordPress also allows you to continually enhance your site with new features and functionality through bespoke development, with almost no limitations on what can be achieved.
Like all technology, some tools are more approachable for the majority of users, while others will require some existing skills. This makes ease-of-use a key part of your criteria when selecting a platform to manage your website. You’ll be using it almost every day, after all, so you need to be comfortable with it.
How Easy is Contentful to Use?
While Contentful being solely a headless CMS does have its advantages, such as scalability and customisation, this approach also creates some challenges for the average user.
For example, adding content to Contentful can be difficult because it doesn’t provide you with a way to preview how your content will look in the front-end of the website.
Contentful doesn’t have a simple editing interface on the front-end, so there’s a much higher risk of error with this platform than with most others.
Granted, Contentful’s user interface (UI) is well structured and intuitive, but it’s also known for being more difficult for non-technical users than platforms like WordPress.
Handling the API rules is also complicated without the help of an experienced web development team. If you’re working with an agency, you may end up calling on them regularly for tasks that you could likely handle yourself in other CMSs.
How Easy is WordPress to Use?
Conversely, WordPress is renowned for its simplicity and ease-of-use. Even if you don’t have any existing knowledge of coding or content management, WordPress is very approachable and easy to learn.
When you first get started with WordPress, virtually everything you need to set up and manage your website will be readily available within the platform.
Publishing, managing, and editing in WordPress are all quick and convenient, thanks to an intuitive back-end that provides you with everything you need to build out a content-rich website.
Thanks to this ease-of-use, most of the people within your team will be able to use WordPress, allowing you to share the responsibility of the daily management and running of your site.
It is worth noting that taking a headless approach with WordPress does also require experienced web developers to be able to manage the platform though.
Security should always be a top priority with any software you introduce into your business. If you’re considering a CMS that seems like it could be unable to provide the enterprise-grade security you need, it’s wise to continue looking for more reliable alternatives.
How Secure is Contentful?
As a cloud-based SaaS product, Contentful comes with useful in-built security features, including HTTPS data encryption, role-based access controls, and multi-factor authentication.
Headless CMSs also take a different approach to security compared to traditional platforms like WordPress. Its use of APIs allows you to control access to your content through a token-based authentication system, and it uses industry-standard encryption and secure storage measures to protect your data. With that in mind, Contentful should be seen as a very secure and robust platform.
How Secure is WordPress?
WordPress is a secure, platform. To find proof of this, you only need to look as far as the wealth of global enterprise businesses that have chosen WordPress as their CMS.
As with any software, though, there will always be vulnerabilities or potential risks that can arise in certain scenarios. For example, WordPress regularly releases updates to its software, and failing to test your platform upon these releases could lead to bugs or security issues creeping in. Similarly, certain plugins can create security problems if taken from the wrong sources or left untested for too long.
Finding an experienced agency partner you can depend on is usually a wise move to reinforce the security of your website. That partner will also be able to support you with important related services like hosting, maintenance, and ongoing optimisation.
Cost and TCO
Your CMS also needs to deliver good value for money and a low total cost of ownership (TCO).
To understand your long-term TCO, you’ll need to take into account things like license fees, hosting costs, maintenance, bespoke development with your agency, and more.
Contentful’s Initial Costs and Ongoing Investment
Contentful has basic and premium pricing plans for businesses, although you can use the platform for free to see if it’s a good fit first.
The basic plan starts at around £250 per month and supports up to twenty users, so it’s only suitable for small businesses. The premium plan is priced based on the resources you’ll use, such as number of users, API requests, and storage. You can usually expect this to start at around £450 per month.
However, as mentioned earlier, most businesses will require a lot of support from an agency to get the platform set up in both the back-end and front-end. You’ll likely need ongoing work from an agency to ensure you can use the platform to its full potential as well, which won’t come cheap.
All these things tend to add up to a high TCO over time, making Contentful less cost-efficient than some of the other CMSs around today.
WordPress’s Low TCO
WordPress is one of those solutions that is far more cost-efficient than Contentful, with a much more reasonable TCO.
Its software is open-source and the platform free to use. This means your initial costs are limited to just hosting, agency fees, and any other support you may need once your site is live. Plugins and extensions of the platform are licensed and paid for separately.
As WordPress is such an intuitive and easy-to-use platform, it’s also affordable to run it and manage it, even if you do use an agency to handle that for you. This includes any bespoke development or customisation requirements you may have, which experienced agencies can often deliver with a very fast time-to-market as well.
Which Platform is Right for You?
Both these CMSs will enable you to build sophisticated, high-performance websites that will support your business goals and allow you to gain an edge over your competition.
As you’ve seen throughout this comparison article, they each have their strengths and weaknesses, as do all the other CMSs available today. That means you need to base your decision on which one is the best fit for your specific business.
For example, a headless CMS, whether that’s Contentful or WordPress, may be too complex in many cases. But if you’re looking to execute a holistic multi-channel marketing strategy, it might be the right choice for you.
In the early stages of your evaluation process, it’s crucial to carefully consider your own unique requirements, objectives, budget, resources, agency relationships, and various other factors.
In order to make the right decision between two CMSs, you need to understand which one will be more suitable to deliver on your needs and expectations, both in the immediate term and for years to come.
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18 April, 2023
What is Visual Exploration in the Process of Web Design?
When a visitor lands on your website, the visual design is likely to be the first thing they’ll notice. It’s also usually the thing they’ll remember most.
75% of consumers reportedly judge a business’s credibility based on its website design. This first impression can make or break a prospective client’s interest in working with you.
The ultimate goal of your website is to attract and retain as many prospects as possible, and then convert them into clients. But most websites are designed in a way that leaves those goals unfulfilled, failing to reach their full potential.
With that in mind, your visual identity should be treated as a top priority within the overall design of your website. Believe it or not, this can have a significant influence on the growth and success of your business.
When working on a web design project, you should always go through a careful visual exploration phase to find the right visual identity for your website.
Whether you’re going through a full company rebrand or just refreshing the style of your website, it’s important to ensure your design is tailored to your specific target audience. This is how you begin to drive business growth through your website.
Without a visual exploration process, your website may not convey your company’s brand identity and values as clearly as you’d like it to.
In this article, we’ll outline the steps taken so you’ll know what to expect when working on a website design project.
What Does the Process Involve?
The purpose of this process is to define the best visual direction to take with your site.
This is a crucial aspect of your overall design, with aesthetic elements being brought together to create a look and feel that engages your site’s visitors and retains their attention. To achieve that, your visual design needs to establish a connection between your audience and your brand immediately. It should also demonstrate why your visitors should work with you.
Exploring your visual identity will cover a wide range of elements, including:
What are Mood Boards and How Can You Use them?
The main tool used to help determine the right visual identity is a set of mood boards.
These are a visual compilation of all the various elements that make up your website’s visual design. Each mood board is essentially just a single-page collage of design styles based on previous discussions and the findings from the research and planning phase of the process.
The aim of these is to capture your brand’s visual style and tone. This will give the stakeholders, and your designers, a shared understanding of the design you’re working towards.
Mood-boarding helps you visualise the work on your website’s design before it begins and agree on a design aesthetic that accurately reflects your brand identity and values.
Think of this like a problem-solving exercise. Your design agency will take a research and data-driven approach to conveying your brand identity, while also catering to your target audience and accommodating the latest industry trends.
Collaboration and Iteration
Like most processes within web design and development, this visual exploration process should be collaborative and iterative.
You’ll typically be presented with a mood board and a set of ideas by your agency partner, then given the chance to provide feedback across several rounds of revisions.
Rounds and revisions are always important in any creative process. It’s usually necessary for your agency to develop and present a minimum of three mood boards before the optimum aesthetic is agreed upon. This is a crucial step towards the ultimate goal of creating a new website that accurately reflects your brand and has a positive impact on your target audience.
Connecting with Your Clients Through Design
Your website’s visual identity is what makes your brand resonate with your target audience. Your design needs to clearly convey the values of your business, the quality of your products and services, and the reason why your visitors would benefit from working with you.
Working through this visual exploration phase is an important step towards designing a website that will attract more visitors and increase your conversions.
Once this visual exploration is complete, the next phase of your web design process will be to craft your website’s user experience (UX).