Despite being the most popular content management system in the world, many large businesses and organisations in strictly regulated industries are still asking, “Is WordPress secure enough for us?”
This article will give you a detailed explanation of how WordPress can provide enterprise-grade security, to help you make your own decision about whether it’s secure enough for your own business. We’ll also share some helpful tips to enhance the platform’s security and reduce its risks even further.
As technology has become more pervasive in our daily lives, cyber security concerns have intensified, especially in the workplace. Each year, we read about more high-profile cases of global brands becoming victims of malicious cyber attacks, most often with sensitive data being the real target.
As a business, you should be increasingly careful and vigilant about the technology solutions you deploy today. This is even more important for large businesses and organisations in industries with strict regulations, where the consequences of security issues can be catastrophic.
When you’re choosing a content management system (CMS) to build critical digital assets like your website, security must therefore be a top priority.
Despite being the most popular CMSs in the world today – powering almost 45% of the world’s websites – WordPress is still seen by some as the platform for smaller organisations. You’d think its popularity alone would be sufficient evidence that WordPress is secure, especially as a large fraction of that user base includes enterprises across both the public and private sectors. However, when it comes to WordPress security, there are still some question marks.
So, is WordPress secure?
But there are certain factors and potential pitfalls you should be aware of if you’re considering WordPress as your CMS of choice.
Understanding Security in a CMS
As business challenges with cyber security and data protection continue to grow, selecting a platform that offers robust security is crucial. But how does that work, exactly?
Ultimately, a CMS like WordPress is just a piece of software, and all software can be vulnerable to security issues in a variety of ways.
The most obvious of these is a cyber security attack, either by hackers, a virus, or malicious software (malware). Any CMS used in a business environment needs to be built to withstand these attacks on a daily basis, and WordPress is definitely capable of doing so.
Another significant risk is when software has accidental weaknesses, issues, or vulnerabilities – known as bugs – built into its code. Bugs are common in software, and they can manifest as anything from a box appearing in the wrong place on your website to a platform vulnerability that leaks mission-critical data to cyber criminals.
Bugs aren’t difficult to fix, and we’ll explain later in this article why WordPress users can be confident that these kinds of risks are minimal with the platform.
However, when it comes to a CMS’s security, it’s important to understand the following point:
The biggest security risks, and the greatest opportunities for cyber criminals, are unsafe user behaviour, lack of best practices, insufficient maintenance, and poorly built sites. Not the platform itself.
Your behaviour, and the behaviour of your end-users, is an area that can be exploited or cause problems if you don’t prioritise security. That’s why it’s necessary to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to protecting your data. The rest of this article will help you do that, and remove any concerns you still have about WordPress security.
Is WordPress Secure?
The misconception that WordPress isn’t secure enough for large businesses still lingers, but why? Well, the main reason is because the platform is free-to-use, and so it was initially most popular among B2C blogs and smaller independent businesses.
Today, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Industry-leading enterprises such as private equity advisory firm Rede Partners LLP, global investment firm Coller Capital, and global research and advisory leader Forrester use WordPress for their CMS, just to name a few. This goes a long way to proving the apprehension towards WordPress security is unnecessary.
So, let’s explore the WordPress platform in more detail to understand why these global enterprises have full confidence in the security of their data, as well as the data of their clients and partners.
WordPress is already a secure, stable platform out-of-the-box.. You can rest assured its core code is highly secure, because it’s overseen by a team of security experts who thoroughly test and quality-check it on a continual basis. They regularly release updates and reinforce any potential weaknesses before they’re exploited to protect you against any new-found threats.
A team of security analysts study the ever-changing cyber security landscape and respond to it with speed and precision.
While WordPress may be seen by some as a CMS for small businesses, the speed at which security updates are implemented is arguably the best in the world when compared to other platforms.
WordPress is also open-source software, which means all the code it’s built on is available to the public. Anyone from outside the WordPress team can view it, download it, and make adjustments to it. Users often suggest their own changes and updates to the code by submitting them to the WordPress moderator team for approval. If improvements are made to the WordPress code, these updates will be released to the global user base.
These people are part of a global community of dedicated, passionate users who work hard to ensure the platform is always developing into the best version of itself possible. Anything WordPress’s own team misses, the developer community will catch. This means users are often fixing bugs and shutting down potential opportunities for cyber criminals, keeping the platform safe for everyone else.
WordPress Security Vulnerabilities
While WordPress does have the support of some of the brightest developers in the world, who keep it as secure as possible, they can’t take care of everything for you. As mentioned earlier, your biggest security risks will probably lie within your own business, regardless of what CMS you’re using.
Additional security vulnerabilities can arise in certain scenarios, often caused by ignoring best practices or failing to take responsibility for simple maintenance of the platform.
Your hosting environment is an important factor that can influence how secure and protected your data will be. Your WordPress websites will be hosted in a server that stores your files and data in a data centre.
WordPress, like any platform, should be hosted in a secure environment, with an experienced provider who prioritises security as part of their services. This should include putting proactive security measures in place for scenarios like unplanned down-time or even natural disasters.
Secure hosting should also involve automated monitoring for malicious activity and vulnerabilities in your servers and software, as well as incident response.
Before choosing your hosting service, be sure to carry out some due diligence and look into the security best practices of your host. In many cases, it’s wise to work with an agency partner who will help you with this, but more on that later.
While the WordPress community is one of the platform’s greatest strengths, interacting with unsafe additions to the software can also be its downfall for some businesses. It’s important to be cautious of the constant stream of new features, updates, and plugins being made available, because some of them could create issues for you.
To avoid these problems, you shouldn’t download plugins unless they come from recognised, credible sources. Furthermore, you should always ensure all your plugins are correctly tested, maintained, and updated.
We appreciate this may sound complicated. For that reason, you should entrust this responsibility to a partner. When using WordPress to build and manage websites, a good agency should help you ensure everything is secure and up-to-date.
When you’re running a website or application on WordPress, you’ll regularly receive software updates from the platform. Any time an update comes through, it’s because certain bugs have been fixed or some improvements have been made.
It’s crucial that you keep up with WordPress updates because they’re there to keep your site secure. By leaving your site running on outdated versions, you’re at risk of a known issue being exploited by cyber attacks. Again, this should be taken care of by your agency partner so you don’t need to worry about keeping your web platform up-to-date.
Tips to Strengthen WordPress Security
If you still have doubts, there are some simple steps you can take to further strengthen the security of the WordPress CMS. Some of these more general tips can also be applied to most website platforms and other software software products in general as well.
Use a managed hosting service that offers enterprise-grade security.
You wouldn’t rent an office in a building that leaves its doors unlocked at night. Why would you place your sensitive data in a data centre that isn’t fully secure?
Some things you should consider non-negotiable for a web hosting provider to offer include:
- 24/7 support
- Back-up and disaster recovery
- Fully-managed service
- Automated monitoring and alerts
- 99.99% up-time
- 100% pass-rate for data centre audits.
Put back-up and disaster recovery services in place to ensure you’re protected from all potential risks.
To build on the above point, ensure your hosting service has measures in place for back-up and disaster recovery. This fail-safe measure will give you a way to save and recover all your data in the event of any losses.
Do not use, or allow your agency to use, any plugins from unrecognised sources.
As mentioned earlier, only use plugins from sources you trust. You should also keep all plugins and additions to the platform up-to-date, and make sure they’re rigorously tested – or, rather, make sure you can rely on your agency partner to do this for you behind the scenes.
Use plugins alongside security-specific enhancements.
You can further bolster the security of the WordPress platform by leveraging security-specific plugins such as WordFence, Sucuri, and Defender Pro. These can inform you of potential vulnerabilities or incidents so you can respond quickly before they have an impact on your business.
Don’t use tools that enable direct access to your site database from within the dashboard.
Some digital tools or extensions give direct access to your site’s database or files from within the dashboard, to make managing your website easier. This is something to avoid, because they’re often a major security risk.
Enabling SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) introduces a protocol which encrypts the transfer of data between your website and your users’ browsers. This makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to steal information and data online.
Encourage your users to follow security best practices.
You can put all the security measures and data protection possible in place, but they could all be for nothing if a weak password or bad behaviour compromises your website.
Some security best practices every business can easily implement include making strong passwords compulsory among all users and introducing additional measures like two-factor authentication.
Rely on an Expert to Minimise Your Security Risks
As touched on throughout this article, another factor which will determine how secure your WordPress platform is will be which agency you decide to work with.
While deciding whether to invest in WordPress is a big decision, don’t underestimate the importance of finding the right agency partner to support you with your CMS, especially when it comes to WordPress security.
Ultimately, you should understand that:
- WordPress by itself, out-of-the-box, is secure enough for most businesses to use.
- WordPress in the hands of an inexperienced or negligent agency will create significant security risks.
- WordPress is the hands of a dedicated, specialist partner is a platform you can trust and rely on without any concerns.
Your data will be fully protected if you work with an agency who takes security seriously and prioritises it at the core of every development task they deliver for you.
That means they should be capable of handling secure architecture, testing, monitoring, updates, and ongoing support for you as part of your service. You should always take the time and care to find a specialist agency partner who has a proven track record of building robust, reliable sites, to ensure you’re minimising your risk.
WordPress is a Suitable Platform for the Enterprise
Cyber security and data protection are critical for businesses of all sizes, across all industries. But it can’t be denied that large businesses often face more severe consequences by falling victim to a cyber attack or data breach.
Choosing a platform that you have total confidence in is a necessary factor in the process of evaluating your options for a CMS.
When you have your own role and responsibilities to focus on, the last thing you want is to be constantly worrying about the security of your site. Following the advice and best practices listed in this article will provide you with a highly resilient WordPress platform with enterprise-grade security. That will allow you to spend more of your time creating an outstanding website that differentiates you from your competitors and drives business growth.
If you need more help understanding and evaluating platforms to deliver a web design and development project, read our comprehensive guide to selecting the right solution here.
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31 March, 2023
The Top Five Business Benefits of WordPress’s Scalability
In a recent article, we explored the topic of scalability, specifically how much scalability the WordPress platform offers. In this case, scalability refers to how WordPress allows you to expand and grow your website with more content, capabilities, features, and functionality.
Scalability is a key influence on whether your investment in your content management system (CMS) of choice will be successful, whether that’s WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore, or any other platform.
When long-term, sustainable business growth is a top priority for your business, you need total confidence that your website can scale to support that growth as your requirements evolve.
WordPress is renowned for its scalability, as it allows you to easily create new features and functionality at will, without the need to invest further time and resources into more development work.
If you do select WordPress as the CMS to build your website, and are able to leverage its industry-leading scalability, this will provide you with a range of benefits and advantages.
1 – Efficiency and Ease-of-Use
With WordPress, it’s extremely quick and efficient to build your website and subsequently add a high volume of new content whenever you need to, without losing any accuracy or quality.
Whether it’s your team or your agency partner managing your site, WordPress is convenient and easy-to-use.
This ease-of-use also applies when it comes to building bespoke features and functionality, so you can keep adding new capabilities as your requirements become more advanced.
2 – Flexibility and Creativity
The WordPress platform is built on the most popular development language in the world, PHP. This language is currently used by more than three quarters (77.5%) of all websites with a known server-side programming language.
This provides tremendous opportunity for creativity, as you and your agency partner can build virtually anything your site needs and integrate it with the platform. That gives WordPress a significant advantage over CMSs built on other less popular development languages.
WordPress also comes with a vast range of plugins which add new functionality, or enhance existing functionality, for your site. Plugins are an essential aspect of WordPress development, because it’s simply not practical or cost-effective to build absolutely everything bespoke.
However, it’s important to note there are some potential drawbacks with plugins that we’ve detailed in a related article, which you can read here.
Ultimately, the support of a trusted agency partner will help you ensure your use of plugins is well advised and risk-free..
3 – Low TCO
This dynamic scalability and great ease-of-use mean that you can use WordPress with a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than most other CMS options.
Working with a platform as intuitive and agile as WordPress will prevent you from having to pay for costly extra work to build out new features and functionality for your site.
When you have a new requirement, you can simply use a quality plugin or ask your agency partner to create something bespoke. Both approaches will be quick and cost-effective.
Either way, when compared to other platforms, WordPress delivers unprecedented value for money. This provides you with more budget available to reinvest in improving your site with further innovations.
4 – Fast Time-to-Market
Similar to the above point, WordPress allows you to achieve a much faster time-to-market with your site than most other platforms when developing new sites, features, or capabilities.
From a long-term perspective, as your business grows and new requirements emerge, WordPress can continue to quickly expand and grow easily with useful new features.
This allows you to execute on tactical and strategic requirements as quickly as possible, keeping up with user demands and market trends.
5 – Competitive Differentiation
The aforementioned advantages WordPress has over other CMSs allow you to create innovative bespoke features for your site at scale, at speed, and within a reasonable budget.
This naturally begins to help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors. A high-performance web presence that is dynamic enough to scale with speed and efficiency is a point of differentiation in today’s fast-moving digital business landscape.
Platform Selection is a Key Decision
Scalability should always be an important part of your criteria when selecting a CMS to build your website. WordPress’s scalability, and the resulting advantages discussed in this article, make it one of the best platforms available today.
When you also consider that some of the world’s biggest businesses have websites built on WordPress, that argument becomes even more easy to get behind.
If you’d like to learn more about how some of the world’s leading businesses use the WordPress platform at scale, read our related article here. We also provide useful tips and advice to make creating sophisticated new features and functionality easy for you.
Of course, building, managing, and scaling a high-performance website is a complex challenge. As with any CMS, it’s crucial to find the support and guidance of an experienced agency partner to ensure you’re leveraging the platform to its full potential.
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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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10 July, 2023
Headless CMS Explained: Understanding Whether Headless is the Right Approach for Your Website
Making the best possible choice of content management system (CMS) is crucial for the success of your website. But, these days, not only do you have to navigate the many different options – from WordPress to Sitecore to Webflow – you also have the added challenge of deciding whether to go “headless” or not.
Whether to take the less conventional headless approach with your CMS is a decision that could cause some confusion. It could even cause some challenges with your website if you end up making the wrong choice.
In this article, we’ll help you understand exactly what a headless CMS is, when you may need to take that approach, and highlight some key considerations to make before finalising your choice.
What is a Headless CMS?
With a traditional CMS, the back-end and the front-end of the system are directly linked. This is how you use your CMS for both the content management (back-end) and to control how the content is presented to your website visitors (front-end).
In this context, the back-end of the CMS is sometimes referred to as the “body” and the “head” is the front-end. In a headless CMS, that front-end is decoupled from the back-end of the system, hence the term headless. With this approach, you use the back-end as normal for content management and the presentation of content in the front-end is handled completely separately.
This is valuable because it allows you to design your website front-end however you like, without any restrictions. However, it also requires more technical work from your development agency as a trade-off.
With a headless CMS, your content is presented to your audience on your live website by using APIs that take it from the back-end of the CMS. This use of APIs also allows you to publish the same content in a variety of different formats via different channels as well, but more on that later.
Scenarios in Which You Might Need a Headless CMS
It’s important to understand that you should only take a headless approach if it’s the most suitable way to meet a specific set of requirements or objectives.
Some scenarios in which you might need to take a closer look at adopting a headless CMS include:
If a large volume of content is a key component of your marketing strategy.
If you’re going to be producing and publishing a lot of content on your website, you may benefit from a headless CMS. Many people find it easier and more intuitive managing websites in the back-end of a headless CMS.
The decoupling of the front-end also means that your development agency will be the ones responsible for ensuring your audience is presented with dynamic, engaging content.
If you expect to have high volumes of traffic and need to maintain performance.
If the size of your website’s audience will put a heavy demand on your CMS’s performance, a headless system could be a worthwhile investment. Using APIs, and leveraging other intelligent techniques, the headless approach often delivers faster loading times, reduces the workload on your servers, and offers greater scalability.
If you have a multi-channel marketing strategy, or need to publish content across multiple digital touch-points.
The headless approach allows you to take one piece of content, upload it into the back-end, and seamlessly publish it across several channels, including website, mobile app, social media, email, and even internet-of-things (IoT) devices.
This can help you maximise consistency, while providing your users in each channel an experience optimised for their preferred context.
If you’re prioritising personalisation.
As personalisation is becoming much more important in modern marketing, headless CMSs are becoming more popular in enabling those tactics.
If you need to create personalised experiences for your website visitors based on their demographic data, past behaviour, preferences, and so on, a headless CMS may be the right option. This is a useful approach for delivering tailored content to individual visitors, improving your engagement and increasing conversions.
If you have a multi-lingual or multi-regional website.
Delivering the same content to visitors in different languages, across different locations, can also be made easier by using a headless CMS. Your localisation process can be streamlined by managing the content for all users just once in the back-end, then delivering it seamlessly in its different forms based on location or other conditions.
Key Considerations and Potential Pitfalls
While a headless CMS can be a great choice to deliver on the requirements discussed here, it’s still not a straightforward decision in these scenarios.
Firstly, it’s important to note that a traditional CMS like WordPress can still help you achieve all the things listed above, especially with the support of an experienced, talented agency. Secondly, there are some downsides to the headless approach that need to be considered while you’re evaluating your options.
Security is an issue that needs careful consideration when looking into the headless approach. The headless architecture, and use of APIs, create more security vulnerabilities than you’d have with a traditional CMS.
It’s also common for a headless CMS to require more hands-on management in key areas such as hosting and compliance, as well as more thorough and frequent testing.
When you ask your development agency to build, manage, and maintain your website using a headless CMS, you’re asking them for more complex work than they’d be facing with a traditional system. This complexity is something you need to be aware of, both in your selection of an agency capable of delivering your requirements, and in the additional workload you’re asking them to complete for you.
Following on from the previous point, more complex development work often results in a longer time-to-market for your website.
Developing a website using a headless CMS may require more time and resources from your agency to deliver the work for you. If you need to get your site up and running quickly, or if you may require future development work to be delivered quickly, a regular CMS may be a safer bet.
Publishing content with a headless CMS may be easy, but if something goes wrong, or you need something changed, you’re unlikely to be able to do it yourself. A headless CMS requires more technical skills and development experience to maintain than a traditional CMS, even for small tasks. If you don’t have these skills in your team, you’ll be more reliant on your agency partner than you would be with a normal CMS.
Total Cost of Ownership
All the points listed here will add up to a higher total cost of ownership (TCO). When accounting for the higher volume and greater complexity of work you’ll require from your agency, you’re likely to spend a lot more of your budget on a headless CMS.
Unless you have specific complex requirements that demand the use of a headless CMS, it’s usually the more cost-efficient option to go with the more traditional approach.
With all that said, it’s also important to consider whether a headless CMS is even necessary based on your content strategy.
Unless you have an intricate, wide-ranging content strategy that spans various channels and platforms, it might not be worth adopting a headless CMS at all.
Most of the requirements you have can likely be delivered by working with a reliable agency partner using a sophisticated, flexible CMS like WordPress.
It’s also important to note that WordPress can be used in a headless context as well. This offers you a balance between a familiar, easy-to-use system and a more dynamic UX for your visitors in the front-end.
The Benefits of a Headless CMS
If you do decide to take a headless approach, your CMS can deliver a wealth of benefits and strategic advantages. These include:
The headless architecture will enable you to build out your digital presence rapidly, on a large scale, across multiple channels. This scalability will be crucial for your website as your business grows and your requirements evolve.
Both the back-end of your headless CMS and the front-end presentation of your content are entirely customisable, tailored to your specific requirements.
Headless CMSs provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of your selection of technology, content creation, and implementation of a multi-channel market strategy.
If you work with a skilled agency partner who can set up and manage your system for you, publishing and editing content with a headless CMS becomes quick, easy, and efficient.
Delivering your content seamlessly – and consistently – across a wide range of channels and digital touch-points creates a far greater UX for your target audience.
The headless architecture removes the need to render pages on your server. This creates the faster loading times and improved performance discussed previously, which also contributes to a better experience for your visitors.
As mentioned earlier, the headless approach allows you to create a truly unique UX. In an increasingly crowded, noisy online landscape, this can help you differentiate your website and stand above your competitors.
A headless CMS allows you to easily change or upgrade the technology you use for your front-end without having any impact on your back-end. This will help you become more agile and adapt quickly as new technology trends emerge in future.
Making the Right Decision for Your Unique Requirements
Ultimately, you should base your decision here on the specific requirements you have for your website and the circumstances you find yourself in.
While a headless CMS does offer a range of innovative capabilities, the additional costs and resources you’ll need to invest may not be worthwhile. For example, the traditional use of WordPress can provide you with most of the benefits discussed earlier.
Carefully consider your objectives, your strategy, and the resources you have available. Use those to weigh up all the pros and cons listed in this article in relation to your own website project.
The key thing is to clearly understand exactly what you need from your CMS, and use that to select the option that aligns best with your requirements.
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19 May, 2023
WebFlow vs WordPress: Which Platform is Right for You?
Finding a content management system (CMS) that is secure, cost-effective, and capable of delivering a website that meets all your requirements can be challenging.
As we’ve discussed in a previous article, there are lots of excellent CMSs available today, and it’s difficult to know which one will be the best fit for your specific business.
While most CMSs appear similar on the surface, with the same fundamental functionality, popular platforms like Webflow and WordPress have unique features and capabilities that differentiate them from each other.
So, selecting between these two different platforms is an important process that requires careful consideration. After all, your CMS is a long-term investment, and you need to know exactly what you’re getting before you make your decision.
To ease this challenge for you, this article will provide a direct, objective comparison between the Webflow and WordPress platforms.
An Overview of Each Platform
You want a CMS that will enable you to build sophisticated, high-performance websites, tailored to your business, with a set of tools that are simple and easy-to-use.
Webflow and WordPress can both give you exactly that in their own distinctive styles. Both platforms allow you to build and manage complex websites without deep technical knowledge, but they each take slightly different approaches.
Webflow is a software-as-a-service product, not a typical CMS. That means it doesn’t require any hosting and is primarily delivered via Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud servers.
As it’s a complete, mostly self-contained SaaS application, with everything built-in to it from the start, you can get up and running with your Webflow website quickly and easily.
You can use Webflow as a basic no-code website builder straight away. However, as you’ll certainly want to create a more dynamic, engaging website with a high volume of content, you’ll have to enable its CMS functionality to get up and running properly.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a more traditional CMS, intended to build highly scalable, dynamic websites full of rich content. The platform will need to be downloaded on to hosting servers, which can all be taken care of for you if you’re going to be working with an agency partner.
WordPress is also a free, open-source platform, which means all users have access to its code. That allows talented developers to contribute to improving the platform with innovative new additions and enhancements on a near-constant basis.
As WordPress is used to build almost half the websites online today, it also has a global community made up of millions of users who offer support, collaboration, knowledge sharing, events, and much more.
Approachability and Ease-of-Use
A shared benefit of both Webflow and WordPress over certain other CMSs is their ease-of-use.
Both these platforms are approachable with low barriers for entry, even if you don’t have any existing coding or content management experience.
As a low-code or no-code SaaS tool, almost anyone can use Webflow to build a website.
It provides a visual drag-and-drop builder with an emphasis on enabling users to create websites quickly and easily.
When using the CMS functionality to add more content to your website, like blog posts, the CMS is simple, allowing you to publish and manage the pages of your site with great efficiency. This is in the style of a classic content editor, which will probably be familiar to you.
Almost anyone can use WordPress as well, even if you have no previous content management experience, hence its global popularity. In fact, simplicity and usability are arguably some of WordPress’s greatest strengths.
Almost everything you’ll need to set up and manage your website will be readily available when you first start using WordPress, making it very approachable. The platform provides you with an intuitive user interface (UI) that allows quick and easy publishing, management, and editing of content.
This is made even more efficient thanks to WordPress’s block-based editor. This is a method of building websites that offers significant advantages in flexibility, scalability, and ease-of-use.
Particularly for large-scale websites that are likely to grow and evolve, this can save your developers valuable time and money, while also reducing your time-to-market.
Their Features and Functionality
For your investment in your CMS to be successful, it will need to have a range of features and functionality which allow you to create a website that delivers on your business objectives.
As touched on earlier, Webflow is a SaaS application in which almost everything you need is included as standard.
The core Webflow platform is all you need to build your site, although your agency will be able to add extra features for you by embedding code snippets from other services if you need them.
For example, if you want to create the ability for your visitors to subscribe to your site as members, you could take code from another platform that facilitates subscriptions and use that to integrate the functionality.
This is where the platforms start to deviate in approach. Webflow’s self-contained nature perhaps makes it a simpler platform because it doesn’t require many plugins, but that also makes it a lot more limited than WordPress.
Because Webflow doesn’t offer any plugins, you won’t be able to add many extensions that work directly in the Webflow interface. This prevents you from having one unified approach to your website management and marketing.
Most of the things you require to publish content and manage your website on a daily basis come readily available on the WordPress platform. WordPress’s sophisticated, dynamic features that come “out-of-the-box” are a great point of value.
However, if you do need to go beyond the standard functionality of WordPress, that can also be done with relative ease. Working with an agency with WordPress-specific expertise means that you can develop bespoke features and functionality unique to your website with almost no limitations.
This allows you to tailor your CMS to meet your specific needs, and working with an agency to achieve this can still be very cost-effective.
Not only that, but passionate members of the global community are always working hard to create new features and extensions that continue to improve the capabilities of the platform for free.
How Well do they Integrate with Other Systems?
Beyond features, extensions, and plugins, your platform of choice should also be able to integrate easily with other tools and systems that are already present within your business.
Integrating with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, your email marketing system, and other software products is an important quality for a CMS to have.
Integrating with Webflow
While Webflow can integrate with some third-party tools, this is another area where the platform is somewhat limited. You can integrate your Webflow site with other tools, but there aren’t many native integrations available. Your agency partner will need to use more code embeds to achieve this, and you’ll have to use separate interfaces in many situations.
For example, using a lead generation form from your CRM on a Webflow site will require you to build the form in the CRM first, then add it to your web page using the embed code.
Not only does this approach create inconvenience for you and your team, but the extra time spent by your agency on more complex integrations will increase the overall long-term cost of the platform.
Integrating with WordPress
Thanks to WordPress’s vast popularity, and the work of the global community, there are native plugins that can seamlessly integrate your WordPress site with almost any other tool or system.
Simply add a plugin for any third-party tool to create the ability to access that tool’s functionality directly within your WordPress CMS.
Even for more advanced requirements that need some bespoke development, like cross-platform automation, it’s usually an easier job for your development agency than it would be with most other platforms.
How Secure Are these Platforms?
Security should be a top priority when selecting a CMS. Concerns over cyber security and data protection are ever-increasing for businesses, so you need to ensure something as important as your website is fully secure.
Webflow is mostly based on AWS, an industry leader in secure hosting, so you can rest assured your platform will be highly secure. Webflow also has additional protective measures in place to bolster the security of all the data on the platform.
Again, because it’s a SaaS product, this all comes out-the-box and doesn’t require you to take any steps yourself to secure your site.
However, that does mean you’re entirely reliant on Webflow to ensure that security is continually updated and reinforced. Neither you nor your agency partner have any control over the security of your site, which some businesses see as a negative.
Your agency partner will typically be responsible for the hosting, maintenance, and security of your WordPress platform. We mention hosting and maintenance here because these things are influential towards ensuring your platform, and your website, are kept secure.
WordPress is already a very secure platform out-of-the-box, though. There’s no need to think that WordPress’s protection is not robust enough for a large business, even in today’s volatile security landscape. Evidence of this security can be found in the number of global enterprise businesses that have chosen WordPress as their CMS.
Of course, there are vulnerabilities that can arise in certain scenarios, like if your platform isn’t kept fully updated on a constant basis. For this reason, it’s crucial to work with an agency partner who you can trust and rely on when it comes to security, including enterprise-grade hosting and continual platform maintenance.
The Overall Cost and CTO
As mentioned earlier, your CMS is not only a big investment, it’s also a long-term one. You ideally need to find a platform that offers good value for money, and a low total cost of ownership (TCO), in order to achieve a strong return on investment (ROI).
Your TCO will be determined by combining everything from your hosting costs, license fees, work with your agency, maintenance, bespoke development, and more.
In terms of costs and plans, Webflow is more expensive than WordPress. This SaaS product offers two different types of plans, a site plan and a workplace plan.
The average enterprise business with a dynamic website will be looking at costs of between £300 and £500 with Webflow. This makes it a far more cost-effective alternative than large-scale CSMs like Sitecore.
As discussed throughout this article, though, Webflow’s lack of native plugins and integrations will also make bespoke development work more difficult and time-consuming for your agency. This will inevitably drive up the platform’s TCO, and that’s something you should carefully consider when evaluating your options.
WordPress is a more cost-effective platform, with a generally low TCO for most businesses. Its open-source nature means it’s free to use, limiting your initial costs to just hosting, agency fees, and post-deployment support. Any plugins or extensions of the platform will be licensed and paid for separately.
Since WordPress is such an intuitive and easy-to-use platform, any bespoke development work you need your agency partner to complete will still come at a reasonable cost. Similarly, whenever the WordPress platform is updated, testing and maintaining your site can be done in just a few hours. This creates a significantly lower TCO than you’d have with almost all other enterprise CMSs.
Make the Right Choice for Your Business
Webflow and WordPress are both good platforms in their own right, with plenty of value to offer. The key thing to understand when making this comparison is that your CMS of choice needs to align with your business’s unique requirements and specific objectives.
For instance, Webflow might be a suitable choice for one of your smaller competitors, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a good fit for you if you need more advanced features and functionality.
Whether you’re developing a bespoke website from scratch, or migrating your existing site to a new platform, you must ensure your CMS can deliver on your needs both now and as your business grows over time.
If you need further help selecting a CMS for your website project, read our comprehensive guide to understanding and evaluating the options for large businesses here.
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8 March, 2023
5 Women To Shape the Design and Tech Worlds
March 8th is still an important date to remind us of the brilliance of being a woman in our society. Even though it can be a struggle every day, we know that women are capable of anything and we are very proud to celebrate the achievements of these creative and intelligent women.
Who can live without Wi-Fi nowadays? In 1942, Hedy invented the technology that later helped the creation of wireless signals.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
If you’re not in the programming world, you may not have heard of COBOL. This programming language created in 1952 is still used on business applications to this day. Grace was one of the first ever compilers and her work led to the creation of COBOL.
Even in the age of Sat Nav, you’ve probably relied on a road sign at some point, right? Either driving or walking down the street, the reliable signs are a source of comfort when technology fails. Margaret was part of the team that redesigned the whole UK road sign system. It all started in the late 1950s and her work still guides us even to this day.
‘Just do it’ – the famous tagline from a brand you might have heard of, called Nike. The tick logo was first developed by Carolyn when she was just starting design and the idea behind it to represent speed and motion. Even though the Nike tick is now one of the top 10 most recognised logos worldwide, Carolyn has only made $35 from her design.
We all know Apple. We all know that they’ve conquered the world of technology by consistently presenting unique designs with both their hardware and software. What you probably didn’t know was that Susan was the designer responsible for developing all the typefaces, icons and other elements that serve as the core for what we now know as the Apple brand.