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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- Design look and feel
- Structure and navigation
- Features and functionality
- User experience
- Content and layout
- Speed and performance
- And anything else relevant to your project.
- 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.
- Auto-updates – When your platform’s software is automatically updated, changes in the code can cause new security weaknesses to arise.
- Plugins – Using WordPress plugins from untrustworthy sources, or neglecting to update and maintain your plugins properly, can also cause security issues.
- Review the results and analysis of any previous tests (if there are any)
- Define the scope of the testing, including which tests will be performed
- Gather all necessary data and information on the system to conduct the testing
- Determine the criteria of success or failure for the tests.
- Use automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities and identify weaknesses
- Attempt to exploit the identified weaknesses
- Repeat the tests with different types of user roles and permissions
- Measure the outcomes against criteria for success or failure
- Create a report on the outcomes and results of the tests.
- Review the reports and analyse the results
- Remediate and resolve the vulnerabilities that were able to be exploited
- Re-test the vulnerabilities to ensure remediation was successful.
- Read our comparison between Sitecore and WordPress here.
- Read our comparison between Umbraco and WordPress here.
18 April, 2023
Understanding the Important Role of Research and Planning When Designing a New Website
Before you begin working on the design elements of a website project, it’s important to begin with, what we at SoBold call, a research and planning phase.
The purpose of a research and planning phase is to ensure that every single decision you make about your design will result in a more effective website, both in terms of your business goals and your users’ needs.
During this phase, you’ll work alongside your chosen agency to define the full scope of your website and all its requirements. This phase will also involve looking closely at your target audience, trends in your market, your competitors, and any data available from your existing website.
This research is extremely useful in shaping the direction you take with your website and helping you to capitalise on certain trends that may align with your strategic objectives.
In this article, we’ll explain how a research and planning phase works to help you know what to expect when entering your own website design project.
Website Strategy Workshop
A research and planning phase usually begins with a strategic workshop. This workshop will bring all the relevant stakeholders together, either in person or over a video call, to agree on the goals and parameters of the project.
A workshop is a great collaborative environment to help your agency become even more familiar with your brand, your target audience, and the outcomes you’re looking for from your new website.
Your agency should work closely with you to determine how the objectives you have for your new website feed into your wider business goals. That will be the key to finding the right approach to designing your website.
Once the workshop is completed, the research can begin.
Leveraging Data to Dictate User Experience (UX) Decisions
Every decision you make about your website’s design needs to be informed and justified by data.
As it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture and retain your audience’s attention, nothing can be left to chance. It’s also negligent to overlook the vast range of valuable insights available to you within your data, and the data in the public domain.
Your agency should begin by analysing the performance of your website in Google Analytics. This can help to help understand the current behaviours and trends from your website users.
Most businesses use Google Analytics, but few understand the right things to measure. For many businesses, Google Analytics is an untapped gold mine of data and insights that can help you improve site engagement, retain more visitors, and ultimately grow your business.
You can conduct a thorough analysis of things like:
1 – Your Audience Acquisition
Google Analytics can help you identify where your visitors have found you and accessed your website from.
Whether through organic search, social media, direct, or referral, you’ll learn how all your visitors are acquired. This information is vital, as it can allow you to tailor different parts of your website to certain visitors at various stages of their journey with you.
For example, if organic traffic is a key driver of your website traffic, it’s important for your agency to ensure that lots of the hierarchical structure of copy is maintained throughout the site.
This is also helpful in optimising your wider digital marketing strategy, by recognising what’s working well and what isn’t, from a web traffic perspective.
Bonus Tip – If you’re running Google Adwords, make sure your agency partner is aware of all the URLs that need to be redirected, and that this doesn’t affect your ad spend.
2 – Your Visitors’ Demographics
Google Analytics can provide detailed insights into your website’s visitors, with data covering everything from age, gender, location, language, and more. This helps you gain a clear, specific understanding of who’s coming to your website, and that can inform important decisions about your design.
It will also help you determine whether or not you’re attracting the right audience, which could alert you to a need for changes in your design and branding.
Bonus Tip – If you have a lot of visitors from other countries, you may need to talk to your agency about setting up a content delivery network (CDN) on the hosting server to deliver content from that location.
3 – Your Visitors’ Interests
You can use Google Analytics to view information about your visitors’ interests, past searches, and other online behaviour. This can help you identify what they’re looking for when they’re visiting your site. You can then tailor your design and content to match any unaddressed questions, challenges, or needs they might be looking to meet.
4 – Your Visitors’ Behaviour
Google Analytics can give you a graphical representation of your visitors’ behaviour when interacting with your site. This includes where they’ve entered your site, where they went next, what their whole journey through your site looks like, and where they eventually left.
This provides great opportunities to optimise certain pages that aren’t performing well enough. You can also learn what your visitors respond well to from pages that already have strong engagement.
Mapping your users’ journeys may also uncover insights to help you create links between certain services, hone in on special offers that will drive increased conversions, and many other ways to boost engagement.
5 – Your Conversions
Your conversions are a critical measurement of your site’s success. Whether you’re aiming for subscriptions, demo sign-ups, contact form submissions, downloads, or anything else, failing to achieve your conversion targets means something isn’t working.
You can use Google Analytics to set goals for conversions, monitor performance, and highlight areas where you need to improve.
Taking this analytical approach will ensure your website’s design is tailored to supporting your strategic objectives.
Bonus Tip – On July 1, 2023, for continued website measurement, you’ll need to migrate your original property settings to a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property. Your agency partner should be on top of this though.
Next, if applicable, your agency should review any existing tracking resources you have in place on your website.
A successful website design is based on many different factors, each an important component in engaging your audience, converting them into clients, and growing your business.
This is why it’s useful to look into key metrics you may use to measure your success against, then use the related data and analytics to inform your design. Tailoring your UX based on your findings will ensure your website is designed specifically to optimise your user behaviours.
Bonus Tip – If you don’t have any additional tracking in place, both HotJar and Crazy Egg are great tools to use.
Analysing External Factors
Understanding Your Target Audience
One of the most important parts of building a new website is understanding the preferences of the audience you’re targeting. You know what your ideal customer profiles (ICP) look like, but do you understand how they behave when interacting with websites online?
Every decision about your website’s design must be made with consideration and empathy for your users. As touched on in the previous section, audience research will include a wide range of variables, including:
This part of the research will contribute towards building user personas and user journeys at a later stage of the design process.
A user persona is a fictional person that you can use to represent the target audience of your website. These personas will help you focus on the desired interactions between the ideal user and the website you’re building. Creating personas also helps to map the users’ needs to your goals for the project.
A user journey is a path that a user may take to reach their goal when using your website. Hypothetical user journeys are created at this stage, as they help to identify the different ways the site’s design needs to enable the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.
With these, you can begin to paint a picture of how your target audience will interact with your website, allowing you to create a satisfying user experience.
Researching your industry landscape will reveal a great deal about what to do, and what not to do. An analysis of the wider market you operate in will help you benchmark yourself against industry leaders, and highlight mistakes being made by any businesses lagging behind. It’s useful to be aware of any industry trends or points of influence that may inform your website’s design as well.
Bonus Tip – You’re an expert in your industry. Your agency is not, but they are experts in web design and marketing trends. Work closely together by leveraging each other’s knowledge and expertise to paint the full picture of what makes modern websites successful from a design perspective.
It’s also crucial to conduct a thorough competitor analysis to see what the benchmark is for a successful website in your industry. Conversely, some competitors may provide examples of bad design that can help you identify pitfalls to avoid with your own site.
Around five of your competitors is usually a good number to look into. To do this, your agency should work with you on assessing their websites in key areas such as:
This research will allow you to recognise opportunities, gaps in the market, important trends, and any other insights you can gather.
Making Data-Driven Decisions
Following all this research, your agency will work on developing a strategy for your website, recommending the optimum route through the rest of the design process.
Your agency will provide a report detailing all the findings from the strategy workshop and research. This should often include a sitemap document and a content framework for your site as well.
An agency should always provide the opportunity for feedback and iterations on crucial documents like this, so you should then be given time to review this and provide feedback.
Bonus Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, challenge things you’re unsure about, or change your mind during this feedback and revision process. These are big decisions, and it’s important to be 100% sure about the direction your website’s design is being taken.
Once you’ve worked through this feedback with your agency and you’re happy with everything they’ve planned, you can then move into the phase of the project that focuses on the visual identity of your site.
Bringing it All Together in the Design
A thorough, well managed research and planning phase is an essential part of designing a successful website. By having a strategy backed up by tangible data in place, you’ll be able to work through the remaining phases of the overall design process in a more efficient and effective way.
It also helps anticipate any challenges or potential issues in the design process and allows you to mitigate them before they arise, saving you time and money in the long-run.
This phase is arguably the most important in ensuring your agency can meet your specific requirements and expectations, on time and within budget.
If you’d like to discover what’s involved in the next phase of a web design project, exploring the visual identity of your site, read our next article here.
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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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14 July, 2023
A Guide to Penetration Testing: Strengthen Your Website Security and Minimise Risk
Penetration testing, often abbreviated as pen testing, is an essential process to ensure you maintain a safe and secure website. But what exactly does pen testing involve, and how can you rest assured your agency partner is covering all potential vulnerabilities for you?
This article will provide a detailed guide to penetration testing, helping you minimise your security risks and ensure your website is fully protected.
In a recent series of articles published in our resource library, we provided an in-depth explanation of the end-to-end process of building a high-performance, enterprise-grade website. (If you’d like to read that series first before learning about pen testing, you can start here).
After you’ve worked with your agency partner to successfully build your website, you’ll also need to ensure your site is protected from cyber security threats. With that in mind, you should understand the important role that pen testing plays in effective website security and maintenance.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is a form of website testing that’s used to identify security vulnerabilities When conducting pen testing on your site, your agency will simulate a range of cyber attacks that could be used by cyber criminals or malicious software (malware).
The purpose of this is to identify security weaknesses within your site and take action to prevent them from being exploited in the real world. This approach goes beyond basic tests, as it doesn’t just list the vulnerabilities, it examines how they could be exploited and helps to prevent that from happening.
Why is it Crucial for an Agency to Conduct Penetration Testing?
Website security is critical in today’s digital business landscape. Cyber security threats have become highly intelligent and sophisticated, now capable of penetrating even the strongest security networks.
The outcomes of a cyber attack on your website could be catastrophic, either through sensitive data being stolen, lengthy losses of business continuity, or even reputational damage.
Remember, your site’s security isn’t just vital to you as a business, it’s also something your clients need assurance with when they agree to work with you. You should be taking as many proactive steps as possible to ensure your security measures are rigorous enough to match high levels of risk.
Covering All Bases for Robust Security (in WordPress)
It’s useful to be conscious of the common security weaknesses and pitfalls cyber criminals typically aim to take advantage of.
Security vulnerabilities can be created when your website is running on outdated versions of your platform, or if something hasn’t been configured or integrated properly. Other common pitfalls include weak authentication measures and insufficient protection from the perspective of your users.
With platforms like WordPress, there are some areas in which less experienced agencies could allow security vulnerabilities to creep in as well. For instance:
This is one of many reasons why it’s important to work with an experienced agency partner who has proven platform-specific knowledge and expertise. Your agency should know your CMS of choice inside out, and should therefore be well aware of all the most common security pitfalls and targets for cyber attacks.
What Does Effective Penetration Testing Involve?
To conduct pen testing, your agency’s security experts will run through a process that attempts to penetrate your site’s security measures.
This is usually done in stages, as follows:
1 – Planning and Preparation
2 – Running the Tests
3 – Post-Testing
The Benefits of Thorough Penetration Testing
Working with an agency partner who can support you with ongoing pen testing is a necessary step towards gaining enterprise-grade security for your website.
Technology changes so quickly today. Your platform receives updates regularly, your site is always growing, and cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to breach your defences and gain access to your data. Penetration testing allows you to keep the pace with new emerging vulnerabilities.
Conducting regular pen testing can also help improve client relationships and create competitive advantages as well. In certain industries, a demonstrable commitment to security will be greatly appreciated by your target audience. This can help to differentiate you from the competition and provide the trust required to attract more prospective clients to work with you.
Website Security is a Never-Ending Battle
While every business with a website faces tremendous security risks today, this is a proven process that can help to minimise that risk and give you the confidence you need in your site’s security.
Any agency partner you work with should have the knowledge and expertise to understand the importance of pen testing, and should insist on making this an integral, ongoing part of your site’s maintenance.
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3 December, 2018
SoBold selected to work with Transport for London
SoBold Limited (SoBold), a leading digital and web marketing consultancy, is delighted to announce that SoBold has been selected to work with Transport for London (TfL) to build, manage and support a bespoke Cookie Consent Management Tool for use across TfL’s portfolio of websites.
SoBold’s rapid growth over the previous 12 months has seen them become a leading player in the digital and web marketing space. SoBold’s core offerings are now used by over 200 customers worldwide and we anticipate this customer base to continue to grow considerably over the next 12 months and beyond.
SoBold has been an authorised Reseller of Cookiebot since the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into place on 24 May 2018. Cookiebot’s tool consists of three main features: cookie consent, cookie monitoring and cookie control and SoBold work with their clients helping them manage, build and integrate these solutions onto their websites. SoBold now manage Cookie Consent Management for clients across numerous different industries.
Transport for London has completed a formal tendering process to procure a new Cookie Consent Management Tool for their tfl.gov.uk website domains. By procuring the tool, Transport for London is best able to align their approach to cookie management with the requirements of data protection legislation. SoBold will work with Transport for London, for a minimum of 12 months with the option of extending the contract for a further 24 months.
SoBold Founder and Managing Director Will Newland, commented:
“We are absolutely delighted to work with Transport for London. This gives SoBold the opportunity to work with a large, well known, corporation and we have no doubt we can play a big part in ensuring Transport for London’s customers can feel safe and confident when sharing information about themselves on the TfL website. This further strengthens SoBold’s position as a leading player in the Cookie Consent Management space.”
SoBold Lead Developer Sam Phillips, commented:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for SoBold to showcase our experience in the delivery of bespoke Cookie Consent Management solutions across a portfolio of websites with millions of visitors per month. The contract with TfL cements our position as a leading CookieBot reseller in the United Kingdom.”
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12 January, 2023
WordPress vs Drupal – Comparing Both Content Management Systems
There are plenty of similarities between WordPress and Drupal. That can make it particularly hard to choose between the two if you’re tasked with finding a new content management system (CMS) for your business. But when you’re about to invest in a new CMS, it’s an important decision that needs careful consideration.
After all, your CMS will be the platform upon which your website is built, and the influence that will have on your business growth and success today shouldn’t be underestimated. With that in mind, it’s crucial to find a platform that aligns with your specific requirements and enables you to achieve your strategic objectives.
To help you gain a clear understanding of the differences between WordPress and Drupal, and decide which one is better suited to your business, we’ve provided this helpful side-by-side assessment.
This article is part of a new series where we’ve explored direct, objective comparisons between some of the leading options for CMSs. In the third article of this series, we’re looking at Drupal and WordPress. You can find links to the other articles in this series at the bottom of the page.
Approachability and Ease-of-Use
A CMS is a big investment, and so you’ll want to begin getting good use and value from your platform of choice as quickly as possible. Like any type of software, though, some platforms are more approachable for the average user, while others will require you to have some previous experience to get going.
How Approachable is Drupal?
Drupal is aimed at users with some prior coding skills or content management experience. If you have technical skills at your disposal, Drupal can provide great functionality once you’ve put some time and effort into setting everything up.
For non-technical users, however, working with the platform and getting comfortable using it can be a long-term process. It’s an advanced CMS that doesn’t offer much in the way of straightforward usability “out-of-the-box” unfortunately. If your team is made up of non-technical users and beginners, this might not be the best platform for you.
Even if you work with a web development agency to help you get everything set up and tailored to your preferences, the complexity of the code will make their project timelines and costs higher than the average CMS.
How Approachable is WordPress?
WordPress is very approachable for anyone, even beginners without any previous experience using a CMS.
Simplicity is one of WordPress’s greatest strengths, and many would argue that elevates it above all its peers.
This usability allows you to get up-to-speed immediately with a very fast time-to-market for your site. That means you’ll begin to achieve a positive return on investment (ROI) much quicker than most other platforms. Almost everything you need to build and manage your website will be readily available when you first begin using WordPress, making it more approachable for the average user than Drupal.
As it’s such an intuitive platform, pretty much anyone in your team will be able to use WordPress. That will make it easier to handle the daily management and running of your site as a shared responsibility.
Functionality and Customisation
As touched on above, you should be looking for a platform that you and your colleagues will be comfortable using on a daily basis. If you don’t like the way a CMS functions, you should remove it from your shortlist of options.
While Drupal and WordPress are similar at first glance, with the same fundamental functionality of a CMS, there are some unique features and capabilities that differentiate them. There’s also a wide range of ways to customise them to your own liking.
Working with Drupal
While the complexity mentioned in the previous section does require considerable time, effort, and money to get past, once you’ve got there you’ll likely find Drupal is a good CMS to use for building and editing your website.
Drupal’s user interface (UI) is fairly easy to get used to. You can publish, edit, manage, and organise content with flexibility, adjusting your page structure and site navigation. You can also lean on a large library of website themes and modules, which are additions similar to WordPress’s plugins, to tailor your CMS to your own unique specifications.
Working with WordPress
As a CMS, WordPress’s simple, intuitive functionality allows you to seamlessly launch and manage your site. It’s very convenient editing content on a page-by-page basis with WordPress with its block-based design. This allows you to create quality content from day one, with the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to the platform as and when you require.
WordPress also allows you to customise it as well with a vast selection of plugins and themes. The difference between WordPress and other CMSs, though, is that there’s not much you’ll need to change about it out-of-the-box before you can begin using it comfortably.
Because it has a lower cost and faster time-to-market, it will free up more time for you (or your agency) to focus on higher value work, like differentiating your site from competitors or developing personalised content for your customers.
When writing down the criteria that you’ll use to select your CMS, security should be one of the first things on that list. Threats to cyber security and data protection are increasing by the day, for businesses of all sizes across all sectors, so it’s crucial to ensure you select a secure, trustworthy platform.
How Secure is Drupal?
One of the major advantages of a CMS that’s aimed at those with web development skills is that the users of Drupal work hard to ensure the platform is highly secure. Drupal regularly receives security updates and additional reinforcements to protect the platform.
Of course, you still need to test thoroughly and continuously double-check there are no vulnerabilities in your system. This is usually the responsibility of your agency, and a good partner should always prioritise security at the core of any development project.
How Secure is WordPress?
WordPress is a secure platform, but some still carry the misconception that it isn’t suitable for large businesses. To find evidence of its enterprise-grade security, though, you only need to look at the number of organisations using WordPress as their CMS of choice today.
Still, there are some potential vulnerabilities that are important to be aware of. For instance, be careful when adding plugins to your WordPress platform. As WordPress runs on open-source software, some developers will inevitably release plugins that aren’t secure, so you should only use plugins from reputable sources.
When you do use plugins, you’ll also need to test them thoroughly and keep them updated, and ideally have them working alongside security-specific plugins such as WordFence. These are issues that a good agency partner should be well aware of and handle for you.
Security is also influenced by the hosting environment of your platform. You can reduce your security risks further with WordPress if you find a trustworthy, well-managed hosting partner to look after your system.
The Global Communities
An active community of developers is a valuable asset for a CMS to have. This is a selection of dedicated users who work hard to contribute to growing and improving the platform, either by releasing new updates and plugins or fixing bugs in the software’s code.
For businesses like yours, the community could make the difference between having a small issue resolved quickly or growing into a big problem. Communities also provide resources to learn more about the technology, to further develop the digital offering you provide to your customers.
Drupal has a fairly niche, but very passionate developer community supporting it. The size of Drupal’s community is considerably smaller than more popular platforms like WordPress, mainly because of that higher degree of coding skill required to use the CMS easily.
However, that doesn’t detract from the level of support or added value you’ll receive if you do opt for Drupal. New themes, modules, and updates are often released to contribute to the quality of websites that can be built on the platform.
Most of what’s been discussed as strengths of WordPress in this article can be put down to the hard work of the community adding to the software.
WordPress’s community is truly global, with millions of users regularly producing innovative new themes and plugins that your business can pick up and begin using with ease.
No matter what issues you run into with your WordPress site, there will always be help readily available from the community.
WordPress users are renowned for their events as well, with free meet-ups and conferences often held to help users learn more about the technology. WordCamp, for example, is a non-profit event that has been run by the WordPress community since 2006 across several continents. WordPress also hosts an annual event called WordPress accessibility day, designed to help increase awareness of the importance of accessibility in modern technology.
The Cost and TCO
Another important aspect of your evaluation will be the cost of your CMS, and its long-term total cost of ownership (TCO).
The platform you choose will need to deliver good value for money and a strong ROI. How easily you can achieve these will vary depending on the CMS and how well it aligns with your business’s requirements.
Drupal’s Up-Front Investment and Ongoing Costs
Drupal is an open-source platform, which means it’s free to use. In most cases, Drupal is a good option in terms of value when compared to other CMSs.
You’ll only need to worry about costs like agency fees for development, your platform hosting, and post-deployment testing and maintenance.
However, the aforementioned complexity of Drupal often causes agency work to be more costly and time-consuming than it would be when working with platforms like WordPress. From basic set up and development to customisation, it’s possible your TCO will continue to grow over the years the longer you’re working with Drupal.
WordPress’s Low Cost and TCO
WordPress, on the other hand, is a very cost-effective solution with a much lower TCO than with Drupal.
It’s another open-source platform with no license fees, and you’ll rarely need to add on new features or capabilities because it comes with so much “out-of-the-box” already.
WordPress development is more simple and affordable, as are its maintenance and support. As mentioned earlier, the fast time-to-market helps you get a high quality website launched quickly so you can begin seeing ROI almost immediately.
Understanding the Role of an Agency
The role of an agency has been mentioned several times throughout this article. That’s because most businesses with a great website will have worked with an agency partner with platform-specific skills to help them bring their vision to life.
An agency can support you with hosting, design, development, maintenance, security, and updates, each of which can be highly complex and challenging to handle alone.
Therefore, it becomes even more important to consider how easy your CMS is to work with, not just for you and your team but for your development agency as well.
With a platform like Drupal, that has a reputation for being difficult and time-consuming to work with, agency projects are likely to be quite a big investment, and an ongoing one at that. WordPress is a platform that’s far easier to work with, meaning that the cost of releasing a quality, secure website will be much more affordable.
A CMS becomes far easier to use when you find an agency with the experience and expertise to help you gain as much value from the technology as possible. Whichever platform you choose, you’ll find it easier to achieve positive ROI if you have a specialist partner supporting you.
Deciding Between Drupal and WordPress
Both WordPress and Drupal are perfectly good options for most businesses looking for a new CMS. While there are strengths and weaknesses to consider, the most important thing is to keep your business’s specific needs in mind.
Make sure you’re clear on your strategic objectives, unique requirements, users, budget, and other factors to inform your decision. Once you’ve done that, use the comparisons in this article to see how each CMS lines up against what you’re looking for. It should then become evident which platform is more suitable for you.
If you need more help in your evaluation of the various CMS options: