Craft CMS: an alternative to WordPress

A neat desk workspace with a laptop displaying a website and a larger monitor.

At RedTree we’re always on the hunt for new and better tools, because every website is a little bit different and every client has unique needs. We’ve relied on WordPress for years to create a wide variety of websites and applications, and in many cases it was the right choice. But at its core, WordPress is a blogging platform. Sometimes it feels like we’re asking WordPress to do more than it was designed to do.

Craft CMS, like WordPress and like its name implies, is a content management system. However, unlike WordPress, the content it manages isn’t presumed to be blog posts. In fact, it doesn’t assume that your content is any particular kind of content: you (or more likely, your handy web developer) are tasked with defining what kind of content you’ll manage!

It’s not that WordPress sites can’t do more than manage blog posts. But should they? How do you decide whether to use Craft or WordPress in your next web project? Here are some things to consider.

Project Scope

If your project is fairly complex (we’re talkin’ more than your standard 5-page website with a blog) it might be worth considering Craft. Craft is a great solution for highly custom systems, whether you’re listing apartments for rent, serving up burgers made-to-order, or organizing and managing an inventory of HVAC parts. This is because of the agnostic stance it takes when it comes to your content. While WordPress’s core offering is a blog post with title, body, author, and category, Craft allows you to define exactly what kind of content you need from scratch.

“Craft is like WordPress if it was stripped naked and then clothed in Advanced Custom Fields.”

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Your Level of Involvement

Craft makes it easy for anyone to manage content, but when it comes to actually designing and constructing site elements like pages, it’s better left to the professionals. WordPress is a bit easier to tinker with, with its elaborate page builders and theme options – but the cost of that is often a slower site bloated with too many plugins and ungraceful code. So ask yourself, how hands-on do you want your website to be?

Budget

Craft can be a little more expensive to get up and running than WordPress, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Craft’s plugin ecosystem is less open than WordPress’s (meaning you’ll find fewer free options) but that usually means higher-quality and better-maintained products. Additionally, the Craft codebase is designed to encourage cleaner coding, which results in a faster end-product that is easier to maintain down the line.

Is Craft Right for Your Next Project?

If you’re envisioning a dynamic website with many functions, or if you’re in need of a next-level content management system, Craft might be right for you. Need some help deciding? That’s what we’re here for! Give us a shout, we’d love to talk shop with you.

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