We are often asked the question, "Which is better, Wordpress or Drupal?" there is no right answer to this question, ultimately, it depends on the project. Select the correct tool for the job. Generally speaking, Drupal is a better fit for large sites with a lot of data. Wordpress - and hosted CMS platforms such as Wix - are suited to smaller-scale ventures.
What is it that Drupal has that Wordpress does not that allows it to scale like this? There are many areas to look at, but one big one is the fundamental question of how the two platforms handle your data.
One feature of Wordpress is its editing system, which is sometimes said to be simpler to use than Drupal. This exposes one of the biggest differences between Drupal and Wordpress, which is that Wordpress relies upon free text and Drupal is fundamentally based on using structured data.
Wordpress page editing interfaces work like a WYSIWIG text editor. Drag and drop an image into a box, add some type, add a headline, click save and your page is made - simple. Drupal stores each element in its own wrapper giving us much more scope to structure and display information.
Let's use the example of Turtlereality's "Our Work" page. With the Wordpress approach, we can very easily have a page in place by typing some content into boxes and adding pictures.
Drupal Content Types
Drupal has a more structured approach and sees "Our Work" as being a 'content type' with fields which we can create according to what information we want to add about a project. This could be:
- Testimonial from the client
- What we did - in the form of checkboxes
- Web address of the project
- Anything else we can think of...
Once we have created this content type we can add a project by filling in a simple form with these fields.
Now we have the information in the database in a useful form. After adding many projects, we can then make a page which displays all projects in a particular category - or with a particular type. We could sort them by date or popularity or even a drag and drop system. The way the content is shown to users is totally separate to the content itself, this has a lot of advantages.
A project might appear on different pages, on the e-commerce page plus the Charity Web Design page, maybe even on an 'all our work' page. Wherever we place this data it will be consistent because it is always being drawn from the same source.
If we need to change any information about a project, using structured data, we only have to change the details once for this to be changed on all pages.
Form follows function
Structured data makes your content easier to manage as each piece of data is broken down into its simplest form - and all of the information about how it looks is handled by the web site.
Because we have complete control over how this content is displayed in terms of font size and style, size and cropping of images, colours and spacing we can keep it consistent across all areas of the site. If we need to change the style, we can easily change this across the site from one central stylesheet.
Drupal Views Rule!
Because we control the template for how content is displayed, we can set the site up to re-size images for each slot in which they appear. Your site admin only needs to upload a picture once and it is automatically re-sized and cropped to suit each page on which it appears - home page, landing page the main content page etc. This makes pages load much faster and helps your user experience, Google also awards browny points for this.
We can also build very specific syntax into our code to improve search engines understanding of the content - and one structure is automatically applied to every element and every instance.
And the Winner is...
And, the winner is... Drupal... If your site has a lot of data. It's important to use the right tool for the job, if you're not sure, give us a call on 01985 840 637 - or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To summarise, the advantages of structured data are:
- Make it easy to add and manage data
- Keep display consistent
- Display data in different ways according to where you are in the site
- Optimise images sizes and crops for better page load speeds
- Easier control of code and better search engine results