It used to be absolute chalk and cheese! But now many of the factors affecting small businesses need the skillset of an Enterprise SEO company. That’s because even the smallest of companies are now using a CMS to build and manage their site. I don’t know the last time I saw one designed and built in Dreamweaver.

If you are a small business, your best logic is to build a site in WordPress. My audience knows that. ’nuff said. But actually, there are many reasons why WordPress MIGHT not the right choice for a business (Yes – every WP hack will defend this list):

  • No satisfactory shopping cart plugin for WordPress.
  • WordPress force you to be on a Unix based server using PHP/MySQL
  • Security issues as WP gets targeted so heavily
  • Inability to patch holes easily if Plugins don’t upgrade

But for me there is one over-arching reason why a company might choose not to use WordPress and go for an alternative option like Drupal:

Multi-level user control

WordPress is designed to be first and foremost a blog. It scales just fine when you switch from 1,000 readers a month to 1,000 users an hour… well… mostly fine… but it doesn’t scale well when you go from one webmaster who knows what WordPress is and how plugins work to a company where every employee has their own blogging area or responsibility for their own department content.

As corporation move their businesses truly into the modern era, they will need to make the switch from the website being the responsibility of the few, to the website being the amalgamation of the many employees and functions within a company. A chain of pubs needs to let every pub individually promote their offers and Meet ups. A solicitor practice needs to let lawyers keep their own area of expertise up to date but without affecting other areas.

There are plugins that TRY to work around this, but ultimately, WordPress is designed to be managed by a single person. It does not really have flexibility to allow one group of people the ability to ONLY change content and another group to ONLY change metadata or add video content. If you only have a hierarchical user permissions system, them ultimately, the guy that uploads Video might also put up a story which gets the site owners into deep water.

I think this is the over-riding reason why we encourage compinies that really are far sighted to consider Drupal over WordPress. Don’t get me wrong – they both ROCK – but sometimes WordPress tries to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Dixon Jones

An award-winning Search and Internet Marketer. Search Personality of the year Lifetime achievement award Outstanding technology individual of the year International public speaker for 20 years in the field of SEO and Internet Marketing, including: Pubcon; Search Engine Strategies (SMX); Brighton SEO; Ungagged; Search Leeds; State of Search; RIMC and many more.


Christophe · 21st September 2011 at 5:18 pm

Good point !
Drupal is more complex than wordpress but this is the cost for a nice flexibility in the product.

Steven van Vessum - dotBlue · 23rd September 2011 at 6:29 pm

Interesting point Dixon. I think you should base your choice of CMS on the current and future need. In my opinion if someone is planning on having a 10 man crew to manage their website in 3 years I’d still go for WordPress. How long do people keep their website? 2, maybe 3 years? I agree with you that at some point it’s wise to make a shift from WordPress to another CMS but it’s just as important to think about how much you’ll need all that extra’s.

PS: Have you tried the Shopp plugin for WordPress? It’s not perfect but it works pretty good for small shops once it’s been tweaked for SEO purposes.

    admin · 24th September 2011 at 9:17 am

    Thanks. I’ll have a look at Shopp.

    I know companies that have multiple users on WordPress, but on the whole, they are in our industry, so they know their way around a CMS and can be trusted not to change the URL syntax or add a random plugin, but as a business expands beyond blogging,I still feel that WordPress gas it’s limits at the moment.

Grace @ Interactive Marketing Agency · 10th February 2012 at 3:21 pm

Great post, Dixon. A lot of controversy seems to surround WordPress and its capabilities. I’ve heard many programers complain about WordPress sites, yet when discussing blog building, nearly every one has recommended WordPress to me. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you recommend Drupal for sites with multiple users and WordPress for smaller one man sites. What about CMSes such as Sitecore or Open Source? So far I haven’t encountered any problems with these.

    admin · 4th March 2012 at 8:14 am

    I don’t feel qualifies to talk about those systems, to be honest.

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