WordPress is the cement that lays the foundations of the internet, hosting many more websites than any other platform — just over one-third of all websites. Adobe Experience Manager is a powerhouse of a digital content solution that powers many of the world’s most recognized brands. So which is better?
For fans of The Beautiful Game there is a tendency to metaphorize life through the sport. And when it comes to comparing one software platform with another, one CMS with another, this method is very effective to visualize the contrasts.
For those of you unfamiliar with European soccer, the UEFA Champions League is kind of like Europe’s soccer equivalent to the NFL, where the top teams from national leagues compete with each other in a continental competition. These national leagues range from the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga — the best in the world — to the Greek Super League and the Belarusian Premier League — some of the least ranked on the continent.
At the national level, Olympiacos is the most successful team in Greek soccer history, including 45 league titles. Yet at the continental level — the Champions League — they have failed to get beyond the round of 16 in 20 years. In comparison, Spanish giants Real Madrid have won the Champions League four times in the last seven years.
If my metaphorical hint hasn’t translated well: Adobe Experience Manager is the Real Madrid of the CMS Champions League. WordPress is the Olympiacos.
And here’s why. WordPress dominates the lower leagues by powering most ecommerce websites for small-to-medium companies. But when it competes with content management systems from higher leagues, it is unable to compete with the powerful functionalities and comprehensive systems of platforms like AEM.
Let’s take a deeper dive and flesh out the good and the bad of each content management system.
If you’re a new, up and coming business then you’re probably going to create a WordPress site to showcase your products or services. Or if you’re a small or medium-sized business, the platform is going to provide enough for you to successfully offer your customers an online experience from where to buy your products from. This means that for 90-95% of businesses, WordPress has you comfortably covered.
The strengths of the platform, firstly, is that it’s free — free to operate but also free design, with the choice of hundreds of page themes. Just click the one that appeals most, install it in seconds, and then you’re able to create content. It’s as easy as that. Simplicity at its cheapest.
And then there’s the benefit of it being an open-source platform, with constant improvements and fresh features added by the day, thanks to its strong coding community. Additionally, thanks to its open-sourced nature, its security vulnerabilities are also constantly being patched.
Another source of benefit from its openness is that because it draws in many devs, it has a very comprehensive display of plugins, providing a feature for almost anything you could think of.
However, many of the disadvantages of WordPress stem from the fact that it’s an open source software. Because since it is open it means that it’s always open as a target for hackers.
And because it is not cloud based, the more plugins you install onto your website, the slower and laggier it becomes, creating many frustrated, potentially lost viewers and customers.
Adobe Experience Manager
If you’re a mid-to-large-sized company who is seriously looking at how to get the most comprehensive CMS, which is able to deliver highly personalised and powerful content, then you’re probably going to be interested in Adobe Experience Manager. That’s because it hosts a complex system where creativity and content form to enable you to do what you want with your digital content.
Its advantages are broad. The CMS can be integrated well with other systems like email marketing and analytics — as it is common among top brands to have a diverse tech stack. And the easy install process is true of other Adobe cloud services as well as external cloud services like Salesforce.
A great asset of AEM is that it is able to tailor highly personalized content depending on the customer, where they live, and which language they speak, so that you can spread your brand across a broad landscape of platforms and devices.
AEM separates your content from the layout of your website, leaving all that tinkering of images and design perfectly alone! And in doing so, this gives you a lot of room for how you wish to display your digital content. And its drag and drop interface means that much of its functionality is user friendly.
In terms of disadvantages, the most notable is likely to be the cost — which is going to price out most businesses, because its highly advanced capabilities are not cheap to install. However, it does operate on a sliding scale, depending on how many components you need. But a typical budget that covers licensing fees and installs is set between $750,000 and $1 million. You get what you pay for. And in order to access one of the best content management systems currently available, you need to pay.
Another disadvantage is that because of its comprehensibility, there is a steep learning curve for developers to get used to and comfortable with the system. That can be solved by working with an experienced AEM dev team that has carried out installations for some of the world’s most recognized brands.
So which CMS should you use for your ecommerce? As I’m sure you’re now aware of — and like almost all answers to intriguing black or white questions — it depends. If you’re a small shop that either wants to sell through WordPress using WooCommerce, or want to add a new and simple company blog or community forum, then WordPress is perfect for this role.
If you’re a large ecommerce enterprise that sells hundreds of products daily, then WordPress just isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a more robust content solution that is capable of reaching out to separate customer groups, display digital content in different languages, and deliver personable, powerful online experiences. In that case, you’re better off with Adobe Experience Manager.