Drupal vs. WordPress for Complex Website Functionality
With any system, you trade some user-friendliness for specificity. A broad system like WordPress makes it easy to make all kinds of sites with a fair degree of competence—it has to support many websites out of the box without bogging users down in menus and features they don’t use. WordPress especially shines for marketing websites, the kind that need to give information, present ideas, capture leads, and inspire action. Most businesses just need a marketing site, with maybe a few extra plugins to help with additional functionality like lite ecommerce stores, a blog for publishing resources & news, calendars for booking appointments, or chatbots.
Drupal Wins on Editorial Workflows
But when you need to make a complicated website that is more than a lead generation tool, Drupal shines. Drupal is great for making sites that have multi-step editorial workflows, content that’s categorized along many different vectors, global multilingual sites, and more. Here are some of the complex site types that you might consider Drupal for if your WordPress developer doesn’t think it can support it:
Plugins like WooCommerce can add a lot of great product page templates and a simple checkout workflow in WordPress. However, global ecommerce sites that support many languages, have catalogs of 1000s of items, and categorize products with multiple layers of tags that can support difficult filtering logic need a site custom-developed on a powerful platform like Drupal.
Schools & Universities
If you’re making a site that just talks about classes and events in an attractive way and lets students sign up for newsletters and informational interviews, WordPress is more than enough. But if you’re creating a site for a university that will need to support 1000s of students logged in at once to sign up for classes, different backends for faculty to upload course materials, provide HIPAA compliance for communications with the school nurse, and strong security throughout it, you need something custom on Drupal.
An application programming interface (API) is the go-between for two applications to “talk” to each other. These common yet complex systems are possible to build with a knowledgeable Drupal development team, allowing your business to create custom apps and custom databases that can access each other. Drupal’s ability to understand and sort many kinds of data in many combinations is its biggest asset here.
Telling visitors about a cool adventure destination and need to take payments? WordPress can help you out. But if you’re handling a mix of functions like tracking flights, bundling hotels and car rentals, handling pre check in, and running custom specials based on visitor’s past behavior, likely a system like Drupal will be required.
From a heavily-secured corporate intranet to a KPI dashboard, or a customized CRM, any big system to handle internal processes at an enterprise level should be built on a platform like Drupal.
News & Magazines
WordPress is the #1 blogging platform, and even for many global brands it’s more than sufficient for the job of writing and publishing articles, even with many contributors. However, what it isn’t is an editorial system. With Drupal, a developer can create a custom editorial workflow of reviewers and approvers that automatically get notified when a new article is approved for the next step, passing from author to copyeditor to chief editor to Legal, and on to publishing. In this way, their website becomes a tool that makes their main operations more efficient, not just a place where content is published.
Banks, lenders, and securities firms need a website backend that is highly customized to their specific workflow, and strong layers of security at every step. Drupal is up to this task.
Drupal is the winner in this category by a long shot