WordPress vs Concrete5: Pros and Cons + 4-point Comparison
by Georgie Peru , 18 August 2020
We’ll start with the basics and pros and cons of each platform, and work our way up to their customer support, features, themes and designs, and SEO.
The basics of WordPress and Concrete5
WordPress and Concrete5 are both open-source, free content management systems (CMS), but most people have only heard of one of them. No prizes for guessing which!
WordPress has been around since 2003 and started as a blogging platform. Since then, it’s evolved into the most popular CMS on the market, holding a 63.2% market share since April 2020.
Contrary to popular belief, WordPress isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can take a while to get used to. But, once you do get to grips with it, it offers powerful features, plugins, and themes that can take your website or blog to the next level... and further. WordPress.org is a self-managed and self-hosted platform, which means you need to set up your own web hosting plan before you can build your website.
On the other hand, Concrete5, with only a 0.1% share in the CMS market is more of a plucky underdog. It’s favoured by web developers who like total control over their builds, understand a bit of coding and want a platform that puts editability and usability at the forefront.
But, even if you’ve never seen a line of code before, you’ll still find Concrete5 easy to work with. Its WYSIWYG editor is perfect for any skill level and offers tonnes of opportunities for customisation. Plus, there are plenty of add-ons to get your teeth into that can help you build a stand-out website.
Pros and cons of WordPress and Concrete5
Before we jump into our 4-step comparison, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each of the platforms.
WordPress pros and cons
WordPress pros and cons
Free, self-hosted system offering full control for its users
Being in charge means you are responsible for updates and security
Loads of extensions, plugins, and themes to personalise your website
Not recommended for beginners due to its complex learning curve
Being in charge of your website means you can manage its growth
Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is beneficial
Plenty of customisation options including drag and drop style website builders
Loads of integrations with third-party apps, including payment gateways and eCommerce
Concrete5 pros and cons
Modular editing system means knowing code is not a requirement
File sorting is a bit fiddy so searching for files can be frustrating
WYSIWYG editor makes it a great platform for beginners
No autosave feature to back up your work so if the editor crashes, you’ll lose it
Modules can be edited in HTML format, offering more control for skilled coders
Page themes can be edited in their entirety, offering greater versatility
As you can see, both WordPress and Concrete5 have strengths and weaknesses. While WordPress is generally a little easier to work at first with for non-experts, it can become very clunky when you start adding a lot of extra features.
And while Concrete5 can require a steeper learning curve at the start, it doesn’t get so bloated with extras, or become more complicated over time.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the main features people look for in a CMS and compare what these two platforms have to offer for each.
4-point comparison of WordPress & Concrete5
1. Customer Support
Good customer support is essential, especially for those who are new to a CMS. One of the main reasons Concrete5 is often shunned by beginners is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of support. They have lots of documentation that guides you through getting started, but once you’re in the midst of it, there’s little support to reach out to. Most of the support seems to centre around a small online community, with a forum where users help each other out.
On the other hand, WordPress offers plenty of support and services for its users. There are WordPress experts all over the world who are ready and waiting to help users in any way they can. So, if you’re trying to find WordPress support resources, you’ll have plenty of options. There’s an online community of WordPress developers who are available to answer user’s queries and resolve their issues and these services are very simple and speedy to access.
In my opinion then, Concrete5 doesn’t match up to WordPress in this area, but it is a much more intuitive system, so some might say a huge support system isn’t needed.
✔ Simple to use once you’ve passed the first few hurdles
✔ Built-in comments
✔ Extremely flexible
✔ Easy to use, even for beginners with no coding skills
✔ Great extendibility
✔ Installs are very quick
✔ Thousands of plugins
✔ Wealth of templates including third-party sites
✔ Great user management
✔ Lots of add-ons with core support
✔ Easy-to-use templates
✔ Integrated reporting
✔ Full standard compliance
✔ Solid application framework
✔ Enhanced and solid security
✔ Advanced user permissions
3. Themes and Designs
Concrete5 and WordPress both make it easy to install and change themes. And there are plenty available on both sides, as well as widgets that support further theme customisation options.
Concrete5 doesn’t have as many themes as WordPress, but they do look nice and they are mobile responsive. You can even filter your Concrete5 theme search based on price (free or paid), skill level and categories.
If I had to compare, I'd say Concrete5 is more similar to a traditional website builder than WordPress. It uses WYSIWYG editing which makes the process incredibly simple. In the editor, you can click on the design tab to change background image, add borders or swap colours. This simplicity runs throughout their application, making it a surprisingly great choice for beginners.
WordPress themes tend to be more diverse and varied, simply because more people create them. In fact, there are so many WordPress developers around the globe, the choice is pretty much endless.
Once you’ve installed your theme (which is super easy to do), you can enhance it by installing plugins or adding widgets.
Just on the diversity and variety of available themes, my vote would go to WordPress. However, if you’re looking for professional themes that are mobile responsive and incredibly easy to edit, Concrete5 definitely holds the torch.
If you need to bring in a lot of organic referrals to your site (i.e. you want new people to find it in search engines and not just people who already know where to find you), you need to think about how your choice of CMS affects your site’s SEO.
Concrete5 is already well optimised for SEO without the need for additional add-ons. You can easily update or change the properties of your webpages, as well as make use of their incorporated SEO tools. You can even purchase a feature that provides a mass SEO page update, which makes life a lot easier.
On the other hand, WordPress offers only basic SEO functions out of the box. However, you probably will need to add SEO plugins to WordPress, e.g. Yoast SEO.
In that sense, Concrete5 is much better set up for powerful SEO. However, you can do pretty well with WordPress’ powerful plugins.
When choosing your CMS, you need to consider which meets your current needs and skill level. If you’re looking to create a basic website quickly and you’ve never used a CMS before, Concrete5 is a surprisingly good option.
It offers a simple interface and plenty of customisation options. Their editor is intuitive and plenty of themes and add-ons are available to create exactly the website you’re looking for. They also offer solid security and it’s completely open-source, so you can create a great website without paying out a penny.
On the other hand, if you want to create a portfolio, blog or eCommerce website, WordPress’s extremely powerful tools let you do these things without a lot of hassle. The downside is that it does take a lot of time to get used to, and you’ll need some basic HTML and CSS create a really stand-out website.
However, it is the platform of preference for millions worldwide, so you’ll never be short of developers and designers who can help you out. And, if you’re a more advanced user, you’ll probably be able to create something more spectacular with WordPress than with Concrete5.
In sum, neither platform is entirely better than the other. Which you choose will depend on the type of website you want to create and what you can and want to put into (in terms of money and time) when you start off. However, in my opinion, Concrete5 is a vastly underrated CMS that more people should consider when setting up a new website.
Author bio: “Georgie is a Content Contributor for UKWebHostReview. She is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for technology through her content writing work, with a mission to help others learn and understand what makes the digital world so successful.”
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