“Why would I spend $20,000 for something I can get for free?”
There’s certainly a perception that the gap between the core functionality of out of the box Kentico and WordPress has closed in recent years. In many ways it really has. In fact for certain projects, even at the enterprise level, there are some solid reasons why WordPress is the better fit.
Old .net agency mantras of “its just a better product” don’t really wash with educated clients anymore. It might be better for an agency with a roster of certified Kentico developers to have their clients choose Kentico but clients don’t care. Getting the right functionality at the right price is their mission. If the creative agency doesn’t offer the technical skills they need they’re more than confident that the market will provide. And with 20,000 digital suppliers in the UK and Ireland alone they’re right to feel confident.
So what are the fundamental reasons for clients spending tens of thousands of dollars when they could have a content management system for nothing?
1. It’s not integration
“I think you’ll find that the integration capability of Kentico is superior to WordPress”
This isn’t necessarily true.
Yes, you might find Kentico has more impressive or high profile integration projects than WordPress but both can integrate with other systems. The Kentico advantage comes when you want to do something with that data such as use it to drive conversion optimisation routines. The existence of a contact management function within Kentico allows you to tie onsite behaviour to wider customer activation initiatives. Within WordPress, this isn’t possible without integrating with other platforms.
2. It’s not look and feel
Kentico holds a slight advantage here but neither is perfect. They’re not the new breed of Content as a Service (CaaS) providers who completely separate content from the presentation layer but they’re better than some others (notably Craft, Sitefinity and Joomla). If you’re having a problem with getting either system to produce decent looking pages it’s probably your implementation, not your platform. Apple watches large screen displays and internet of things applications are likely to pose some larger challenges.
3. It’s not the editor experience
We’ve recently been talking to clients about drivability. Our concept is that even if Ferraris and Volkswagens were the same prices, some people would prefer a good old VW. It’s adequate for what they need and not overcomplicated.
While muscle memory can be retrained the controls of Kentico and WordPress are just not natural to some people. Learning how to use them isn’t something that they’ll want to do. Instead, they would be happier to stick with what they know.
Clients who buy Kentico tend to be a bit more adventurous, which is understandable if they’re looking to purchase something rather than get it for free. If you just want to publish content every now and again and not do anything particularly clever with user experience, WordPress is probably the better bet.
4. It’s not performance (or is it?)
Both have invested lots of time in working with cloud-based hosting providers and integrating with Content Display Networks (CDN’s). Both can comfortably manage millions of visits per month and hundreds of concurrent visitors given the right hardware set up.
Often linked to performance is vulnerability. WordPress is the biggest CMS in the world. A great accolade and testament to its ease of use and value for money from an overall cost of ownership perspective. But with high profile comes more hackers. Extended WordPress websites made up of lots of plugins extend the risk further because major security vulnerabilities can only be applied to the core community edition framework. If anything happens to your plugins you’re reliant on the community developer. This might be a reputable professional or a 13-year-old in their bedroom. So if you are going to use WordPress for a big traffic site with lots of functionality make sure you have someone who can help you pick the more reliable plugins.
5. It is the community
I’m not saying that certified Kentico agencies are better than WordPress agencies…but there are some barriers to entry for Kentico. Kentico agencies have normally entered into the possibility of buying Kentico licences because of the demands of larger clients. This means that if you selected ten random Kentico and WordPress agencies you’re more than likely to find that within the Kentico agencies there will be more complex and interesting projects. The ability to extend core functionality using a defined developer framework in Kentico also means you can do more without using plugins. Conversely, the best WordPress installations tend to have lots of plugins working together but you can find that if one goes wrong the knock-on effect is painful.
It’s not that the agency processes or skill sets are necessarily miles apart, it’s more that bigger organisations who use Kentico typically have bigger budgets. By comparison, WordPress which is rightly a platform of the people has been much more widely used by smaller organisations.