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Last post: June 21, 2019

WordPress vs Umbraco: Which CMS should you choose?

WordPress vs Umbraco: Which CMS should you choose?

By Jim on  June 21, 2019

For most organizations, having a content management system (CMS) to―you guessed it―manage the content on your website is a big benefit. It decreases the reliance on having a developer handy to make even the smallest content changes. It puts more control in the hands of an organization’s internal team.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of content management systems out there, and the most popular by far is WordPress. For many considering a new or redesigned website, it becomes the one and only CMS option. Yes, WordPress is free and easy to setup. But (there's always a 'but'), WordPress has its downfalls...

WordPress vs. Umbraco

  1. Because WordPress relies heavily on plugins and third-party tools, security vulnerabilities in these add-ons can cause sites to get hacked more easily.
  2. WordPress sites aren’t as easy to build as you may think. WordPress actually requires lots of coding and customization, so you'll probably still need to hire a designer/developer to help design, configure, optimize, and launch your site.
  3. Along the same lines, you’ll need to keep a web developer on retainer as your business grows and you need to make changes to your website. In addition, as the third-party plugins are updated, you’ll need a web developer to ensure these tools aren’t broken on your site.

Don't get us wrong, WordPress is fine for many sites. It powers a whopping 30 percent of the Web for a reason. But here’s why we think Umbraco is a better alternative.

Why Choose Umbraco

At Aztek, we use Umbraco as our CMS of choice. Thanks to Umbraco, we’re able to offer more custom functionality, a better user experience, and a quicker turnaround time for the client.

To quote one of our senior developers, Frank Branicky: "WordPress forces a site to be a blog first and shoehorn anything else into that structure. Umbraco comes at it from the other direction." And he's right. WordPress started as a blogging platform that designers and developers sort of morphed into something else. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Umbraco has all the CMS features comparable to WordPress.

  • Create, edit, delete pages.
  • Schedule to publish/unpublish content: So that Labor Day post comes down exactly at midnight (while you are in bed).
  • Version history, rollback: Go back and restore any previous version of any page, see who made the changes
  • Preview on mobile: See your new page on different mobile devices before you publish.
  • Multilingual site/pages
  • User Roles: To manage what people can and cannot do both for the administration of your website (writer, editor, admin, etc.) but also for public users, so you can restrict access to sensitive content on your site.

But here’s where Umbraco really shines…

Image cropper

If you've ever had to upload an image for your website (and you aren't a graphics professional with years of Photoshop experience), you've probably done it wrong. Your image was the wrong size, or it was too big and took forever to download. Well no more. Umbraco automatically generates all the right image sizes and quality settings needed. It'll even let you decide where to keep the focus of the crops.

Page builder

WYSIWYG page editors (like WordPress uses) are the worst. That's why we love the idea of a page builder. Create complex page layouts without touching HTML by selecting from a list of “building block” components...just add words, pictures, and video.

Custom templates

Sometimes the page builder is too open-ended. There are some pages where a more consistent structure is called for, such as a product detail page or team bio. Umbraco lets you have both. Templates are customizable to your needs but enforce consistency.

Form builder

Umbraco lets you build your own forms and workflows without a developer. If you can build pages, you should be able to forms, too. Umbraco has one of the best forms editors we've seen. Need a special landing page with a unique form that only sends the results to Linda from marketing? No problem. You can have that up and running in less than 20 minutes.

Manage 301 redirects from within the CMS

When you move, rename, or delete a page, you should create a 301 redirect. It’s important for SEO, as pages that return an error can hurt your search engine visibility. While on some websites, you need a developer to do this for you, Umbraco allows you to view, create, and manage all the 301s yourself in a simple editor.

Microsoft .Net technology, customizations, integrations

Umbraco uses Microsoft's .Net framework, making it a powerful platform, especially if you want to integrate into other systems such as your CRM or ERP. Or, if you need to incorporate your own custom business rules, Umbraco can be easily extended by your development team.

Open source

Open source means Umbraco is free, with no recurring license fees. Your costs are limited to third party costs for things like custom programming, plugins, and hosting. It also has a strong community of developers who are keeping it up-to-date with new features and security updates.

Aztek has a starter kit

Our team of designers and developers has so much experience with Umbraco, we’ve even developed a starter kit to make sure we can give our clients access to all the neat things we've built, right out of the gate. This means you'll get more features and value out of your new CMS with us, which cuts down on development overhead and code bloat.

Give Umbraco a Try

We hope the features we’ve listed above show you the power you'll have using the Umbraco content management system over WordPress. Need more convincing? Drop us a line. We’re happy to give you a demo and answer any other questions about Umbraco that you may have.

Why Umbraco: Three Reasons Designers Will Like It

By jim on  April 24, 2017

Why Umbraco?

We’ve been using Umbraco as Aztek's content management system (CMS) of choice for over a year — and not just because it’s free and open source. It's also created opportunities for our front-end developers that used to require the resources of our back-end devs. Thanks to Umbraco we’re able to offer more custom functionality, a better user experience, and a quicker turnaround time for the client.

Do-It-All Designers

At Aztek our designers are more like front-end developers and graphic designers. We go from Photoshop to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You might be more of a visual designer who only uses Photoshop, or maybe you're a designer who also does some front-end development. Either way, these tips show you the power you'll have as a designer using the Umbraco content management system.

Image of designer muscles. With Umbraco designers can learn code quickly to expand their capabilities.


Three Benefits for Front-End Designers Using Umbraco

1. Faster Development Time

Umbraco gives designers an easier way to accomplish small to medium back-end development tasks. This frees up dev project hours that used to be dedicated to building a custom CMS (implementing a WYSIWIG editor, for example). Now back-end devs can focus on more complex custom development issues.

For example:

Think about a field-based attorney profile page. With Umbraco, designers can create the specific fields, logic, and requirements (see image below with general properties). That is something that would have previously required a .NET developer to create a database, build custom page logic, and code admin controls.

Image of Umbraco properties for attorney bio page structure

2. Design for the User

Standard web design practice often starts with Photoshop ‘comps’ to get an overall tone and feel for the site. But this doesn't always include thinking about how the design will impact the buildout. When designing comps for Umbraco, you can think about how the functionality will be accomplished with the specific logic in mind.

Now clients won't be able to break their site layout by entering content where it doesn't belong. With Umbraco you can create specific form-based templates that are user-friendly and break-proof. This allows designers to create beautiful, complex responsive layouts that are still easy to manage in the admin without knowing a lick of HTML or CSS. Say Goodbye to writing HTML in a WYSIWYG!

Image of attorney bio page structure in Umbraco CMS. Say goodbye to one large WYSIWYG field.

3. Shorter Learning Curve

Most designers know HTML, CSS, and hopefully a little JavaScript. But if they spend some time researching Razor and even a little C#, the power and control a designer can have will take your site building skills to the next level. Learning Razor syntax can be challenging, and yes, it will take some time, but once you have that ‘AH HA’ moment, there’s no turning back. Designer Muscles in full effect.

Image of code from Umbraco for attorney bio page

These are just a few pros of Umbraco that we’ve experienced as web designers. If you think there are any other great things about Umbraco we missed, let us know.


Happy building!

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