Why Umbraco is the Best CMS – Lucy Pickering

There are many different content management systems in the market place so how do you know which one to choose? We invited three experts onto Tea Time SEO to discuss what cms they prefer. Niki Mosier, Marko Saric and Lucy Pickering shared their insights and Lucy expanded on why she loves Umbraco in the blog post below:

What Umbraco CMS is and why I love it:

Before I start, I should say that I don’t have any affiliation with Umbraco other than being a user. When I’m working with a client to choose a CMS, I would help them to explore options that meet their requirements, rather than just championing one solution. But I can tell you that Umbraco is my favourite CMS and I’ll explain why…

1. Open source, enterprise CMS:

Umbraco is written in C# and built upon Microsoft’s .NET Framework. So it’s similar to WordPress by being open source, but it was born to be a CMS rather than evolving from a blogging platform.

2. Powerful and flexible enough to make any kind of website:

I’ve used Umbraco to manage a large local authority website and for a complex software site. I’ve never used it for e-commerce, but It also has a licensed product called uCommerce that I’ve read is a reasonable alternative to Magento.It’s used by companies of all sizes from startups to global corporations, including Sony, Vogue, Warner Brothers and The Woodland Trust, and from experience it’s great for sites that need the flexibility to expand.

3. Umbraco Has a strong support community:

According to Umbraco’s website, there are over 500 thousand active installs and over 220 thousand active members in its community. Every day, improvements are released by this collaborative group of passionate developers. 

4. It’s free:

The platform is free and I’ve always used the free version. There are additional packages such as forms and workflows and Umbraco offer a paid-for support package & hosting, but the majority of functionality you need is included in the free version. 

5. Umbraco vs. WordPress:

I am currently working with a B2B client and we’re moving their website from WordPress to Umbraco. We’re creating a completely new website rather than just replatforming, but one of the early decisions in the project was which CMS best met their requirements. They had frustrations with WordPress so were open to alternatives and I created a pros/cons list to compare Umbraco to continuing with WordPress. These were some of the Umbraco benefits that I highlighted to them:

6. It’s more flexible: 

WordPress can be customised (through custom code, plugins and extensions), which can get quite fiddly to manage and update the various add-ons.  Whereas, Umbraco is robust and easier to expand within the platform itself. It isn’t the most straightforward CMS to configure and may need developer support at that stage, but once you’re up and running it is fully extendable and its capacity for growth is practically unlimited.

7. It’s more secure and reliable:

I’m not an expert in website security, but my experience has been that WordPress sites are more vulnerable to hacking and as a result IT teams can be reluctant to support and maintain them. It’s not the platform itself that is insecure, but the deluge of plug-ins increase its vulnerability to hacking.
It’s very rare that Umbraco is subject to malicious threats or vulnerabilities, but when they are they release patches, which can easily be deployed to restore the security of a site.

8. It’s easy to use:

One objection to Umbraco that I’ve heard previously is that ‘developers don’t like it’ and while this is a massively sweeping generalisation it’s also not true. I think for developers who are unfamiliar with its framework, it might take them some time to get used to but it’s worth spending the time to do that. It can easily integrate with existing business systems due to its open and flexible architecture. The Umbraco API provides programmatic access to every CMS feature. 

For designers, they are given maximum freedom since there are no restrictions or set frameworks for front-end development. There are also agencies that create Umbraco themes for sites without a designer. For content editors, it’s a fast and user-friendly system that has been designed to optimise productivity.

I do have my own WordPress website for another project and it does it’s job OK, but I often hit barriers. Within the theme I have, I get frustrated when there’s changes I can’t make without development. Because of this frustration, I feel like I haven’t really mastered it. Umbraco’s core focus is being an excellent CMS and while there are multiple expansions available, they are driven by its community of users. From an SEO perspective, it has cache strategies and a rapid indexing system that improve the performance of the website. It’s also straightforward for managing different types of redirects. There are SEO specific packages available, but I can’t vouch for any of those personally.

What to consider when choosing a CMS:

Having said this, choosing a CMS is all about what is the best fit for your website. Like all digital projects, I always encourage stakeholders to start with requirements rather than possible solutions. When I’m asked whether we should consider replatforming, I find that the perceived shortcoming or limitation usually lies elsewhere, around development, design, content or process, rather than with the actual CMS. When choosing a CMS, some of the questions I’d ask are:

  • Which platform is most suitable to achieve your objectives?
  • Who are your key user groups, needs and stories?
  • How much support will you need for setup and maintenance of the site?
  • What will your website look like in a year? And will the CMS scale with you?
  • Does it need to integrate with any existing systems, now or in future?

Both Umbraco and WordPress are powerful and are used by large brands across the world. If what you really need is a professional website that may require expansion, then I’d say that Umbraco is the best solution. However, if what you need is a website that you can manage yourself or in a marketing team, where the content is updated on a daily basis, it might be better to use WordPress. 

I’m also aware that there are lots of other open source CMS available such as CraftButter and Kirby, and we’re about to go through this selection process to choose the best CMS for our new Nine Seven Digital website

So in conclusion, it is always worth reviewings your options!

Thank you Lucy for this great summary. In case you have missed the talk you can watch it on our YouTube channel at any time or look through the slides on slideshare.

If you want to learn more about SEO but cannot wait for tea time, we have been luck to receive many write ups from our previous speakers on a variety of topics. Read Frances Brown’s tips on Going Head to Head in a Competitive Niche Market or Marco Bonomo’s thoughts on Best eCommerce CMS – Is it Shopify? Magento? or Other?

See you Mondays and Thursday at 4pm BST on our YouTube channel and don’t forget to share your favourite CMS with us on Twitter.

Image Credit: Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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