A few years back, we made the decision to move to Craft CMS as our primary content management system. Since then, it's the only content management system that we've built on. It’s popularity is growing daily, with giant organisations like Netflix and Salesforce, as well as well known locals like Grill'd and MacKillop Family Services choosing Craft to handle the important role of managing their consumer-facing websites. Here's a brief rundown of why we love Craft, and know you will too.
Craft is laser-focused on solving just one problem: managing content. This statement might seem superfluous – considering it is a content management system – but astonishingly most major players don’t put much focus on this crucial element.
Systems like Wordpress or Joomla (which is what we used to use) are some of most well-known content management platforms. They enjoy immense popularity because they tend to focus on lowering the barrier to website creation. They do this by attempting to take actual development work out of the equation, reducing it to installing an off-the-shelf theme and a set of plugins.
This is a fine solution for many businesses — after all, the web industry has been thriving on this approach for the last decade or so — but for many other businesses, it’s the wrong approach. It works well for those who simply require a web presence and nothing more. It’s a cheap solution that will give the client some aspect of control over their own website. But for those who see a website as an investment, and as playing a critical role in their marketing strategy, it often results in an ugly and ineffective website and a blown-out development budget.
1. Flexibility & Customisation
Craft is driven by templates, not predefined 'themes'. This means that developers are building the entire structure, styling and function of the website from the ground-up, for your specific needs. The results are 100% customised and entirely bespoke in both design and functionality.
2. Content Blocks
Content management in Craft is based around component 'blocks'. In a nutshell, we are able to design and develop for-purpose components for your website — ie. a stylised customer quote block, or a contact form block. This means that even once development is finished, our end users have extensive control over the layout of their pages, with the ability to add or remove blocks and change the order as needed. Creating a new page offers a 'sandbox' logic, where users can build complete page layouts consisting of columns, context blocks, and a wide array of specific components. This allows for the creation of dynamic, engaging and richly designed content pages without any need for additional designer or developer involvement.
3. Lightweight Code
Those aforementioned alternatives like WordPress are built to provide as many options as possible in their out-of-the-box templates. This often results in heavy, bloated, and unorganised code that results in slow performance, even for small websites.
In contrast, Craft is built on principles of developing only what is required to achieve the required outcome. The system lends itself to lightweight and clean code resulting in better performance and faster speeds. This results in a better experience for your users, and can be the difference between ranking at the top of page one on Google... or off in never-never land.
For us as an agency, one of the most attractive elements of Craft is the usability for our clients. While other CMS platforms tend to be clunky and complicated, Craft allows us to customise every last detail to ensure that content management is logical and intuitive. Every Craft install is bespoke for the client and their needs. It only contains what is necessary for the client to manage their website and their content.
5. Security & Stability
Recent statistics indicate that WordPress powers over 27% of all websites on the internet. At face value, that's an impressive stat, but it also belies the fact that it makes WordPress websites much more likely to be attacked by hackers with every plugin posing as a risk to your site. Craft takes security seriously, with any bugs and security exposures fixed quickly in their rapid update cycle. We offer our clients regular CMS & Security updates to take advantage of this safety blanket.
6. Community & Support
The community and support surrounding Craft is second-to-none. As a super developer-friendly platform, it attracts the best of the best, and they're all active in continuing to build Craft to be the top-tier content management system.
We often hear from marketing teams and content managers with concerns about making the leap to a new platform such as Craft, sometimes due to a perceived lack of plugins. Certainly, the list of plugins on offer is much smaller than something like WordPress, but this is because Craft has a far greater focus on quality and effectiveness. Craft CMS has hundreds of active plugins — including our own plugin Neo, one of the most popular on the Craft Plugin Store — all of which are vetted and tested, and we have a robust toolkit that we turn to for every project to ensure top performance optimisation and ease of use for our end users.
It's important to keep in mind that Craft is not built as a quick, off-the-shelf solution and instead takes time and tailoring to setup and code. If you're looking for a quick and thoughtless solution, then Craft is not for you. However, if you're willing to invest in your online presence, with a website that encapsulates your brand identity and provides users with a unique and robust online experience, then Craft CMS offers a solution that will serve you well for many years to come.
If you choose to use Craft for your next website, make sure you engage a development team that understands the system and its power. The result will be a 100% custom, future-proof, and scalable CMS that will look incredible, perform flawlessly and most importantly, meet your organisations needs and goals with a scalable platform.
And that is why we use Craft.
If you're looking to make the move away from WordPress, or just interested in understanding more about the power of Craft CMS from an experienced design, development and project management team, please get in touch.