Edit Bay Communications offers several business solutions including Business Catalyst and Wild Apricot.
Both are "cloud based" solutions. Many clients have asked how our Cloud Based solutions compare to Wordpress when implementing a Small Business Website. The following is a short comparison highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Our cloud based solutions and Wordpress really serve two different purposes. Business Catalyst and Apricot both natively incorporate a comprehensive Customer database that is used to:
1) Manage Clients (notes, folow-ups, etc)
2) Track Sales (memberships. products, services)
3) Track Email Campaign results
4) Commmunicate with Clients
5) Track memberships
6) Automatically manage access to membership services
In general Business Catalyst and Apricot are fully integrated business systems for creating websites, and managing memberships, content and stores The blog capability is adequate but not extensive.
Wordpress natively is a great blogging engine with the ability to add webpages and provides basic content management. Wordpress does not include Customer Managenment, Membership Management, E-commerce, Email Campaigns, etc. To add functionality to Wordpress additional third party "plug-ins" are required. These add-ons vary in stability and support. If the service is not provided by an add-on, you must use a third party solution for E-mail, Contact management, etc.
Business Catalyst is a completly integrated "cloud based" application. There is no software to buy. After the initial configuration costs you simply pay a monthly hosting fee. Upgrades are automatic and FREE. Wordpress plug-ins require periodic upgrades (additional cost) and involve a computer programmer (additional cost) to implement the upgrades.
If a client primarily needs a strong blog with a few additional features we would recommend Wordpress. For clients that require an fully integrated business system Business Catalyst is selected. For organizations that need strong membership features, Wild Apricot is selected.
We collected a variety of quotes from various locations on the web that were providing relatively unbiased comparisons of these content management solutions. Here is a short synopsis.
BC vs Wordpress - These two systems are worlds apart. Business Catalyst is a fully integrated system that makes a great Small Business Website or store, including an integrated blog. Business Catalyst also incorporates a comprehensive Customer database that can be used for subsequent marketing.
If you are not diligent about updating Wordpress regularly, security can become a concern and put your business in legal jeopardy- particularly with WordPress given its high profile. Also plugins and modules for Wordpress aren’t particularly stable and badly under supported.
With WordPress, there are some serious security holes and particularly if a developer is not aware of them, your site can be quickly hacked or compromised. For instance, the dafault setting on many wordpress files allows Global read/write access, meaning that anybody who knows how to access those files can change them and gain access to your server, passwords etc.
This problem does not relate only to wordpress, it is probably any free CMS software that you host yourself. If you are not aware of security issues and correct settings on this software, you are potentially open to hackers. There are of course also security issues with shared hosting environments depending on how vigilant the hosting provider is in checking for and controlling security breaches.
Cloud based solutions like Business Catalyst and Wild Apricot on the other hand are hosted solutions, where there is tight control over those settings and breaches are not as likely to occur and if they do, it is Adobe Business Catalyst’s problem, not yours. With Wordpress you are responsible for finding the intrusion, and cleaning it from the site. This is one major advantage a hosted solution has over a free, host-it-yourself solution.
For most businesses, Wordpress requires various plug-ins to accomplish a task. A customer database is not included. You can make a powerful shopping cart, or listing website with Business Catalyst. BC has some great features which allow you to build custom databases where members can setup and maintain records independently, like real estate listings.
You cannot host BC or Wild Apricot wherever you want, they are hosted solution in "The Cloud".. The good news is that all of the upgrades are automatic and FREE.
WordPress is an extremely efficient blogging engine, that’s what it was designed for. It is very good for search engine ranking, is light and can be modified to make a standard website with a custom theme. . However, that is about the limit of wordpress’s ability. Attempts at making a shopping cart or a catalog is pretty limited.
My advice: Don’t try and make a comprehensive website in WordPress. Use WordPress for it's strong blog capabilities and Business Catalyst for a more comprehensive solution.
WordPress requires a plug-in to manage mailing lists. There is a limited ability to manage e-mail lists and poor outbound e-marketing plug-ins. The integrated email blast systems with BC or Wils Apricot are robust and updated for free. These solutions are far superior when it comes to building a customer database and emailing them.
There is a form-builder plug-in for WordPress (Gravity Forms) that easily lets clients build forms like BC, but there is no central customer database where everything gets stored like in BC, unless the client signs up for a third party solution. So, BC is the best platform for deploying forms and collecting data in one place, and especially monitoring those customers with reporting and later marketing to them
Wordpress requires a plug-in software solution to accomodate e-commerce. Even with a plug-in the visual display of your products is limited within WordPress. Whereas in Business Catalyst you can more easily and quickly design your own template to display product lists and product details and product photos any way you need. BC also supports more payment gateways.
It is easier to add a secure area in Business Catalyst as compared to WordPress.
CRM (Customer RelationshipManagement)
Wordpress requires a plug-in or a third party solution. Salesforce CRM plugin and there are other plugins which will allow you to integrate CRM with WordPress. With Business Catalyst the CRM is integrated into the standard solution.