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Wordpress VS Adobe Business Catalyst - An Online Business Perspective

Michelle Dale - Saturday, February 02, 2013

This isn't just another comparison between Wordpress and Adobe Business Catalyst. You see while there are a number of comparisons out there, the people making them are either website developers (mostly who specialise in Wordpress) or Bloggers. What this comparison is about is what system is more cost effective, more functional, easier to operate in day to day business administration, and what would be better to run an online business and not just a blog or a website. The thing is web developers are all about functionality and design - where as at Virtual Miss Friday, I'm all about the entire package - design, functionality and how the client will logistically and financially operate the business after the website is finished.

I switched from having several Wordpress websites for my business into moving my entire business into Adobe Business Catalyst - I've actually used both of them for several years, in 2008 I partnered with Business Catalyst, and in 2010, I started using Wordpress. In Business Catalyst I had my main business website and email marketing, in Wordpress I had my blog, membership sites and products - now everything is in Adobe Business Catalyst and I made the decision to move completely away from Wordpress after 3 years of experience with using both simultaneously. 

There are so many comparison reviews that are in favour of Wordpress as a website, I think a lot of them are also based on the fact that Wordpress is like a comfortable pair of old shoes and Business Catalyst needs breaking in, but people aren't prepared to spend the time doing it. 

Since I migrated to Adobe, I have seen phenomenal results in my productivity, a significant reduction in the costs of my overheads, and I have a much better grasp on exactly what is going on in my business at all times, from one single login, which means I am more on top of my business than ever before. In short, I can wholeheartedly say I would never go back to Wordpress for operating my online business.

But like anything all systems have pro's and con's and it's for you to decide what you feel is more beneficial for you to build your business in. Below I am going to outline the differences between the 2 systems in terms of running a business now that I've used both of them extensively for a number of years. I'll explain the problems I had in both systems, and the triumphs.

I'll refer to Wordpress as "WP" and Adobe Business Catalyst as "ABC." 


Let's get to the basics, installation. On WP you need a compatible server and you need to install Wordpress on that server for it to work. In ABC there is nothing to set up or install, and it's a hosted solution, so there is also no need to buy separate hosting.


When I talk about maintenance I'm talking about the health of your site. In WP you are required to manually upgrade the system with each new version. You are responsible for back ups, and general health checks of your server, you need to put work in to make sure everything is always running smoothly. In ABC they cover everything for you, upgrades, back ups, maintenance, and making sure the server is secure and your website and information are safe.


In WP you have a lot of flexibility to plug in themes and change the design of your site. This is not the case in ABC, so once you settle on a design, it can be a hassle to just flip it to another theme. You can't plugin themes like in WP, you build a site, and whilst you can of course change the design, it's much more tedious than WP.


This is why I LOVE ABC, every business tool you need to operate an awesome, functional, busy online business is built in. I can quickly switch between my website, blog, CRM, email marketing, eCommerce and more. I am in complete control of my site from ONE place, and I don't have to mess around with plugins. You see WP plugins are great, but when you have or need too many, they can cause the site, or other plugins to break - so that obviously is not good. Not only do you not need plugins with ABC, you can rest assured that everything will work together seamlessly, as it's so well designed to.


Whilst WP is a free system to install, you still need to pay for hosting and maintenance (if you have no idea on techy stuff). Then, by tagging on the various plugins or systems not available in Wordpress such as email marketing and eCommerce, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars depending on the size and scale of your business. In ABC you have one fee, and for the full suite of tools and functionality, it's under $40 a month. It will save you money in the long term.


WP is free, and is changing and developing all the time, but I have seen ABC progress triple time in terms of technology, they are way ahead of WP and the gap is widening.

InContext Editing.

Simple, InContext Editing means you can edit your website on the front end interface, not the back end. So you can see the changes live without having to save and preview, save and preview, save and preview as you would with WP. This is a timesaver in itself and deserved a mention.


In WP the dashboard is fairly basic. It's a means to getting to other places in your site. But with ABC you can login and the dashboard will immediately tell you how many people visited your site that week, how many people subscribed and unsubscribed to your mailing list, how many new forums posts you have, how many people logged into your members areas, how much money you've generated in sales, exactly what is happening on your website right now, including who is opening emails and clicking on links, and so much more... This is much more helpful!


This is where ABC gets a big FAIL. Their blogging engine is the most basic I have ever seen, I hate the fact you can't add unique meta data to the posts, but nonetheless it works, and my blog is now in ABC. WP is designed to build blogs, awesome blogs, so I would say if your only purpose in life is to blog, stay in WP. you'll be very disappointed with ABC. If blogging is just a part of a much 'bigger picture' of your business then you'll find that ABC is acceptable, and like me, you'll wait for the blog improvements to roll out in one of the many updates they are continuously making.

If you want the best online biz, and the best blog.

If you want a no compromise approach, it's simple - you do what I have done with many clients in the past - I'll put WP and ABC into bed together, and build the client's mainstream business in ABC, and their blog in WP - not as seamless, not as streamlined as I would like it to be, plus it will cost quite a bit more, but it is the best of both worlds.

UPDATE - I am very pleased to announce that you can now set meta data on the blog posts inside ABC - this makes the above message now obsolete - ABC came good ;-)

Email Marketing & eCommerce.

Well... in WP you'd need a plugin or 3rd party service for these 2 parts of your business, in ABC it's included, so whilst I think there are more robust systems out there for email marketing and eCommerce, this is a WP and ABC comparison - so there is no comparison to make here - the one in ABC is very functional, very simple to use and doesn't cost you any extra.


One of the most valuable parts of ABC for me is the web apps function, allowing you to build an unlimited number of custom databases for content, this gives you the most amazing control over your site, and in my opinion, this small part of the ABC system is enough to completely replace WP - it's a gem. You can create any kind of databases you want, double-timing your ability to shift and add content. Magic.


So those are the primary reasons why I use ABC exclusively now and not WP - when I switched over I felt a huge release, and now as part of my consulting services, I will always first see if we can make their online business work in ABC because I believe when you weigh up the pros and cons, there's really no contest.

There are SO many more benefits to Adobe. 

Wordpress, in my opinion is like the Microsoft Windows of the online business world (Yep, I'll probably get slaughtered for saying that). Everyone uses it because it's the most popular and on the face of it, appears to be the cheapest since it's technically 'free' - but just like all the Microsoft Windows users I know, once they switch to Mac, and see how much cleaner, more streamlined, and sexier the whole thing is, not to mention that everything, all the time "Just Works" without a hitch, they would never, ever go back - that's what switching to ABC has been like for me. 

If you'd like to know whether switching over from Wordpress to Adobe would be a possibility for you, please feel free to send me the following information and I'll be able to tell you whether the move would be viable and beneficial. 

#1 Your website domain (or domains if you have more than one).
e.g. www.vitualmissfriday.com

#2 Your online business systems that you use. 
e.g. for member sites, email marketing, forums, eCommerce etc...

#3 Mailing list details (This is the primary cost variable to consider when moving to BC).
The number of subscribers on your mailing list or lists.
The number of emails you send a month.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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