Sitejet vs. WordPress

The Comparison of Sitejet and WordPress

Afraid to update your site in case an outdated plugin crashes?


Still searching for the “perfect theme” that doesn’t require custom coding?


Tired of searching dozens of near-identical PHP files with each new client revision?


Then you’re spending too much time on pointless website maintenance and customer management! It’s time for an evolution—it’s time for Sitejet.


Most of the designers we talk to are currently using WordPress. It’s no surprise—WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in existence, running a whopping 32% of the entire internet.


But popularity doesn’t mean it’s the best product.


When using Sitejet you have all the tools you need combined in one software. You can create websites, manage your customers’ feedback and communication directly within the system and easily publish websites online.


So why use different tools to manage websites, hosting, customer requests, and information when you have it all in one software?


Today, we’ll compare the two systems and show you how Sitejet differs from WordPress.


Let’s get started!


What does the development environment look like?

First, let’s look at the software itself. It’s where you’ll be spending most of your time working, so it’s a good starting point.

How do WordPress and Sitejet stack up?

WordPress

Well, WordPress isn’t really software itself—you’ll need to pull together your own tools to make it work.


For a lot of designers, this is a ritual—you can choose from dozens of different programs to find plugins and templates that work best with your preferences and style.


Every designer is different, but the bare minimum usually includes these, according to the official WordPress docs:

You might also want a local Git repository to recover old versions of your design in case you mess up. If you’re part of a team, you’ll want to pull this into GitHub.


Many WordPress designers also use a framework such as Genesis, but we’re keeping this simple.


All together, this is called a “local dev environment.” Here’s an example of what it looks like:

Of course, this is just for design—you still won’t be able to get your site online. For that, you’ll need a separate set of tools known as a deployment workflow.


That usually means downloading an FTP program like FileZilla to communicate with the server, as well as a few other programs depending on where you’re hosting your WordPress site.


Also, note that this is just for the design of the site—you can’t deploy content like this. Hopefully you only edited the layout and didn’t add any text, images, or pages while designing!


If you did, you’ll need to write a custom script to merge SQL databases, which is widely considered a thorny and difficult process. Do it wrong—even one misplaced character would be enough—and it could corrupt your entire site and delete all the data. Doing it correctly takes about eight steps.


What does this look like on Sitejet?

First, login and click the “+ Website” button.

Give it a name, then select a template (you can start from a blank if you like).

Congratulations, you’re done! Really—that’s it. Everything you need to design your site is built in.

Oh, and to deploy? Just hit the “Publish Website” button.

And reverting back to an earlier design is easy—no need to start a Git repository. You can find snapshots of previous designs on any site. It’s like a giant undo button right at your fingertips.


How easy it is to design each site?

Next, let’s look at how the actual designing takes place on each platform.


WordPress

WordPress was originally created to be a blogging platform, and the entire infrastructure is built around this single purpose.


For example, the WordPress default homepage lists previous blog posts. This works great for some sites—Seth Godin’s marketing blog is a good example.

But today, most home pages don’t include blog posts. For example, the Sitejet homepage stays the same, even when we update our content. Other common site pages, like “contact” or “about us” pages are static like this as well.

Yet WordPress existed for two entire years without this ability. Static pages were an add-on to the WordPress core. Even today, static pages are called “posts” in WordPress code because they were built off the blog post module.


The entire infrastructure works like this. Most of the custom WordPress designs you see are really just hacks and workarounds breaking off from WordPress’s original system.


Out of the box, you’ll get just another WordPress site:

You can change the colors and basic layout simply. But for more than that, you’ll need to go one of two routes:

  • Custom PHP coding
  • A plugin

If you want to design things visually—that is, see design changes while you edit, instead of after saving and refreshing the site—you’ll need to download a plugin.


The problem with plugins is that they produce really messy code (more on that in a minute) and they frequently don’t play nice.


In fact, some plugins actually counteract each other. It’s like mixing medications, but there’s no such thing as a WordPress pharmacist to tell you ahead of time that your anti-spam plugin will make your photo gallery crash.


That’s why most professional designers go the custom coding route. The average cost of a WordPress developer is around $50 USD per hour.


If you can’t cough that up, you’ll need to learn coding yourself. We’ll cover that in a minute.


Sitejet

When you start with Sitejet, you get to choose from dozens of original and unique templates.

But whatever you choose, you’re not stuck with that version at all.


Sitejet uses a combination of coding and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface.


That means you can drag-and-drop blocks of content easily without understanding a word of code, but can optionally add HTML, CSS, and JavaScript if you like. 

This makes it easy to structure the layout of new pages and add custom design elements. You can also edit the design and content on the same page.


If you notice a typo or want to update an image, you can do so right from the design platform. In Sitejet, there’s no such thing as a separate “design editor” and “content editor.” It’s all the same, which makes your job faster.


What does the code look like under the hood?

Every developer knows that clean code is the best kind of code. But even if you’re not technically-minded, clean code is a necessity.

When the code behind your site gets messy and bloated, your site loads slower and makes updates and edits difficult or even impossible. Plus, it creates a more fragile system that’s more prone to fall apart with security vulnerabilities or updates.

So how do WordPress and Sitejet stack up?


WordPress

Most beginning designers on WordPress rely on plugins. But this can be a fatal mistake.


Plugins—especially of the visual editor variety—are also notorious for code bloat. For example, a drag-and-drop plugin will create a half-dozen nested div blocks in the code for one image. This makes the site load slower and very difficult to edit or undo.


To move beyond this, you’ll need a solid understanding of PHP and SQL, as well as the custom hooks, actions, and filters that WordPress uses to build the skeleton of each page.


To make it look like an actual website, you’ll also need to know some basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (thankfully, these are simpler than PHP).


Here’s a list of some of the 2,000+ hooks WordPress uses:

You’ll notice that a few of these become deprecated with new versions of WordPress. Every few versions you may find that some features no longer work and need to be rewritten in updated code.


WordPress also lacks options for duplicating common code snippets, such as basic structures, layout variants, and common animations.


This means the coding principle of Don’t Repeat Yourself, or DRY, is more of a dream than a reality with WordPress.


Plus, WordPress adds a lot of boilerplate code you can’t remove. It keeps the site running correctly and is hardwired into the WordPress infrastructure.


For example, here’s the default code behind the current WordPress default theme

Some of it is necessary—but a lot of it is just WordPress adding things that don’t need to be there.


To make matters worse, WordPress still doesn’t have some modern styles built in, such as flexbox, which allows for automatically adjusting columns and boxes.


PHP—unlike HTML—is a very fragile coding language. Misplace a comma here, and the entire site will crash.


It’s known as the WordPress White Screen of Death, and looks exactly like it sounds:

But the biggest problem is that the WordPress editor is hosted on the same server as the site. The White Screen of Death not only means the site crashed, but that the backend has crashed as well. To bring things back, you’ll need to fix the files directly on the FTP server.


Sitejet

We built Sitejet with coders in mind. Its design program creates semantically correct, clean, beautiful code. Built on top of this is the ability for those with coding experience and preferences to write their own code.


Of course, this isn’t necessary. You can use the custom coding feature at your level of code, even if that level is zero.


DRY coding is alive and well with Sitejet template blocks. We’ve made it really easy to add new components to websites. If you design a distinctive address block, you can easily copy-and-paste it into multiple sites with just a few clicks.


And the editor and site are hosted in different places. Even if you “crash” your site (which is pretty hard to do in Sitejet to begin with), the editor is still online. You can fix any errors within seconds.


What does the user interface look like?

Let’s talk for a minute about the user interface.


When you log on, what do you see?


WordPress

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform, and that’s how its interface is laid out.


Here’s the WordPress default dashboard.

You’ll see an activity feed with recent blog articles and comments, updates about WordPress news, and a few notifications of plugins that need to be updated.


It’s worth mentioning that you’ll have to look at this for every site you create—there’s no easy way to look at progress on all the sites you manage.


Sitejet

The Sitejet interface is a different story altogether.


We’ve created it to focus only on what matters most—the sites you’re working on, how your business is growing, and any urgent tasks you need to complete to keep things running smoothly.


Here’s the Sitejet dashboard.

And here’s the list of your current sites.

We’ve stripped away all the nonessentials to focus on what really matters.


And the best part? This is for all your websites. In just a few clicks, you can look at any site and make changes.


How secure are the sites I design?

Every site is important for you and your client, and you want to make sure that it doesn’t get hacked.


So, what does the security landscape look like?


WordPress

Unfortunately, WordPress is the single most-hacked CMS in existence. In a study of 8,000 hacked websites, 74% of them used WordPress.


Remember that WordPress only accounts for 30% of all websites, meaning that the ⅓ of sites running WordPress account for ¾ of hacks.


One of the biggest reasons for this are plugins. These aren’t necessarily bug-checked, and literally anyone can submit a plugin to the directory. They often leave gaping security vulnerabilities that users aren’t aware of.


But perhaps the worst part of plugins is that they aren’t updated regularly. This is a huge issue, because older plugins are particularly vulnerable. Yet nearly one-half of all WordPress plugins haven’t been updated in two years.


Even without plugins, though, the WordPress core is still prone to hacked—37% of vulnerabilities are due to errors in the core code.


All told, you’re literally more likely to get hacked using WordPress than another platform. That’s scary.


Sitejet

With Sitejet, it’s a different story.


First, you can quickly monitor every website to make sure it’s online, all the time. Sure, you can do this on WordPress—but it’s a lot faster doing it in one place on Sitejet.


Next, we don’t use a vulnerable plugin system like WordPress. All the functionality is built into Sitejet, effectively sealing any cracks in the security wall. This in and of itself is a huge improvement over WordPress.


This means you get centralized updates, meaning every site is protected around-the-clock with the most recent, strongest code. And unlike WordPress, that code is closed-source.


Anyone can view the code behind WordPress (here it is) and mine it for vulnerabilities. No hackers can view the code behind Sitejet, which adds another layer of protection.


Finally, Sitjet handles loads of security by default under the hood. For example, all sites come with secure socket layer encryption, or SSL. This is available on WordPress, too, but it’s up to the individual site owners to manage (and it’s easy to let SSL lapse and leave your site vulnerable).


This makes for a rock-solid system that will leave your sites secure.


How do I manage client work?

If you’re a web designer with clients (or run an agency of your own) you know how frustrating it can be to design client sites across different platforms.

Here’s how Sitejet and WordPress stack up.


WordPress

First off, WordPress doesn’t have a white label option.

If you’re going to design sites for clients, it will be painfully obvious you’ve developed off the WordPress base. There’s really no way to edit away the WordPress branding, and at the end of the day your client will always know you’ve created “just another WordPress site.”

You’ll also have the same overloaded dashboard for clients. Remember the one we showed earlier with dozens of buttons, updates, and alerts? That’s what clients see. This can often lead to problems, with clients clicking updates that end up crashing the site, then demanding you fix it.

(And yes, we’ve seen it happen a lot.)

There’s also no way to manage client to-dos. You’ll need to operate this using a separate system.

The most typical way to handle client communication is through email. You’ll get a set of tasks and attached files, then you’ll import them into the WordPress editors. There’s a lot of back-and-forth to make sure you get all the right files in the right format so you can get the site set up.

And WordPress doesn’t sync with your client information at all. You’ll need to keep a separate system to track which clients have updated requests, which need following up, and which are ready to be billed.


Sitejet

Unlike WordPress, which as we mentioned earlier was designed for bloggers, Sitejet was designed by a website development team with clients. Over the course of a few years, we built Sitejet up to be the perfect platform for hosting and managing client business sites.


In fact, we’ve used it to manage and run over 4,000 sites. Because of that, everything is designed around fast and easy site design, seamless client management, and simple communication.


To start with, Sitejet also has a white label program. Your clients can log in without knowing the secret sauce behind your platform. And clients won’t see a complicated dashboard.


If they’re interested in self-service, you can introduce them to their very own customer portal where they can manage their emails and even edit chosen parts of their website.

In addition, Sitejet is designed to make client site design simple and easy.


To-dos, client requests, and changes are built into the platform. You can easily assign tasks to co-workers or ask customers for their feedback which can directly be attached to specific elements on the website.


Plus, you can easily share and transform files on the fly. If a client sends a giant PNG but you need a compressed JPEG, it’s a cinch in Sitejet.


Plus, there’s a lean customer relation management, or CRM, system built into Sitejet. You can keep track of clients, manage contact information, and follow up.


What’s the support like if I run into a problem?

We’ll wrap things up with support.


At the end of the day, you’ll need help with a specific problem, run into a bug that needs to be repaired right away, or need help with your specific circumstance.


When the inevitable arrives, which will be a better fit?


WordPress

WordPress has been around for over 15 years, so there’s a huge community of support.


That’s really helpful, but it also comes with a downside—it’s community support. In the ensuing years, the WordPress developers have moved on to their own projects, and most of the help today comes down to more informal methods.


First, you can use forums. There are lots of these where you can talk with other enthusiasts about problems you’re facing. These can range from helpful to downright worthless.


Next, you can use the official WordPress documentation, known as the WordPress Codex.

This is a comprehensive resource that provides a deep-dive into almost any component of WordPress. It’s worth noting that this is a technical manual designed for coders.


And it’s also designed around topics, not problems.


Let’s say you want to add a simple countdown timer in WordPress. Searching for that might not bring up the results you’re looking for, because WordPress doesn’t have that as a built-in feature.


You’ll need to custom-code it or find a (currently updated) plugin that creates a widget with that functionality. And getting it to display in WordPress won’t be under “counter.”


You’ll find the solution under “displaying widgets."

For non-coders, this can be intimidating.

You’ll also be using plugins for a lot of functionality, and support there is hit-and-miss. Some plugin developers are great at support, others haven’t checked their help request inbox in literally years.

Either way, this is out of the hands of the WordPress support community—most can only help with WordPress core, not third-party extensions and plugins.


Sitejet

On Sitejet, we’ve built it up as a community. You’ll be able to learn in a few different ways.


First, like WordPress, we have a community. Unliked WordPress, though, this is moderated and assisted by the developers.


We also have documentation, FAQs, and videos you can use to learn about Sitejet. Let’s look at that counter example again. With Sitejet, you’ll get a three-minute video walking you through the process.

These are really helpful resources, but where we really shine is our Slack channel.


(If you aren’t familiar with Slack, it’s a communication platform like Facebook Messenger, but for businesses.)


We’re quick to respond and help out with bugs or issues. Unlike WordPress, we have direct control over the software—no lengthy approval process to make changes—and we get things resolved fast.


Here’s one of many examples on our Slack channel. A user had an issue at 5:16am, and by 5:18am a Sitejet team member personally resolved it.

Conclusion

WordPress and Sitejet are coming to the design field with different goals.

If you’re an experienced coder looking for a blank slate on which to develop your custom blogging masterpiece, WordPress is probably going to be a great fit—especially if you’re planning on hands-on management for the foreseeable future.

But for people who don’t fit that mold, Sitejet offers a different opportunity. You can quickly create a high-performing, attractive sites that’s adaptable to your level of coding—even if that level is zero.

You’ll be able to sit back without running into security vulnerabilities, and get one-on-one help when you need it.

Plus, if you design for clients, you can use Sitejet to manage your customer relations and make the client design process simple.

In a few words, WordPress was created for the experience coder developing blogs, and Sitejet is created for the creative designer working on client projects.

If Sitejet sound like a better fit, you can get started in just seconds.