Concrete5 vs. Wordpress vs. Squarespace

I just came across a new Wordpress theme/add-on today called Upfront. It looks pretty amazing— (I am not involved with and I am not plugging it)

I don't really like Wordpress, partly because IMO it is a bit complicated to theme for, with the functions file and whatnot. I really prefer working with C5.

The issue is this: I have lost clients to services like Squarespace (2 clients to be exact). I've always told my clients that editing with C5 is much easier than with Wordpress. But editing with a service like Squarespace is easiest of them all I think.

Now, I am faced with a Wordpress add-on that can make editing almost as easy as Squarespace. I hate to say it, but I may not be using Concrete5 much anymore for new sites.

I haven't use 5.7 that much yet. Is it a lot different from 5.6 for editing?

Any thoughts on why we should stick with C5?

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PineCreativeLabs replied on at Permalink Reply
I have been using Concrete almost exclusively since 2009. I have converted several clients from Wordpress to C5, and they love me for it.

Concrete 5.7 is very different from 5.6 and older. Although the overall concept is still the same, the dashboard in 5.7 is much more integrated with the front-end. The main downside to 5.7 is that there currently isn't a lot of documentation for it yet, and not a lot of addons and themes (although there are quite a few awaiting approval).

These days, Concrete has much more competition. More and more CMSs are going the 'front-end editing' route, as this is the future of website management. So, ease of use is no longer a selling point for C5.

That said, the points I would make in keeping prospects and clients with C5 are these:
1) Concrete has an active support community
2) Concrete is open source, so there is more freedom to do what you want
3) Concrete has superior quality control in regards to its marketplace items
4) All aspects of websites built with C5 are truly customizable, with no limits

I hope that helps.
CygnetMidwest replied on at Permalink Reply
Thanks. I appreciate your input. I'm going to download 5.7 and get it up in a demo site (should have done in months ago... but client work comes first!)

Those are good selling points for C5. I will definitely use those next time I need to!
malkau replied on at Permalink Reply
That's a super impressive theme! C5 Core Team should check it out!

Just the few demos of that page look a lot better than my recent experiences building with C5.7.

I really like you you can drag in an image and crop it in the screen to the right size - that would be sooooo handy for me.

The editing experience looks really smooth too. e.g. editing the text, you just click on the text you want to change and it makes it editable.
In C5.7, I have to click on the content block, then click "Edit Block" on the menu that appears, then wait a sec or 2 for the WYSIWYG editor to load. Might seems minimal - but in the site build I have been working on, tweaking text here and there... it's actually adds much time to my workflow.

Another example - adding blocks to the page. I was creating 5 rows of content in format:
- image block, content block
- content block, image block
(etc, for 5 rows)
To add the blocks for a row each time I had to:
- click the plus icon
- drag the image icon to position (this whole drag thing is actually a little buggy for me - I'll have to make a video to demonstrate sometime)
- choose the image options and save
- click the plus icon
- drag the content icon to position
- wait for editor to load
- add text / edit / save

What I would have preferred... either I can click an editable area and choose Add Block (like we could before, like we can in Stacks) OR at least a way to leave that Blocks toolbar open so I don't have to open it everytime. So I could drop all the images in in one hit.

And layouts! Old C5 let you add rows in a layout. New C5 you only get one row - but you can make a preset of it it (but they haven't been working for me, so I create a new layout each time... frustrating)

Anyway, you're right... it makes Wordpress actually look like an option. Though I really don't really like WP generally...
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
You can actually now keep the Add Blocks panel open by clicking twice on the plus icon on the toolbar - it should change to a lock icon.
malkau replied on at Permalink Reply
oh my gosh - I noticed that when I was trying to close the toolbar after accidentally opening it. I thought it was locking the page or something - LOL! I wondered why I had to click it twice to close it.

I'll definitely be using that feature in future :D
MrKDilkington replied on at Permalink Reply
The debate is not Concrete5 versus Wordpress versus Squarespace.

Within a few years, most of the small and medium size web design agencies, freelance web designers, and low level developers will be out of work. The industry will be far too competitive for anyone mediocre or even average.

People requiring basic sites are going to go with the web builders unless they need something custom (branding, theme, and graphics), require custom software development, or have special marketing and advertising needs.

If you are only using concrete5 because of the editing interface that could be a warning sign of a greater problem. As the editing interfaces of the major CMS's get better and more similar, what will separate them is ease of development and administration controls.

For almost twenty years, many people have been able to earn a living making websites who aren't professionals. Look around on this forum, the other CMS forums, and web forums in general. You will see that it is not uncommon for people to be self-titled designers who have a shaky grasp of HTML and CSS (maybe a touch of JavaScript) and no understanding of design. They know just enough to throw a site together. This era is ending.

Who will survive:
1. skilled designers
2. skilled user experience/user interface designers
3. skilled advertising/marketing specialists
4. skilled developers
5. skilled content strategists

As an example, think of services that focus on home repair. There is a huge market for do it yourself solutions for people to do their own repairs.
Think of the people who aren't involved in doing home repair:
- they have no ability to do their own work, no matter how easy
- they have no interest in doing their own work, the experience is boring or drudgery to them
- they have no time to do their own work and can afford to pay others to do it
* the task is large/complicated/specialized and requires great skill, knowledge, and experience

Web builders are the new do it yourself products. You have to find ways to serve those who they don't, or can't, currently serve.

As someone selling website design services, you will have to ask yourself "what do I offer that web builder software doesn't?". Why does a client need you if they can create their own website for an all-inclusive monthly price of $10.
- outstanding customer service and hand holding
- great word of mouth and professional reputation
- top notch people and soft skills
- custom development solutions for specialized tasks
- you can make truly great sites
- advertising and marketing expertise

I recommend reading this excellent blog post on the topic:
Mainio replied on at Permalink Reply
Within a few years, most of the small and medium size web design agencies, freelance web designers, and low level developers will be out of work. The industry will be far too competitive for anyone mediocre or even average.


Well, people have been saying that for ages (15 years is ages for me). When frontpage came out it was supposed to be the "end of the era" for website developers, which it partly was (for the very simple ones) since it opened the market for these guys. And 99designs (or similar) were supposed to be the end of high-end design services since they brought the prices down.

But I don't think either of these predictions were correct. There will always be a need for these low-end web builder guys as in my understanding they fulfill the need that you also point to: not having to take care of something that someone is not interested in. So, they provide the service for those who just don't have the time or want to learn how to use a new tool. And high-end designers, I don't think I even need to point out anything about that.

I agree with you that the competition will probably be tougher as more of these tools arise but that's the way of life in everything. If you don't keep your expertise up to date, you're out of luck. That's how the world goes since there are constantly more and more people coming into this world and it means that there will be also more and more offering on some specific skills. And as there will be more and more information availalbe in this world it also means you need to be more specialized into some specific area.

So, skilled people will always find more work, as you point out in your list of the specific talents. And the world pretty much runs on computers so if you know how to design, architecht, implement, test or maintain software, the world is full of work for you. There will not be a day during my lifetime that a computer would be smart enough to do all of those tasks, although they can provide help in many areas of the process.
CygnetMidwest replied on at Permalink Reply
I use C5 because it is easy to theme and build sites for. I much prefer creating a site in C5 than Wordpress. Editing is a client facing issue. But it impacts me because clients are the ones that pay the bills. If a client finds an easier to use editing interface that is faster and clearer, they will want to use that instead of C5. Which is exactly what happened with the 2 clients I mentioned.

When I started using C5 back in 2009, it was beyond anything out there. I loved it. Now, it is not. I pushed C5 to clients for years because I felt it was the easiest to use out there. You're right about the future of CMSs and web builders. They'll all be very similar eventually in the editing UX.

I'm with @Mainio though... small and medium agencies are not going to disappear. We'll still be here in a few years, and far longer than that! I suppose it helps that we offer a myriad of services, and not just web site creation.
DanK replied on at Permalink Reply
Old thread I know but one thing I have to mention is that many clients (and for that I mean almost all I have come up against in 15 years freelancing) have almost no grasp of how to put down on paper how they are better than the competition in a compelling and interesting way. Many extremely successful people, specialists in their own industries, have extremely limited language skills. I have been shocked many times.

Middle management are usually too busy to spend time developing ideas and properly benchmarking the competition and are often scared to show their lack of understanding. You would not believe the amount of times I have received text for a site that, after extremely detailed discussions, amounts to about one sentence per page.

It's NOT the tools that are available for clients to build websites that result in a great website. It's the ideas, the content, the sales message, the design and how well optimised it is for search and different platforms that are important. I could put 99% of my clients in front of the best design tool ever created and they would still build a site that was rubbish (if they didn't find an excuse not to do it at all...).

Web designers are going to be fine. As is normal in industry, the bad ones will go and do something else, the good ones will keep going.
svsmailus replied on at Permalink Reply
A couple of years on from the discussion and drag and drop site builders abound. However, there is one aspect that I think will cause customers to find professional developers and that is security.

I've been using Wordpress for well over 10 years, but am about to throw in the towel. Every day I get many hack attempts. I've secured it with various plugins, but it is becoming too difficult to maintain. What's the point in being able to create a nice design easily if a week later your site is riddled with spam and your host is threatening to shut you down if you don't clean up the site. I had one site that took ages to sort because the malicious code was coming from a plugin that accessed third party urls. You could of course pay for security but that massively increases the price.

I'm now looking where I'll place my Wordpress sites and came across this discussion.
ramonleenders replied on at Permalink Reply
WordPress is still 1st in the list of "Most Used", but can not be spoken of "All Best" since it's just all free and existing since the year 0 (so you can see from the code). I think with concrete5 you will have a bit of a learning curve, but try it out and see how it fits you. If you have negative things to say, just say them. Every system can improve, every day of the year.
svsmailus replied on at Permalink Reply
I use cPanel and it installs Concrete5. However, the versions offered are 8.2.1, and

Which of these is recommeded?
ramonleenders replied on at Permalink Reply
8.2.1 is adviced, the other ones are

a) older
b) not in active development

But not all available Add-Ons/plugins are always up-to-date with the current version. So it may be that you specifically want Add-On [x] and the author doesn't have it updated for the version you have/want installed.

In case an Add-On is for 5.7.x, there is little to none coding changes needed to be done. 5.6.x doesn't work with version 8.x though. So those are the things you have to keep in mind.