Us vs Them:  Why Choose SiteWizard?

Before developing our own Content Management System, we investigated the market to see if there was a need for something new.  We believe that our unique website solution is the best choice for many organizations.  Below we have compared ourselves to three common website choices:  "free" open-source CMS software, other web-based "site builder" solutions and custom website development.

"Free" Open-Source CMS vs SiteWizard CMS

There are several "free" open-source content management systems available.  Two popular examples are WordPress and Joomla.  But be careful:  there are many hidden costs of open source software.  In a thorough evaluation, open-source is not free.  For the comparison below, we will use WordPress as our illustration since it is the most popular open-source CMS.  The same limitations apply to most other open-source CMS software.

WordPress
SiteWizard CMS
Technical Support
Technical Support
There is no technical support included with WordPress.  If you run into an error... well, hopefully you are comfortable debugging PHP, Apache .htconfig files and MySQL databases.  You run the risk of errors when you install the application, or you install plug-ins, or you upgrade any part of the system (CMS code, plug-ins, PHP version, Apache version, OS).
SiteWizard comes with full technical support.  We stand behind our product, and we monitor the system for errors to ensure smooth operation of your website.  We test all upgrades on a separate staging environment before roll-out and we handle any kind of technical errors without lengthy costly downtime.
User Support
User Support
Want to know how to use a feature in Wordpress?  You'll have to search around online, dig through forums or pay a consultant to figure it out for you.  Of course, some companies are happy to offer a support contract for a few thousand dollars per year.
We support our SiteWizard customers through an online knowledge base of articles and videos available 24/7.  They can also submit requests through our customer support portal, chat online with a live representative or call our USA based toll-free support line.
Web Hosting
Web Hosting
Hosting is not included with WordPress.  A wide variety of web hosts support WordPress, but there is great variation in pricing, quality, performance and features with web hosts.
SiteWizard CMS is a fully hosted software-as-a-service solution.  We include reliable high-quality monitored hosting of websites plus a corporate email solution.  Our websites are hosted in a tier-1 data facility with multiple on-site and off-site backups daily.
Web Design
Web Design
There are plenty of free templates available for WordPress.  Unfortunately, customizing them requires programming HTML, PHP and/or CSS not to mention graphic design tools like Photoshop.  If you can't do your own programming or graphic design, you could pay a consultant thousands of dollars for a custom template.
SiteWizard CMS includes a powerful and easy-to-use "skin designer."  Change your color scheme, menus, backgrounds and other design elements through an intuitive interface.  There are thousands of possible combinations, not counting the ability to add custom images.  If that's not sufficient, we offer custom design packages starting at $500.
Features / Plug-Ins / Modules
Features / Plug-Ins / Modules
By default Wordpress doesn't come with a lot of features.  There are numerous plug-ins available, both free and commercial (paid).  Free plug-ins don't go through quality assurance, so you are a guinea pig "beta tester" if you install them, and there is no technical support available if they break your website.  It can be difficult and time-consuming to find reliable high-quality plug-ins that fit your organization's needs.
SiteWizard has dozens of modules built in.  Our features are well designed and thoroughly tested.  We provide technical and user support and stand behind our products.  Our modules greatly surpass typical WordPress plug-ins in quality and functionality.

SiteWizard includes a number of proprietary features that you won't find in any other Content Management System.  Here are a few SiteWizard features that don't come with WordPress:

  • Membership System - Users can register on your website and access members-only content.  You have complete control over users, roles, registration and participation in different parts of your website.
  • Social Networking Groups - Allow members to join different social groups and share information, photos, links and videos.  Social groups can be public or private.  Each social group can be moderated by administrator or appointed users.
  • User Profiles - Each user can add information and photos to personalize their sharing experience.  Members control what information is shared or private.
  • Member Directory - This is a searchable directory of website members.  Users can search for other members, view profiles, make friend requests and send messages.
  • Journal - This Facebook style "wall" of postings shows the most recent social interactions and website news.
  • Message Center - Allows users to send messages to other members and notifies users of new interactions and news.
  • Email Marketing - A full opt-in/opt-out email newsletter system is integrated with SiteWizard CMS.  Your members are automatically tied into the email marketing system.
  • Multimedia Library - Powerful audio/video library system that automatically converts videos from almost any format.  Supports viewing on iPhone, iPad and Android.  Has tagging, categorization, search, reviews and comments.  Integrates with your Amazon S3 account for unlimited cloud-based audio/video storage.
  • E-Commerce - Full featured, highly customizable e-commerce system with support for multiple payment gateways.
  • Multilingual / Localization - Includes machine-generated translation and human-written translation.  Automated translation supports 30+ languages. 
  • Flexible Page Structure - Wordpress and many other systems limit you to ONE editable region on the page.  SiteWizard CMS has ~20 editable areas where you can add as much content and as many features as you like.  Rearrange individual pages to get the design you want.
  • Content Versioning - You messed up your content?  Roll back your changes with content versioning.  You can even un-delete pages and modules from the Recycle Bin.

That's just scratching the surface.  We are confident that no other vendor has a more powerful feature-rich Content Management System at a better price.


Conclusion:  Open-source software is great if you're a programmer.  But if you don't know how to program, you need the security and reliability of a fully supported solution that is backed by a professional company like SiteWizard LLC.  Our solution is designed to save you time, money and headaches associated with open-source CMS software.


Site Builders vs SiteWizard CMS

We reviewed a number of web-based "site builder" systems on the market.  There is great variance in pricing and features, but the most popular systems tend to be low in price and low on features.  The following comparison is a generalization of popular site builder solutions.

Site Builders
SiteWizard CMS
Features
Features
Most web-based site builder solutions are limited to creating a "static HTML" website, meaning that they produce extremely simple websites with no interactive features.  Organizations often start off with a simple website but find that they need more features as they grow, and common site builders cannot accommodate their needs.  There are serious limitations that require organizations to move to a different website solution, thereby losing their investment in their existing website.
SiteWizard CMS produces highly interactive feature-rich websites with features far above-and-beyond traditional site builder solutions. 

Here are some features that you are unlikely to find in common site builder systems:  Membership System, Social Networking Groups, User Profiles, Member Directory, Journal, Message Center, Email Marketing / Newsletters, Multimedia Library, E-Commerce / Shopping Cart, Multilingual Localization, Flexible Page Structure and Content Versioning.  Read the WordPress feature comparison above or the SiteWizard CMS Features page for more details.
Web Design
Web Design
Site builders traditionally include a selection of website templates.  Some services offer the ability to customize basic elements of the design.  Often the quality of the templates is sub-par, producing websites that look outdated even though they are brand-new.  Many site builder services do not offer the option to purchase a custom design.
SiteWizard CMS includes a powerful "skin designer" tool that allows you to control nearly every aspect of your modern website design.  Each web page has ~20 editable areas where you can insert content and modules, including a beautiful content rotator / slideshow.  Most competing site builders only have ONE editable area.  If you want a completely custom design, we offer design packages starting at $500.
Custom Programming
Custom Programming
If you want custom functionality to be developed for your website, most site builder solutions cannot accommodate your needs.  You have to move to a different service or hire a software developer to create a new website from scratch.
SiteWizard CMS is already overflowing with features, and we are continually adding new features.  But if you want something custom-built we can accommodate your needs.  We can develop almost any kind of functionality at reasonable programming costs.  Our system is meant to be the ultimate solution for your website, both today and for the future.

Conclusion:  Most site builders cannot accommodate the long-term needs of a growing organization that wants a high-quality, feature-rich interactive website.  SiteWizard CMS has the cost benefits of a site builder solution without the limitations in custom design and custom programming.


Custom Website Development vs SiteWizard CMS

There are a lot of custom website developers in the industry.  These range from professional development firms to amateurs who "dabble in web design."  In general, professional firms delivery quality websites at extremely high price tags, and freelance designers deliver pretty designs with little functionality.

Custom Website Development
SiteWizard CMS
Up-Front Cost
Up-Front Cost
Basic custom websites normally cost a minimum of $3,000.  More complex websites with e-commerce and other programmatic features usually cost $15,000 and up.  Integrating with a "free" open-source content management system can cost an extra $5,000 or more. SiteWizard charges a nominal one-time setup fee (check individual plans for pricing).  Optional custom website design packages start at $500.  The up-front cost is negligible to most organizations, and there are no long-term commitments.
Maintenance Cost
Maintenance Cost
Most custom website development projects do not include a content management system, you must contact your web developer to request changes.  Updates normally cost $500-$1,500 per year.
SiteWizard CMS allows you to easily add, modify, delete and rearrange content at your leisure.  If you can use a word processor, you can use SiteWizard CMS.
Web Hosting
Web Hosting
Web hosting is not included with custom design.  Depending on the features of your site, hosting can range from $10/month to $100+/month.
SiteWizard CMS is a fully hosted software-as-a-service solution.  We include reliable high-quality monitored hosting of websites plus a corporate email solution.  Our websites are hosted in a tier-1 data facility with multiple on-site and off-site backups daily.
Features Features
A professional development firm can accommodate any feature you want, as long as you can afford their services.  Professional firms usually charge $100-$200/hour.  Expect that simple features will cost thousands of dollars.  Many small businesses cannot afford the price of custom programming.
SiteWizard CMS includes every feature needed to run a successful website.  It would cost over $11 million dollars to build SiteWizard CMS from scratch.  We made a major investment so you don't have to.

We are continually improving our product and adding new features, all included in a low monthly subscription price.  If you need custom features, we can build almost any kind of functionality at reasonable programming costs.

Here are some features that you are unlikely to get with custom website development:  Membership System, Social Networking Groups, User Profiles, Member Directory, Journal, Message Center, Email Marketing / Newsletters, Multimedia Library, E-Commerce / Shopping Cart, Multilingual Localization, Flexible Page Structure and Content Versioning.  Read the WordPress feature comparison above or the SiteWizard CMS Features page for more details.

Conclusion:  Custom website development is a high-cost investment.  SiteWizard CMS is designed to offer the flexibility of custom development with the cost benefits of "site builder" solutions.

Contact us to request a live demo of SiteWizard CMS.