In this post I’ll briefly introduce Perch CMS, a premium content management system, and how you may benefit from choosing it against WordPress for your website. There’s already a good comparison between Perch and WordPress on Perch website, but that’s primarily targeted at developers – I’ll instead focus on you, content editors here. If you’re a Perch developer, feel free to share this post with your present, or future clients.
Perch is a premium CMS, designed and developed by a UK-based developer couple, Rachel Andrew, and Drew McLellan – quite big names within the field. WordPress is a free, open source CMS, born of the discontinuation of b2/cafeblog blogging software.
Managing content, against blogging
Perch was made with an entirely different purpose than WordPress, even though both software are called content management systems. Perch was designed and built to be an optimal solution to deliver content management for bespoke small to medium websites, with both static, and dynamic content. On the other hand, WordPress was made to be a feature-rich blogging tool, specifically for dynamic content. Since WordPress is free and open-source, a lot of developers have built plugins on top of the system, extending its functionality, making it capable to manage not just blogs, but all kinds of websites.
Targeting professionals who build websites for others, for highest quality outcome
Perch is primarily marketed for web professionals, and not content editors or end-users like you, which may be one of the reasons you haven’t heard of it before. Web design and development professionals producing high quality web solutions choose Perch, to deliver the most optimal and easy editing experience for their clients, completely unique for their exact needs. On the other hand, WordPress is marketed both for developers and end-users. If you’ve enough time to educate yourself, you may launch a WordPress site with minimal to no developer help. Though in theory, you may be able to force WordPress to meet your website needs, the result will likely never be comparable to bespoke Perch website, hand-coded by a professional for you. Don’t forget there’re excellent WordPress developers too, who may help you with all kind of custom needs. However, achieving the same custom, yet simple outcome in WordPress may require much more developer effort, cost, and training time from your side.
Web design and development professionals producing high quality web solutions choose Perch, to deliver the most optimal and easy editing experience for their clients, completely unique for their exact needs.
Building a website from the ground up, not vice versa
Since Perch doesn’t come with themes, or any sort of code or visual elements that may be part of the output, you always need a professional to design and build your site. This means, a Perch website may be just, and exactly as good as your visual designer, and developer, and even the admin interface will be built around- and for your content. On the other hand, a general WordPress workflow starts with having a complete blog or website, and then cleaning out the features like plugins, and styling like themes irrelevant to your needs. Even if there’re simple themes designed to be customized, WordPress’s workflow is the opposite to Perch’s, and how designers and developers think, being much less streamlined for custom outcomes.
… a Perch website may be just, and exactly as good as your visual designer, and developer, and even the admin interface will be built around- and for your content.
Browsing and editing websites much faster
Good website performance benefits not only your visitors who wait less, but also search engines prefer sites, that load faster. Perch’s flexibility, and aforementioned workflow usually has a huge performance advantage over WordPress. A Perch website, and its admin interface has just the absolute minimum ‘footprint’, to serve and edit your content. WordPress, a CMS targeted to end-users, must be much more general, being able to serve all kinds of blogs and websites, for all its users, not just you. WordPress manages this at the cost of ease of use, and performance.
A Perch website, and its admin interface has just the absolute minimum ‘footprint’, to serve and edit your content.
Using Perch CMS and WordPress for what they’re designed to do best
Being a Perch developer myself, and having quite some successful Perch projects with satisfied clients, my opinions above may biased. I’m not primarily a fan of Perch, but the workflow it suggests, which is so natural and streamlined to how professional designers and developers think and work when making web products. To illustrate this, there’re other great CMSs with a Perch-like mindset, like Craft CMS, Kirby, Statamic, and Vapid, to name few. You unlikely to go wrong by choosing a professional who works with any of these. Don’t forget there’re also great WordPress developers, who will tell you why there’re no limits on what can be achieved on that platform. I myself also use WordPress for website projects on a tighter budget or schedule, for plugin-based website building, or light to medium theme-customization, where I think WordPress really shines. In such cases, I also dedicate much more time to train my clients using the CMS, after deploying the website though.