Artist / Band Website CMS: Wordpress or Drupal?

September 25, 2010 8:27 AM

I need to put together a new 'artist/band' website and not sure what CMS is really the best. my Hosting has free Wordpress or Drupal installs - whats the pros and cons of each and what do you use?

I have previously used Wordpress but I do remember it being a bit of a hack job trying to get different category data to appear on the Front Page.

i.e. ideally i'd have a 'news' category that appears on teh front page + and then a sidebar / 2nd column showing the categories for releases/discog & shows.

posted by mary8nne (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I have encountered Drupal twice. Each time it was a world of pain to do anything at all with it whatsoever and each site was super clunky and slow. It's possible that it has improved since then, and it is also possible that those weren't brilliantly put together Drupal instances - in each case I was only working on parts of the site and did not build it from scratch. However, anecdata seems to show that if I have ever come across anyone for whom 'Drupal' doesn't equal 'world of pain' I don't recall.

That leaves Wordpress.

(For my own band site I just use vim and flat pages with SSIs, with Bandcamp providing the music / downloads / releases page and Posterous providing the blog, plus some home-rolled Perl stuff for other bits and bobs specific to my needs. That doesn't help you any though.)
posted by motty at 2:44 PM on September 25, 2010

Wordpress works well for a band website. Earlier versions of it were a bit more fiddly, but the latest versions are a lot easier to customize. There are also plenty of plugins that can make it do whatever you want.
posted by anthom at 4:13 PM on September 25, 2010

I use Wordpress for a lot of stuff, and have done a certain amount of customization to it at various levels. I've found it flexible enough for my needs, but I've never tried to do anything crazily designery with it that would test the theoretical limits of what it does a decent job at.

I've never used Drupal. I know some people who love WP, some who love Drupal, some who hate either or both. They're both robust CMSes that you can do pretty much whatever with if you know your way around them.

So, to an extent, if you're fairly comfortable with Wordpress already and don't have a specific desire to learn a new CMS from scratch I'd say that WP is a gimme. Build off what you know already instead of learning a new environment from scratch. More time spent building, less time spent scratching in the dirt trying to figure out how to do the things you want to do.

Note also that WP's in the relatively recent past done some nice work extending the ability to easily (e.g. without tons of template hacking or even god forbid codebase hacking) present different kinds of page content in a flexible manner, so some of your previous experiences with it may be a bit moot on that front. A major release they went through since I started building my music blog made some of the slog I went through to structure my pages moot, which is awesome from a featureset perspective even if it's torture from an If Only I'd Known personal perspective.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on September 25, 2010

I recently built a site with Drupal. Once you get your head around it, it's immensely powerful and very easy to get the whole thing working and looking *exactly* the way you want it. However, it is HORRIFICALLY, DEALBREAKINGLY slow. Even when you turn on all the caching and stuff. For that reason I can't recommend it unless you have a dedicated, really fast, server. I did really like the whole Drupal gestalt and the ecosystem of software, but the slowness was unacceptable on a semi-dedicated server with basically zero load.
posted by unSane at 6:44 PM on September 25, 2010

(you can see the Drupal site here... this site is running under zero load and is still excruciatingly slow, even for the cached front page. Once you get into uncached areas of the site, it's game over). Other stuff running on the same server is fine.
posted by unSane at 6:45 PM on September 25, 2010

OK I guess I'll stick with Wordpress. just having trouble controlling what categories appear on the front page. and trying to do some stuff with multiple categories on teh front page.
posted by mary8nne at 11:29 AM on September 27, 2010

Indeed. Well, I can say two things: my band website was built with static HTML & rsync. News is important: it's also doable with an external blog or twitter with an embed. The quantity and weight of news that comes out of small-time bands is usually minor.

Second: the company I work for built the platform for the Warner Brothers band network, so, like The Black Keys, etc., are powered by a Drupal install profile.
posted by tmcw at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2010

Have you tried something like the Front Page Excluded Categories plugin for WP?
posted by anthom at 7:29 AM on October 1, 2010

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