WordPress vs. Optimizely


Deciding on a CMS for your business can be daunting, especially when you consider the numerous options available. WordPress and Optimizely are two of the most popular choices. However, they differ in significant ways.

A CMS is central to a company’s digital presence. It connects to every other platform that makes up your marketing tech stack, such as customer data platform (CDP) , client relationship management (CRM), digital asset management (DAM), personalization engine, email automation, and ecommerce.

This article will guide you in selecting between Optimizely and WordPress as the best CMS for your business.

Meet The Contenders: WordPress vs. Optimizely


WordPress is the most popular CMS across the globe, accounting for 43% of the market. It is an open-source CMS that comes with thousands of themes and plugins to help you extend your website’s capabilities and customization.

Since its inception as a blogging platform, WordPress has grown to accommodate a wide range of features that allows you to create robust business websites, portfolios, ecommerce platforms, and more.

WordPress is a user-friendly CMS that’s relatively cheap compared to many other options on the market. Despite all its benefits, WordPress comes with some limitations.

While it costs little to get started, the cost can quickly skyrocket when you try to customize and improve your website services by adding more plugins. And the more plugins you use, the more likely you are to end up with a vulnerable and slow website.

Read more: Is WordPress a good choice for enterprise?


Optimizely, previously known as Episerver, is one of the most popular enterprise CMSs on the market. It’s a proprietary digital experience platform that consists of several modular or API-first services to help businesses scale and deliver the best experience to their customers.

These modular services include content management, ecommerce, A/B testing, analytics, search, and many others. Optimizely’s unique modular approach makes it highly scalable and extensible, which is ideal for any company that wants the agility to adapt easily to the demands of an evolving market.

However, Optimizely’s capabilities – and cost – is geared more towards large enterprises with specific demands for customization, security, and high performance.

Comparing WordPress and Optimizely

Let’s look at the differences between Optimizely and WordPress:

Market Share

WordPress holds a big slice of the CMS space. This is mostly due to its open source approach and ease of use which has made it the choice for many websites.

On the other hand, while Optimizely holds a smaller percentage of the market share compared to WordPress, it’s the preferred choice for high-traffic sites, according to W3Techs.

Learning Curve

WordPress is an easy-to-use platform for developers and non-developers alike to build websites with minimal hassle. First-time CMS users can familiarize themselves with the platform as quickly as possible. The sheer number of users attests to this.

The numerous themes and plugins available on WordPress also make it easy to set up your website quickly. However, this simplicity can sometimes hinder customizability and performance, which are always a requirement for top enterprises.

For Optimizely, users may need to go through specific training to become familiar with the platform and its numerous features and services. Despite this, users can still take advantage of the ready-made templates and built-in functionalities available.

Content Authoring

WordPress and Optimizely both boast impressive content authoring capabilities. They both have user-friendly features, including drag and drop functionality, templates, editing, audit trails, and more.

Optimizely takes the lead here, however. For high-performing companies looking to build sophisticated and personalized experiences, Optimizely has strong personalization features, A/B testing, marketing automation, and optimization, among others. It also provides approval workflows and many other features for easy collaboration with your team.

Marketing Technology

When deciding on a CMS, it’s important to choose one that can seamlessly integrate and act as the central connecting hub for all marketing technologies, including ecommerce, CDP, CRM, DAM, personalization, and more. This helps you build a robust digital experience platform.

WordPress lets you integrate multiple plugins to extend the website’s functionality and marketing capabilities. However, these numerous plugins easily lead to poor performance, downtime, or a security breach for those lacking the necessary technical knowledge.

Such breaches can hugely impact your customer’s view of your website or even lead to financial loss or regulatory penalties.

On the other hand, Optimizely is an API-first digital experience platform that comes with many marketing solutions for all your enterprise needs. This API-first approach makes it easy to scale or integrate with any independent service of your choosing.

Scalability and Extensibility

Optimizely is a cloud-based platform that’s tailor-made for high-ranking companies looking to grow significantly and scale their business across many markets. The API-first approach of Optimizely makes it easy to integrate with other services.

For instance, you can connect Optimizely with an ecommerce platform, ERP system, personalization, and email automation. WordPress, on the other hand, provides numerous plugins for extra functionality. Again, these plugins may lack the capabilities your business requires to scale and extend, as well as negatively impact performance.

Documentation and Support

Due to WordPress’s popularity, there are many community resources available when you have problems. Users can access videos online, tutorials, forums, and more. These numerous resources is one of the things that makes WordPress attractive.

However, official WordPress support is severely lacking, which is a requirement for many companies when investing heavily in software.

According to a WordPress user on G2, users get “wishy washy ‘help’ provided by support. Blame always placed on 3rd party. If you use advanced terminology to even the superiors the superiors no one knows what you are discussing. In ten years of on and off again service with WP, I’ve never been emailed back in accordance to a request for an escalation.”

Optimizely provides platform support for users, together with detailed and easy-to-understand documentation, and materials.

Optimizely users can also receive training and certification on the platform, which helps them get up and running quickly on the platform. Additionally, users can work with experienced platform partners like Oshyn to help them.

Read more: How to choose an Optimizely Partner


WordPress is open source and it relies heavily on plugins for extensibility, which require constant updates, otherwise, you may be open to vulnerabilities. These constant updates can be a source of concern, especially when you have lots of plugins and features.

One Gartner review highlighted WordPress’ limitations, stating, “the updating process is awful. It has been impossible for us to manage this internally, and OT Professional Services have not been good at getting this done for us. Each upgrade is painful and takes months.”

Enterprise companies want a platform that’s robust enough to handle all their content management needs and has a secure architecture that won’t strain their development team or budget. Optimizely is a proprietary platform that’s designed to be highly secure and reliable for top enterprises.

Roundup Verdict: WordPress vs Optimizely

To choose between WordPress and Optimizely as the central hub for your stack, it’s important to consider all your enterprise needs and target market. While WordPress is very cost-effective, its architecture is more suitable for low-budget companies with lesser traffic demands and growth.

On the other hand, Optimizely is proprietary software with not insignificant licensing costs. But it’s a great option for businesses looking to meet high traffic demands, maintain a robust security standard, and scale easily as their business grows.

To implement an Optimizely website, it’s best to have an expert platform partner along with you on the journey. Oshyn is an certified Optimizely and Sitecore partner with a lot of experience working with various agencies and companies to build, audit, and support visually appealing and highly functioning websites.

One such company is TCDRS, an organization that works with over 320,000 retirees and public employees in Texas, specializing in retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. TCDRS needed a robust enterprise CMS that can help them create a responsive website on a tight schedule.

They chose Oshyn as the expert partner to help them build their website on Optimizely. The final product was a mobile-first design that incorporates many of Optimizely’s core features, which resulted in a 42.7% decrease in bounce within the first week after launch.

To learn more about how TCDRS made this possible, check out this case study.