Over the last two weeks I have been working on creating some sites with both Wordpress and Drupal. I have been experimenting with Drupal 7, Wordpress 3.5 and 3.6 (still in beta by the time of writing). I have also tried Buddy Press and BBPress.
I have arrived to some conclusions on which one to use given the needs you have. But first I want to put it clear that I am not an expert developer of Drupal nor Wordpress. I am just a CMS aficionado.
My experience with Wordpress is limited to two or three projects, and lots of hours experimenting, creating local sites for just the pleasure of doing it. My experience with Drupal is a little bit better, I have used it for blogging for five years, but have only one project with it, again, lots of hours installing and uninstalling modules just to test them. Creating sites just see how some specific thing can be done.
What I have learned about Wordpress
Wordpress is not just a blogging platform anymore, you can do a lot of other things with Wordpress and most of them pretty easily and simple. Having a network of sites in a Wordpress Mutisite configuration is really easy, having forums with BBPress or a small community with Buddy Press is also easy.
With the apropiate themes, having a magazine with lots of contributors and with one or more editors is not something difficult to achieve.
Prepare Wordpress for SEO is just a plugin away, actually it is really good without the need of plugins. You can feed Wordpress via RSS from other blogs, and without hurting the sites that owns the content you can display some good quality content in your site, along with your original one.
Almost anything that Wordpress is able to do, is one or two plugins away. That is one of its strengths.
What I have learned about Drupal
Drupal is a beast, and you can do almost anything you want to do with it in terms of content management. The possibilities are endless, you can configure and define every bit of it, with add-ons which on Drupal are called modules. Drupal does not assume you want a blog, or a magazine or anything at the time of the installation. So before start with it, you have to plan ahead what you really want to do, search for the modules that will help you on that, and finally start creating your site brick by brick.
Drupal can do almost anything as I have already said, but almost nothing is ready out of the box.
This is not an in-depth analysis, actually this is not even an analysis. This is just some notes about what I consider to be the points you need to consider when choose one or the other platform for your next project. And I think all comes down to this:
- If the requirements are simple and can be done with Wordpress with one or a few plugins go with Wordpress
- If the requirements are not possible to achieve with Wordpress in a simple way, you will be a lot better with Drupal
With Drupal, even setting up a blog may requiere some small effort, but if the project is complex you will thank yourself for choosing Drupal, it will be hard to create the complex site, but you will be able to do it. With Wordpress you may need to hack some theme, or the core code, which is never a good idea.
With Drupal you can define permissions and roles for almost any need you may find, with Wordpress you are hardened to what is defined by default.
You can create simple communities with Buddy Press, but if you really need a community around your site then you have to go with Drupal, where you can assign specific roles and permissions to every single user of the site. You can create endless roles and endless content types, and you can assign who will be able to post using which one of them.
To finish, what you need to consider when choosing Drupal or Wordpress, is how complex is the relationship between users and content. how many users and roles you need, and how these roles and users will interact with the content.
Wordpress does not offer to many options there, and Drupal does, but if you do not need them, then stay with Wordpress.