Salesforce experience vs salesforce site - Explain.

181    Asked by ColemanGarvin in Salesforce , Asked on May 18, 2023

A client of mine has a website and a public domain that they have right now that is strictly informational. There are various tools such as a Store Finder Tool, Appointment Booking and Web-to-Case creation.

The client uses Salesforce heavily and is looking to 'decommission' the website and build the content on the salesforce platform. They wanted to use an experience/community, develop the UI using assets and various custom lightning web components and then have their domain point to the Salesforce experience site. At some point in the future, they envision turning this into a Customer Community where the customer can login, see their orders and pay.

For now, there would be no login functionality for customers / partners and this site would be fully publicly accessible.

I have looked and am having trouble getting a clear answer on the following:

  1. What is the better way to move forward with the website migration, should I create a new Experience Site, develop lightning components or should I create a new Site and use Visual force pages to style the site and create pages?

  2. Is there any way to grab their current pages and reuse them, or would I have to design the site from the ground up?

Help and guidance from the community is appreciated. I have done a lot of research but I am still hesitant that creating an Experience is the right / most efficient decision?

Answered by Aashna Saito

The main difference between the two is that salesforce Sites exposes Visualforce and Apex directly, while Experience utilises a useful WYSIWYG-type editor. In other words, you can pretty much copy-paste the site into an Experience, and even define navigation, pages, etc all with a UI, while a Site is much more code-intensive, less UI. However, given that both are already capable of displaying plain HTML, it probably doesn't really matter which option you choose. They're both decent choices. Ultimately, I guess it depends on how faithful you want to remain to the original site design. I find it easier to make Visualforce look and feel exactly as I want, as I can just turn off all the styles and do my own HTML. On the other hand, I find the template experience of Experience to be enjoyable, as it gives us ways to make all the pages look uniform and even change global settings, like font colours and such, without having to possibly modify every single Visualforce page.

Without seeing the site, I have no idea which route would actually be preferable. For most sites, it probably doesn't matter which you choose, just pick one and commit. They're about equal in functionality, so it's more about preference, kind of like choosing between jQuery or React. They're two different things, each having their pros and cons, but at the end of the day, they both get the job done.

There is no clear "better" way. It depends on you. Do you like working with raw HTML, or would you like to copy-paste stuff directly from a browser preview/window? Only you can decide that. Experience is more likely to be copy-pasting various parts of the site, while Visualforce is still likely going to need careful treatment of URLs and the like. It's not clear that there's a "winner" here, either way. Going with Sites, you probably want to create at least a template Visualforce page so you can get a consistent look and feel, while in Experiences, you get the look and feel pretty much for free, but you'll potentially have to copy-paste individual sections of the site.

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