When thinking about content management systems the three names on every user’s lips are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. All three of them are powerful solutions and to say that any one is better than the other would be a judgment call that most developers are not comfortable with.
To be honest, you won’t find any answers if you ask the wrong questions. The question is not which platform is better but which platform is suited to your needs.
Both Joomla and WordPress are excellent content management systems. The fact that they have made it to the top three vouches for their excellence.
What you need to find out is when we think about WordPress v/s Joomla, which platform will support the most features that you need for your website.
WordPress is clearly the most widely used CMS in the world. But that does not qualify the fact that it is the better platform.
WordPress is popular because it is easy to use. It gives non coders a platform to create their own websites. Here’s the thing, most amateurs are looking to create their own blog. And as far as blogging goes, there is no other better platform than WordPress.
It was initially designed for the purpose of blogging. And as the software became popular, they tweaked its settings to make WordPress a CMS for creating other websites like e-commerce or catalog websites.
Whether this was a planned strategy or simply a happy accident will always remain a mystery. But the fact remains the same, it got WordPress the following that Joomla and Drupal can never hope to achieve.
With over 140 million downloads, Joomla cannot even hope to come close to WordPress with just over 30 million downloads to date.
The fact that WordPress was previously a blog specific website, works in its favor and it can even be a drawback. As it was specifically designed for the purposes of a blog centric websites, it does not adapt well to other themes and uses.
WordPress offers an intuitive management system, but this system is not as flexible as it might seem on the outside. The blog specific nature of the website makes coding for other purposes a slightly tricky business. This is where Joomla wins the show. It may take a while to understand the Joomla platform, but once you get the grips of it you can use it for virtually any purpose.
The learning curve of Joomla may not be as steep as Drupal but it is slightly complicated. It is not an amateur’s cup of tea.
WordPress may be excellent for handling simple blogging websites, but it is a head scratcher when it comes to uploading large volumes of content. Joomla is definitely a better choice in this regard.
Plugins and Extensions:
WordPress is very simplified in terms of its extensions. It calls these extensions plugins and puts everything within that blanket term. They can cause changes in anything from the back end to the front end.
Joomla is much more organized in this category. All its extensions are divided into Plugins, modules and components.
They are basically complete systems that will change the purpose of the site completely. For example, VirtueMart, just like the WooCommerce plugin of WordPress is designed to convert the Joomla website into an e-commerce website.
They are the equivalents of the WordPress widgets. They are basically additions to the main content zone.
These are basically modifications that aim towards bringing about necessary changes in the front end output.
This categorization clearly shows the Joomla is clearly a more organized platform when it comes to extensions.
Another drawback in terms of WordPress plugins is the fact that older plugins do not function well when the CMS of WordPress is updated. This is a huge drawback for WordPress developers who have to constantly hunt for solutions to solve these plugin problems.
The extensions of WordPress are not as impressive as that of Joomla; this is a big dent in WordPress’ reputation in terms of its ability as a system to get customized. Most of the plugins on the WordPress directory are designed for the purposes of blog specific websites. This may be good news for bloggers but as far as the needs of developers go, Joomla is clearly a better alternative.
Search Engine Optimization
In terms of website optimization, WordPress is a league apart. As it was built as a blogging specific CMS, the need to optimize content in an easy as well as intuitive fashion was a very big need for bloggers all over the world.
Thus, even though in terms of its functionality WordPress may not be as out of the box as WordPress enthusiasts would like to think, but when it comes to website optimization it is the king of all.
All-in-One SEO, SEO friendly images and WordPress SEO by Yoast are top of the line plugins that will easily take your articles on the top ranking lists of search engines like Google. With such plugins it is not a shock the Google loves WordPress sites and favors them over others.
Joomla on the other hands is not well known or loved for its SEO friendliness.
Joomla has come up with excellent out of the box features and ideas to enhance the involvement of participants in its community. Joomla enthusiasts have an added advantage of participating in the forums because the more they participate, the better are their chances of ranking higher on the Joomla community.
Technical support is a very important requirement when you want to pick a content management system for your website. When you build a website on a CMS there will be moments when you will get stuck with technical issues that you may not be equipped to handle.
At these moments, you will feel the need to hire technical assistance. Joomla has a pretty intelligent feature in terms of its technical support. They usually favor users who are active members of the Joomla community and participate in coming up with solutions for other developers.
For such users, Joomla has a resource directory via which it pin points technical experts near your area that can assist you in solving your problem. WordPress provides users a place to post jobs for solving the problems of their website and interested coders can apply for those jobs and respond to your query.
All in all as far as community support goes, Joomla is way more active than WordPress, and if you feel that you will need community support at a later date for your website then Joomla can very well be the ideal choice for you.
Templates and Themes
Again, when you look at templates of both the CMSs the choice depends on the purpose of your website.
If you want a typical or highly stylized blogging website, then without a doubt WordPress is the best solution for you. Things get a little complicated when it comes to websites with other purposes.
WordPress templates are very content oriented; this makes them an excellent candidate for blogging websites but a terrible candidate for pretty much everything else. Premium Joomla templates will offer you a level of variety that WordPress is a long way from achieving.
If you want mid level e-commerce sites, daily newsletters and highly interactive forum websites, then Joomla is the key to all your questions. It is a versatile CMS and the fact that WordPress overshadows Joomla in terms of popularity is simply because there are too many bloggers in the internet world.
The age of one template websites has long past gone. The most creatively built websites on the internet are usually built with multiple templates. Both Joomla and WordPress offer this option, but with Joomla this option is present in their basic CMS, whereas for WordPress to avail this option you are required to download an extension for it.
Joomla definitely seems to be the better option of the two. However, in terms of simplicity and ease there is no CMS that comes close to WordPress.
Which platform would you choose?
If you are equipped with the knowledge of coding then, Joomla will open up endless possibilities for the needs of your website. However, if you are creating websites for other clients, then WordPress will come off as a safer bet, because clients who aren’t equipped with coding want an intuitive backend panel that only a WordPress powered website can provide.
Joomla does not have a steep learning curve like Drupal but it still takes a little time getting used to. If you have the patience to understand the complete system, then operating on a Joomla based website will be a breeze for the rest of your life.