Some thoughts on Joomla vs. WordPress

by Posted @ May 21 2009

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For many years I built most websites that contained dynamic (new, changing) content almost exclusively on Joomla (and before that Mambo, its previous name).  Before that I built most sites with straight html, so learning and implementing sites on Joomla was a huge step forward in efficiency.  Not only did it make doing updates much easier, but changing the design was simple and training clients to do their own updates wasn’t too bad, either.

Lately, however, I’ve really been doing a lot of work in WordPress.  WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, but now it can do oh-so-much-more.  Doing a side-by-side comparison of the two is difficult because they really do target different end users, but I will say that for most of my clients, WordPress has proven to be the best solution.

WordPress can do almost everything Joomla can do – so I’m told.  I italicize almost because that is what I’m told.  I’m told WordPress can’t do everything Joomla can but I haven’t run across anything that I used to do in Joomla that I can’t do in WordPress.  As a matter of fact, I find that many of the things I used to do in Joomla are even easier to do in WordPress.  A great example of this is customizing the title tags… it is so easy to do this in WordPress by just installing the free All-in-one-SEO plugin.  In Joomla this has always been a pain point for me… I’ve used so many different add-ons that have kinda done this, but each has been flawed and anything decent came at a price ($30 or more).

Another issue with Joomla was the User Interface… there is just so much ‘stuff’. It isn’t exactly easy to get up an running quickly and its difficult to train someone on how to use it.  Sure, it offers a lot of customizability, but almost too much.  When I train someone to use WordPress it usually takes around 20-30 minutes and they get it intuitively.  With Joomla, it would take an hour or more and they didn’t really ‘get it’, they just knew how to do the simple tasks that they would have to do going forward.

So, to conclude, while I still know Joomla well and we support it for many clients, we are almost exclusively building new sites on WordPress right now. As a matter of fact, we are even converting  many legacy Joomla sites over to WordPress so that the client’s users can easily work with them.

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