WordPress vs Joomla

WordPress VS Joomla: A bigger battle than you think

Decisions, decisions. There are so many of them in business, and not least when deciding which content management system (CMS) to choose for your website. If you’re a regular visitor to the world of The Tweed, you’ll know that we are huge believers in all things WordPress, however, we are not averse to checking out alternatives to make sure that we, and our clients, get the best solutions. There are so many WordPress alternatives, and today, we are considering WordPress vs Joomla.

You want a website, but who do you choose for your CMS solution – Joomla or WordPress? There’s only one way to find out….’fight’! Actually, no. We don’t believe in violence, we believe in facts and keeping an open mind. Let’s look at both providers, assess their pros and cons and then make an informed decision.

Both platforms are well-known for their relative ease-of-use, extensive customisation options as well as their active champions and communities. WordPress and Joomla both have their respective pros and cons, but they can both be utilised to build modern, feature-filled sites.

Let’s briefly outline the two options of Joomla and WordPress.

A quick breakdown of Joomla and WordPress

Joomla started out as a CMS to serve portal-like websites, however, it has adapted to be able to run all types of websites equally well. Compared to WordPress, Joomla is more complex to use and could be a bit scary for those not experienced in web development. Installing modules and getting things in working order is more ‘clunky’ and technical than WordPress.

But it’s certainly popular across some of the world’s biggest brands. The likes of IKEA, Harvard University and Holiday Inn all use Joomla. In fact, it is estimated that Joomla currently powers over 6.1% of all websites, but it is seeing its use waning.

If the percentage of websites using WordPress is anything to go by, it is the firm favourite, with estimates ranging from 40-60% of websites being powered by WordPress, including powerful brands like Disney, Facebook and Play Station. Just because it is popular, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for your business!

Yes, WordPress is generally believed to be easier to use than Joomla and has greater flexibility thanks to a wealth of plug-ins which can enhance your website, but you do have to rely on plug-ins for fairly basic level security and multi-lingual offerings for your website, too.

Which is better: Joomla or WordPress?

Your website is your shop window on the internet. You wouldn’t buy physical business premises without ensuring that they offered a flexible, creative layout which allows your business to change and expand over time. In the same way, don’t jump into Joomla or WordPress without full consideration. You want to be certain that you set up your website in the most efficient, flexible and effective manner and create something that will stand the test of time.

So, let’s explore the differences between Joomla and WordPress. We’ll compare WordPress vs Joomla across five different areas that are crucial to the website development process: ease of use, flexibility, value for money, features, and help & support.
Which is the best?

1. Ease of use

Joomla: As we’ve mentioned, setting up with Joomla can require development skills as it is generally more ‘clunky’ to use. Before you start creating any content, you will need to create categories for each type of content you want to create. If having plenty of choice is your thing, Joomla web design is great when setting up your page options, but for most people it can be overwhelming. If you have web development experience, you might find it easy enough to use, but even so, navigating through the various menu options is often frustrating.

WordPress: A simple website can be created on WordPress in a couple of hours as you can begin creating content straight away. The WordPress Customizer allows you to make ongoing changes, but, like Joomla, the number of themes to choose in the first place can be time-consuming as there are so many to pick from. For even more advanced content designs, there are also a myriad of page builder plugins which make it easy to build layouts using drag and drop. WordPress has a huge number of ongoing options, and getting to grips with all of them may take time.

Winner: Purely based on the ease to set-up and create a working website for a non-technical user, WordPress has to win this one.

2. Flexibility

Joomla: Very customisable, Joomla web design allows you to choose from hundreds of templates, themes and extensions to install directly from its dashboard. It has circa 8000 extensions (the Joomla equivalent to plugins). The ‘clunky’ word comes to the fore again here, however, as they are less user-friendly and more complicated to get right.

WordPress: With nearly 60,000 plugins and counting (the WordPress version of Joomla’s extensions), WordPress is hugely customisable. The plugins also tend to offer a higher level of support and a better overall user experience.

Winner: Whilst Joomla has a lot going for it in terms of customisability, as it takes more technical experience to fully take advantage of the options available, we can’t possibly give them the win – sorry, Joomla. WordPress is the winner here.

3. Value for money

Joomla: Joomla is a free, open source website development and content management (CMS) platform. The cost of hosting and your domain will obviously have to be factored in.

WordPress: Another free, open source CMS. WordPress does have a paid for offering starting at £20 per month for businesses which includes your domain name for a year.

Winner: This has to be a tie, as both CMS platforms themselves are free and both enable you to create a working website.

4. Features (particularly security and SEOs)

Joomla: Included within initial set up, Joomla provides its own SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection on its dashboard as well as enabling 2FA (2 Factor Authentication). It also has additional security extensions and provides an official Security Checklist on its website to follow. Developers within its community regularly update and note any extensions with vulnerabilities. Joomla also has various SEO extensions that will help you to optimise the content. So using these in conjunction with your marketing team’s work, will help your website rank higher on Google. But of course you need to use them in the right way.

WordPress: In order to use SSL, you have to amend its core files and/or utilise an SSL certificate. As with Joomla, WordPress has a regular update cycle with security fixes and performance enhancements, but it is essential to regularly carry out these updates. Yoast, one of the most widely used SEO tools and WordPress plugins, ensures that your website is ranked high from day one. You can easily have great control over SEO, plus WordPress links your site to all your social media, providing Analytics and Tracking features. One point of note is that WordPress has no built-in multilingual functionality, so if this is important to you, you may need to consider implementing one of the free or paid for plugins to carry out this function.

Winner: If we were only looking at security, Joomla might win as initial security is automatic, but when looking at features in general, it has to be another win for WordPress as it has so many available plugins. So we will call it a draw here.

5. Help and support

Joomla: The terminology and messaging for new users is very basic and not that helpful which adds to the ‘clunkiness’ of set up. Joomla does offer chargeable support (from $US37-65 per hour) or support plans, starting at US$39 per month. That said, there is a wealth of official tutorials, guidance and advice available from their website plus a huge online community providing forums, videos and comments.

WordPress: Similarly, WordPress has a wide-ranging online community and a huge number of articles and guides on their website as well as daily live webinars.

Winner: Another close one, but WordPress pips Joomla to the post due to its simpler terminology and usability so less help and support is actually needed. There is also the additional benefit that as the most popular CMS, there are far more freelance WordPress experts available to provide assistance if you do require it.

So who is the final winner – Joomla or WordPress?

WordPress is great for any size of business, offers an impressive array of easy to use plugins and allows you to modify your website to scale whenever you need it. Joomla can perhaps offer a degree of greater flexibility for displaying different types of content and managing users if you are a developer, or you want to employ one, but would you want to? We would ask whether the slight benefit is worth the extra hassle and ‘clunkiness’ that Joomla brings.

So overall we would say WordPress is the winner here!

Milk & Tweed are WordPress specialists as we believe that WordPress alternatives just don’t cut the mustard. We have built hundreds of amazing WordPress websites for a wide variety of businesses across the country. If you are looking to build a WordPress website, give us a call on 01249 847 447 or drop us an email at studio@milkandtweed.com

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