WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) platform in the world, and Joomla follows with a respectable second place. While both systems are primarily known for their free, open source framework environment, WordPress has become synonymous with instant web publishing. WordPress tends to attract more bloggers and news publishers, while Joomla has managed to attract web professionals whose projects are a bit more ambitious.
A time may come when a WordPress user may think about moving his or her web project to Joomla due to the ease of developing certain components like catalogs and inventory control systems while sticking to the core CMS framework, although similar objectives can be achieved on WordPress with the right application of plug-ins and extensions, as well as thoughtful coding. There are more important factors a site administrator should evaluate when thinking about making the switch from WordPress to Joomla, specifically the following:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Customized HTML and dynamic appearance
The Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Search Engine Suitability
No CMS can claim to be SEO-ready out of the box, but the default Permalinks and tags offered by WordPress come close. Some web professionals claim that the default settings of WordPress are friendlier to search engine crawlers than Joomla, but the latest upgrades to Google’s algorithm pretty much dispel that belief. SEO is not something that a CMS will accomplish on its own, but those who switch from WordPress to Joomla should review the most up-to-date Google Webmaster Guidelines and choose the right templates, plug-ins, extensions, and proper configurations to allow their projects to be crawled, indexed and rank. In the end, SEO may entail a greater effort on Joomla compared to WordPress, but the results will be worth it.
Dynamic Appearance and Customization
WordPress meets the needs of most web publishers, but those who demand advanced features and customization may eventually reach a limit. The different Joomla components and extensions allow developers to create fairly complex websites that go beyond showcasing content. Even with all the different themes and plug-ins available for WordPress, the platform’s popularity has left an imprint that is easy to recognize. Since Joomla’s focuses more on advanced CMS functions than WordPress, the development community has produced enough layouts and extensions to radically change the appearance and user experience so that a visitor to the site will never guess that the underlying platform is a CMS.
Plug-In Architecture and Extensions
Moving from WordPress to Joomla means saying goodbye to plug-ins and hello to extensions and add-ons. The Joomla community of tinkerers and developers is vast and collaborative, and the library of extensions available can rival the plug-in architecture that WordPress users have access to. Just like with some select WordPress plug-ins, some Joomla component extensions -like the award-winning Community Builder- are extremely comprehensive and can accomplish a lot. In fact, some of the most interesting Joomla extensions allow WordPress integration and even allows users to easily migrate from one CMS to the other seamlessly.
WordPress users who are accustomed to a clean and simple CMS GUI can expect to find the same with Joomla. Creating new websites is just a matter of a few clicks, and content publishers have the option of using an HTML or “What You See Is What You Get” editor. Users who need to manage several websites will probably find Joomla’s elegant GUI up to the task and more efficient than WordPress. While both GUIs have similar functionality, Joomla’s menu system seems more intuitive, and the learning curve for remote content publishers who are not Joomla administrators is negligible.
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Juliana is a Content Manager based in Los Angeles for Joomla Hosting provider InMotion Hosting. Please reach out on Twitter @JulianaPayson and google plus for more Joomla or WordPress advice.