Content Management Systems are vital to the creation of digital content with a common user interface. But there are many CMS’s on the market to choose from. The most popular ones are developed and tailored for different needs and particular types of content. This means that different CMS’s have complementary niches which benefit a variety of users. But it also means that users have to decide which solution would be best for their requirements. This article will compare the strengths and weaknesses of two popular CMS packages, WordPress and Joomla.
WordPress has been free and open-source to the public since 2003, and is based on the server-side scripting language PHP and MySQL. It is very popular with users, one of the most downloaded CMS’s ever, used for more than 60 million websites. Having been originally developed by a core group of experts, the system is now developed and supported primarily by a large community of online users who voluntarily develop new tools and adapt the software to get rid of bugs.
In 2005, Joomla was created as a Content Management System based on PHP and SQL to be used in conjunction with another system, Mambo. It has been downloaded by over 60 million users and is maintained by a community of volunteers, just as WordPress is. The two systems have several similarities, but also some important differences, which make them appropriate for some users over others.
WordPress and Joomla are both especially user-friendly, one of their main strengths. Installing both is very easy, and the user interfaces are intuitive so that users can get to grips with them without assuming expert knowledge. Articles, media and posts can be added with a few clicks to a page, and both systems come with editors build in which are able to add the finishing touches simply. Joomla is, however, somewhat more complicated than WordPress in that it offers more features and tools than WordPress does with the starter pack.
WordPress and Joomla both offer detailed and accessible support in order for users to get the most out of the features that each CMS provides. They both provide support networks through their communities of volunteer developers, who can be queried through forums, IRC chat rooms and mailing lists. You can also get paid support from experts who are on standby to answer difficult questions and problems.
WordPress and Joomla place most of the responsibility for your site’s security on you, as they are both DIY website creators with a lot of user freedom and flexibility. You have to secure and maintain your website, though there are tips on WordPress and Joomla homepages about how to stay safe, and you can contact the two communities if you want more tips on using either CMS securely.
Here’s where things get interesting. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is well catered for by WordPress, which includes 80% plus of the SEO resources you need in its initial package. It has particularly good functional image optimization and also offers SEO oriented plugins to make SEO more effective. Joomla, however, has a more complicated, slightly messy, SEO starter kit. Using Joomla’s SEO requires a familiarity with the features, which can make it difficult for beginners.
Joomla’s special feature is quite obviously its social networking, which you can use to create member sites, forums and integrate your existing social media. WordPress’ undisputed strength lies with blog creation, what it was originally set up for. Nobody does blogs like WordPress.
WordPress contains many thousands of free available themes to provide you with the base of your website. WordPress’ themes can also be improved upon with some coding knowledge. While Joomla does have themes, there is no central theme directory as WordPress has. Neither are the extensions that Joomla creates free, but all come with a price.
So which CMS is the winner? It depends how you define winning. Joomla is good for social networking, detailed and complex functions and is good for extensions if you don’t mind paying. WordPress on the other hand is perfect if you want a wide range of theme choices, are starting a blog or want great SEO.