Sunday, 27 October 2013

Wordpress vs. Joomla!: Leading Open Source Content Management Systems Worlds Apart?

Since 2007, Visionary Group has used a great number of proprietary and Open Source website development platforms for development of new business websites, redevelopment of existing sites and as part of an integrated Internet marketing campaigns for clients. After a few years we decided to specialise in a single Content Management System (CMS), so a review of the best platform ensued… the winner (at that time)? Joomla! CMS…


After working on dozens of Joomla! CMS projects over the past 5 years, we still believe that we made the best choice for our clients and our own business. Globally, there are millions of Joomla! websites on the Internet, and with over 6000 extensions and thousands of templates there’s a solution for every need, both free and commercial versions.



But what about WordPress? This has been a question put to us during recent discussions at workshops over the past year… so to satisfy my curiosity, to keep up with latest developments and to confirm (or deny) my decision to opt for Joomla!, I had to look into WordPress again.


WordPress is the most popular Open Source CMS platform globally - it’s free, has lots of beautiful templates and boasts a great deal of extensibility options as well. Lots of company websites are built on WordPress, which speaks volumes that WordPress has evolved away from it’s traditional Blogging origins and now can be used to develop true online businesses.


So, what's the verdict? Depends on what you want to do…


For individuals and professionals, or business who want to start out developing their own CMS platform, WordPress would be the best option. However, if the design brief is a complex eBusiness platform for an organisation multiple stakeholders and users then my bet would be Joomla!


To offer a little more detail, I've listed Pro’s and Con’s for both...


WordPress:
  • Pro’s:
    • Great for beginners
    • No prior knowledge of HTML required
    • Easy set-up
    • Customisable design
    • Favourable format for Google - quick SEO uptake
    • Migration between installations simple
    • Advanced customisation easier (need knowledge of CSS)
    • Easy to create pages, posts and menu items
    • Good extensibility with plugins
  • Con’s:
    • No native multilingual support - plugins required
    • Not as extensible as Joomla!
    • Not updated as often - potential security issues not patched as often
    • Knowledge of WP scripting required for some changes that take seconds in Joomla! - ie dates in a page/post/article
    • Deep customisation complex - often requires development
    • Ongoing maintenance may cost more
    • Apparent limited user community compared to Joomla!

Joomla!
  • Pro’s:
    • No knowledge of HTML required
    • Multilingual support by default
    • Easy set-up despite being more complex CMS
    • Great user community
    • Ideal for networking, forums, building community
    • User access layers native and customisable
    • Scalable - start with a ‘business card’ site and grow with business
    • Extensible - (almost) no limit to what can be done with many extensions
    • Regular security updates
  • Con’s:
    • Steep learning curve for beginners
    • Limited customisation without coding (in CSS, PHP and Javascript)
    • Migration issues from version 1.5 to 2.5+ turning off some Joomla! fans
    • Slower SEO uptake by Google etc - versions 2.5+ better


By no means are these lists complete, also there’s also a lot of comment on the web about other CMS platforms, such as Drupal, Magneto and others in similar reviews - it all comes down to different horses for courses…


We believe that our decision to stick with Joomla! has been well founded, however we have developed WordPress sites and continue to do so… mainly for micro businesses and professionals. For our mainstream ebusiness clients we have positive runs on the board with Joomla! CMS.