This article aims to give potential site owners and clients, a quick idea about Web Design Joomla vs WordPress, so they can confidently choose a platform and move forward with their project. Rather than focus too heavily on the technical details of these two systems, I just offer a quick compare/contrast broken into sections. In most cases you’ll find WordPress suitable for your endeavors, and Joomla seems a likely alternate. I started off in web design as a Joomla expert, and added WordPress to my repertoire quickly thereafter, now equally servicing both technologies.  The ingredients that go into each particular site can make choosing between a CMS, such as Joomla or WordPress daunting. It doesn’t help that both of these CMS systems compete extremely well with one another. Without a little previous web experience, the choice can go from challenging to difficult. Here’s a few things to consider that will help you make an educated choice.

Joomla and WordPress Look Different in the Admin Area

The first thing you’ll notice that differentiates the two systems is the look and feel of the back-end user interface. Your Joomla or WordPress site will have a front-end facing customers and visitors, and a back-end for use in administering the site. With both platforms, a login address will allow you entry via your user name, and a secret password. Only approved people can access your secured area. Once you log in there are menus and options that allow you to navigate your content and indulge your feature-rich fantasies, but Joomla’s layout doesn’t match the WordPress layout. Both interface designs seem intuitive and improve the learning curve, but if you’re used to Joomla, then switching to WP could throw you. That’s why one of the most important questions right away: Which system are you already/most familiar with? You’ve probably heard of WordPress if you haven’t heard of Joomla, but which system have you personally used more?  Please, check out the following shots of the admin areas for each system and then proceed to the next section!

Web Design Joomla vs WordPress

Joomla 3 back-end administration uses the latest Bootstrap

Web Design Joomla vs WordPress

WordPress uses a different look and layout from Joomla in the admin area.

Research Your Solution with a CMS + Plugin Demo

Don’t just pick a system off of preference alone.  It make a heck of-a-lot-of sense to first demo the CMS along with the extension or plugin you need.  Often times, these plugins can cost you a $100 or so.  Many times the developers will allow trial testing.  Without a demo, you’re driving in the dark without headlights.  If you commit to untested solutions, you WILL face hidden obstacles, and likely they will surprise and upset your budget when you require custom development to push past obstacles.  A lot of great sites are more about sharing information, and don’t have advanced functions, but everyone at least needs a superb contact form.  Well, that’s not enough to pick a winner, but if you need advanced forms, then I can immediately recommend WordPress + Gravity Forms!  Joomla doesn’t have support for Gravity Forms!  That one extension alone makes WordPress an easy pick.  The compared extension on Joomla, ChronoForms 5 has come a long way, but it still can match the ease and versatility of Gravity Forms.

Both Great Systems Run on the Same Tech

Joomla and WordPress seem frighteningly similar, they just use slightly different jargon to describe very similar features. Even the underlying code looks similar, both systems use a MySQL Database to store data, while processing with PHP programming language, and rendering your pages as HTML. It’s a great way to make your website into so much more than a collection of static pages. Joomla and WordPress have solid support.  You can’t call a rep, but you can post on forums and get answers from volunteers.  For the dedicated business person you can hire and consult with an expert.  Naturally there’s a variance in pay across the skill level of the person you hire, and it’s probably worth it to discuss: What to look for when hiring a web expert.  The bottom line though, you won’t be standing in the cold when something goes wrong with your site.  My guess there are over 30,000 people actively seeking employment in these systems alone, and probably over 2 million people that can help you with web in general.

WordPress Seems a Little More Popular than Joomla

WordPress seems a little more popular than Joomla, but some of their early popularity is due to a blogging platform that runs with the same name; market saturation should not be your sole deciding factor. To start off with try to really think into your project, and consider the advanced function(s) your specific project will require. When solving tough web challenges, you might demo multiple add-ons for each system WordPress and Joomla, because you want the single best possible solution. That takes research, and research saves you money in the long run. Cutting corners during important planning stages ALWAYS dooms a project in my experience, and even some projects with diligent planning don’t go through. That’s because diligent planning often exposes critical failures in logic, by uncovering hidden challenges!  Web business IS tough work and sometimes even experts get lousy results.

Extensions vs. Plugins

Joomla uses apps called extensions. WordPress uses apps called plugins. On both systems these extensions add features and power to your website. The idea was that developers could create their own plugins, and earn additional income, while popularizing opensource software. It worked! 10 years later we have thousands and thousands of ways you can quickly take a plain’ole’blog, and convert it to a lead generating site, or eCommerce store, if that’s your thing. My favorite web clients, already have an established brick and mortar operation before they jump to the web. My least favorite types to work with are startups, but every idea that exists has to start somewhere, so why not publish it via opensource software?

Both OpenSource, but Not Free

You can’t talk about Joomla or WordPress without at least explaining that opensource software has no cost to purchase, but that doesn’t mean free. Countless volunteers and developers work together to update and secure both of these great platforms. Additionally, you need a graphics and web designer, that understands HTML/CSS to craft the pages, menus, fonts, and forms. You might want to consult an expert consultant, who can point out the best paid add-ons. While many of the best plugins are still free, depending on your requiments, you sometimes need some paid software, to run along with your free Joomla, or WordPress which ever platform you pick.

You Could Change Later With Hassle

If you end up with WordPress, even in a scenario where Joomla later seems like a better choice, it won’t be the end of the world. The same seems generally true in reverse. Joomla owners shouldn’t start smacking their heads against a wall, just because they didn’t know about WordPress until they already had their site built. See if you can make due with your current CMS, and if you can’t, then get your content migrated by an expert.

Kind of like Apple vs. PC

If you love Apple products and cringe at the mention of Windows or typical PC computing (I’m on Win7 machine right now), then WordPress will likely win out over Joomla.  I don’t have any hard evidence to support this claim, it’s more like a feeling I get, when I use both platforms.  People who are used to running PC’s sometimes choose Joomla.  To say it another way, WordPress has a bit more style for the Admin, and Joomla has a bit more tech power under the hood.  At the same time, if you understand your challenge well, then you won’t pick based off preference, but rather off performance and advanced functionality.  Try to determine which extensions and plugins, you will need.  Maybe it’s something that’s just not available on WordPress right now, while Joomla has an option?  Without testing it out, how will you know?  Testing or demoing a CMS + Plugin combination, can expose critical gaps, that need to get resolved before you get rolling.

Web Design Joomla vs WordPress

To conclude, a majority of users will find WordPress to fulfill their requirements, with a touch of style.  Joomla looks great too as an excellent alternative.

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