I Will Take Joomla Over WordPress Any Day
For those expecting a balanced comparison between Joomla and WordPress, I have bad news for you; this is far from it. This is a venting of just how WordPress is not the best for the most popular Content Management System and how Joomla is the better choice of CMS.
What Is A CMS
A Content Management System is a piece of web based software that enables website owners to seamlessly manage their website without the need to know any of the markup and programming languages involved such as HTML, CSS and PHP.
This enables management of websites for people without technical skills that would otherwise be required and makes site management easy and also highly organized. With a CMS, all one needs to know is the workflow associated with that particular Content Management System which often has a shallow learning curve.
The premise behind a CMS is to separate the content from the design of a website such that they are managed separately. As such it is possible to "skin" a website completely differently, that is to change its appearance, after applying a few clicks.
A CMS internally manages the content and the details of how the site looks like are managed by a template. Website owners can therefore design their own template or purchase one that is already designed. There are many free options as well, which makes applying a specific design to a site easy.
A great feature of Content Management Systems is that they are extensible. You need to add a forum to your website? No problem. All you have to do is go to the website that manages the extensions for your CMS, download and add to your website- no hustles.
The Foundation Is An Important Factor
Joomla started life as a CMS meant to cater for portal-like websites whilst WordPress started out as a blog-focused platform. It might seem like a small distinction but it is a very important one. The foundation for anything is crucial to how it evolves.
Over the years both Joomla and WordPress have expanded their scope to be used for any kind of website. However they each have built on the foundations they started with. The result is that Joomla has a great content organization whilst WordPress content organization is all over the place.
I can take the organization of images in the two CMSs as an example. I find it annoying that Wordpress organizes the images on the site by date, which is not how you intuitively work when building content.
Therefore in WordPress, the images I add to the site will be organized in folders named according to the month and year I added them to the site. This is counter-intuitive and I prefer the Joomla way which is to organize images according to folders of my choosing and hence works better, should I choose to review the organization of my images at a later time.
Best Not Necessarily A popularity Contest
At the time of writing this post, WordPress powers about 36.6% of all the websites, that is a Content Management System market share of 63.3% whilst Joomla powers about 2.4% of all websites and has a CMS market share of 4.1%.
To bring these stats into perspective, there are over 1.5 Billion websites on the web today, therefore 2.4% of all websites is 36 Million websites. That is a lot of websites! So, although by comparison, Joomla runs 2.4% of all websites compared to 36.6% for Wordpress, it is still a substantial amount of websites.
Due to its popularity, WordPress often undeservedly gets the chops that it is the best CMS out there. I think this is inaccurate. Just because there is a popular opinion doesn't mean it is an indication of the thing under consideration being the best. Come to think of it, there was a time when everyone except for Galileo believed the Earth was flat.
I started my website building journey with Joomla back when it was in version 1 and is now moving towards version 4. I might be biased, but to say Wordpress is the better site, is just dumb. I know, dumb is a strong word, but I cannot think of any other appropriate adjective.
Categorization Of Extensions
Websites can be built to meet specific requirements such as newsletter management or a forum, for example. In WordPress, there is no official distinction between extensions. I prefer Joomla's way of categorizing extensions into 5 categories.
Joomla organizes extensions into Components, Modules, Plugins, Templates, and Languages. This organization allows for the website builders to place content in intuitive places which are not necessarily dictated by the developers of those extensions.
For example Components means that an extension will take up the main body of the site when being displayed and Modules can take up any section on the site whilst Plugins do their magic in the background.
The Joomla layout means that modules can be placed in predefined positions on a template which are easy to change whilst in WordPress, the positions are predetermined by extensions developers.
The Language extensions means that my Joomla site can easily switch between English or Swahili, for instance. Due to the Language extension type in Joomla, Joomla is the most translated CMS, currently holding at 75 languages.
Is It All Rosy For Joomla?
Don't get me wrong, there are some downsides to picking Joomla as your Content Management System of choice. It's just there are not that many cons. The two major cons are that there are fewer extensions for Joomla than there are for WordPress and there are complaints that it is harder to learn to use and get up to speed.
I already discussed the stats for Joomla and WordPress and naturally, the more popular WordPress attracts more developers to develop extensions for the CMS. For instance, in ecommerce in Joomla, I find the longest existing extension, Virtuemart, to be lacking when compared to the WooCommerce ecommerce extension for WordPress which is much better.
Joomla has a bad rap of not being easy to learn for people who are not designers or developers. This comes because of the extension system I mentioned earlier which can take some getting used to.
Another factor is the Joomla administrator back-end layout which many say is not that user friendly but an effort is being made to simplify it for users in the next major release, Joomla 4. Joomla 4 is working to address current shortcomings in Joomla. I think I can live with these downsides for now and hence I say, "I will take Joomla Over WordPress Any Day".