It seems like eons ages ago that I wrote a Blog post called Joomla or WordPress? Which one to Choose? and it seems to be in very high demand nowadays.
But I also leered more about the two systems in the main time, and they have grown as well, closer together that is.
But you, you just want or need to make a decision on which system to use for your website or Blog and that is probably why you ended up on this page, so here it goes, I will try to give you some differences and similarities WordPress and Joomla!
For the record, they are both Great Free Open source Content Management systems that will help you manage your website on-line and they both use templates for the layout of that site.
URLs and Permalinks in Joomla! and WordPress
Joomla! in its 1.5 version has made a lot of progress if you look at it for being search engine friendly.
With the basic standard SEO options ON it now creates a keyword rich URL based on /section-name/category-name/article-id-the-title.html (depending on your menu link) and even on a Windows based hosting platform you can do well with the /index.php/ in the URL.
The Add suffix to URLs will put an .html extension to the URL.
WordPress in its default setting also needs a .htaccess active to get a good keyword rich URL
You also need to set the Permalinks option a little different then the standard setting.
On a windows platform you can have the same option, but you need to set the Permalinks to /index.php/%postname%.html
The big difference between the two lies in the fact that with the .html suffix on, Joomla! will add it to any URL created from the system as were WordPress will only add the .html to posts, not to pages, archives or tag pages.
Improving further on SEO
Now clean URLs is not enough to perform search engine optimization to your site, you need more.
For Joomla! you need a minimum of the SEF Patch of Joomlatwork installed and a SEF component like sh404SEF to take that extra step.
The patch will give you extra options on the pages and in the menu links to create separate HTML titles that will show up in the browser title field an in the search engine results pages.
Metatag description and keyword fields are standard in Joomla!, as well as a separate title field in the content pages.
The sh404SEF component will provide you with even cleaner and shorter URLs taking out things like section and or category name.
WordPress needs extra plugins to do the same thing. Personally I liked the combination of All-inOne-SEO-Pack ,SEO Title and Robots Meta plugin.
More recently I switched over to Headspace2 which has a lot more functions and combines the previous three. (I do keep the Robots meta plugin for easy of use…)
There is a lot more to be told on Joomla and WordPress and SEO, but you can read that later in greater detail once you made your choice.
Your need of functions determines your choice
Choosing between the two comes down to one basic question: What are you going to use it for?
- Do you want to Blog?
- Do you need a big extensive website with lots of features?
- Do you want a small site with just a few pages?
- Do you want build a large community site?
- Do you need multilevel categories for your articles?
- etc, etc, etc…..think about it first!
Write down what you want to do with your (or your customer) site and then go and look for the best solution.
I promise you, there will always be something missing in the core of each of the two systems.
You will always have to use a plugin or a component to get that function that you have on your list.
For Joomla! that might be the sh404SEF component or a Blogging component, for WordPress it might be a contact form plugin or a poll function.
No matter which system your choose, it will not fit your wishes right out of the box, but it can provide you with up to 95% of the functions that you want.
To give you some leads, here is what I use in the above mentioned situations:
- Do you want to Blog like the big Bloggers do? Go for WordPress
- Do you want a big site with lots of features right from the start? Go for Joomla!
- A small site with just a few pages? Use WordPress as CMS
- Building a Large community site? Get Joomla! (for the more technical advanced, Drupal is also a good, if not better choice in this case)
- Multilevel categories? WordPress and most certainly from version 2.8 and up.
- for etc,etc.. and thinking….use pen and paper to write down every thing you can dream up for you website.
Getting to know the basics from Joomla! and WordPress
You can try both these systems without installing them your self on http://php.opensourcecms.com/ where you can find WordPress under Blogs and Joomla! under CMS.
You can also use XAMPP to setup a testing environment on your on PC or laptop and install them both from scratch.
Installation and Control panel are very different the two systems.
It depends on what you prefer and can manage from a technical point of view.
The Dashboard of WordPress lets you start writing right away by clicking the “new post” option and gives you some functions withing that writing screen to add things like categories on the fly.
In Joomla! the control panel can be very strange and confusing for someone who is used to a system like WordPress.
The fact that it is done so differently is also partly because of the vast array of functions already build in in Joomla!
In Joomla! there are a lot of functions now group together in a better way then in version 1.1, but you still need some time to find all the different functions and settings.
You can find some help with that on Joomlashine
Once you have gone through the ins and outs of each system you know what fits you from a technical point of view.
Enhancing your WordPress or Joomla! system
As I wrote before, the core system of neither one of these content management system will fit your needs perfectly.
To get the functions you need, Joomla! uses three different kind of items, plugins, modules and components, WordPress uses Plugins and Widgets.
In Joomla! a component is an extra piece of software that has is own control panel to handle the different options within such a function.
A module is to place some information on a certain position (deter minded by the template) to show on the front-page.
Plugins are mostly extra functions that create or deliver new back-end functions like a different WYSIWYG Editor.
In WordPress you see Plugins that will do the same functions as in Joomla!, some give your more back-end controls like the Robots Meta plugin or they will have their own Control panel (setting) like Headspace2 and larger ones like NextGen gallery.
Widgets are more like the Modules in Joomla!, you can show pieces of information on a separate position, also determined by the Theme of your WordPress installation.
Keeping is Safe and Up-To-date
There is one item that I would like to address before you go and choose the right system for you site and that is security.
I have seen both Joomla! and WordPress websites been hacked, whether it was a defacing, or a traffic redirection hack, they both suffer from the same problem….
The core systems are safe, if there is a security problem you will see a security patch been released fast! It doesn’t matter if is WordPress or Joomla!
Most of the problems related to security or hacks lies in the way you secure your site!
And believe me it has happened to me as well, I learned the hard way and still am learning every day.
The other problem are the extensions and even templates your use.
Make sure you used the latest version from the developers site of the extensions repository of Joomla! or the Plugins repository of WordPress.
Also install the latest version if an upgrade of WordPress or Joomla! is released, you could wait a few days to see if there are mayor problems, but don’t wait several weeks!
And for each system , doesn’t matter if you should choose Joomla! or WordPress, always make sure you have a good recent backup at least once a month! (you can even automate that!)
I hope I gave you some ideas on how to go about your selection process to get the system that fits your need, but you, and only you can determine what works best for you.