When I launched my internet marketing agency two years ago, I purchased a simple website built on a popular web content management system (CMS), Joomla. I didn’t know much about Joomla — I had always used WordPress to develop client sites — but I knew that Joomla was a popular, open-source, PHP-driven system and figured there wouldn’t be too great a learning curve for me, from a user perspective. After reading up a bit (google: Joomla vs WordPress) I decided to go with Joomla, thinking it would be a good opportunity for me to learn another platform in order to be able to offer my customers more choice.
Client requirements should always dictate which platform to use. My site was nothing more than a four-page brochure site with a simple contact form and some sidebar content, and I wouldn’t be making changes very frequently — another reason I thought it would be a good test-run for Joomla. But the very first time I had to add a page to my Joomla website, I found it not at all as easy to work with as WordPress! I was really surprised by the number of steps I had to take in order to add a simple page of static content to my site and connect it properly to the navigation bar!
I quickly discovered that while Joomla may be much-loved by designers and developers (who claim that it is easier to work with), the average user is definitely going to have an easier time getting up and running with WordPress. WordPress has managed to snag over half of the CMS market because it’s designed for non-technical people who want to communicate easily and effectively — that is, most people. The majority of my clients are small business owners who need to be able to update their own websites and have little, if any, technical knowledge or support (nor the budget to pay for ongoing website maintenance).
Friends of mine in the Joomla camp are still hung up on the idea that WordPress is a blogging platform and not a proper CMS. But I have yet to come across a requirement that couldn’t be met by WordPress or one of the hundreds of plugins available to extend its functionality. Tadpole Collective has built some great sites for clients that fulfill a very broad range of requirements — and for all of these I’ve found WordPress does the job fine, and has the added benefits of easy-to-implement SEO and built-in blogging. But most importantly, it usually takes only an hour of training for clients to learn WordPress basics: adding a page or a news post and making changes to the navigational menus. For this, if nothing else, I’ll be moving my own site back to WordPress.