7 Advantages of Joomla
I often get asked by friends and clients what CMS I use to build websites. People assume it’s WordPress, as that tends to be the system that everyone’s heard of. A lot of agencies do lean towards WordPress, and when I introduce them to Joomla, the reaction is often one of intrigue and inquisition.
So, What Is Joomla?
Joomla is an open source CMS (Content Management System), that is second in popularity to WordPress. A CMS is a website application that can be used to manage the creation and modification of digital content from multiple users. The content in a CMS is generally stored via a database by your hosting provider and displayed in a manner set up by the design of chosen/created templates.
WordPress, Joomla and Drupal (another similar system) are very similar in their technology. They all run via PHP and MySQL databases and allow users to create and build websites using this system.
Joomla tends to be the go-to CMS for medium to larger websites, due to its advanced use of content handling and security. This is why many famous brands and government departments have used Joomla to build their sites, such as IKEA, Harvard University, Holiday Inn and UNRIC to name a few. To date, Joomla has been downloaded over 60 million times.
So, Which CMS IS Better?
You will probably find a lot of articles online comparing both Joomla and WordPress. Most articles tend to be based on a “non-developer” using the platform, which is why Wordpress has been more popular, as it was marketed more towards the non-techy, non-designer, as well as developers who want to just get something installed and online quickly. Joomla and Drupal, on the other hand, were geared towards those with more experience in design and development.
WordPress was released 2 years before Joomla, back in 2003, and was the answer for those without much coding knowledge, who wanted to get their blog online in the early 2000's blog boom. From there, its popularity grew, and because of the great way in which it was marketed, it reached the ears of an audience with non-coding backgrounds. Remember those days when anybody who was anybody had a blog? Much of that was down to WordPress.
And this is where and why my personal preference for Joomla kicks in. WordPress is a great platform, and I am not anti-it, by any means. I have used it with many clients before and it works; it’s just that WordPress, at its core, was designed for blogging. Joomla, on the other hand, was very specifically designed for websites, and websites that need to grow and evolve over time. It's as simple as that.
The Advantages of Joomla
Joomla allows for easy module positioning. It makes adapting and evolving the website so much easier and allows the website to grow by simply stacking the module’s positions above or below each other or side to side, without having to go back and edit the template. You can set up styling per module or simply have styling classes set up ready to apply to each one. You can also assign modules to any page you like. The best way I can describe it is to imagine using Stickle Bricks to build your website and how quickly you can change one shape to another, or add new elements without affecting what’s already there.
WordPress (without its plugins) assigns a “Theme” and layout to a page, which then means you have to manually create theme layout styles per page, in order to achieve a different look on each. This requires a developer, or at least some good coding knowledge. There are, of course, additional “widgets” in WordPress, but again they are fixed, based on the template settings.
#2 SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Straight off the shelf, Joomla allows you to create meta descriptions, meta keywords and page titles for all of your pages. It also has global metadata settings if you want to assign generic metadata. With WordPress you need a plugin; Yoast being the popular choice and the one that I would personally recommend for anyone using WordPress who wants to improve the SEO on their website.
Obviously, Joomla do plugins too, and SH404SEF from Weeblr gets my vote. Not only does it allow full customisation over your URLs. But it allows you;
- To create simple redirects from old URLs to new
- To create canonical URLs if you have duplicate content on pages and one should be read by search engines over the other
- Full control over page titles, meta descriptions and keywords with a highlight method that allows you to know if your word count it too high
- Social Media Management control. This allows you to control what appears when you share a URL online, from the title and description to the image that is used. (Again, you can even set a “for all page uses” image for ease)
The ability to add raw code in the head and body tags on each page; handy for specific page tracking.
#3 GZIP Compression & Caching
Again, without the need for additional plugins, you can control how your website is loaded and speed it up using Joomla's in-built GZIP compression option. You can also set different caching options to control how your website is stored in user's browsers, in order to maximise loading speeds. WordPress requires yet another plugin for this.
While WordPress uses "Pages" and "Posts". Joomla simply using Articles for both. This gives you the advantage of turning blog posts into pages and vice versa. Joomla has evolved considerably from its early days, and creating and categorising blogs has never been easier. One advantage of Joomla Articles over WordPress Posts is the fact that with WordPress you can select a “featured image” to go with your blog post. This will probably be used with social media sharing, etc, however with Joomla Articles you can select an introductory image, set an alt tag and caption for it, as well as have a “Full article image”, giving you flexibility with how blogs are displayed and if you want a different image when reading the full article. When you’re building websites, these seemingly small things are important.
#5 Templates / Themes
Joomla allows the use of multiple templates to be used, whereas WordPress will only allow the use of one theme per website. This means that with Joomla you can have pages on your website with a completely different look and feel if you so wish and the added benefit of sharing module positions across multiple templates.
#6 Multilingual Support
Joomla has multilingual support built into the core, while WordPress requires the use of a third-party plugin.
#7 Security and Plugins
With WordPress being the most popular CMS, it has painted quite a large target on its back and attracted a considerable amount more hacking attempts than any other platform.
What also doesn't help WordPress is the fact that it requires a lot of different plugins to do the most basic of today's website expectations. The variety of different plugins come from an array of different sources just to get the website in a suitable state for whatever the end user requires. For every plugin there is that is not updated, it becomes vulnerable to a possible hijack attempt. With WordPress being the CMS for the ‘non-developer’ that’s not an easy thing to stay on top of.
Image Source: https://blog.sucuri.net/
I've lost count of the amount of times I've been asked by somebody to fix their old WordPress site because a plugin has caused a problem. It’s another reason why I prefer Joomla as it requires fewer of these plugins, so results in fewer website errors.
Migrating websites from one host to another can also be trickier in WordPress due to the number of plugins.
Many agencies use WordPress as a quick, efficient way to create a good-looking website for their clients, which they then hand over as a finished product, for the client to update and manage themselves. After the client has paid for their work, the agency no longer has any responsibility for the website.
The problems start to arise in the long term, when things need updating on the site. With limited knowledge, and only being able to do standard content updates or add a blog post for example, clients are often left needing to re-employ the agency, who then charge them a larger than acceptable fee to make the amendments and fixes, or the client has to go shopping for a web developer that can help them out.
It can get be a costly, stressful and time-consuming process.
At Beyond Your Brand, we wanted to get around that. Joomla provides a perfect platform for the 100 Club because of its advanced content management system and the ability to evolve and adapt in an efficient amount of time to the customer's requirements. Being on a monthly package gives you the benefits of working with us (the design and developer experts) at getting the very smallest page amendments to the more complicated additions added to your website at no extra cost. We stay on top of the latest Joomla versions and plugins in order to make sure your site is safe and always up to date.
I understand why a non-developer could be put off by Joomla. It can seem quite advanced and there is quite a steep learning curve if they want to manage it all themselves, but with the 100 Club, that side of things is covered. We have the best team on hand to take care of all your website requirements.
You wouldn't tell the plumber what tools to bring to fix your leak, would you?
The important thing is that your website works for you, is looked after, secure, updated often and the work and service are worth your time and money whatever platform it's built on.