Before we head on to any comparison based on features to help you make your decision, it’s important for you to understand that no single best platform is the clear winner.
Both WordPress and Joomla are quite comparable and enable the creation of equally good mobile responsive websites.
The right choice does not lie in specific features, but rather what they mean for your particular business needs.
How to Choose a Website CMS?
Let’s explore the depths of a pointwise comparison between Joomla and WordPress –
1. Identify the Purpose Of Your Website
The rational way to narrow down on the appropriate option is by aligning your choice with your specific need and goal of your website.
Concerning a general perspective, it’s safe to say that WordPress is most apt for relatively simple and easily manageable websites. For instance, blogging and news sites, landing pages for lead generation and ecommerce stores. However, the functionality of a WordPress website can be easily expanded to anything with its wide range of flexible add-on options.
Joomla, on the other hand, is better suitable for handling complex website structures which include a higher quantum of content.
For example, if you’re looking at building a website with large amounts of articles, or integrated ecommerce extensions, then Joomla should be more appropriate to your needs.
2. Ease of implementation
The first few steps in building any website are installing the CMS on the server space. As such, both WordPress are Joomla are quite easy to install, and you can get done with the task in a matter of minutes, with just a single click.
However, post that there is some amount of a learning curve involved in both, but the degree is slightly higher in Joomla. WordPress is very simple and intuitive, whereas since Joomla is slightly more complicated for it has a lot more options to provide.
If you’re going for the services of a professional developer, such points of comparison aren’t something that should influence your decision.
That’s because both the platforms are extremely popular and the experts are well equipped to navigate and seamlessly install and use the features of both.
3. Customisation & Visual Appearance
If you’re looking for the flexibility of customizations, both the WordPress and Joomla come with a lot of themes and plugins to tailor your website.
However, if we are to draw a comparison, WordPress is slightly superior in terms of its extension capabilities and the ease associated with it.
This is because WordPress is equipped with the largest range of free/paid themes and plugins (as many as 51516!). Moreover, they can be easily downloaded from the admin dashboard itself.
Massive Directory Of WordPress Themes (Source)
Joomla too, on the other hand, has a wide range of wonderful templates and extensions (7905 available in the directory!). Moreover, in Joomla, they cannot be installed from within the dashboard and need to be manually added with help from the Extension Manager– which means little extra work.
Download Of Add-Ons In Joomla Is Through Its Extension Manager
At this point, one thing you must understand is that the availability of abundant plugins doesn’t mean you should plan to download everything that appeals to you. That’s because excess plugins dampen the speed of a website, which can annoy the end user and spoil their experience.
4. Cost of development and maintenance
The cost aspect is always a tangible consideration. However, both WordPress and Joomla are open sources, which means they’re free of cost.
However, this doesn’t mean that building your website on both of them won’t cost at all. You’ll need to pay for your domain and hosting. Additionally, you may need to pay for some premium themes (templates) and plugins (extensions) in case you plan to customize the website yourself. As such, these costs are quite similar on both the platforms.
Alternately, if you choose to hire a web design and development agency, their service will come with the varying costs.
Since WordPress is best suited for developing simple websites and is more popular as a CMS platform choice, WordPress developers are more in number. This makes it usually, but not always cheaper than building a website on Joomla.
The actual development cost realistically depend on the nature, functionality and the level of complexity you require.
5. Multilingual Support & Localisation
In today’s global world powered by the Internet, the website is often the means to communicate with different markets across the world. Many businesses with cross-border operations and transactions require their content to be read in multiple or regional languages.
To communicate with a multilingual global audience through your website, both WordPress and Joomla are the best choices. However, Joomla is a little better pick on this particular ground.
This is because WordPress doesn’t support multilingual websites as a part of its default package. This functionality can be extended with great plugins, but we already discussed how too many additional plugins place a load on the website speed.
On the other hand, Joomla is inbuilt with a language manager feature that allows the creation of a multilingual website without any external plugins. It also offers translation capabilities.
Language Manager On Joomla Facilitates Multilingual Content
6. Search Engine Optimisation friendly
In the overtly competitive web landscape, optimizing for the search engine is one need that any website including yours should not falter on. After all, if your web presence is not even discoverable by your target audience, no matter how great a website you’ve built, it can only render limited benefits.
If we are to talk about inbuilt Search Engine Optimization supporting capabilities, Joomla is better equipped. It has the default functionality to set meta titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, SEO friendly URLs for new content uploads.
It is these attributes that communicate to the search engine, what your content is about and make it search friendly. By entering this information, you can multiply the chances of your content getting crawled in the Google SERPs.
However, even though WordPress doesn’t have these capabilities inbuilt, it can be extended on the platform with a plugin called Yoast SEO.
It is significantly more powerful than the default Joomla SEO capability or the equivalent Joomla plugin called EFSEO that optimizes SEO function.
For something as important as SEO, downloading an additional plugin is not something you should ponder much about.
In short, the winner in terms of SEO is WordPress.
7. Testing & QA
An optimized website is not the result of estimations, but a thorough analysis of what works for your target audience and what doesn’t.
As much as you know your users, it’s important for you to test what’s resonating or working for them. This is particularly important for businesses who have a high dependency on their websites to increase the conversion rate. For example, if your website is selling service/products online or is an ecommerce store.
In order to cater to the website optimization needs by running real-time tests, Joomla includes inbuilt unit testing and system testing options that allow you to run split, multivariate or A/B testing on your website.
Doing so helps to pick the optimal content and display which is most beneficial for you. This same feature is achievable on WordPress too, but by downloading an external plugin such as Optimizely.
8. Ability to manage the website from Mobile
WordPress comes with its native app that allows updating web content from the comfort of your mobile phone. Joomla, on the other hand, is not equipped with its proprietary application to do the same. However there are third-party apps available, but they don’t offer the same experience as that of a dedicated CMS app.
WordPress Dashboard Can Be Controlled From Its Dedicated Mobile App (Source)
This feature can make a sizeable difference to you if your website is such that requires regular updating of content, say, for instance, you own a blog or an online publication.
If your work demands you to travel frequently, the mobile administration feature is sure to bring in a lot of ease of working with it.
9. Security & Performance
Every website in a certain sense is vulnerable to security threats. Since WordPress is more often used as a CMS, websites built on the platform are naturally more under the radar when it comes to security attacks.
WordPress houses thousands of plugins that are extensively downloaded by the users. With WordPress, it can be quite hard for you to monitor the safety standards employed in each of the plugins you download. This can pose a risk for your website.
However, it is fair to say that the platform is built on a code that is secure and that it is quite responsive to security vulnerabilities. It also has an auto-update mechanism that allows you to update your websites whenever there is a new security patch. So with these measures, WordPress can be regarded as safe.
If we have to compare between WordPress and Joomla, the latter is a slightly safer bet when it comes to security specifically. This is because it comes with some advanced features such as the option to force connections over SSL and that for Two Factor Authentication. These technical options are safety oriented and make any website much more secure. The same is possible but a little tedious to achieve in WordPress. In addition to this, Joomla comes packaged with some great security extensions.
So, by running through all these considerations, you can arrive at a suitable choice.
Now let’s look at some popular websites made on Joomla and WordPress.
Let’s look at some popular websites built with Joomla & WordPress CMS platforms –
The New York Times – WordPress
The Hill – Joomla
Lipton – Joomla
Bata – WordPress
IKEA – Joomla
The Walt Disney Company – WordPress
Joomla and WordPress are the two most popular options, and the choice almost always comes down to choosing between these two platforms.
As such, both of them are quite similar on a lot of grounds, with a few striking differentiating factors.
The question of anyone being the best is slightly flawed.
WordPress as a choice is more suited for simpler, beginner friendly and basic websites. However, it can be customized and scaled up beautifully.
Joomla, on the other hand, is more suited to help with developing websites that have complex structures and require a higher degree of sophistication. Just like WordPress, Joomla too comes with the great flexibility of customization.
So, the right question to ask is, based on my requirements, which is the right platform for my business website?