Joomla Or WordPress – Which CMS Is Best?

I see a lot of reviews of this kind out there, and frankly, a lot I read, don’t seem to be coming from actual EXPERIENCE. I remember YEARS ago asking the same question – Which is Better - WordPress or Joomla?

I can give you my honest opinion as myself, and my team, have had years experience with both open source content management systems.

I love Joomla when I spend time in it and WordPress too (Hobo is built with WP) , and I had a rule of thumb….

  • building a big document depository? Use Joomla.
  • building a site you just want to update with company news and the like? Go with WordPress.

Both are great systems (for FREE) and both can do what the other does, but I think Joomla takes too much time to configure (especially with CLIENTS in the mix), and too much time to troubleshoot conflicts, especially when your interested in SEO (!) – and shouldn’t every website owner be?

Of course, both systems leave a lot to be desired when it comes to seo – especially search engine friendly URLS and canonicalisation issues / duplicate content woes though both can be addressed – though it’s worth pointing out WordPress makes this very easy indeed.

Of course, I am not denying you can’t build a great site that ranks well with both cms (content management systems) – because you can – but when it comes down  to it, I prefer WordPress, and that system is what we’ll be focusing on from this point on.

Joomla, for us, simply costs too much money and time in the long run, even with experience, in comparison with WordPress. This has got to be acknowledged.

Too many times are we editing Joomla sites thinking “we wish this was wordpress” as more often than not, adding new components seems to totally screw with the SEO component – so much so I think the guy who made it must have been pulling his *&^%ing hair out….. like we have in the past.

Even though we built, what I think, is the perfect e-commerce platform with Joomla for SEO purposes, we decided to scrap it AT THE LAST MINUTE and redo it in WordPress, just so we wouldn’t have component problems in the future.

Joomla is a fantastic CMS, but WordPress is just so much simpler for most people to get to grips with.

Advice – Just starting out? Thinking about which is better? which is simpler? Which is easier to use?

Choose WordPress, not Joomla….

NOTE – Check this out for wordpress seo.

Related Joomla tutorials:

  1. Joomla clean urls
  2. How to install sh404SEF
  3. Joomla SEF URLS
  4. Joomla Page Title
  5. Joomla H1
  6. Joomla homepage title tag
  7. Joomla duplicate content

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45 Responses

  1. Alok says:

    Well. I started with learning out Joomla. Figured it was too much hassle to teach the clients how to handle it properly. Then tried drupal. It was too much hassle to learn the terminology itself , let alone finding out which module was latest and working and which wasn’t. And then the love affair began with wordpress. Ever since I started working with it, I never went back again to anything else. And seeing the number of projects being posted on freelancing sites for wordpress as compared to Joomla & Drupal, I think general populate is moving towards wordpress in huge numbers.

  2. James says:

    Fully agree with you their mate, we are focussing more and more on WordPress and developing our new site in it. We have also dabbled in Drupal, but yes as above it is a bit of a ballache and only worth it if it is a very complex site that wordpress cant handle. We used to do a lot of things bespoke but unless you charge premium prices you just cant keep up with the open source alternatives.

  3. David says:

    Love WordPress – I worked with Joomla a few times and it is awful IMO

  4. Phil says:

    It is WordPress all the way for me. OK, I may write custom CMS, but it’s had little bearing on my dislike of most others! I have looked at both Joomla and Drupal and the mind boggled. WordPress is the only one that seems intuitive and that you don’t have to spend ages messing with to work from install. The plugins are a breeze and I’ve not really found any compatibility issues between them.

  5. seoslayer says:

    to be honest, I’ve never tried Joomla. But reading this post i’m glad that i decided to stick to WordPress :).

  6. mdenhartog says:

    Deff. Joomla. SH404SEF (SEO compontent) + some help of template overwrites = instant win

  7. Jenny says:

    Hi, I’ve used both and Drupal! Drupal is definately my favourite. Most modules (plugins) are free on and it’s nice to have the front end sort of mixed with the backend – you just navigate to a page and click the edit button at the top! There’s also a lot of SEO features, are we create low cost unique Drupal Themes Jen

  8. Adrienne says:

    I’ve worked with both, and definitely say from a development standpoint WordPress is easier to work with. The learning curve as developer is far shorter with WordPress , and from trying to teach a client too. Joomla is powerful, and for a large scale project could be the right solution for the job. Time involved will most likely be longer, conflicts will most likely happen… I’m not saying WordPress wont have challenges. It just seems like they are easier to overcome. Just starting out, I would almost always suggest WordPress – for the sake of sanity : )

  9. steve says:

    I was looking at Joomla, for a another project but i think i will stick to wordpress thanks. As always Shaun your blog gives me loads to think about and loads to add to my do list!

  10. Colin Wiseman says:

    I have to agree. I am a .NET developer, but when I wanted to build a blog I couldn’t be bothered building a Blog engine of my own, and all the .NET ones were s*** in the back end, and would get me annoyed. Finding WordPress, I am tempted to learn PHP – but we must all resist temptation? I think it was the ease of making it work on IIS made it the clear winner – download, unzip, copy, paste, and let wordpress do the rest!! Nice! Thank you WordPress!

  11. Ian Brodie says:

    My experience is that because the number of plugins and themes for WordPress far outnumbers those for Joomla, that helps with SEO too. Simply from the fact that you do more with the site. Adding a podcast or other features enabled by the vast array of wordpress plugins may not directly improve SEO – but it encourages users to add content – which helps. The easier it is to use, the less problems, and the more extras you can add in easily, the more content goes up on the site. And, of course, some of those plugins like your own modified Link Love plugin help SEO directly. Ian

  12. AsiaSME says:

    I have tested Joomla development just for fun, but am actually working with TYPO3 CMS for several years. I have several WordPress blogs too. If you want a quick free website, go immediately for WordPress blog (also CMS). Easy to set up and posts are quick to become indexed in search engines. Last week I made a post on a WordPress blog – (I make posts everyday of course) – but I just happened to notice this post was up on Google after 4 minutes (yes, that is correct, four minutes) So fast indexing will never happen with a CMS website like TYPO3 or Joomla or anyone else

  13. Milena says:

    I agree as well! My fingers are burning when twisting WordPress in whatever I want (i.e. my clients need :) ). Cannot do that with Joomla… Since I started with WordPress I even don’t have the thought to look for smth else appearing in my mind. ‘Well done!’ to the WordPress community.

  14. Stuart Graham says:

    WordPress seems to be accessed by Google almost immediately one you adjust the Privacy Settings. I have had many visitors to a site before it was “public”. Some clients have problems even using WordPress as a CMS so it must be tricky to train them on Joomla.

  15. Tom Bathgate says:

    I have to admit I love wordpress for just how simple and easy it is, and how quickly you can expand it’s functionality with plugins. A lot of developers I know have always ran a mile from Joomla always stating that it’s full of security holes and should be avoided like the plague. I didn’t like the idea that a lot of the modules for it had costs attached to them. And that was the end of my journey with Joomla I do use Drupal for complicated sites, the Content Construction Kit and Views are so handy for creating things like research databases, but its is a huge learning jump and took me a huge while to get my head round it and the way that it works, but I do think its a really great tool to have in your toolbox. A friend recently started using expression engine and loved it so much he bought a developers licence. Was trying to get my to start using it, but I don’t see the need to pay when there are so many great open source alternatives around. Why charge a client for something that they don’t need to be paying for?

  16. Nick says:

    Thanks for a clear steer – so often article writers feel obliged to leave a balanced view, or don’t want to upset someone.

  17. Karolos says:

    I never found something I can’t do in less than 2 hours in Joomla. If you can spend 100-200$ to buy some good add-ons (with GPL license) you can build terrific SEO, multilingual, extensible sites EASILY and FAST (If you can’t spend 100-200$ then that’s your main problem IMHO). I use WordPress only if I’m 200% sure that the client just needs a super basic site (with a blog.)

  18. Colin says:

    Definitely WordPress for me! When you consider that once you’ve delivered a site, the majority of clients are just concerned with the day-to-day edit and update of content, it’s much more cost and time-effective for everybody concerned to deliver training in WordPress than it is in Joomla. I also find WordPress far easier to implement into existing site designs than Joomla – it seems to take an age to get away from it’s general modular boxiness!

  19. Nick says:

    What about I just decided to go for (with Disqus) but I have not posted yet, so could be convinced back on WordPress.

  20. John says:

    Shaun – Great post as ever! I also love how simple everything is with wordpress, I had a quick look at joomla, but as you say it is quite awkward and clunky. I’m currently using actinic for my ecommerce site. As you know it stores everything locally, is brilliant for managing the order side of things… But an absolute nightmare for other things, like it takes 2 hours to change a single products price :-( It would be good to have a test drive of your wordpress based one, is it available to the public or just something you use in house for your clients? Cheers for now, John

  21. John Hewitt says:

    Hi – and thanks for the great articles by the way! I tried using Joomla for my article website but after 12 hours of trying to fix the install and then figure out how to post and use navigation etc. I gave up Tried Drupal and the same. When I did get Drupal to work the look of the website was not appealing at all! Hence WordPress – It’s easy to install, easy to update and easy to back up. I used to use seo plugins, but now I have added header code and custom fields for my posts to manually enter keywords, descriptions etc.. WordPress gives me total control; and no headaches and my articles are getting indexed quickly.

  22. clickonportal says:

    LOL funny how I don’t usually subscribe to mail because it clutters my box, but the first time I did I got the answer I was just thinking about a while ago but didn’t get to searching for. Thanks, I think I’ll be using wordpress when I get my own domain.

  23. Dave Durbin says:

    Looks like WordPress is ruling the day. I agree, with a caveat. My Joomla experience is low because of the power and extendability of WordPress. I started on WordPress and boy am i glad I did. I never had a reason to go elsewhere. It seems that there are still some tweaks needed for a full blown WordPress to be fully functional – the TinyMCE issue. This was a CMS post. As technologies and updates / plugins become more robust these should all be worked out. On a final note – I had a client who insisted on a DotNetNuke platform and all I can say is “run for the hills”.

  24. Andy Williams | Impa says:

    Totally agree, Joomla has given me more headaches than I care to remember. Even when the correct SEO plug-ins are in place, there is no guarantee they will work correctly.

  25. Dena says:

    Nice post Shaun. I personally prefer Joomla since i’m used to more detailed website backgrounds. But my clients usually prefer WP since its much easier for them to use like you said. Since they just update / add new articles only etc. But personally, i like the sef404 module on Joomla just a tad more :)

  26. Bill Marshall says:

    Far too many CMS systems are fundamentally SEO unfriendly and many of them have so-called SEO modules that barely help and sometimes make things worse. You can make Joomla reasonably spiderable but it’s damned hard work and often requires major surgery if the site has already been built. Looked at Drupal and didn’t like it at all. Mambo is positively awful. Was recently looking at a Magnolia system and could scarcely make head not tail of it. I despair of finding a programmer that understands not to use 302’s all over the place and doesn’t redefine words like “title” to mean five different things none of which are what we mean by it! For all WordPress is limited and quirky at least you can generally decipher what’s going on and the interface is easy enough for most users to understand. If a project doesn’t justify building a custom made CMS then WordPress can often be a useful alternative.

  27. Vincent Bruggen says:

    I switched a month ago from the Nucleus CMS to the wordpress-platform (the migration went well, but only because I did a lot of manual intervention in the mysql db). The wordpress platform is really a lot better then Nucleus: better and more plugins, easier to hack and customize, very easy to update with new patches/plugins,… I’ve worked also already with drupal, but the learning curve is a lot steeper then with wordpress.

  28. Andy Lanarkshire says:

    Thanks for the info. I have only built a site with a WordPress template and it was so easy and easy to maintain and update. I was tempted to look as Joomla! but am less keen to do so after reading all the above. I’m also interested in learning SEO stuff, and can only offer my greatest appreciation for these posts. Any info is greatly appreciated. Andy

  29. Colin Wiseman says:

    For my day to day work I have to use a custom CMS. But this goes back to the point a lot of you make about clients…they are not clued up (to be polite). Even WordPress is too much for them! The custom CMS has it all stripped right back to the point where they almost only have a WYSIWYG editor and a couple of text boxes. But for my own personal use…Wordpress all the way. The plugins rock!

  30. Joseph says:

    I have worked with both Joomla and Drupal for complete design, configuration and setup including SEO setup. The urls generated are fully seo friendly in both Joomla as well as Drupal e.g a page on Goa Dolphin Trips would be /goa-dolphin-trips.html Joomla 1.0.15 requires extensions and there are duplicate content issues (same page -two urls) but these problems have in largely solved in Joomla 1.5.x versions which have built in SEO. Drupal has even better SEO and also allows you to enter PHP code in the content of the page. However Drupal is not as user friendly as compared to Joomla for the average user. I have published with screenshots all these details on my website.

  31. Will Lowrey says:

    I have worked with Joomla and WordPress, and your points are right now. WordPress is easier to teach clients. WordPress is quick and easy if you are just doing some updates and news announcements. From an SEO perspective – WordPress is much better. However, I still love Joomla for bigger, more involved sites. Just the power of module and component overrides, the templating structure, and the vast collection of open source plug-ins/components/modules is awesome. Joomla is not the right tool for small, quick, info/blog type sites. But for a real workhorse, I think it would be over burdensome to try and duplicate the ability in wordpress.

  32. Mark says:

    I started to build a shopping cart using Joomla, only because that seemed to be the consensus of the better platform for carts. It was stated that the learning curve was lower for Joomla than Drupal. Since trying to figure out how to get Joomla to cooperate, I can’t imagine what Drupal is like. After reading this post, I think am going to scrap Joomla and go with WordPress. Any suggestions for shopping cart modules and security?

  33. Brent Call says:

    Read the books and dove right in with Joomla. That lasted about two months and it was back to WordPress. Every now and then I think of going again but it’s just so damn easy with WordPress. The SEO packages and the multiple ways of listing articles just to easy to pass up. Why work hard when you can work efficient? WP Rules.

  34. Alex says:

    We recommend wordpress as SEO friendly CMS and the best part of this CMS, userfriendly application. A non-techie individual can manage this CMS easily.

  35. Christophe BENOIT says:

    I came to the same conclusion. Joomla is powerfull but lack in security, simplicity and time to configure. I tested Dotclear too, but this one is not enough used so many plugins and themes are missing. WordPress is the best opportunity if you want a website that is secure, fast to configure and ok for SEO purpose.

  36. Roger Migently says:

    I was working with some design students a couple of years ago and one of them had a business selling a wide range of hobby train items, which he ran through Joomla. He was very keen, not at all stupid and had assistance from an experienced friend. I can’t remember the number of times he turned up in the morning and told me he’d crashed Joomla last night for some reason or other. Updating something, adding something, streamlining something else, maybe. His site would just be wiped out and he’d have to start over again. I love WordPress and always recommend it to clients. But then, I don’t know how he would have gone trying to run his business with WordPress. Isn’t Joomla preferred for commerce sites like his?

  37. Glenn A says:

    I just moved a client off a horrid-looking Drupal site and onto WordPress, where he’s delighted to be. Having to work on Drupal for a limited time made me never want to return, especially since optimization is a big part of what I do. No thanks to nodes. The client’s traffic increased about 30 percent over a period of three-four months, even with numerous abandoned posts on the old site. His WordPress site/blog looks great, is reasonably complex and — by using Frankenstein creation techniques — he got everything he wanted on WP. Does anyone know anything about the purported issues with WP once you get into the tens of thousands of posts area?

  38. Maciej (ma-chi) says:

    personally I really enjoy using WordPress. With each update things seem to get better and better. There is a rather large update coming to WordPress very soon which is going to be rather drastic.

  39. Barry Hynd says:

    When I first started getting into websites I actually started with Joomla. Initially it seemed OK but very quickly it became more and more of an issue to keep stable and to actually progress things. I think back in horror now at my first attempt at a forum using Fireboard which integrates with Joomla. Thankfully I found WordPress a few years back and have never looked back. With the exception of my business forums which run on vBulletin all my other sites are on WordPress. I’m also seeing massive advances in WordPress with the new themes coming out like Thesis (I run this on one of my sites). I dont consider myself a web designer or anything but I am able most of the time to get a 60-70% of the way there on my own. It’s always handy as well when people like Shaun offer you little bits of advice :-) WordPress EVERYTIME for me :-)

  40. Greg says:

    I first used Drupal back in Version 4. It was terrible. People say it’s better now, but “taxonomy” is not a word I understand. I don’t want a CMS with 50 links on the admin back end. I cannot teach that to a client. Joomla’s upgrade process is a nightmare. Imagine a contract for 4 hours of support on a Joomla website. With those 4 hours I can’t finish a Joomla upgrade and get everything working again. Joomla often has component issues. Components just aren’t as polished as the WordPress counter parts because the community is smaller. By contrast, I can do upgrades to 10 WordPress sites, including database backup, in half an hour. Also, making a post in Joomla still takes me about 30% longer than a post in WordPress. Joomla is hard. But, WordPress still has a long way to go.

  41. John Soares says:

    I started with Dreamweaver, but I quickly went to WordPress for all of my sites. It’s what I recommend to everyone who wants to get a site online.

  42. Aaron says:

    Seems to be a never ending debate, despite the fact (my opinion? lol) that it’s not even close. WordPress is far superior to Joomla, not just for SEO, but for many other things, as well. I’ll always have a little bit of love for Joomla however, because that’s the software I first used to start building websites. Was quite difficult and as stated was quite weak with seo, so I quickly moved to Drupal before ending up with WordPress.

  43. TradeShow Ninja says:

    hey Shaun, Wow… a lot of comments! I like wordpress, but have no experience with joomla. But from what you say, wp is easier, so I’d go with it. However, I’d say if you’re interested in SEO, it matters less what tool you pick and more what you do with it. :) Though all things being equal, I’d pick the tool that was easier to use, and then I’d focus on what to do with it to achieve my goals!

  44. Sandra Newton says:

    We have used both Joomla and WordPress, and for us it is like comparing apples with oranges. Each has pros and cons. If you don’t have a good IT guy/developer you probably don’t want to go down the Joomla road because with power comes a degree of complexity. WordPress is a very impressive, elegant piece of software but limited in its own way. We only use it for sites that have a tight focus are blog or article oriented (ie have a simple architecture). We’ve had no trouble with Joomla. A lot of people use plug-ins for things that Joomla can do ‘out of the box’ – if you take the time to understand it. Many people don’t want (and probably don’t need) to take the time to learn how it works properly. Herein lies part of the problem – people want quick and easy. Great if you have a simple site. Not so great if you want range, flexibility and power. WordPress is definitely easier to learn for the user. Can’t talk about Drupal, haven’t used it but may in the future if we have a need.

  45. Aaron Wong says:

    Great comparison. I’ve been looking for information on different CMSs. I’m currently on SquareSpace and although I love it, it lacks the easy customization like wordpress. I end up having to read a lot about how to do things that wordpress has plugins for already.

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