Website Development – Joomla or WordPress?

Website Development – Joomla or WordPress?

by Laurence Baker

Leading on from my last blog  “Why a marketing agency is the only one qualified to build your website” I wanted to take a look at the two most popular CMS (Content Management System) software platforms: Joomla and WordPress and discuss the differences.  Many developers argue “one is better than the other” or “one is built for SEO” but in the end does it really matter and if so what do you as the customer need to know to make the right decision.

Lets Start at the Beginning..

I would like to start by saying my experience of web development is very limited, 2 years ago I hadn’t ever built a website let alone had the knowledge or experience to try and write an article similar to this.  In those 2 years however I have gained a lot of experience project managing all kinds of web development projects; from fully custom coded CRM database projects integrated with a Content Manageable front end, to e-commerce sites all the way through to the blog you are now reading!

Now the people who are paying attention would have noticed that I didn’t say I coded it or designed it or even built it myself, yes for this (WordPress) blog I made some of the modifications myself and I can now tinker with Joomla, but I’m not a developer – I am a marketeer.  We have expert developers we use to create our websites, a brilliant design team that can make everything look great but my field of expertise is understanding your customers (and really who else would you want to plan and build your site?! Read my last blog – Why a marketing agency is the only one qualified to build your website)

This article is not written for all the developers out there arguing over which CMS (Content Management System) software is better, this is to anyone looking to build a new website and confused with the options out there or anyone whose online presence may not be performing. (You may also want to read my last blog – Why a marketing agency is the only one qualified to build your website)

If this is you then read on..

Joomla versus WordPress – The CMS battle begins (or does it?)

As with any popular item / product / software they each have their fan base and their haters, for example Microsoft and Apple.  One of my housemates is a massive Apple fan – if they’ve made it; hes got one, the best one, he knows everything there is to know about anything they are doing (which can be quite useful when my iPhone stops working!) but he hates Windows and Microsoft with a passion. He laughs whenever it comes up in conversation, his response whenever I’m having technical difficulties is always “What do you expect – its Microsoft” and so on.  You may have experienced something similar and there are many other examples I could go into but today its Joomla vs WordPress.

Lots of developers have one platform they can use and one only and because of this they are very defensive of it and will try and steer you away from another platform.  A quick search on the same topic as this blog article will bring back hundreds of results of mainly people arguing one way of the other so before we can go any further lets have a quick look at the two platforms.

Both platforms are open source (read free to use) content manageable solutions and allow you to overlay any design onto the software, which you (or your developer) can then integrate with it to allow you to add articles, pictures, edit text etc with relative ease.

Both software solutions also have different names for the design frameworks they use; in Joomla its “Templates”. Now this seems to be one of the big arguments against Joomla from our experience and whilst its connotations  seem to make people believe they are getting something “Off the shelf that thousands of other people also have so why should they pay?” “We want something bespoke, what’s this template thing all about?!” and so on.  Once you start believing this it is hard to explain that all systems are built on a template basis.

The name for the design frameworks used in WordPress is “Theme” now this doesn’t have any of the connotations that “Template” has but it refers to exactly the same thing.

All the “template” description refers to it the underlying wire frame structure of the site or simply put; where you can put your content.  Any design can be attributed to this and your site should be created with your customers in mind.

Now that is the only bit I really needed to make clear as it easy to get distracted or put off by people who don’t understand and want to steer you one way or another.

As I mentioned earlier most developers have their preferred systems and will argue one way or another, but ultimately you need to remember your site should be the No. 1 priority, you should never compromise on the site because the platform can’t do what you need, if the platform you or your developer is using cant be adapted to do what your customers need it or expect it to do pick a platform that can. One of the most important things to do when discussing a new web build with anyone is to have a plan, you should be talking to an expert so their input is very valuable but as we discussed above having the functionality you require shouldn’t be limited by the platform choice.

Build the site based on your target markets expectations not your developers limitations.

What I see day after day are websites that don’t perform, haven’t been built for conversion or even with the customer in mind.  Unless you have a in depth knowledge about websites its easy for this to happen but lots of businesses aren’t (you’re experts in your business!). So remember:

  • Always make a plan -what do you want your website to achieve? 
  • Stick to this plan! If you want to be able to update the site yourself, dont let them build an HTML site.
  • Talk to a few web agencies / marketing companies
  • Look at the projects they have worked on before and ask for evidence of success stories
  • Talk to their customers – have they seen a growth in calls or conversions from the website?
  • Narrow it down to a could of people you like the look / sound of and then go and see them, if they understand your business and can give you constructive ideas at the meeting its generally a good sign.

We are invested in all of our customers as if they succeed then they will (hopefully!) recommend us and use us in the future.  If you would like to talk to us about how we can help build your brand online, increase your online presence and help you get more sales; call us on 01293 406000

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After working within the hospitality sector in various management roles, Laurence completed his degree in Business Marketing and Management at the University of Kent. Laurence has gone on to develop a successful career in Marketing. Google+

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