Why I Switched From Joomla! to WordPress

If you've visited my home site before or are on my newsletter mailing list, you may have noticed that they look rather different now. That's because I recently switched from the Joomla! Content Management System (CMS) to WordPress.

Joomla! is a very powerful system and I know it reasonably well; I even wrote a feature article on building websites in Joomla!, but I eventually got tired of fighting to get it to do what I wanted on my home site.

Here are the main reasons behind my switch:

  • I finally realised that what I really want on my personal home site is a Blog, and blogging is WordPress's great strength.
  • Commenting and pingbacks are vital for engaging visitors and building traffic, and they are built in to WordPress.
  • I got tired of hacking my Joomla! template to get it to do things that WordPress can do by default, like the funky drop-down menus.
  • I got sick of fighting with the unsupported Vemod Newsletter plugin. Now I fight with MailPress instead. Oh well, at least it's still actively maintained.
  • I really like WordPress's auto-update feature.
  • Autosave in the WordPress editor saves my neck when my hosting service hiccups. Under Joomla!, I used to just lose the work I had done on the article I was writing.
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs are configurable without a plugin. Despite it being the best free SEO/SEF extension for Joomla!, I was often fighting with sh404SEF.
  • Steve Pavlina, Darren LaCroix, Craig Valentine and Yaro Starak, the guys I'm modelling, all use it.
  • I got tired of typing exclamation marks, and then having to manually correct OpenOffice's autocapitalisation of the next word all the time.

There are some things I miss about Joomla! though:

  • I haven't found a backup solution for WordPress as slick as Akeeba Backup.

And a few things that grate on me about WordPress, which I hope will eventually be fixed:

  • Categories and tags can't have the same slugs, even though they don't logically share the same namespace. Creating a new category for which there is already a tag of the same name generates a category slug with an ugly suffix.
  • The documentation warns strongly against using %category% as your permalink base, which you need in order to give the most logical Search Engine Friendly URL heirarchy. Apparently this is inefficiently implemented.
  • A plugin is required to get the category archive in the logical place.

Of course to get the most out of it, you need to add the best WordPress plugins.

Now don't get me wrong; Joomla! is a very powerful CMS, and I'd still recommend it for large corporate or e-commerce sites. But for a home site or a small business where the blog is a central feature, I highly recommend WordPress.

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About Graham

I'm the creator of BuildYourBlog.net.
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4 Responses to Why I Switched From Joomla! to WordPress

  1. Your reasons for switching to word press are genuine and I totally understand you. Joomla is great but many people prefer word press to it for various reasons including some that you have mentioned on post.

  2. My progression to WordPress is as follows. I started with Site Build It!, then went to Joomla, and then arrived in the glory land of WordPress. I got tired of how tedious it was setting up a Joomla site. I find WP is much faster to set up and customize than Joomla. That said, after SBI, I thought Joomla was fantastic, and I agree with the points you made about what you miss.

    I've been a dedicated WP user for a couple of years now and haven't looked back. I haven't had one project arise where I thought Joomla would be the better solution.

    I would like to add another advantage to WordPress and that is the community. There are many more WP themes than Joomla templates. Same thing with WP plugins vs. Joomla Add ons.

  3. I think you are right when you say that WordPress is better for a blog. However, I think if anyone wants a more bespoke website, then Joomla is far easier to customise.

    That said, I'm always surprised that Joomla have never integrated a more powerful blog as part of it's main download, as it is a regularly required feature, and most of the add-ons such as Lyften Bloggie seem a bit rough around the edges.

    • Graham says:

      I agree 100%. The risk with using WordPress is that if the site grows beyond a simple blog, you may have to switch to something more powerful like Joomla later. If there was a really great blogging extension for Joomla or it had this functionality in its core, that could tip the balance back in Joomla's favour. Of course both are moving targets, and new plugins/extensions for each keep coming out all the time too. That's why I think a requirements analysis is important.

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