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.