Joomla VS WordPress – Which Is The Best for Your Ecommerce Site? – An Interview with David Attard

By    Last updated December 05, 2016   WordPress

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You’ll find lots of articles about WordPress tips, tricks and techniques across the internet, but Joomla isn’t quite as popular. Yet, Joomla is still a very viable option for many websites.

 

In order to drill down on the differences between the two and why you would choose one over the other, we contacted David Attard, blogger extraordinaire and owner of Dart Creations, an informative web design blog to share Joomla!, WordPress, small business marketing, search engine optimization and many other useful tips for web designers and small and budding website owners. He is a Product Manager for a digital marketing agency by day, web design hobbyist since always. David is passionate about many things tech, enthusiastic about marketing, SEO, and ways of increasing website traffic.

 

Is Joomla or WordPress Best for Your Ecommerce Site?

 

Hi David and welcome to Bitcatcha! You’ve got an awesome site that is chock-full of great web design advice and lots of information about two of the most popular CMS options out there: WordPress and Joomla. You have impressive credentials but I’m hoping you can tell us a bit more about your background in website design development.

 

David Attard

I’ve been a web designer / developer for as long as I care to remember. Growing up in the 90s when the internet was experiencing its first boom (and bust), it’s only natural that I would be intrigued by the whole web thing. After graduating in IT, my first job was in web development so it was only natural that web design would be something I would become passionate about.  I’ve been designing sites professionally and as a hobby ever since.

Connect with David : 

Connect with David via Facebook Connect with David via Twitter Connect with David via Google+

 

 

What about your experience with Joomla and WordPress? You offer lots of great advice on the Dart Creations so you’ve obviously spent lots of time with these blogging platforms.

 

A few months after Joomla was founded I came across it and I was immediately taken in by how easy it was to setup a whole site and keeping it maintained. Looking back, I can say that it was the concept of a CMS which had me hooked. Strangely, at about the same time, I came across WordPress, but it was not as refined as it is today back then and I ignored for a while.

 

I’ve been designing sites mostly with Joomla up to a couple of years back. Recently, I’m getting much more experience with WordPress, and I’m really, really happy to have rediscovered this CMS and its awesomeness.

 

 

FYI, folks, Joomla was created in 2005, so David has LOTS of years under his belt working with this CMS. With a recent statistic showing WordPress has a 59.3% of market share across all content management systems, it’s the clear winner over Joomla, with a 6.1% share, as well as other CMS’s such as Drupal and Blogger. But what about you, David? Which one would you say is your favorite today?

 

It’s difficult to really choose a favourite. I know Joomla really well and my extensive experience makes it easy to work with for me. Then again, WordPress has become so easy to work with. Today I have a hard time choosing between the two.

 

 

That’s all right, we won’t make you choose! Between WordPress and Joomla, which one has the best features in terms of customizing your site, both from a design standpoint as well as functionality?

 

Choosing between one CMS and another is just like choosing between anything else.

 

You don’t choose a car just for the fact that it gets you from A to B – there’s so much more to it than that.

 

I find that both CMS’s are today very, very mature, though Joomla still has a bit of a longer learning curve and some things are still not as easy to achieve with Joomla as they are with WordPress.

 

I’ve always maintained that the strength of a CMS comes mostly from the breadth of the extensions, templates and 3rd party components it supports, not just from its core. Both Joomla and WordPress have thousands of 3rd party components, though I find that WordPress has the edge in that regard. There is much more choice of plugins with WordPress for sure. There is also much more information available, so in that regard I do believe WordPress has an advantage.

 

 

Yes, we’ve found that to be true. So, it’s a very individual decision?

 

Yes. Each user needs to make a choice based on the current project he or she is working on. There is not a clear cut choice for every project. You need to choose Joomla, WordPress (or any other CMS) based on the requirements of each specific project you work on.

 

Let’s just say you want to build an ecommerce website. You’ll know that there are extensions for online shops for both WordPress and Joomla. You’ll also know that your ecommerce site may be your lifeline, so you’ll need to make sure the site you build is FULLY focused on ecommerce. To that extent, even though WordPress and Joomla may have solutions for an ecommerce website, I would be more inclined to use a CMS which is built specifically for ecommerce such as Magento. It is more likely to meet the full requirements of an ecommerce website.

 

Let’s go for a simpler example. Let’s just say you want to build a simple website with lots of blogging features. You’ll probably find that WordPress is much more suited than Joomla for a blog. Although Joomla has blogging possibilities, it is not it’s strong point and you might have to go for a blogging extension to get all of the features WordPress would have to offer out of the box.

 

Joomla also has it’s strong points. It’s fully mobile-enabled, including the back-end, natively. You don’t need apps or anything to access and post.

 

Ultimately it really boils down to the specifics of each project.

 

 

With all the security breaches across the globe in recent years, security is a big issue. In your opinion, is WordPress or Joomla more secure?

 

This is a tough one.

 

I do believe that WordPress has had more high-profile vulnerabilities more often than Joomla has, but Joomla has had its fair share of vulnerabilities too. Keeping Joomla and WordPress secure requires you to take a number of preventive steps, such as:

 

  • Taking care to install updates regularly
  • Using network security
  • Using complex passwords
  • Using only reputable 3rd party extensions and plugins
  • Performing regular backups

 

Learn more @ Dart-Creations:

  1. Top 10 Joomla Security Issues (and how to fix them)
  2. 17 Ways to Prevent WordPress Hacking: The Essential Checklist to Secure WordPress

 

Really and truly, each CMS can be very secure and very vulnerable. Any CMS which is not kept up-to-date with ALL the latest fixes will become vulnerable. That’s it really. It’s only a matter of time before your site will become vulnerable if it does not have:

 

  • Latest core updates
  • Latest 3rd party component updates
  • Latest theme updates

 

There are other things to take into consideration, such as a hosting company which cares about the security of your site. That is very important.

 

 

The web hosting company does make a big difference, as we can attest to here at Bitcatcha. Now how about SEO? Do you find WordPress or Joomla to be more SEO-friendly?

 

More and more, SEO is becoming independent of on-page factors, and more about top-quality content and off-page factors such as good authoritative backlinks. The choice of CMS for SEO has become mostly irrelevant in my eyes, as long as you are able to do the basics.

 

You’ll need an SEO plugin irrespective of what CMS you use, to make sure you’re taking care of all the on-page SEO factors. Incidentally, we’ve got extensive articles on how to do Joomla SEO, and a full checklist for WordPress onpage SEO.

 

 

Can you please go into a bit more detail about the strengths and weaknesses of each CMS in regards to SEO?

 

I find that WordPress has SEO covered really, really nicely through the Yoast SEO plugin, because it guides you to on-page SEO factors as you are writing your content.

 

Unfortunately, WordPress in general is not able to create a site URL structure which is favoured by Google such as site/topic/sub-topic/keyword-title.html.

 

Internal links are also not something which come out of the box.

 

Both of these are very strong ranking signals.

 

Joomla, on the other hand, is able to create a Google recommended site structure out of the box with with the structure site/topic/sub-topic/keyword-title.html being created through categories and sub-categories. Internal links are also very easy to create. Simply link from the menus to categories and sub-categories. This has worked very very well for my site so far.

 

The SEO plugins for Joomla are really, really good, but they are still not as refined as the ones for WordPress.

 

 

So, in terms of SEO plugins, WordPress is the winner! David, can you explain more about the reasons why?

 

Remember that the market for WordPress plugins is much more lucrative so you can expect plugins to be more refined in general for WordPress. Do remember to go for the proven, popular and trusted plugins. The popularity of WordPress also brings about a lot of low-quality plugins.

 

Speaking of plugins, we must mention that each plugin comes with an increased security risk (more components which need to be kept update).

 

And if you want a fast website, you’ll need to keep plugins at an absolute minimum.

 

Note : 

We encourage our readers to check the speed of their server using our free Server Speed Test Tool.

 

 

All of these factors, speed, SEO, security, are very important for a business website. Which CMS would you recommend for an ecommerce site?

 

The question one has to ask is this: What is the primary function of the site? Is it the shop, or is it other content such as information about the company, blogs etc.

 

If the shop is not the primary function of the site you can use WordPress with an ecommerce plugin such as Woocommerce, or Joomla with an online store extension.
Remember that you should also choose a theme which is fully compatible with the online shop plugin of choice, this will save you a lot of heartache later on.

 

If your site is primarily based around the online shop, I would venture outside of Joomla and WordPress and go for something stronger in ecommerce such as Magento.

 

 

Are there certain types of online businesses that are best suited to one or the other?

 

I don’t believe there are specific niches which are best suited for Joomla or WordPress.

 

I never start a project with a choice of CMS beforehand unless there is a specific reason for doing that.

 

There are no hard and fast rules towards choosing a CMS for a specific type of online business. Every project has its own particularities, and most times both Joomla and WordPress can do a great job.

 

For example, one of our recent projects was IntentMultimedia. The client already was comfortable using Joomla, so why have the client go through the whole learning curve of learning WordPress? They were happy to continue using Joomla, so we jsut upgraded their site, made it responsive and they were more than happy.

 

Another time, working for the Malta Climbing Club website, we opted for Joomla. The client was not thrilled with it, and the designers we were working with really hated the idea of using Joomla as opposed to WordPress. Few days down the line, we reversed the decision and went with Joomla. You really have to see what best serves your clients at the end of the day, not your own preferences. You can’t force stuff down people’s throats, just because you would prefer it that way yourself. Eventually, a misjudged decision will come back to haunt you and hurt you.

 

 

Any advice for helping someone decide what’s best for their ecommerce site?

 

The way that I recommend going about making a choice is by answering the following questions.

 

  • Do you have experience with Joomla or WordPress?
  • Do you want to specifically switch away from your current CMS?
  • Can you achieve the functionality you want with Joomla or would you have to rely on hacks to achieve the desired end result? (I tend to keep hacking of code to a minimum to ensure that I keep abreast with ALL latest updates for security reasons)
  • Are there specific reasons where Joomla will work better for this website?
  • Are there themes for Joomla which are good enough for your design ideas?

 

Once you have these answers clear in your head, you can make an educated and researched judgement of which CMS to go for.

 

For example, if you plan to build a lot of custom pages, then you’ll find that WordPress pagebuilders such as Divi are much more prolific and mature than in Joomla.

 

I would not say that WordPress SHOULD be used for these types of businesses. You need to weigh the pros and cons of working with both. You’ll also simply find that some people are more comfortable or biased to work with a specific CMS. If they are able to achieve great results with their CMS of choice, then fair enough, who are we to argue and try to convince them otherwise?

 

David, you have been a tremendous help for our readers to sort through the differences and advantages of using Joomla or WordPress. Readers, for additional information and details on this topic, please be sure to visit the Dart Creations.

 

 

Candace Morehouse

Candace is a freelance writer who has 6 fiction books published under her own name and has ghost written 15 nonfiction books for clients. She has helped small businesses to build a better online presence with her writing.

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