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Joomla – Great for e-commerce or social networking websites, but requires a basic understanding of technical skills.

Joomla is the second most popular CMS. It’s like the compromise between WordPress and Drupal.

 

It’s powerful enough to run most websites without any problems, and it doesn’t require the same level of technical experience to run as Drupal either.

 

As the second most used CMS (behind WordPress), Joomla also has a lot of plug-ins and themes available to choose from (around 6000 or so) similar to both WordPress and Drupal. So customizing the look and feel of your site shouldn’t be problem.

 

Here are a few more reasons Joomla might be ideal for you:

 

Social Networking – Joomla makes creating social networks of all three options. Social networks can be a powerful asset for many sites, and with Joomla, you can have one up and running extremely quickly and easily.

Commerce Sites – Joomla also makes setting up an online store quick and painless. You can setup eCommerce shops with both Drupal and WordPress, but it tends to require more effort and special customizations.

Not too Technical – Joomla has found the middle ground between the ease of managing a WordPress website and the power of a Drupal site. The good news is that most non-tech savvy people should be able to run a great Joomla site without needing any technical support.

Help Portal – Joomla offers a great help portal for asking questions and getting technical support. It’s not fast or extensive as WordPress’ community-based support pages, but is definitely quicker (and cheaper) than Drupal’s technical support options.

Free – Like both WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is another free option to use on your own web servers. However similar to Drupal, there is no option to have it hosted for free like WordPress offers.

Joomla users love that their websites can do or be almost anything, without sacrificing ease-of-use. Joomla has brilliantly combined the power and flexibility Drupal has to offer, while also retaining the intuitive, user-friendliness that WordPress excels at, making it a perfect middle ground in a crowded marketplace.

If you need something unique like a social network or eCommerce site, Joomla might be the best bet.

 

 

If you want to create a community or a network with a membership area, newsroom, forums, articles, input from external authors etc… then Joomla is a good choice because it is made to be that way.  Creating a navigation structure is easy, once you understand how it works and it doesn’t require knowledge of html. You can set articles to expire after a time, activate dates, author name, breadcrumbs etc..

Thus, Joomla gives you a lot of power in your hands and that is noticeable in the admin section where there are so many options that you get dizzy the first time you go in. You really should get a good book on Joomla if you want to set it up fast. Otherwise you end up fiddling around and getting nowhere for days. You can find a whole range of books on this subject with Packt Publishing.

 

Adapting the look is simple if you are happy with changing some colors and the logo. Beyond that, you will find that Joomla has a complicated structure and even seasoned web developers have to go through a learning curve before they master the layout system, and that approach is different depending on the layout template you chose.

 

Joomla has multi-lingual capability built-in. This works very well but it is not that simple. You have to follow a certain order over actions to make it work, but it is very powerful. Luckily, there are many video tutorials available on YouTube. Just type “joomla multilingual” in the search box and you will find what you need.

 

If you do not want to get involved in the gritty work of stylesheets, you can buy professional layout templates for a reasonable price (between $35-$50) from JoomlaShack, for instance.  Or you could ask a developer to do it for you, but make sure they have references of Joomla sites or you might end up paying their learning curve and that is what you want to avoid.

 

Disadvantages of Joomla

 

Importing articles from one site to another is not as easy as with WordPress. There are extensions for it, like J2XMLwhich does a good job, but migrating from one major version to the next can be problematic with respect to third party extensions.(See also below).

 

Joomla brings out new major upgrades on a regular basis. These upgrades break a lot of extensions and migrating from older versions is not an easy task, especially when you have a complex setup with membership system, forum etc… This is something the Joomla community really needs to address because moving to the latest version can be time consuming. Joomla promissed that it will make it easier from version 3,4 onwards. Hopefully this is true, because it is the major reason why some people migrate to WordPress.

Simple updates between upgrades are easy to do with a click on a button, they seldom break anything.

 

In short:

Joomla’s strenght is in complexity.  Deep level navigation, sections in sections, categories etc… Unlike, WordPress, it makes no distinction between posts and pages, instead you use articles and modules for your content. Modules are best used for small pieces of content and media.

Great for all sorts of sites, with preference for community sites, eCommerce and portfolio/presentation sites.

 

 

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