Is Joomla! the Right CMS for My Website?

Joomla! is a powerful content management system. Unfortunately, Joomla! is a complicated CMS that is more appropriate for web developers or users with time to learn about Joomla!’s framework. Before you commit to using Joomla!, you should be aware of some common challenges.

Joomla dashboard

Struggles with Joomla!

Large Learning CurveJoomla CMS shops

Joomla! has a large learning curve – 20+ hours. The CMS was created for a developer or non-developer who has plenty of time to learn. Joomla! is not the best choice if you need to get started quickly. To get a simple site with a menu and pages working, you must first understand template, pages, menu, menu items, and menu modules. WordPress, on the other hand, only requires you to write a page and press “Publish.” A basic website would be much better off with WordPress.

Fewer Plugins than WordPress

Plugins were developed to customize a website. Unfortunately, Joomla! provides far fewer plugins than WordPress, and most are costly, whereas WordPress plugins are free. There are 8,315 Joomla! extensions and 32,634 WordPress extensions in 2014. WordPress plugins allow a non-developer to create a fully customized website without coding. Developing a WordPress website is easier for amateurs.

Complex Page Navigation

Templates create menus to make content accessible. Joomla!’s template does not include page navigation by default. The menu is completely setup by you, which must be configured before any articles are accessible. You can’t skip any steps with Joomla! or “get back to it later”.
K2 is Joomla’s article extension that helps juggle new pages. K2 was built on four principles: feature-rich content, ease of use, flexible templates and performance. The extension helps add features that would be otherwise complex, such as social media sharing, rating systems, image galleries, and even events. K2 is a popular extension for journals or corporate sites.

When to Use Joomla!

There are advantages for those who can bravely challenge Joomla! I recommend that you either have 20+ hours to learn or are a PHP developer.

I Recommend Using Joomla! If:

  • You have large amounts of information (100+ pages)
  • You need a complex user system (ex: eCommerce)
  • Your Website is used for internal use (intranet)
  • You need to add a social platform or forum

I do not recommend Joomla! for simple business sites or blogs. WordPress is my usual recommendation. But if you decide Joomla is right for your website needs, you may want to be prepared.