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Recently I’ve started to build a Wordpress website on my offline web server. Even though my first Wordpress website is not online yet it feels like I’m cheating on Joomla. For the past 10 years I have been building Joomla websites. And it always felt good to build Joomla websites, but i want to explore more options than Joomla. 

My Reasons to try Wordpress

I got 3 Joomla websites and I now try to rebuild one Joomla website in Wordpress, just to try the functions of the Wordpress Content Management System.
It’s not like I now like Wordpress more than I like Joomla, but there are two reasons for me to seriously try and consider Wordpress for the first time:

I know all the ins and outs of Joomla and I feel like there is almost nothing to learn for me anymore (except for learning to write PHP scripts myself). I recently build a Joomla 3.0. site and I got paid to build a few Joomla 2.5. and 3.0. websites for others. I know where I can find everything in Joomla. Joomla is no surprise for me. That’s why I decided I wanted to try Wordpress to learn something different from a different CMS.

The second reason is more important. I want to rebuild my Joomla version to the latest Joomla version. But there is currently no data feed module available to rebuild my shop in Joomla 3.0. an easy way. Wordpress is offering the latest version of Wordpress and is also offering several plug-ins (from several affiliate networks) to recreate my website in Wordpress. It does take some time to figure out how some plug-ins work though, some Wordpress extensions are more difficult to get to work with than others.  I’m someone that likes to try things and almost never read manuals, but now I had to read some manuals to get things work. I think it’s also because I’m not used to Wordpress yet as much as I am to Joomla.


Wordpress and Joomla extensions directory

The first thing I did when I decided I wanted to try to build a Wordpress site is to watch a lot of themes and extensions. That’s what you need to build a website. That works the same in any Content Management System. It gives you an idea of the possibilities in extensions you can use in order to build your website. That’s very useful when you are brainstorming to find out which parts you want to be added to your website. For example a gallery, or data feeds, or quizzes.

If you want those extensions on your website you can browse through all kind of extensions to find the best extension (in Joomla this is usually called a component or module and in Wordpress it’s called a plug-in).
 
I do like the Joomla extension directory a lot better than the Wordpress one. I think http://extensions.joomla.org/ does look better than http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/. But hey that’s just the lay-out of the directory. The Wordpress lay-out is far more simple but it doesn't’t say  anything about the plugins, widgets and themes in it. Those can be far better than some of the Joomla extensions.
Wordpress does have a variety of items in their directory, and just like in Joomla you have to find the good extensions in between the bad extensions.
I became a member of Wordpress so that I can read the reviews of other Wordpress users, reading the reviews of others can save me some valuable time and money because I can pick the extensions I’m looking for quicker and easier. In Joomla I also use the ratings of extensions and the comments of other users in order to find out if an extension is worth a try. If it has really bad ratings / comments I should better spend my time elsewhere.


Wordpress and Joomla Themes – Editing Similarities

There are many Wordpress and Joomla Themes and extensions.
Most of the Free Wordpress Themes contain Links back to other websites. If you have links to other websites in your footer Google will punish you for having those links in your footer. This will cause a lower search engine ranking. But Joomla also has free extensions which also most of the time contain links back to the author of the extensions. Removing the links will (sometimes) be against the copyright, most of the time there will be a paid version without credits to the author (and to other spam links).

If you remove the links in the footer you can receive a notice that the links should be kept intact. The creator of the theme wants you to pay a contribution for a link free theme. You can use the theme with the link in it to try if you like the theme or not. If you don’t like the theme there is no need to buy a paid version from the theme
If you are clever you can remove the links if you adjust some files if you don’t want them to affect your SEO. If you are experienced in adjusting Joomla or Wordpress site that would not be much of a problem.

I think Joomla Themes have more options from the backend of Joomla. Sometimes this includes changing the font, font size and color.
In Wordpress and Joomla you can change the appearance in Plain CSS, and this can be hard for less experienced users that use Wordpress or  CSS for the first time, Wordpress uses plain CSS to change the appearance more than Joomla themes does. There are many PHP files and CSS files you can adjust in the backend of Wordpress. But you have to be more experienced in PHP and CSS files editing to be able to adjust those files. But then again in Joomla you can change things in the CSS file or index.php if your prefer that – just like in Wordpress.  I’m not a manual reading type. I'm someone who likes to learn by trying, but I think if you want to use the full potential of Wordpress you need to read some manuals to get you to understand Wordpress quickly.

You can change the background in the backend of Wordpress in the options of Wordpress when the theme allows you to change a background this will change the whole look and feel of your website. Some good Joomla themes also come with pre defined backgrounds that you can use. You can also alter predefined backgrounds, by using custom CSS
Wordpress offers plugins which enables you to add custom CSS without altering your  actual theme.
Joomla also offers the possibility to create a custom CSS file so that you can also adjust the CSS of the theme without altering the original theme.


Installing Data feeds in Wordpress

For Joomla I used the Affiliate feeds script to download data feeds. Even though it takes time I do think the affiliate feed will be able to save (over) 10.000 data feed items. I usually do add less data feed items than 10.000 though to be able to offer a variety of items of several vendors.
I’ve tried the Wordpress Daisycon plugin It has downloaded several product feeds with a total size of 134 Mb.
I do need to go through all feeds and choose the best product feeds, because the size and amount of product feeds are to many for the size of the website I intended it for. It’s good to be selective and search through the affiliate feeds and make a good quality selection for your potential customers.
But in theory it’s possible to build a large Affiliate store with the Wordpress plugins currently available on the latest version of Wordpress.


Upgrading Joomla / Wordpress

Joomla will release upgrades regularly. They have been doing so for several years now. That’s o.k. when they stay on the same version like 2.5. or 3.0.
But as soon as they go a version higher you have to upgrade your Joomla but also your components. Usually I rebuild a website entirely when Joomla releases a new version (not an upgrade of that same version). When I rebuild the website I’m sure all components, modules and plugins will be compatible with my new version and will not cause any problems.

Wordpress does send out upgrades just like Joomla which you can press so that it automatically updates your installation. Wordpress recommends you deactivate your plugins before you upgrade to not get any compatibility problems.

To me it does look like it will be easier to upgrade Wordpress than it does to upgrade a Joomla website (without any compatibility problems). It might not require a complete rebuild of the website. I do think you can use the Wordpress themes for a long time, and on Joomla your themes are made for a certain version of Joomla.

In Joomla you can see when your Joomla version needs to be updated and press a button to do so. In Wordpress you can see that your Wordpress version needs to be updated but you can also see when plugins or Wordpress have received an update and you can update them just by clicking the button to update them. I think the update process goes easier in Wordpress than it does in Joomla, which is a big Plus for Wordpress users.


The Control Panel

I personally like the admin panel of Joomla better, it seems to be full of possibilities and options. Wordpress control panel does look more simple but does have a lot of options too. Like the possibility to drag widgets / plugins to the sidebar panel of your theme (This can be done in  the backend of your Wordpress site)


Overall conclusion

To my opinion Wordpress is a good option if you want to build a site with a clean template for example to build an affiliate website. And also if you want to create a blog than Wordpress is also a good option because Wordpress comes with a calendar, an archive and a menu already installed. You don’t need to install any module for it to do so, which would have been needed if you would have used Joomla to create the site.
I prefer Joomla for the websites on which I like to use my creative soul.

But when you look at upgrading the website I think Wordpress is easier to use. If you ask the lazy webmaster, I would for that reason give Wordpress a try.
You have to turn of plugins to upgrade Wordpress to prevent compatibility problems. But if you want to upgrade with Joomla you can use programs to upgrade your Joomla installation and then you most of the time have huge errors and compatibility problems. Usually the components, modules and plugins of Joomla  don’t upgrade as quick as Joomla changes to a new version.

In Joomla you can see when your Joomla version needs to be updated and press a button to do so. In Wordpress you can see that your Wordpress version needs to be updated but you can also see when plugins or Wordpress have received an updated and you can update them just by clicking the button to update them. I think the update process goes easier in Wordpress than it does in Joomla, which is a big Plus for Wordpress users.

I still have to get used to the Wordpress admin panel because I think the Joomla admin panel looks less plain than the Wordpress admin panel.
This doesn't’t say anything of the functions Wordpress and Joomla both have. I think Wordpress and Joomla has similar functions but they are just wrapped in a different coat. 


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