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Wordpress, Joomla, or what?

Brief history:
I'm employed as a designer and work alongside a team of developers - therefore I have little to do with the clever backend stuff! We have developed our on CMS in .NET and I design and implement my HTML around the framework.

I freelance in my own time, predominantly for print but I have had a few small websites to do which I generally handle in HTML. I'm good with CSS, XHTML and have started looking at PHP for simple server side includes.

The Question:
I would like to invest some time into learning more about CMS based stuff that I can produce myself for my own website and any freelance projects that crop up.

I’ve noticed Wordpress crops up here again and again I’m also very aware of Joomla being used a lot.

I don’t think either of these things will benefit my current employer but will help me personally and will add to my skill set should I ever need to look for another job.

I’m just after advice and opinions on which would be the most beneficial and most flexible to start looking at, what are the key differences and what appears to be becoming the industry standard?


Hi Tim... I would whole heartedly recommend Wordpress only because its the most supported CMS i've tried.. there are many people who can help :) Plus its a good way to learn more PHP or learn how the PHP and database interaction works.


Junior Member
Thought I'd register to give my 2 cents worth :)

Joomla is more a Content Management System and Worpress a Blogging Engine. Joomla can be customised as a blog, and I think people also customise Wordpress to use more a CMS but to be honest I would decide which you need (a website with content management or a blog) and stick to the expert at that.

Advantages of Joomla over Wordpress for a CMS its easy to have multiple menus and sub menues everywhere, lots of extensions available to make your website functional (document managers, forums, shopping carts etc). I think designs are easier to create/customise in joomla.

Advantages of using Wordpress as a blog is it already has all the common features of blogs included, like Tags, Comments, Recent Articles, Archives etc. You have to cusomise Joomla and use extensions to get this blog functionality.

Hope its Ok to show an example, but my new Wordpress blog is here and I have a Joomla website here. You can clearly see the differences. I keep them separate as they do separate things.

Hope that helps.

P.S. There's plenty of support for Joomla too!
Thanks, I think I'm looking at this the wrong way round - I'm looking for new stuff to learn that might be useful without actually having a requirement for either! (likewise I'm also teaching myself Cinema 4D right now)

I installed Wordpress last night so I'm all set up and ready to go - just don't know where to start so I guess I've got some reading to do. Perhaps I'll give it a couple weeks then look at Joomla and perhaps when I get to grips with the capabilities of both I'll think about how either (or both) might be applied in the real world!

However I'm aware I risk the possibilty that I might end up learning neither and confuse myself further in the process ;-)


Active Member
Hi Eddy,

From my experience, as more of a designer than coder, I would recommend starting with Wordpress first, it's pretty flexible in how you can use it as a CMS, and as Infinity said for sites that need some form of blog or news section it provides a good base with those features already built-in. (I'm not against Joomla, just from my view of looking into both of them I found WP more 'approachable')

I would recommend having a play with the default WP theme, then looking at the files that make up a WP theme, from there I started by downloading a few other WP themes and purchased a few custom themes just to get to grips with how they worked and used custom fields and WP settings to create sites that don't initially appear like a standard WP blog. When you see some of the sites people create with WP it's really impressive what can be done with it with the latest versions :)

I think from what you've said about your own experience with coding, Rockstar Wordpress Designer would be a good starting point for about $30 it covers all the steps to creating custom themes for a blog site, portfolio site and simple/general CMS site - Rockstar WordPress Designer On Sale Today! - FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog

HTH with your decision!
I'm in a similar position myself.... we've got our own in-house developer but keen to learn the 'simple stuff' so I don't need to keep pulling him off more important work.

Last week a friend of mine asked if I'd help him launch a new blog and I figured it was the ideal opportunity to throw myself in at the deep end. Installed Wordpress and was amazed at how easy it was to get up and running. Best thing about it is that you can access all the code so I was able to dust off my very limited HTML knowledge and start customising the theme.

The blog was launched within a few hours and I've spent the last few days experimenting with various tweaks to the layout which has meant a fair bit of digging around in the code. As Chrismitchell says, there are loads of resources on the web to help you when you get stuck. I'm already starting to make sense of some of the PHP elements.

So from my point of view Wordpress seems an ideal way to learn HTML and PHP... you can learn from the existing code, experiment a little and immediately see results (or lack of!).

Right... off to try and add a PHP email form. Wish me luck!