Because it's freakin' awesome!!!! That's why :) Seriously though, this is a question that we receive quite often over the years. Let's break it down.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is a CMS (Content Management System) platform. It started off as a project called Mambo and has evolved exponentially over the last 11 years. Joomla is open source which means programmers like myself can create components and online applications for the platform without having to pay any fees or have any restrictions. It was created in PHP and uses MySQL, MS SQL, or PostegeSQL to store the data. Out of the box features includes caching, RSS feeds, blogging, support for multiple languages, an awesome media manager, contact management, nested categories for blogs, content versioning, and much much more. Joomla has over 50 million downloads and has over 8000 extensions available in the JED. More importantly…. We have over 200,000 people in our online community. This means we can easily find support when it comes to the tough questions or challenges we may face when creating sites. As Daniel Net puts it "Joomla!: you come for the software, you stay for the Community!"
This is a 30,000-foot introduction to Joomla and trust me I can go on and on about the technical side but that is not why I decided to write this article.
How I found Joomla?
When we first started the MD TECH TEAM in 2007, the sites that our clients wanted were very basic (but then again, so were their needs). I needed to find a solution that would allow me to easily create a site and that would allow for scalability, flexibility, and longevity. Something that every business needs to think about, especially if you're an online business. After weeks of research, you can imagine how many times I kept bumping into Wordpress. I walked down that path for maybe a month before I felt that it just wasn’t for me and what we needed (I'll get back to this later).
Frustrated and not knowing where to turn, I practically gave up. By mere happenstance, I met a gentlemen from California on his visit to Connecticut and as we were sitting having lunch (discussing business) he asks me if I have ever heard of Joomla? Of course, I told him no and he said I should check it out and look into it.
Sweet glory at last!!! When I first downloaded Joomla I knew it was something different. Even though it was version 1.0 it still felt much different than WP and I could just see the potential.
Joomla Vs Wordpress
Now before I continue with this section let me preface by saying I don’t mind WP (Wordpress) I have built a several websites using Wordpress. However my very first recommendation and suggestion to most clients (including our current clients that use WP) is “When can we get this moved over to Joomla?”. I am a firm believer that Wordpress has a place and time to be used.
For those that have been under a rock, Wordpress is a CMS just like Joomla. I like to think of Wordpress as the older but less functional brother of Joomla. Wordpress was originally designed as a blogging platform and through plugin evolution has become the goto platform for a lot of people. At first glance you may think that “WOW, this is pretty cool, look at all the things I can do”. But as your website starts to grow, gaining traffic, gaining unique visits you start to realize how many issues arise.
A lot of the functionality that you may require will come through plugins which tend to bloat and slow down the website (that's if you can find the plugin in the labyrinth they call a repositorary). Caching will get you frustrated for sure and man o man dont get me started on the security.
There’re many factors that I can go into but I will save those for another article.
Why Do We Recommend Joomla?
As I mentioned earlier Joomla offers scalability (among other things). When I sit down with clients, one of the questions that I ask is “What would you like your site to do in the next 12 to 24 months?” This way, we are thinking with the end in mind and can build the website to address those goals. With Joomla (especially with the latest version) it is very easy to scale up. Depending on your business, you may not even know what your online needs will be in a year or two. Wouldn’t it make sense to use a platform that allows for that flexibility? The last thing you want to hear from your development company is “We can do that BUTTT we are going to have to rebuild the website.” Or “This wasn’t originally discussed and I am not sure we can do this in XYZ platform.” It can be very frustrating, time-consuming and of course costly.
Joomla offers functionality and usability for website of all sizes. We have built basic blog sites, event registration websites, eCommerece sites (we love creating eCommerce sites :) directory and social platform sites all in Joomla.
Is Joomla for the business owner that wants to do it themselves or the weekend website warrior? Definitely not…. but it can be. Learning Joomla is a skill just like everything else and as a mentor once told me “How you do anything is how you do everything”. Meaning if you take the time, learn the platform and get past that learning curve, you will find that Joomla is incredibly strong and useful platform.