Joomla vs Wordpress

There are many content management systems (CMSs) available, but we specialize in two: Joomla and Wordpress. Which is right for you? As a web designer, I love working with both platforms. Both are improving all the time, have plenty of industry support, and both knock out great looking websites. From a consumer perspective, I'm not sure there is much difference. Both site platforms offer lots of features and its frankly hard to tell the difference. However from a web designer, website owner perspective, the differences are easy to spot. Here is my checklist of which CMS rates higher in the following categories.

Number of Templates
Number of Plugins/Extensions
Learning Curve 
SEO Friendly
Page Layout Flexibility
Blogging Compatibility
E-Commerce Friendly
Sophistication of Presentation



Bottom line, Wordpress has more advantages than Joomla: in blogging, cost, available plugins that add features, and ease of maintenance. However, Joomla is stronger in a few important areas: performance (in my opinion), layout flexibility (with its bootstrap layout and custom modules) and a slight edge in sophistication of presentation. By that I mean Joomla templates have different features that seem to build more style into the presentation. This may be a reflection of the "international" influence of Joomla developers. My impression is that Joomla is more popular outside the US. In summary then, Wordpress probably works best for most website owners, but if you are willing to spend a bit more time and money, a Joomla site is well worth the effort.

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Converting Visitors to Customers

Certainly driving traffic to your site takes attention to a lot of detail and is a process seemingly without end. You really can't have enough links pointing to your site, keywords need to be reevaluated periodically, and content must not become stale. The good news is increasing your site traffic gets you to about the 20 yard line. In football parlance, you've gotten the ball in the red zone, now can you score. Turning site visitors into paying customers is the touchdown in this scenario.

What is Your Goal?

It's important to ask yourself "What is it I want my site visitors to do when they get there? Besides marveling at your portfolio or being blown away by your brand identity, usually you want them to do one of the following:

  • Visit your retail shop
  • Call for more information
  • Ask for a price quote
  • Inquire about your products
  • Actually buy someting

But, unless you are selling an established brand, or offering something of unique value, it's a tough sell. You can either trust they will bookmark your site or make a note in their rolodex, or you can be more assertive and find a way to get their contact info. The reason is simple: The more names/emails you collect, the larger your marketable database becomes. If your website doesn't drive them to do any of the above, they need further convincing. Common ways to get folks to provide their contact info include:

  • Contact Form
  • Newsletter sign-up
  • Free Information, eg a white paper
  • Event tickets
  • Brochure download
  • Register to join a community
  • Promise of future discounts or deals
  • et cetera

What is Your Conversion Rate?

All of the above actions are called conversions. Obviously actions from the first list are preferable, but having a back-up from the second list is essential. If your site is well designed for a good user experience, and presents your products or services in an attractive way that establishes trust and credibility, you should be able to get a 1% to 5% conversion rate, more if you are giving away someting of value. What is your conversion rate?It is the number of conversion divided by your total number of unique visitors. For example, 10 contact form registrations divided by 500 unique visitors equals 2%. You may have more than one conversion metric, but it's important to have at least one.

A note on Privacy

When collecting users' contact info, It goes without saying (I hope) that you have a published privacy policy so that your visitors can trust you not to sell their information without their permission. Trust is essential!

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